Route: I-44W → Will Rogers Turnpike ($4.00) → I-44/Route 66W through Tulsa → Turner Turnpike to Oklahoma City ($4.00) → I-35/I-66 → I-40W
Weather: 18F and clear in the morning, warming to 41F and cloudy by sunset with none of the rain that was forecast
Trip Average Gas Mileage: Started with 28.3mpg, dropping to 26.7mpg by end of day
- Passed Meramec Caverns in the Ozarks, perhaps most famously fabled to be a Jesse James hideout
- Saw lots of hawks
- Lunch at the OK Welcome Center near Miami, OK
- Using the Will Rogers Turnpike (toll road) from the Missouri/Oklahoma State Line to Tulsa OK saved us 1 hour of driving
- Mistakenly taking the exit for I-35 instead of staying on the John Kilpatrick Turnpike saved us $4.00 without sacrificing any driving time through Oklahoma City at 16:00
Despite the frigid morning temperature, Hubby very bravely assembled the camp stove and boiled water so we could eat hot oatmeal and chai (even though we had decided last night to buy breakfast this morning). 7:00...UGH! I was so warm and snug in the flannel sheets under our sleeping bag...but his bravery shamed me to rise and shine. The small Kabin heater was not able to raise the temperature above 38F last night but it kept us warm as we huddled in front of it to get dressed. Thankfully there was no wind chill this morning. By 8:30 we were on I-44W with no snow to contend with today. I-44 had so little traffic and such a good road surface that maintaining 70mph through Missouri was not difficult. Driving through the rolling hills of the Ozarks we promised ourselves to make this intriguing area a trip destination in the future.
Just like yesterday, Hubby drove for 4 hours until lunch at 12:30 at the Oklahoma Tourist Information Center, near Miami and the Oklahoma/Missouri State Line. In the Welcome Center is a Gift Shop where local products can be purchased. I drove the 4 hours across Oklahoma to the El Reno West KOA. Driving through Tulsa we crossed over the Arkansas River, a major tributary of the Mississippi.
Did you know? --> The Arkansas River begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and flows east/southeast until it meets the Mississippi River near Little Rock, Arkansas, 1469 miles later.
The Oklahoma highway speed limits are 75mph and the road surface was well maintained. Traffic was light. We made good time but sacrificed gas mileage through Oklahoma's rolling hills. With a stop to pick up some dinner at a WalMart Supercenter Deli we arrived at the KOA Office a few minutes after the office closed at 17:00 but before dark. Our registration envelope was stuck to the office door – Kabin #02 again tonight. Unlike most KOA's, this Kabin entrance did not face the road, but overlooked a small (frozen) pond. How picturesque!
WalMart offered few acceptable precooked dinner choices. We brought home some warm potato wedges and cold pasta salad, which we combined with two eggs, broiled asparagus, snow peas and two bananas from our own supplies. After today's filling lunch sandwich and superfood salad, dinner didn't need to be big. After dinner there was still enough daylight to walk over to the bath house for a hot shower (and a quick shave for Hubby).
Because we get wi-fi here in Kabin #2, we checked the weather for the next few days. With the unseasonably cold temperatures this week we have been monitoring the forecasts carefully, especially for next week when we will be in a tent. Although it will be cold at night, so far there are no below freezing temps predicted. Fingers crossed!
About the El Reno KOA Campground: This is a large campground. From the Kabins the walk to the bath house is on the verge of being long and the walk to the dishwashing sink and laundry facility is long. The bath house is modern, with convenient shelves but not enough hooks (my personal bugaboo in bathrooms). On the roof of the bathhouse a wi-fi access point extends a strong signal to the Kabins. In warmer weather, the location of the Kabin overlooking the pond would make it a picturesque place to enjoy a morning coffee.