Monday, December 14, 2009

Heart of Oklahoma

On the road again. Can't wait to get on the road again... Come on. sing along!!

For all you redheads, I have found your state!!! You would never look dirty because it would match your hair and skin tone perfectly.
Oklahoma is known for their bright red dirt.
After my aunt flew out of Oklahoma City, I figured I would just get on the road and head right out of the state.


I made one critical step that would lead me to the land I never knew I loved and a hot cowboy. :)

I had already planned my route out of Oklahoma City heading NW towards Colorado Springs. BUT after the Cowboy Museum, I had a yearning to learn about life outside of what tourists typically see. This was a state I didn't know anything about and I had just learned that Texas wasn't the only state with ranches.

I had 5 minutes before I had to check out of the hotel, so I quickly booted up my computer, jumped on the internet and typed in "ranches." I jotted down a few numbers and ran out the door.

I started my trip heading northwest in the direction I was originally headed while calling the numbers I had jotted down at random.

The first one I called had a nice lady on the other end of the line and when I asked her location, she handed the phone to a man with a strong Oklahoma accent that sounded about my age. I asked where they were located and when he said they were a working ranch west of Oklahoma City, my ears opened wide.

He then asked, "What exactly are you looking for?"

"I just want to see life- life outside of the city. Can I come and see what you do?"

"Yeah. It's a cool place, I promise!"

"Do you have horse rides or anything like that? Can I help?"
"Yeah, we have those and sure."
"Do I need to make a reservation?"

He giggled. "No. Just show up."

OK. I threw the map to the floor and west I went. He said I was about 2 hours away.

Ooooo... I was jumping with excitement to see a real ranch and life outside the city!!! I didn't want some tourist place, just life!!!

This path led me to a spot that, again, I had no clue was in Oklahoma... ROUTE 66!!!

Then, about 2 hours later, I found myself at the end of the driveway of Flying W Guest Ranch...

This is a place where the wind was blowing, as I suspect it does often... And the Buffalo looked at me like they wanted to eat me. That little wire between me and him looked mighty small.

Doesn't he understand that the way this works is I eat him? This place was set up as a late 1890's town with a restaurant, a general store, horses, town hall and a barn. There were a few more buildings but I don't remember what they were.

To the side of the town were these original rail cars for carrying cattle around 1900.
Here was the town.
And if you need to get together, meet at Town Hall...

NOW, get your cowboy boots on and let's have some fun!! You are looking at their new cowgirl!!! Well, sort of!!!

They asked me if I had chaps.

"Ummm... no! But I have ski pants!"

"How about gloves? We are going to be gone a while and it is cold out there!"

"Just give me a minute. I'll dig them out."

I don't know how quickly they planned to head out, but I could see the grin on their faces as I unloaded half the house I had packed in my car onto their driveway and dug the gloves, long underwear and ski pants from the bottom of the pile.
One of the guys came out and asked if I lived in my car!!
"Oh, no. Just for now."

The next question was...

"Have you ever ridden a horse?"

"Mmm... Not really! Once, when I was about 10 and it just followed the rear of the next horse so I don't think that qualifies. I guess, NO."

Good thing I had become friends with that horse in Georgia because this would have been mighty challenging if I were still scared of them.
I don't think me running away from the horses would have given my new cowboy friends confidence that I could ride one.

They said to just put my foot in the thing and swing up and over. Whoop. Up I went!
Now, what do I do?
The first thing I tried to remember was STOP!! I was told, "Pull back and he will stop, but not too hard and long because he does have reverse." "OK."

Listening to directions was really challenging because the cowboy was quite good looking and I could just listen to him talk all day with that accent.

I asked the questions a few times just so he would answer again :)
I then learned how to turn and go forward.

We're off...
Up ahead were 100 cows, or as they would say, "100 head of cattle."

The purpose of this trip was to find one cow that had a swollen neck, separate it from the rest, and load it up in the trailer.

It's time to be a cowgirl, or sort of follow the cowboy ahead of me. They first, guided the herd into a pen where it would be easier to find the one we were looking for. I was not nervous until we entered this pen with all 100 cows.

Aaa... a bit claustrophobic. I kept trying to get my horse to be a statue and not move, but it kept wanting to move around. STOP!! STAY!!! I guess this was my lesson in learning to trust that the horse knew better than me at this point.
Two guys picked out the one that was injured in another pen and I helped move the rest out back onto the open land. I'm the one on the brown horse.

I'm so proud of myself! I did great!
Oh, Mr. Cow, what did you do to your neck? I sat there while the others got the trailer and talked to the cow. These are not pets, so I don't think this is what you are supposed to do, but that was my style.
After our cattle fun, it was time for what Cowboy Kyle had no idea was my favorite thing in the world!!! The sunset. We rode the horses through the property back to the ranch as the sun set! Mmmm... Mm. What more can a girl ask for!?!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have found my calling!!!!

After we got back to the ranch, it was getting time for dinner so they asked if I wanted to stay. OH, YES!!! Even though I had planned on driving another 200 miles that evening, it was getting a bit late to go into town and I didn't want this experience to end. 5 of us went to dinner together and had a delicious meal at the little restaurant in their town.

After that, a few of us went back to what would be my place to stay and played games. We laughed for hours and had a blast.

Here is what they called the lodge and was my cozy place to stay. It was really nice and comfortable!!!
When my aunt said she wanted to go to Oklahoma City, my thought was "Where's that and why go there? Isn't Oklahoma where they have tornadoes? No, thank you!" My plan was to go across the coastline and then into New Mexico. BUT that was her only request so how could I say, "No!"

Some things are just meant to be. Somewhere between the red dirt, wind mills, horses, and friendly faces, I found my soul in Oklahoma!!! I was able to let go here and totally be me. I felt like I belonged.
I can't wait to go back!!!

Here is a cowboy's prayer I found on a post card that fits me to a "T."

O Lord, I've never lived where churches grow;
I've loved creation better as it stood
That day you finished it, so long ago.
And looked upon your work and called it good.

Just let me live as I've begun!
And give me work that's open to the sky.
Make me a partner of the wind and sun.
And I won't ask a life that's soft and high.

Make me as big and open as the plains;
As honest as the horse between my knees;
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains;
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze.

Just keep an eye on all that's done and said;
Just right me sometime when I turn aside;
And guide me on the long, dim trail ahead-
That stretches upward towards the Great Divide.

-By Badger Clark

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