From Missouri, we drive through Oklahoma. Can say I like Oklahoma. It’s not my kind of terrain. Doing long distance driving, one thing I notice is the Rest Areas. They say something about the State. Do they allow overnight sleeping? Is there hot food or vending machines? Is there separated car and truck parking? How big is the dog walk area? Is there general State information? A state map showing where you are? How modern, functional and clean are the bathrooms? Is there gasoline? How these are answered by each State gives a flavor of how the State views itself and it’s visitors. In Oklahoma in I-44 and I-40, most Rest Areas are simple off road places to park for a while. Occasionally there’s a Rest Area sign says the brand of gas and Clean Restrooms. When I pull into one of these it’s literally a Gas Station on the freeway. I assume the rest rooms are inside. There’s no designated place to park. No place to sit and eat. And that’s how the state feels to me. Not welcoming. People were friendly. But not the services.
I hope to get into New Mexico, but I’m tired and ready to stop. I find a nice municipal park south of Elk City on Elk City Lake. We get there at dusk and go for a walk around the lake and across the sandy-grassy knoll to a dome shaped structure. It looks like a geodesic dome building with a rounded entrance facing the road. It’s all dark. As we get there I can see that what looked like an entrance is an opening. We come up from a side angle and walk through. It’s a band shell! Facing a large open area that’s setup for concerts. It could use a coat of paint. And the whole thing feels nice. A great place to come with friends and listen to music.
We walk back to the van and setup for night. I feed Sherman. I’m not hungry. I rearrange the van. We get in. The weather forecast is for a low around 35 with little to no wind. A comfortable temp. We can stay warm easily in the van at 25 and above. My down sleeping quilt is amazing. Warm at 25 and not too warm at 60. We go to sleep and wake up later with the van occasionally rocking in very gusty wind. I wake up about 4:30 and it feels cold in the van. I check my favorite iPhone weather app – DarkSky – and find it’s about 18 and windy. I guess the front got here early! We sneak out to pee, rearage the van and back toward I-40 west.