Saturday, July 23, 2011
Heading to New Mexico
Woody Fest was exhausting, mostly because there was music playing all night long outside my tent and at dawn the sewer truck would come through and do its thing and then the morning crowd would rise and shine and start playing music. I left Okemah around 3:30 and made it as far as Oklahoma City, about one hour, before I started nodding off in the driver's seat. I checked into a cheap interstate motel and fell into a coma.
The next day I drove north towards the panhandle and was really taken with the wide-open landscape of farms and ranches and all of that red dirt they were singing about at the festival (Red Dirt Rangers were very popular). I stopped for lunch in Woodward, just a classic old West town and later, my sister told me we have cousins there. How about that. I'll have to go back again. What I did do was drive out to the Boiling Springs State Park and hang out in a shaded picnic area for a few hours. Got out my uke and sang to the trees. There weren't any folks around and it was quite pleasant.
I met a great musician at Woody Fest named Don Conoscenti who is from Taos and he gave me some tips on where I might stay on my way into New Mexico. I had originally planned to camp at a state park in the Panhandle but 1) no one I met could understand why I would want to go there and they had never been there and 2) it was too friggin hot. Instead, I booked a room at a 100+-yr-old hotel in Clayton, NM. Way out in the middle of nowhere I think you could say. Dry, hot, flat, rugged. These parts have not had rain in forever and most of Oklahoma has had over 100 temps for several weeks in a row. But they are the nicest people.
Dog-Cat-Rat Man near Guyman, NM
I ran into this character on the road to Guyman, OK. He was heading for South Dakota. I had to stop and take his picture. What a character. You can Google him. I guess he hangs in the little house, too, but I tell you, it stank to high heaven from the animals. That's the engine in the back. It was all very bizarre. But then....
This sunlit cloud was right above me as I was leaving Oklahoma. I did have a wonderful time and developed an appreciation for its rugged landscape. So wide and open. The clouds followed me everywhere. Pretty sure that I will be back.