Southwest – Day 6

Duke, Oklahoma
 A small town right out of a
Norman Rockwell painting.

Southwest USA

Retirement Trip

September 2019

29 Days – 6,500 Miles – 19 States – 7 National Parks

Several State Parks – 6,000+ Photos

1 Trillion Insects Squished by Windshield

 From 108 Degrees to Snow

From 282 Feet Below Sea Level to 12,000+ Feet

Bison, Elk, Prairie Dogs, Lizards, Wild Horses

Elvis, Aliens, John Wayne Westerns

Walking In The Footsteps of Forrest Gump

And More! 

A Bison calf and mother at
Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas

Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma to Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, New Mexico
One of the first small towns we pass through is Duke, Oklahoma.
At one time, I’m sure this was right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

This mural is one of many we saw in small towns across the Southwest.
Welcome to Texas!   On Rt 62 crossing into the northern panhandle of Texas.
The 100th Meridian is the north-south line marking the border between Oklahoma and Texas.
Close-Up of Marker.
At Estelline, TX, we passed by this old church.   Love the bell!
You miss scenes like this on the interstate.  That’s why we prefer 2-lane roads.
Shadow of church bell.

In the past hour, we noticed that we were leaving agricultural areas behind and entering a more desert-like setting.  We also noticed more red clay and red rocks.

Some horses were grazing in a field by the road.

Bob Wills was a musician and bandleader of the Texas Playboys , and was known as the “King of Western Swing” from 1942-1969. 
They are rightfully proud of their hometown son.  
Listen to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys 
Since we were quite a way from the next town and needed a break, we turned into Caprock Canyons State Park.
The sign by the entrance told us this might be interesting!
We stopped in the Visitor Center to get more information.  The area is home to hundreds of wild bison that roam freely.
For just $5, you get a pass to drive the 10-mile loop through the park.  Good deal!
Here’s a map of the park with all of the roads to explore.  Let’s go! 
Looking out over Caprock Canyons, we thought we saw our first bison on the right, but they turned out to be metal sculptures.
This sculpture is dedicated to the legacy of the bison, who have roamed these lands for thousands of years.
Suddenly, just ahead, we saw this lone bull making his way toward the pond for a drink of water.  He was in no hurry, and seemed to know he was king of the road.
There were no houses in sight, but we were not alone!  Hundreds of Prairie Dogs scurried around the surrounding fields.
Shortly after that, we saw this mom and her calf on a knoll beside the road. 
As we came around the next bend in the road, we were met by this group of bison that appeared to have a destination in mind.
After a quick photo, we quickly turned around to find a safe place to park. 
For the next 5 minutes, we watched a parade of bison walk by.   Here’s another mom and her calf. 
After making our loop and seeing dozens of bison, it was time to move on. 
As we were leaving the park, we stopped at JB’s BBQ.  
We wondered if they had bison BBQ, but they don’t. 
We couldn’t drive through Texas without a photo of cactus. 

Welcome to New Mexico!
Not a very photogenic spot to enter New Mexico, but here it is!  
You know what they say about first impressions. 
Luckily, the scenery improves after the next few miles.


One of the interesting things you find on 2-lane back roads is old abandoned gas stations.
They are a looking glass to the past. 
This is what a gas station looked like 50 years ago. 
The only thing missing is the young boy rushing out to fill your tank and wash your windshield so you don’t even have to get out of the car.
Remember when the pumps went “ding-ding-ding” as your tank filled?
They haven’t sold leaded gasoline for about 40 years now. 
Before we check in at Cannon Air Force Base just down the road, we decided to have an early supper. Considering we passed thousands of cattle grazing and roaming the past few hours, we figured the steaks would be fresh. We were right.
By coming in at 4:00, we beat the crowds.  Nice and clean. 
Great steaks.  Nice way to end a day of exploring. 
Soon, we checked into lodging at Cannon Air Force Base (New Mexico). 

When we left Germany in 2003, we were told we were being sent here.  In fact, they initially shipped our household goods here. Then, at the last minute, they changed our orders to Scott AFB, IL (where we were just a few days ago on this trip). We’ve always been curious what it would have been like.  Well, quite different from the farmland of Illinois! 
The lodging office gave us a suite for just $5 more than a standard room.
One nice benefit of being a retired Master Sergeant (E-7).
Very nice accommodations. 
After a walk over to the Base Exchange, we settled in for a good night’s sleep. 
Tomorrow, we visit the aliens at Roswell and see more of New Mexico.  See you tomorrow!
Mileage Today:  283 Miles
Trip Total:   1,707 Miles