Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Ghost Town Tour

Friday started out a little rough, but it turned out to be a rather interesting weekend. I was slammed pretty much all week, juggling several projects at once and the players of each all vying for my attention. I managed to sneak away for lunch with some friends on Friday, but wound up working until nearly midnight before I could officially call the work week over.

Saturday morning I hopped on my bike and headed into Tulsa to meet some friends. We had a day trip planned and it was a doozy. It turns out that one of my friends wasn’t going to be able to join us for the entire day, so we decided to hit a restaurant for lunch and finalize our route for a major bike trip.

By noon, we were on the open road, heading for the North East portion of the state. The plan? We wanted to explore some good ol’ fashioned ghost towns.

Our first stop was a town called Afton. It was established in 1886, but has since all but been abandoned. Here is a rare photo of it in its prime.

As you can see from the pictures below, it has fallen far from grace.

There is still one business thriving in Afton, OK; a rather delightful museum that is centered around antique cars and Route 66 memorabilia.

Our next stop was Narcissa, OK. There were only a couple of dilapidated buildings on a small stretch of the road. I couldn’t find a before picture, but by what I’ve read there wasn’t much here even when it was an actual city. There is even less now.

The biggest building on the strip appeared to be an old garage and possibly a motel. It had clearly been gutted by a fire at some point. It was wide open as we walked the outskirts, so we decided to venture in. Imagine our surprise when we found an old coupe still occupied what was left of the garage.

Here is another shot of the interior.

And a picture of our rides from the inside looking out.

The next stop on the trip was Picher, OK. This was a town that was booming during both World Wars, but now has the feel of a post apocalyptic skeleton. Large levels of lead contamination were discovered in the town’s water supply, putting the final nail in the coffin.

Here are a couple of before shots:

And this is what it looks like today:

There were several places were we found municipal vehicles, seemingly abandoned as well.

After we left Picher, we decided to slip over the state line and drive a ways into Kansas, just so we could see we hit a different state, lol. Didn’t see anything picture worthy, so we turned around and reentered Oklahoma.

The next stop on our journey took us to Cardin, Ok. It really just looked like an extension of Picher, so we didn’t snap any photos there.

We made our way a bit further south and found Douthat, Ok. This place has a rather amazing history. As we understand it (and as explained by one of the few remaining locals). This town and the surrounding communities had a population of roughly 26,000 people while the mines were in full swing. It was completely abandoned by the 1950s and nature is slowly but surely reclaiming what was once hers.

Here are a couple of pictures of the place while it still existed:

For more great pictures and a more detailed description of some of these towns, please visit John Schehrer’s website

And here is what it looks like now:

The Great Pyramids of Oklahoma?

This is clearly were most of the entertainment sprang from… an ancient gladiator arena. Ok, actually it is just a water storage area, but you know the imagination is a dangerous thing if left unchecked.

Here’s one with my partner in crime for the day in it. Give us a bow, Cliff…

After that, we headed back to Tulsa where we met up with a few other bikers and did a bit of bar hopping, but mainly just more riding. It was a blast and one heck of an adventure.

I finally drug my sorry carcass back home around three that morning. All in all, I wound up putting more than 350 miles on the bike from the time I left home until the time I pulled into the garage.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday… How did you spend your weekend?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday 55

Welcome to Friday 55. The object of the exercise is to write a story using exactly 55 words. If you participate, be sure to drop a comment at G-Man’s blog so others will know how to find your story.

Slipping, sliding, elusive, time dances at the edges of my reach. I must speed up if I am to catch it as it is far quicker than the pace I prefer. Time is my enemy and yet, I would love to have more of it. Am I confused you ask… no, I am merely tired.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Weekend Recap

We had a relaxing weekend. Well, most of us anyway. My wife had to work twelve hour shifts, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday… nights. Yep, from six to six through the entire weekend. No worries though, there are parts of her new temporary schedule that totally make up for this madness. She works for a fairly small company and they landed a big project that takes 24 hour coverage. Even the owners are having to work weird hours until the project completes. Crazy times, but at least she still has a job, it could be worse in our current economic climate.

Friday my brother spent the night with us and we did a few chores that needed to be done around the house then settled in for an evening of video games and catching up. Big Friday night, I was in bed by 10:30.

Saturday started out a bit rough. My brother had to move out of his house and I had to help him. No big deal under normal circumstances, but I sustained a heel injury the weekend (caused by stupidity on the lake) before and it hadn’t quite healed yet. Needless to say, carrying heavy items with a limp was a challenge to say the least. I still managed it and by sheer chance, I did it without causing myself further injury.

Saturday evening I went to a cookout with some dear friends. They served slow smoked ribs and a variety of sides that was absolutely heavenly. We took advantage of the unseasonably cool weather and sat outside until well after sunset. When we moved indoors we settled in for movie. We watched a delightful little British horror comedy called The Cottage. It was over the top and full of chills and giggles.

Sunday we cut out of the house early and went to the lake with a group of friends. When we first got there, the water was as smooth as glass. Taking advantage of the optimal conditions, we spent the majority of the day wakeboarding. I had several good runs and almost landed an airborne wake to wake job. Well… I landed, but wasn’t able to stay upright. My nephew on the other hand, was doing some down right nifty tricks, including an aerial switch foot (where he spins the board around while in the air) and a big air launch that earned several seconds of air time. It must be nice to only way seventy pounds…

Last night, I buckled down and got a little bit of writing done. I’m on track to finish up my latest book by the end of September, barring any more time sucking day job projects. The really cool thing there is that once this book is complete (which is the second in a trilogy) the third book is already complete is well. Yay me… After the series is put to bed, I plan to get back to focus full time on the sequel to The Dance.

So, what have you been up to?


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