“No Man’s Land,” and Dinosaur Footprints.

When I departed Stillwater, Oklahoma yesterday it was 88 degrees… when I arrived in Red River, New Mexico today at noon it was 28 degrees.  I was hoping the temperature would be a bit cooler in the New Mexico mountains, but a 60 degree drop in about 24 hours was more than I anticipated!
I have plenty of cold weather gear but with some luck I hope I don’t have to use it very often.  Tonight, the down sleeping bag and long undies are going to be on duty!
The No Man’s Land Sign in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Driving west in the Oklahoma panhandle you cross the Santa Fe Trail a few times!
One of the many small theaters all over Oklahoma,  many are no longer in use, but still picturesque.

The Oklahoma panhandle has been referred to as “No Man’s Land” since the mid 1800s.  The panhandle was originally part of Texas, but when Texas wanted to enter the Union in 1850 as a slave holding state, they forfeited the land that would later become part of Oklahoma.  As I drove west from Stillwater, I realized that the area could also be called “Not Many Peoples Land” because it really is sparsely inhabited.  Pronghorn antelope, tumbleweeds and rattlesnakes all hopped, bounced and slithered across the highway in front of my truck as I drove west on highway 64.  I was lucky to avoid tornadoes during my 4 days in Oklahoma, but my truck did get a good 5 minute “sandblasting” from a dust storm near Boise City!  I stopped for the night at Black Mesa State Park, located about as far west in the panhandle as one can go!  The winds were really high, probably 40 to 50 mph all night.
I decided it would be better to sleep in the bed of the Tacoma than in the tent-cot.  Lake Etling was only about 20 feet from my campsite and I didn’t want to test how well the tent-cot floats in the middle of the night after a strong gust of wind!  Their was a group of 2 tent campers a few sites away from me when I went to bed.  In the morning at about 7:00 AM when I departed, their tents were nowhere to be seen,  it looked like they sought refuge from the high winds in their vehicles, fortunately I didn’t see any tents in the lake!

A view north from the Black Mesa State Park.
Pronghorn Antelope a few feet off the highway.
The Truck sits atop the riverbank as I search for the dinosaur footprints.
On my way out of Oklahoma, I stopped at the Black Mesa Summit area about 8 miles north west of the Park.  I wanted to see the fossilized dinosaur footprints in the dry riverbed and the tri-state border marker.  The dinosaur footprints were really pretty cool to see, the three-toed prints were about the size of a trashcan lid and crossed the riverbed in a diagonal pattern.  The last time I saw three-toed footprints was in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, and I think those were human?  I’m glad the creature that left the prints no longer inhabits the area, I’m not sure I could out run him today!
  If you plan to visit the area, the exact directions to find both the dinosaur footprints and the tri-state border marker are available in the window of the Black Mesa State Park office. 
 
  
Not easy to see, the dinosaur footprints near Black Mesa Summit.

The tri-state border marker is on the spot where the Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico borders all meet.  If you have ever wanted to be in three states simultaneously, you can do it there!  I managed to get one foot in Oklahoma, one foot in Colorado and my hand in New Mexico.

The Tri-State Border Marker in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

I saw an interesting quote from an Indian on a historical marker today,

“I don’t want to settle down in the houses you would build for us.  I love to roam over the wild prairie.  There I am free and happy.”

-Satanta (White Bear), Kiowa Warrior and Chief.

I know what you mean Chief, when I wander, I fell free and happy too!

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