I got an early start at Denby Point. I was up at 5, it was still dark…good and dark. I broke down camp, set the coffee to brewing and then headed out to the lake shore to make some images as the sun began its acsent. The early morning was such a sharp contrast to the day before- the quite, the calm, the solitude on the shore. It was really pleasant to sit and listen to the water lap at the broken stone that defined the shore.
Afterwards I made way to Mt. Ida. It was hard to find the Mt Ida Diner (established in 1919) on the main drag. I shared the diner with two other people and the waitress. I ordered a veggie omelet, two biscuits and hashbrowns. The food was amazing. Best veggie omelet I’ve had in a long time. The atmosphere was perfect- old odds and ends strung up on the walls and plenty of mounted deer heads staring back at me. The service was perfect. Put this on the map as an “I’ll be back location.” I left the cafe and took a short tour of Mt. Ida. There were some great old murals on the walls of the old storefronts and an open stage on the center square which advertised live music every Saturday night (May- October). I’d love to come back and catch a show.
I then preceded to follow 278 to 71. Thats a long winding stretch of road. A pretty drive and I stopped a few times to make an image or two. I crossed the Arkansas River on 71 (2nd time this trip) and then hooked up with I-40 West bound. This road runs long and runs straight. Straight through Oklahoma City, straight through many a reservation (including the Cherokee, the Potawatami, the Creek, and more) and eventually it landed me on a road heading north towards Cheyenne. Before Cheyenne I stopped in Sayre to photograph the county courthouse which appeared in the Grapes of Wrath. The Park Ranger said once I hit Cheyenne it’d be 10 more miles to Black Kettle National Grasslands Park. it was every bit of it. I came in expecting to find vast rolling grasslands (think Kevin Costner- Dances With Wolves) what I did find was a short road next to a lake (Dead Indian Lake). I drove past a tent and car on the way, only minutes later I was turned around on the way out. I stopped to check the place out and then made way to the campers to ask them if maybe I had missed something….like the grasslands. They responded no, that this was the spot. We spoke for a moment, made introductions and I left to assess the park and decide if this is where I would lay my head tonight.
I walked a trail, made some images and then set up camp near the couple I had met earlier. I am glad I stayed. The setting here is beatiful, peaceful and quite. The lake provides a wonderful vista to watch the clouds roll by and the park is ours- two tents in this little slice of paradise. It was a real treat meeting Corey and Emily. They are SCAD graduates (what are the chances) from California on a 100 day trip/photo excursion around America. Today was day 78 for them. Their website is www.lanewoodstudio.com and you can find them on Instagram under the same moniker. I would encourage everyone to check their work out. We talked through the afternoon and into the evening. There were a few breaks for food and images but other than that it was sharing and swapping stories of life and the open road. (If you two are reading this, thanks for the conversation, it made my day). Now, here it is, 11pm on back home time, secedes are clawing and probing the outside of the tent and I am typing away. It’s time to call it a night. Until tomorrow- desmal