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chicken-fried steak—a Guymon tradition. From Guymon, angle down to Goodwell and stop in the No Man’s Land Historical Museum. Collections include archeological artifacts and prehistoric fossils. Kids are fascinated by the two-headed calf. In Boise City, check out the Courthouse Square monument to the bombing of that town. Boise City has the distinction of being bombarded by dummy bombs during a United States Air Force training run in 1945. Oops.

You can’t miss the Cimarron Heritage Center—just look for the huge metal dinosaur sculpture. Exhibits run the gamut from fossil footprints to farm machin- ery. Also on the property is the Cox House—one of Bruce Goff’s more conservative creations.

Kenton, the only town in Oklahoma on Mountain Daylight Time, is noted for Black Mesa State Park and Black Mesa—not in the same place. There’s no grocery store or restaurant in Kenton, so plan ahead. Black Mesa B&B, the Hitching Post, and Hoot Owl B&B are each owned by Tri-County Co- op mem bers Monty Jo and Vicki Roberts,

Bob and Jane Apple, and George

and Ter ry Collins, respectively. The Collinses serve dinner at Hoot Owl on Friday and Saturday nights. Thursday night, your best bet is the potluck at the Senior Center.

Check websites for activities at each place but count on unparalleled hospitality, whichever one you choose. And any of your hosts can direct you to “the wash,” where you’ll see real dinosaur footprints left millions of years ago, and to the marker where Oklahoma, Colo- rado and Texas meet.

Gateway to the Great Plains Enid, in the heart of wheat country, is not only a

desti nation but a jumping-off place for other adven- tures. The Cherokee Strip Regional Historic Center (CSRHC) has just reopened and highlights the histo- ry, land and people of the region. Combined with the adja cent Humphrey Heritage Village, the CSRHC is an Enid “don’t miss.” With lots of descriptive materials to read, this isn’t for the younger set; but they have a place of their own—Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse and Adventure Quest—one of the coolest playgrounds you’ll ever see.

The whole family can get in the spirit of the Old West at Simpson’s Old Time Museum and Movie Stu- dio. Brothers Rick and Larry Simpson, in addition to collecting lots of western items, make western movies. Inside the building, sets include a saloon, hotel, jail and general store.

Downtown shoppers enjoy interesting shops like The Felt Bird, Soapweeds and Cactus, and Scribner’s Art Gallery (and bead shop). Other fun shops are located

in the Heritage Hills Shopping Center.

Also in Heritage Hills is Katy’s Pantry, a favorite spot for ladies (and guys) to enjoy lunch—marvelous home- made dishes and bakery goods. For diner food, try the Wooden Nickle—not fancy, but even the burger buns are homemade.

Enid is home to two unusual museums that are long on artifacts and short on explanations. The Railroad Museum displays china created for different trains, along with lots of equipment and train cars you can clamber into. The Midgley Museum features everything Mr. and Mrs. Midgley ever owned, from a roomful of hunting trophies to the toothpicks from their wedding reception—fun and funky. From Enid, branch out to the Great Salt Plains near Jet, or a visit to the tiny Astro- bleme Museum in Ames.

Oklahoma’s Favorite Son

Don’t underestimate the time you’ll want to spend in the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore. Rogers was successful in every media of his day—print, radio and fi lm. The museum does a great job of covering the many facets of the nationally famous satirist. Take time to read some of his columns, listen to a sampling of his broadcasts and watch clips from his movies. The museum sits high on a hill and provides a promi- nent point for Will’s grave site, as well as a sculpture of him on his favorite horse, Soapsuds. Will Rogers was so beloved that his death in a plane crash was like a death in the American family.

A monumental statue of Will Rogers, by sculptor Jo Davidson, is on display inside the museum; its twin lives in the National Statuary Hall collection in Wash- ington, D.C. Be sure to notice the toe of Will’s shoe. It’s been rubbed by thousands of visitors; whether for luck or love (or an improved sense of humor), give it a rub. A short drive from the Claremore site, near Oologah, is the Dog Iron Ranch. The house, built in 1875, was Will’s birthplace, though it’s not in the original loca- tion because of the construction of Lake Oologah. Built of hand-hewn logs and sided with clapboard, it was known as “The White House on the Verdigris.” Tour the house and the 1879-style barn built in 1993 by Amish carpenters.

Back in Claremore, a stop for pie at the Hammett House is a tradition. Also in town is the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum. Billed as the world’s largest private collection of guns, the museum also has dis- plays of musical instruments, beer steins, and more.

Treasure Tucked in a Corner

Oklahoma’s southeast corner is a sportsman’s dream and a traveler’s treasure trove. The hottest spot is the truly cool Beavers Bend State Park. Its rustic cabins— especially the riverfront accommodations—are popu- lar with families, while Lakeview Lodge provides hotel- style stays.

Broken Bow Lake is one of the state’s most beauti- ful bodies of water, with a multitude of tree-covered islands and brilliant blue waters. The rushing Moun- tain Fork River below the dam is a favorite spot for fl y- fi shermen. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, jet skis and other watercraft are available for rental. Kids love the train ride pulled by a one-third-size replica of the 1863 steam engine.

Continued on page 20

Top: Rick Simpson, aka Stormy Lane, makes western movies with his brother Larry, Enid.

Middle: Humphrey Heritage Village adjacent to the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage, Enid.

Bottom: Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, Perry.

MAY 2011 19

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