Oklahoma Adventure Trail

dirtpro06

Member
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I've seen this building in photos from others who have taken this route but it crept up on me and surprised me just the same! Endless miles of trees and a single wide every once in awhile were abruptly interrupted by this structure in the middle of the road and several others with similar architecture. There was even a "mom squad" of ladies walking down the road with strollers, dogs and kids as if strolling through a suburban neighborhood.

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And like all the others, they disappeared back into a lonely road. This time however, I was kept company by several miles of high fence belonging to a very large ranch.

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The symbolic end to my trip was rejoining the pavement just outside Muldrow. Small town night life was in full swing - a basketball game had broken out behind the fire department and people were gathering for Wednesday night service at the local church.

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In order to get back to Tulsa, I had to follow the route a bit more which took me under I40 and down to the next town which had an on ramp.

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Along the way a train and the clouds got the best of me.

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Now in Sallisaw, I stopped for a quick bathroom break and jumped on to the highway for home. Another segment done and another great day exploring in the books.
 

dirtpro06

Member
I'm a bit late in writing this installment but better late than never I suppose.

This leg of the trip was a bit last minute. I hadn’t anticipated being able to get out of town but a last minute check of the Spiro mounds visitor hours and my wife’s gracious offer to fill in for me at a volunteer event made it necessary and possible respectively. I took the highway from Tulsa straight to the mounds, arriving an hour before closing time. I quickly walked the grounds and viewed the exhibits, took some photos and got out before they kicked me out! If you want to take your time, are a slow walker or have kids I’d recommend 2 hours. This was actually a pretty cool place. I learned quite a bit about native american civilization back in the day.

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dirtpro06

Member
After topping off on gas I took the highway south to Poteau and summited the “worlds tallest hill”…whatever that means! It was a fun little drive and I recommend it to anyone taking this trip. The views from on top were great and I spent some time enjoying some dinner up there.
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Swinging back north, I picked up the route off highway 32 and headed south. The roads are a mix of poorly paved, formerly paved, gravel and dirt. The area apparently received a significant amount of rain over the past few days as the road was flooded in a few places. My highway tires at blacktop pressures took it in stride but I did have to slow down significantly for several washed out areas. None of the water covering the road was moving enough to be seen and I could see road beneath it so it didn’t worry me. The sun, trees and roads were relaxing and simply enjoyable.
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dirtpro06

Member
This area was absolutely gorgeous. There were lots of fields with livestock and a mix of large commercial farms, family farms and...one particular single wide with some horses out front that had eaten every living thing in reach. Right on schedule, the route popped out of of the bottoms into higher country just in time to watch the sun go down.
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Sunset was everything I could have hoped for and I pushed on to find a campsite near Wister lake.

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Of course now that pesky water came back to bite me. There are several low water dams along the route and this one just had too much to risk it...plus it was moving. My first reroute wasn't any better so I dropped south to HWY 270 and followed it into the town of Wister. Plan A was to camp at Lake Wister; I arrived as dusk settled in and it took me some time to locate the campsite as there were no signs. The camping area was below the dam, there was no breeze and the bugs were thick so I pushed on. I ended up spending the night in a hotel in Heavener across the street from the railyard.

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dirtpro06

Member
Day 2 started off the same as before. The route follows the back roads and high water was everywhere. Fortunately, there were no reroutes necessary this time.
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The next leg of the journey went through Ceder Lake State Park. The views remained beautiful and the roads rustic but easy and relaxing...annnd then this. The opening is sized right for a 4wheeler but the Xterra was a no go. Fortunately, a reroute to the south got me back on track in no time. As this point the road turned from nice dirt into an actual 4x4 track in the matter of around 14 inches. What is clearly now the main route turned south and the OAT continued west, uphill on a significantly narrower road. Fortunately, picking a line wasn't very hard it was just a bit time consuming. Fortunately the road widened out at the top of the hill and followed a beautiful ridge through the pine trees.



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Another short stretch of pavement set us up with another dirt stretch. This one was all uphill and was...I know I keep saying it...beautiful.

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And just like that I popped out on the Talimena Scenic Highway! It is truly scenic, with viewpoint after viewpoint along the route. I'll have to come back someday and drive all of it.

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dirtpro06

Member
From Talimena (headed east), the route doubles back west on to what I now consider the "pre-K trail" It follows the same ridge as the K trail but farther to the east...it makes sense when you're there! Anyways, this section climbs up and follows the ridge. It's more rugged than the other sections but nonetheless 4wd was not necessary. After crossing the pavement, I followed the dirt road out to the old lookout station and the proper start of the K trail. The K trail itself was sized for a fat ATV or an army jeep but I made it just the same. I probably won't do that to the Xterra again (got plenty of sap and light scratches from all the pine branches) but I'm glad to have accomplished it either way as I got plenty comfortable with maneuvering in tight quarters. The western half or third of the K trail is wider than the rest but either way it's about a half day's drive all on it's own. The combination of water holes to cross, windy turns and rocky track keep speeds ridiculously low.
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dirtpro06

Member
The K trail left me hungry and low on fuel so I followed the route south past Octavia to CJ's corner store. Fuel acquired, it was time to make a decision. The store was closed so food was out of the option and I was trying desperately to not have to eat the MRE I'd brought as back up. I could continue down the route and risk having to spend another night in the field which would make my schedule very tight the next day and possibly force me to drive home through the night or I could call it quits and head back to the house. I chose the latter with a bit of a caveat. To get home I needed to go north and east, so I decided to head north to the Talimena highway and go from there. This would give me an opportunity to soak in some of those great views again, get dinner in Talihina and take the highways north from there. My ceremonial end of the trip photo is next to a piece of self propelled artillery in the veteran's park near downtown Talihina. I found it a fitting end for the trip and stepping off point for trips in the future.
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Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Great writeup! I see you were at Birch Lake. Did you happen to go into the little town of Barnsdall nearby? If you did, and if you went by the "world's only main street oil well", the yellow house that is just to the left of the oil well is where I used to live from about 1965 - 67 from the ages of 3 to 5.

Nice pictures. Is there any way you can post a map of your travels? It's nice to see people getting out and exploring areas East of the Rocky Mountains.
 

dirtpro06

Member
Great writeup! I see you were at Birch Lake. Did you happen to go into the little town of Barnsdall nearby? If you did, and if you went by the "world's only main street oil well", the yellow house that is just to the left of the oil well is where I used to live from about 1965 - 67 from the ages of 3 to 5.

Nice pictures. Is there any way you can post a map of your travels? It's nice to see people getting out and exploring areas East of the Rocky Mountains.

Thanks! I could probably export my gps file from Topoquads but the map for the OAT is in the seventh post on this thread and that's what I'm following. Is that what you're looking for? I don't remember going through Barnsdall if I did.
 

ITTOG

Active member
Great writeup! I see you were at Birch Lake. Did you happen to go into the little town of Barnsdall nearby? If you did, and if you went by the "world's only main street oil well", the yellow house that is just to the left of the oil well is where I used to live from about 1965 - 67 from the ages of 3 to 5.

Nice pictures. Is there any way you can post a map of your travels? It's nice to see people getting out and exploring areas East of the Rocky Mountains.

I would like a map of the route as well. I am in the Red Oak, OK area (an hour east of McAlester) several times a year and would like to drive some of these roads.
 
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