The road up there was beautiful and wonderful as always. I can nearly drive it with my eyes closed, I’ve done it so many times. It takes a little over an hour and takes me through Skiatook, Barnsdall (where Mom is from), and several tiny towns between. I got to see quite a few relatives. First off, I delivered Dad’s truck back to him. It was very kind of him to loan it to me for the last few months and it came in handy more times than I can count.
Indi and I got to visit with my Uncle Jody and cousin Blakelea for a few minutes. Blake was a missionary in India for two years and traveled around SE Asia and Europe; it was fun to pick her brain and get her impressions of the region. After that, Dad and us went down to see Grandma for a few hours. She has leukemia but looked better than I’d seen her in a long time. Grandpa passed away over a year ago but she’s still truckin’. She showed great interest in our trip and we had a good, long visit there. She starts chemo again next week.
We decided we’d kill some time and go up to the Tallgrass Prairie Reserve. I’d never been there myself. What we saw was amazing! An open prairie with many, many bison wandering around. I got some great pictures. We stayed the night with my cousin Amanda and her family. They were kind enough to fix us some fondue for dinner (first time – it was great!) and also had a good visit. In the morning, we got rounded up early and went down to Blakelea’s new coffee house downtown. Dad came with us and we visited some more. It was a really nice place, only been open a few weeks.
To our surprise, there was a horse tied up outside. Also having a cup of coffee was a man who has been traveling on horseback for two years and was passing through Pawhuska. Indi and I both thought that was pretty awesome. After our coffee and goodbyes, we took a brief photo tour of town and surrounding areas on the way back. Throughout my visit to Pawhuska, I couldn’t help but notice how depressing the condition of many of the homes/businesses were.
Justin (Amanda’s husband) and I discussed that at dinner the night before. Back in the 20’s, the Osage Indians were just about the richest folks around. Pawhuska had an elevator before Tulsa did. During the boom, Pawhuska was a bustling town. Eventually, Wal-Mart moved in and many of the local businesses folded. After the population started dwindling, Wal-Mart left. In their wake is this empty shell of a town that is barely able to sustain itself. It’s quite sad, and I have a lot of pictures on the Flickr page in this vein.
On the way back to town, we stopped at Ollie’s Restraunt in Red Fork. It was AMAZING! It’s this little home cooking type place FULL of model trains! Very well done and an excellent atmosphere to have breakfast. Anytime. AND not only that, I got a glass bottle coke. Perfect end to such a great trip!