Salt Plains

Great Salt Plains State Park and Wakita, OK

After years of drought, Oklahoma had 23 inches of rain in a month, mostly right before I got there. The lake at Great Salt Plains was overflowing and a few camp sites were unusable. The rest were still fine, however, and I spent the night there. I lived near here (Wakita, OK) until I was 10 and I remember swimming in Great Salt Plains Lake. Great Salt Plains is known for its selenite crystals, which can be gathered there. Because it is so unique, the hourglass-shaped selenite crystal was designated as the State Crystal of Oklahoma in 2005.
Wakita is notable as the location for the 1996 motion picture film, Twister. It was a grand metropolis of around 500 when I was a kid, but like many towns in the plains has shrunk. It was down to 344 in the census of 2010 – closing of the school will certainly not help the decline. This was my chance to visit this place, possibly for the last time. I paid my respects at the grave yard – I have 14 relatives that ended up there. I thought I might make a quick run over to the old homestead while I was there, and I started down the dirt road next to the grave yard. This turned out to be a big mistake. Pulling a trailer, even a light one, down a muddy dirt road is not an easy task. I got in trouble quickly but I knew I would have trouble backing up. I figured if I just kept my momentum, I could make it. I fishtailed back and forth for a few hundred yards, leaving a sinuous path, until the mud got worse. I thought I would have to get a tow truck until I remembered that I needed to turn off the traction control and lock the All Wheel Drive to give more power to the rear tires. That did it (just barely) and I made it to the next intersection and bailed out on a cross road; I probably ended up with 20 or 30 lb of mud on my car and the Aliner. I never did make it to the farm.
From Wakita, I went to visit some relatives in Norman, OK (my cousin P.J. and his wife Linda were kind enough to let me stay there) and after that, I spent some time with my cousin, Tom and his wife, Donna, in Wagoner, OK.
It was time to go home and stop sightseeing so I concentrated on traveling and made it though Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York on my way home. Not all in one day, though.


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