Sunday, October 9, 2016

On the Road: Copper Breaks State Park to Winstar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma

We left Copper Breaks a couple of days ago to come up to Winstar Casino, about 1 mile north of the Red River in Thackerville, Oklahoma. We try to keep travel days short, normally around 200 miles or so. We can travel longer, but we really don't want to. Our trip on this day was just under 200 miles, and follows the route shown below.

Today's route is 185 miles, and pretty direct with a couple of exceptions.

Unlike the drive from Angelo to Copper Breaks, this route today followed mostly 4 lane highways. I certainly enjoy that.

It was windy, wet, and just below 50 degrees when I finally got the trailer ready for travel. While I was finishing up, Donna made me a quick cup of coffee for the road; it surely was good after being out in the cool for nearly an hour.

We started the day by driving about 13 miles north on Texas 6 from the park to Quanah, a small town on the plains named for Quanah Parker, one of the last Comanche chiefs to surrender to reservation life in the 1870s.

At Quanah, we turned east and followed the 4 lane US 287 for nearly 100 miles. This is a busy stretch of highway with a lot of commercial truck traffic. The only town of size it passes through is Wichita Falls. Just east of Quanah there is a nice rest area, and another one just before Wichita Falls. Both have restrooms. Most of the land along the highway is pasture land with ranching dominating. There are a few fields under cultivation, but not as many as on the trip up to Copper Breaks.

All along this stretch of the trip, the landscape showed evidence of the previous night's heavy rains. Much of the land had standing water, and stock tanks were brimming. A strong and steady north wind hit us almost completely broadside, making for a challenging tow. But that is just one of those things you learn to endure in order to travel this way.

At Henrietta, we turned due east on US 82. From here until Nocona, a stretch of just under 30 miles, we traveled along a 2 lane highway, but it had a generous number of passing lanes. Traffic was very relaxed along this stretch. Nocona is named for Peta Nocona, husband of Cynthia Anne Parker, father of Quanah Parker, and a Comanche chief in his own right. The town is also home of Justin Industries, which makes leather goods. Justin Industries also owns Nocona Boot Company, a well-known and respected brand of cowboy boots.

From Nocona to Gainesville, a distance of just over 30 miles, we enjoyed a nice 4 lane highway. Two small towns along this stretch interested me: Muenster and St. Jo. Muenster has a strong German heritage, and small German towns always tug at me. St. Jo has a quaint looking downtown square that begs to be explored.

At Gainesville, we turned north on Interstate 35 for a short 10 mile or so drive to Winstar Casino. I'm not a fan of I-35, and each time I drive even a little ways on it I'm reminded why. It is always busy, and virtually no one on that roadway obeys the speed limit. I was glad to get off alive.

We will stay at Winstar for 4 nights.

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