Amarillo TX to Fort Smith AR

While the Texas panhandle was really quite beautiful, we sped through into Oklahoma on I-40. Just west of Oklahoma City, we swung south to state route 9. Our “blue highway” plan was re-energized by the gorgeous landscape.

I always think of Oklahoma as beige & sage — dust-bowl and oil country. But Rt 9 showed us hilly green ranch country, with a bursts of yellow, red, and white wildflowers. We got over our Rockies snobbery to appreciate the mountains that were only 2500 ft high.

We’re having fun playing with our GPS “Mabel” and challenging her to recalculate as we veer off the beaten path. This afternoon (finally in Arkansas) we worked our way through the seedy sections of Fort Smith — a city that I actually never heard of before — then threaded our way through narrow little streets in search of our Holiday Inn Express in Van Buren (north of the city). She recalculated herself into a dead-end in a quiet working class neighborhood. Sorry, Mabel… we wound up sort of guessing our way, then lucking out… there it was! like an oasis in a desert!

We’re kicking back now — planning a dinner of leftovers from the cooler: hotel camping. And I “uncorked” a new box o’ wine. Ah, the good life!

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