A Travellerspoint blog

Oklahoma is OK

View Oklahoma & Arkansas on countycollector's travel map.

Hard to believe the year is half over and I’ve only completed two county collecting trips. Admittedly the year got off to a slow start, but now that I’m fully vaccinated against Covid-19, travel is beginning to ramp up once again. The last weekend in June, I flew to Oklahoma City with the goal of visiting roughly two-thirds of the remaining counties in the state. It might have been possible to complete the rest, but I chose to hit a handful of cities and towns in northwestern Arkansas rather than the counties in southeastern Oklahoma. As I was planning this trip, I reasoned those final Oklahoma would probably be easier to reach from the DFW area than from OKC.

I’d love to share details of all the quirky sights I found along the back road of Oklahoma and Arkansas. Unfortunately due to the short trip and the unforeseen storms, that is just not possible. Casinos abound in eastern Oklahoma, mostly run by the Muscogee, Cherokee, Pottawattamie Native American tribes. Not being a gambler, I had no interest in visiting, though I did wonder briefly how much money they must take in for there to so many.

There were a few times over the course of the weekend where the weather cleared enough to make driving enjoyable. One such time was on a stretch of road in Arkansas known as the “Pig Trail Scenic Byway.” While the route did not have nearly as many twists and turns as the “Tail of the Dragon” along the NC/TN border, there were enough. Some long-time readers of this blog may recall my post about the Tail of the Dragon way back in 2015. Sadly the forum where that was posted is gone meaning there is no way to link to that write up. The scenery in the Ozarks was lovely though there were limited opportunities to stop. Here’s a view from one of the only scenic overlooks along the way.
In another nod to a long lost blog post, I stumbled across a miniature Statue of Liberty in Wewoka, Oklahoma. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen one of these, but I remember coming across many of them starting in mid-2016. It turns out the Boys Scouts of America had a project called “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty” in the early 1950s in which approximately 200 replica statues where created and placed around the country. About a hundred of the 8½ foot tall statues remain, many located on or near county courthouses such as the one I saw in Seminole County, Oklahoma. I’ve personally seen at least a dozen of them in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, and now Oklahoma. It seems fairly likely I’ll come across others as I continue my travels.
During the weekend, I reached 22 county seats in 20 counties. Arkansas is one of 11 states in which some counties have two county seats, a practice that was dates back to days when traveling even relatively short distances was difficult. Since my county collecting goal is to visit every county seat, whenever I come to a county with two county seats, I visit both. Here are the before and after maps showing the progress on this trip.
One last note about this trip. Everything was going smoothly until it was time to fly home. A few hours before my scheduled flight from OKC to CLT, I got notified of a delay. Normally I wouldn’t worry. This time, however, I knew I already had a very tight connection and the delay would make it unlikely I’d make my later flight. Given the updated estimate from the airline, my first flight would land about 5 minutes before my scheduled departure home. Yikes! Before departing OKC, I managed to get rebooked on a later flight from CLT to CMH though it meant a 3 hour layover in Charlotte. As luck would have it, the first flight boarded quickly and we departed slightly ahead of the revised time. Whether we had a good tailwind or whether pilot did something else to make up time, we landed in CLT only a few minutes after our originally scheduled time. That’s when things got interesting.

My original flight home was due to depart in about 30 minutes. Getting to the gate would take about 20 minutes if I hurried. I decided to give it a go. Knowing I had a seat on the later flight, I figured that if I showed up before the boarding door closed, there might still be a seat I could grab to get me home by 10pm instead of after midnight. I reached the gate just in time and talked to the boarding agent. As luck had it, there were still a couple empty spots. I ended up in the very back row, but I got home on time.

Up next is another trip to Oregon at the end of July. I hadn’t planned to return so soon after my May visit, but I had such a great time and was able to find both decent priced flights and car that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Check back for details on that trip in August.

Until then…
Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 19:03 Archived in USA Tagged oklahoma arkansas county_collecting

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I missed some of your earlier blog posts on the old forum since I didn't join until 2017. It's neat to learn about the mini Lady Liberty statues.
Glad to know you're vaccinated and able to continue your travels. Hope you enjoyed Oregon and I look forward to your next entry.

by TuscarawasJones

I recall that someone has put together a compilation of the remaining statues from the Strengthen the Arm of Liberty project. It's quite extensive and includes the location of each statue along with photographs. I've enjoyed just coming across them as I travel.

by countycollector

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