Another reason for visiting Southwest Oklahoma, rather than some more direct route to Colorado, is my Comanche Ancestry. Despite my ancestors being from Northern New Mexico, I wanted to see the Wichita Mountains, and in particular, this lake and dam, named for Quanah Parker, the last Comanche Chief, who was born nearby. I wanted to see where the Nation, though much diminished from the Empire of the 19th Century, exists today.

First in-the-wild tarantula sighting. Pretty cool!

This country is so spectacularly beautiful.

A drum, that were I the owner, would likely find too beautiful to play.

Comanche Indian Veterans Association Regalia. At the rear is a Princess Crown – the bead work is so fine!

Traditional Woman’s Dress, made of deerskin, I believe, with more fine bead work.

I also wanted to visit the Comanche Museum in Lawton, which exhibits the traditional ways and dress while also celebrating current events, like dancing and the Native American Church, and historical achievements. For instance, I had only ever heard of Navajo (Dine) Code Talkers. But, did you know that there were Comanche Code Talkers, as well? There is always so much to learn.

Though my connection to the Comanche is through a single woman, born nearly two hundred years ago, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to pay my respects for this indelible thread of my being.

After our morning at the museum, it was time for the long haul home, and as was typical for this trip, the rain to commence.

Brief encounters

It stopped, but only for a bit.

After ages of saying we would visit Mt. Capulin, the tallest cinder cone in northern New Mexico, we parted from Oklahoma with high hopes. Today is THE day! Then, the rain started to fall, and we thought, it’s still hours away. Then, despite a brief clearing in the rain as we approached, we saw lightning. I don’t know about you, but standing at an elevation of 8,720 ft seems imprudent under these circumstances. Another time.

To turn the misery of traveling in driving rain into luscious lemonade, how about these views, made even more alluring with the scrim of cloud?

Fisher’s Peak – the gateway to home and a most welcome sight.

Another great vacation, thanks for tagging along…


Happiest of traveling companions!

Unlike the previous cities of Memphis, Chattanooga, and Nashville, where there was so much we had in mind to eat and see and do, when planning Oklahoma, I wanted rest. I wanted languor. I wanted quiet.

Boy howdy, did we find it in Medicine Park.

We read on the bed and Piggly Wiggly pillowed book nook. We took the short drive into town and strolled along turtle filled Medicine Creek, ate salads, Korean tacos, and fried pies, gulped iced tea and sipped slushy drinks. We wandered and snacked on wild plums.

In the early bright of morning, we hiked (in a new hat and t-shirt!), up and up, both to spy yonder vistas and chase the wild flowers whose blooms lured us along.

And then, oh, to descend into the respite of cool shade.


I’m going to Graceland, Graceland – Memphis, Tennessee

We all will be received in Graceland. Yes, sir!

We made it, and good golly did I feel the weight of it!

Elvis lived and breathed and sang and laughed and mourned and died, RIGHT HERE.

What is most striking about the experience is the intimacy of it, like he just stepped away for a moment. This is brought home by the fact that some of his mother’s clothes are hanging in the closet, and the picture of Elvis as an adorable boy rests on his parents dresser. It is so deeply personal.

Minus the carpet, I had several friends with similar kitchens as a kid!

The Jungle Room

A whole lotta mirrors going on…

Elvis loved televisions! He had one in every room of the house.

Any other crafters agog at the amount of fabric in this room? 350-400 yards of it and a rather fine pool table, too.

Vernon’s Office

One room had a collection of items fans and others gave Elvis as gifts. The crafter in me found this needlepoint the coolest of them all.

Elvis said, if he hadn’t become an entertainer, he would have liked to be a cop. Evidenced by a collection of badges and patches he collected over the years, including this one from Colorado!

His chair and desk, with most excellent gadgetry, an actual phone book, and sweet photo of him with Lisa Marie.

Life size painting of the man, the legend. The likeness is quite fine!

This is the last piano he played, dying shortly after serenading a group of friends.

Across the street from the estate now, where the museum lies. The first room on the self-guided tour is of his cars! Eeek, so many goodies. 1956 Cadillac Eldorado.

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood

I really don’t know, but it sure looks fun.

1973 Stutz Blackhawk – I love the picture of him driving it in the background.

1976 Lincoln Mark IV

1962 Lincoln Continental and Scout II

He would sometimes put this light on his car and pretend he was an actual police officer!

He had quite the curious mind – the Bible, Khalil Gibran, and Seth Speaks!

When I was little, I wanted a cash register, a typewriter, and a telephone like the ones pictured above, preferably the turquoise blue (duh, right?). I only ever got the typewriter, which I LOVED. Some dreams do come true.

Small, like an early laptop.

Elvis liked guns and Robert Goulet. Maybe a little too much, because he felt inclined to shoot the television while he was on. That’s quite the hole!

Karate, Jerry. Karate…

Actually, I don’t really know what martial art this is, but hazard a guess that it is something Korean, based on the flag in the photo. I just love that episode of Seinfeld and seeing Elvis in his uniform.

I’m pretty sure this is the first record pressed for Elvis at Sun Studio!

His microphone!

Honoring Heartbreak Hotel, his first million selling record.

Clash fan that I am, the first thing I said upon seeing the Presley Family copy of his first record was, “London Calling!” I never knew it was in homage to Elvis. Props to them…

Gorgeous! How about that neck?!

I mean, seriously!

A fraction of the fabulous jumpsuits. The detail…

Just a few accolades…

The Mighty Mississippi! On to Oklahoma…



Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have.

Paul Arden


Greg makes friends at the Lodge Factory Store in South Pittsburg (no H), Tennessee. We bought fun assorted cast iron items: a present for Michael, a wee pot for warming, a small pan with a lid, and nifty scrubbers. Shopping can be fun, y’all.

Rockets in Huntsville, Alabama! We were just passing through but will definitely include space travel adjacent activities on a future excursion.

One of those “if you know you know” situations in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but even if you don’t, I’ll tell you! Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is world famous for the likes of Cher, Boz Skaggs, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Canned Heat, Bob Seger, Cat Stevens, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, George Michael, and the Black Keys, to name a few.

Muscle Shoals is also the birthplace of Helen Keller, which is a fascinating juxtaposition of sound and message.

Are we there, yet?

Memphis!! You know why.

Sun Studio!

Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, Chris Isaak, Conway Twitty, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Buffet, Melissa Etheridge, Merle Haggard, Roy Orbison, and many more…

A. Schwab, since 1876, though it moved around a little on Beale Street, retains the vintage charm. We bought taffy (banana and walnut) and a t-shirt.

Waiting on a Friend…

Seen while waiting…

Unlike Broadway in Nashville, Beale Street, at least near lunch time, was downright sleepy: no music pumping, no crowds thumping. Since we are mostly daytime people, we didn’t return to hear any after dark blues. But goll-ee, is their neon fantastic!

W.C. Handy – the Father of the Blues and quite the snappy dresser.

Gardenia in bloom on the street, like it ain’t no thang! I caught the scent from a block away. Heaven.

Heartbreak of heartbreaks at the Lorraine Motel, which is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum. This is where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while staying in room 306. It is still such a stunning loss.

Dr. King was in Memphis to support the Sanitation Strike, which the I AM A MAN Plaza honors.

Walking in front of this building with Juniper, a man hollered at us from across the street. “I had a dog like that! She was so good!” Ours is, too.

E L V I S ! !

Another of my must do in the South eating experiences – fried green tomato! It was even better than it looks.

We stayed a few blocks from Overton Park and this most fabulous mural.

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