Thursday and Friday, we continued our journey north to the Texas panhandle. It is a seriously big state to drive through.
Yesterday, we went to church, and met a really nice family. We went back to the RV, and hung out for a while and they came and dropped off some homemade food! Thank you, Ms. Celeste!
Early this morning, we rose and drove to Oklahoma, to a private ranch where Dad 3D scanned Autograph Rock.
Autograph Rock is on the Sante Fe Trail, which went from Franklin, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Today, it is definitely off the beaten trail, but back in the 1800’s, it was one of the major thoroughfares to the West. Many travelers and wagon trains came through and stopped there to rest and get water from the natural springs. While there, they carved their names into the sandstone ledges. There are over 300 signatures. Many are eroding, so Dad got permission to 3D scan it, so that they would have a permanent record of what it looked like today.
Many more people came through than those that signed their names, but usually only those who could read and write were able to leave their signatures. There were some backwards letters and strange spellings here and there.
Though this is considered a National Park site, it is on private land. You have to get permission from the owners to go onto it, which you can get through the Cimarron Heritage Center Museum.
The kind stewards let me ride the ATV. I also got to try to drive it with one of them riding with me, even though I’m not sixteen yet! Yay! Don’t worry, I didn’t crash. All you do is push the button and try not to push it too hard.
We learned from the ranch owners, that the area around Autograph Rock was considered the most dangerous part of the trail. A governor of New Mexico named Armijo (the first GI Joe – Armi Jo – though pronounced Ar-Mio) got 500 hundred soldiers to help him pass through it, fearing the worst. He sent 100 men ahead, but they were attacked by Texas soldiers (Texas was its own country back then), which were secretly looting for their country. Only one or two of Armijo’s men survived, bringing back the terrible news. Panicking, the remaining 400 soldiers rushed back to Santa Fe like crazy, leaving tons of goods behind, which the Texans were able to take.
For a time, there was a rule that you had to have at least 500 wagons to pass Autograph Rock. The man who said that was Kit Carson. He started Fort Nichols which was made out of stone, but didn’t last very long. Wagons had to stay there and wait until there were 500 of them before going on further to Autograph Rock. His signature has not been found on the rock, which may be due to the fact that he was illiterate, although he could sign his name. Today, he has at least one town named after him.
We thanked and said good-bye to the very friendly and knowledgeable landowners.
We drove to town and got lunch at a Dairy Queen, the first time on this trip. For dessert, Dad and I tried Mini Blizzards and Mom got a small Dilly Bar. We didn’t like our Blizzards so we only ate a little, then had to throw them away. Just when we were talking about how bad they were, Mom said that her Dilly bar was “just right.” It made Dad and I laugh, even though Mom hadn’t meant to brag.
Then, we drove to Kansas to get a state pin, back to Oklahoma, and then finally back to Texas. We saw very few cars on the road, even though we drove hours. Other than wide open, empty land, there is very little to see, as we noticed from a road sign:
Sure enough, lo and behold, there it was, a mile down the road:
Later, after getting back to the RV park, we settled down and went to bed.
States Visited: (42+WA DC) CA, OR, WA, ID, CO, MT, WY, ND, SD, MN, WI, IL, IN, IA, NE, MI, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, MA, ME, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL, TN, KY, AL, MS, LA, TX, OK, KS
Natl Parks Badges: (25) CA Redwood, OR Caves, WA Olympic, WY Yellowstone, ND Theodore Roosevelt, SD Mt Rushmore, SD Badlands, OH Cuyahoga, NY Niagara Falls, MA Boston Harbor Islands, MA Boston-Downtown, MA Boston-Charlestown. MA Minute Man, RI Roger Williams, NY Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, NY Statue of Liberty, PA Valley Forge, PA Independence, WA DC National Mall & Memorial, NC Guilford Courthouse, SC Congaree, GA Martin Luther King Jr, KY Mammoth Cave, LA Jean Lafitte, LA New Orleans Jazz