Some places demand a return visit. Roman Nose State Park is one of those places. Although we visited in March, May provides an entirely new perspective and definitely new experiences!
Rather than being bundled up to face the cold north chill, our attire is shorts and tees. After all, when you go paddling, you have to dress for the occasion!
Our trip out from the City mandated a lunch stop at Eischen’s for chicken and okra. In case you have not been to Okarche in a while, the rumors on the internet are not true. Eischen's has not closed, as noted on Urban spoon. For $14 you can get a whole chicken, cut, breaded and deep fried. Throw in about two quarts of fried okra, and you are set for a walking coronary! The okra was $7 and enough for several meals. The entrée comes with a complimentary side of sweet pickles, dill pickles and sliced onion. It was great!!!! Don't even think about asking for silverware or iced tea. They don't exist at Eischen's.
After lunch, we headed north and west reaching our destination around 3 p.m. It is funny, but when you no longer have to
keep to a schedule, time seems not so relevant. We found a great camping spot on the north end of Watonga Lake and quickly set up camp. Actually, that means hooking up the water and electricity so you can experience all the comforts of home while out in nature 'roughing it'! It is pretty tough though - there is no cable t.v. and no t.v. signal. So, we just had to sit around a camp fire eating s'mores and drinking wine. We did find time for a paddle around the beautiful Watonga Lake. It is a very small lake frequented mostly by fishermen. However, since it is in the bottom of a canyon, there is little wind, making for great kayaking! We paddled for about an hour and a half before we headed to shore.
After a short recoup time, we mounted our bikes for a land tour of the park. Again, it is a small park, so the ride was not too strenuous or tiring. We really took the ride in order to scout out possible stashes of fire wood. In state parks, cutting down trees for firewood is frowned upon. However, if there is downed wood, you
can scavage that. However, usually that means that you have to cut the wood to manageable lengths. Tough work! So, my preferred method of gathering wood is to visit empty campgrounds to see if some industrious camper left behind any worthwhile tidbits of wood. Amazingly, I usually find plenty of wood this way. Needless to say, we enjoyed a great campfire our first night.
Wednesday's breakfast was at the Lodge. We recalled the eggcelent omelets from our last visit, and I was looking forward to another sausage and cheese Roman Nose special! It met my expectations! After we had our breakfast, we diligently worked on adding inventory to The Prairie Schooner - our virtual store on Etsy. You will have to take a look, just go to - www.etsy.com/store/theprarieschooner and you will find a treasure trove of merchandise. Actually, we are somewhat delinquent in adding our wares to the store, but we are trying to get more items listed this week.
After working for what seemed hours, we decided it was time to reward ourselves with a bike ride/hike. We had met a young fella at breakfast who had been riding the trails already. He had great advice
to us on where to go and what to expect. We elected for the trail that stretches around the north side of Watonga Lake, then goes up the bluffs to the east of the lake. If you are diligent enough, you eventually come to Inspiration Point, the highest spot on the bluff. Our bike ride quickly became a leisurely hike, then evolved into a more strenuous and challenging climb. As we moved higher, the view of the surrounding area became even more spectacular. We had to battle snakes and giant lizards on our upward trek. Eventually, we made Inspiration Point. It was great, and extremely satisfying. On our way back to camp, we had to tangle with a 5 foot Western Diamondback rattler. I rode my bike over his path just as he crossed the trail. It startled both of us. However, I was glad to move on and let bygones be bygones. He however, elected to get all pissy and just sit by the side of the trail to see who or what might come along. Guess who had to come along??? Yes, Cynde was on the other side of the hill and in order to get to camp,
she had to find a way around our hissing friend. If I had been in her shoes, I would have traveled miles in the other direction rather than dare ride by his guarded position. However, my wife has always been the one to tangle with serpents and this little guy was not going to stop her from her well-deserved nap time. She stopped, evaluated the situation - the position of our new friend, the width of the trail, the grade of the trail, and our friend's apparent mood. She took a deep breath, mounted her bike, and peddled strongly and bravely past our now somewhat angry friend. She is my hero!
After a nap (Cynde) and a conversation with the park ranger (me) we elected to go out on the lake for a paddle. I had been informed by the ranger that even though I had registered our kayaks, I still had to put the registration number on each boat, just like a ski boat. Failure to do so could result in a fine of $210 on each kayak. He also advised that there is a state use license that I would have to purchase. Each license is $26.
WIth that license, you can use any state lake. If you pay $25 you can get a fishing license, use any state lake, and fish! This ranger was really a good guy. He told me we could go ahead and paddle to our hearts content. However, the game warden, if he happened to visit the lake, might not be so forgiving. So, tomorrow, I will get the adhesive numbers to place the state registration numbers on our kayaks. By the way, this crazy law changes July 1. After that date, kayaks no longer will be required to register.
Sometime during all of these activities, we managed to drive into Watonga to have a flat fixed on my FJ. I had picked up a very large screw in my rear tire. Luckily it could be patched. Seems like any other time we have a flat, the tire guy just shakes his head and gives some long explanation of why the tire cannot be repaired and how much the replacement tire will be. The great part, it took only 20 minutes for the guy to repair the tire and the cost was only $15. After a short visit to the casino
on the south edge of town (where Cynde won $13.50) we drug main street, stopping only at a great little shop that made us a great tag for Stormy, actually the tag says - "Stormy". It was a great addition to our convoy vehicles.
Actually, our paddling excursion was after our trip to town. Remember what I said about schedules???!!!!
Dinner was grilled burgers, salad, and green beans. Some combination, but it was tasty.
Wonder what tomorrow will bring???
Tot: 1.122s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 10; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0314s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb