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Trip Report: This Time Last Year

This time last year, I got roped into making a sudden trip to the Austin, TX area the day after Christmas. It was me and the boss, her sister, and the three girl cats who all identify as girl cats. So, that makes more or less, approximately, one guy and five girls (give or take). We had no reason to be back home for a week or so, so we all (or at least two of the girls) decided to hit every antique store they could find that was open in west TX and southern OK.

Antiquing, craft show, and flea market trips aren’t usually great photo opportunities, but (fortunately) we did a few other things that were. The girls had a great time, bringing home all kinds of cr@p that they’ve been reselling ever since. I’m always happy to drive them around because I enjoy driving my truck, and it gives me an opportunity to use the camper. I’m just going to tell you about the fun stuff we did, so any apparent gaps in the time-line just say to yourself “And then, a bunch of antique stores were visited”.

The first night after leaving Austin we stayed at campground near Kerrville in the hill country. I remember my brother in OK texting me a picture of him and some friends sitting out on his deck all bundled up around a fire trying to make me envious. Actually I was a little, because they were all toasting me with glasses of Elijah Craig and smoking cigars, and I wasn’t there! But, I also knew the weather was colder there than where I was, and his was about to get worse. And, I knew he thought I was still in Little Rock, where the weather was about the same as his.

So, I texted him back with this picture.

He responded with that “What The Fudge!” acronym, and “Where are you???” Haha, that was fun. :B

The next day we headed towards Sonora, and ended up spending that night at the Caverns of Sonora campground, then taking a cave tour the next day.

I love Texas :W

Our campsite.

There are peacocks that hang around.

The caverns are beautiful with some formation types that are unique to this one cave.

This is an area on the ceiling of one room that doesn’t look like this at all to your eyes, but when you take a picture of it, it looks like…………this. :E Spooky.

After Sonora, we headed north into the TX panhandle and southwest OK. It was pretty cold most nights, getting down to the teens and twenties. We were staying south of, then following behind a winter storm system that was moving from west to east across the TX panhandle and SW Oklahoma that was causing a lot of freezing, snow, sleet and rain. I think we had three nights in campgrounds with electricity, and four nights dry camping in parking lots with no electric. I’d use my Yamaha 1000 to top the camper battery up before we went to bed, and just set the furnace on about 60 for the night. Everyone was happy, though the cats missed having their little heated beds turned on. Those only work if we have shore power. 😞

I remember one of our days we ended up within striking distance of Palo Duro Canyon SP at the end of the day, and since I’d been there before, I knew they had nice campground with electric we could use that night. We got there just as the sun was going down, and barely had time to get parked and plugged in before it was dark.

The cats were happy that their little beds were warm that night. The boss and I were also happy our mattress heater could stay on all night, too!

A few scenic views in the park.

Charles Goodnight ranch house near Goodnight, TX. It wasn’t open due to the holidays, but we stopped and ate lunch there.

One of the cans of antique snake oil that caught my eye. It was still full of “stuff”. I almost bought it. :W

I don’t think this one is really old.

As we got close to OK, we spent a night in Collingsworth County (TX) Pioneers Park. The park is on the Red River, and one of its claims to fame is that it’s the location where Bonnie and Clyde crashed their stolen car into the river while trying to cross the state line into OK at a high rate of speed. They apparently had just taken out an unsecured loan from a TX bank. 🙂

There’s also one of these arrow markers in the park. There are many of these in this part of TX that indicate some connection to the Comanche nation, or Quanah Parker who was the last Comanche chief. Quanah was actually the son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, an Anglo-American who had been kidnapped as a nine year old child and assimilated into the tribe. The John Wayne movie “The Searchers”, is loosely based on that kidnapping. The rest of our trip seemed to revolve around Quanah.

The land was also once part of the “Rocking Chair Ranch”, which was owned by a couple of Scottish Earls.

The cats all got a tin of sardines filled with kitty drugs for Christmas! I think Selina is really enjoying hers. She fell asleep face-planted on it! :W

We stayed out from under the winter storm for the most part, but got close enough to it to see some snow once in a while

We did some shopping around the Cashe and Ft. Sill, OK area, then decided we needed to go see Quanah Parker’s “Star House”, that was originally located north of Cashe on Fort Sill's west range. When the government took the land, the house was moved into town. The house was later moved again to property outside of Cashe that would become an amusement park in 1957.

The amusement park had the typical rides and attractions, and also had a collection of historic buildings from the area. The historic structures were used as a backdrop for western shows and music festivals, rodeos, hot rod meets, a couple of American Pickers episodes, and even a few not very well known movies (one of them starred David Carradine). The park closed in 1985, and has been neglected and in serious decline ever since. It’s private property, so you can’t go on site without permission.

The current owner was nine when the park opened, and has spent his entire life there. There is an old trading post on the property that is sometimes open, and it’s one of the largest collections of disorganized merchandise I’ve ever seen. We spent some time talking with the owner, and bought some of his stuff, and he was happy to show us the Star House.

The name of the place was Eagle Park. If you recognize the sign styling, it’s a repurposed Burger Chef sign. :C it apparently had been quite a while since a vehicle the size of ours had been down the road leading to the park. The owner had to get out at a couple of spots and cut some big overgrown cedar trees and limbs down for me to get through.

Wild Mouse coaster.

Ferris wheels.

I think this was a shallow pool of water that kids operated miniature motor boats on.

The owners dog was running around outside. Dixxie was doing her best prairie dog imitation. :B

What the fudge???

The Star House. Quanah had the stars on the roof as a symbol of his status within the tribe. He had multiple wives and children. The house had ten bedrooms.

The current owner in the black jacket.

Some of the buildings that were here when the park was in operation have burnt, others have fallen in, like this old church. Eagle Park was a BIG DEAL back in its heyday. The collection of historic buildings, while not on the same scale as Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn MI, was almost as historically significant.

The kitchen. Teddy Roosevelt, who was in OK on an antelope hunt, is supposed to have visited with Quanah in this room.

The Star House has decayed to the point that it’s unsafe to go upstairs.

If you’d like to see how Eagle Park looked in its prime, CLICK HERE.
There is a magnificent gallery of old photographs below the article.

One of our last stops was in Shawnee, OK. That’s a pretty impressive train station for a little Oklahoma town. Shawnee was a railroad town from its earliest days, with Santa Fe, Rock Island, and MKT all having depots and repair shops in town.

The sun was flattering the truck when we stopped for lunch on our last day out. It’s actually filthy from all the wet sloppy roads we had been on.


:R Let’s Go Girls! 😛 (End of quote)
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And for all you Scooby-Doo and Yosemite Sam types………..Let’s Go Brandon!!!

Wow! Very interesting.

I was born and raised in SW Oklahoma and then moved to OKC for college in the Fall of '76. I've been in OKC ever since.

Having said that, I've never heard of the amusement and historical place you visited.

Interesting tidbit, I was born and raised in what was once a part of Texas, google Old Greer County (google it for the story), which later was given to the start of the State of Oklahoma.

It's sad to see historically important places become abandoned and deteriorate to pretty much nothing.

Very nice story and pics, thanks for sharing.

Great trip report! I enjoyed it all especially the cats!
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Loved your trip report. Nothing wrong with posting an old trip. It's still interesting to see them. Yours had me wondering at the cave formations, laughing at your cat's rabbit pose, and lamenting over how Quanah Parker's Star House is decaying. In regards to the latter, his was an interesting life and his home is deserving of preservation. Thanks again!
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Ironically, I just received a book about Chief Parker's life. Timely post!


That was actually Caverns of Sonora, Jeff. But, Carlsbad Caverns isn’t very far away. In fact, we almost went to Carlsbad after leaving Sonora. We all enjoy a good cave tour, but I think we decided that one spelunking experience was enough for this trip. :B

On to the next antique shop!

2001 Lance 1121 on a 2016 F450 ‘Scuse me while I whinge.
And for all you Scooby-Doo and Yosemite Sam types………..Let’s Go Brandon!!!

Nomad II
Nomad II
Nice, Great Carlsbad Caverns pictures.

Love the cat sitting up.

GREAT post and thank you.
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The Red River Plunge plaque reminds us Bonnie, Clyde and Buck should not be romanticized. They were killers and robbers.
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Great pics --- thanks for sharing.

Your feline co-pilot looks very alert!

The old amusement park pics are really interesting!
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Explorer II
Explorer II
Thanks for the nice trip report and pictures.
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Nomad II
Nomad II
Thank You! Looks like a very nice trip. And a Happy New Year!
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