Meanwhile, back to the beautiful weekend. Ron M. and I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment road trip to celebrate balminess. Vaguely pointing the car toward Ponca City, we took the smaller roads and thus found some interesting sights along the way. I had only been to Ponca once, many years ago, and just for a drive-through. It's about 90 miles from Tulsa, so it would be a full day's drive the way we ramble, which means stopping a lot to see interesting things.
The first little town we encountered was Pawnee, home of the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show. Pawnee Bill (1860-1942) started out in the late 1800s working with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show and later formed his own. His ranch is now open during tourist season and besides lots of animals (buffalo, longhorns, horses), a show is produced there in a small arena in front of this backdrop.
The livestock was allowed to roam, unfenced, as we drove through the pastures.
The City of Pawnee was interesting itself. Built around a large square, an amazing number of old buildings remain intact, something not often found in older towns in Oklahoma.
I especially loved the "Steam Laundry" building -- dated 1911.
And incidentally, Pawnee is also the birthplace of Chester Gould, who was the creator of the Dick Tracy comic series.
From Pawnee, we roamed the countryside on the way to Ponca City. We passed the famous 101 Ranch -- or rather, the site of the ranch, since it's been gone for years. The Miller Brothers owned 110,000 acres of ranchland, and eventually they also held a Wild West Show of their own. There's nothing left of the ranch now except a monument and a gateway, but Michael Wallis has written a very interesting and detailed history of the historic property (Wallis, Michael (2000).
In Ponca City itself, we were eager to view the famous Pioneer Woman statue. . .
. . . and the enormous Marland Estate, a Mediterranean Revival mansion built between 1925 and 1928 by oilman E.W. Marland. Quite impressive.
From there we headed for home. If I had the time and the energy today, I would have written more explanations of what we saw and did. However, everything I mentioned is fully covered in Wikipedia, so I'm going to play the lazy blogger and stop here.