Ok, it was a pretty major veer. Fifty miles, more or less. But it was a most interesting day exploring new territory in Green Country. (Green Country is the nickname that the OK Tourism Bureau gives to most of the northeast corner of the state, because it has more trees and foliage than the other, more arid, parts).
Four of us piled in my car and our first stop was at the Country Cottage in Locust Grove for their buffet Sunday brunch. It's a wonderful place, and absolutely packed with customers, despite a little run-in with e-coli back in 2008. That has been long taken care of, and the locals have returned in droves. We ate ourselves silly on a gigantic buffet, and then afterwards we decided to take a little ride to work off the meal. (Oh, riding in a car doesn't work off a bout of overeating? Oh well. . .)
Joe is an expert in Oklahoma state history, and he said he'd show us some interesting sites. Salina was the first permanent white settlement in Oklahoma, settled in 1796 by Major Jean Pierre Choteau. Here is the site of the first trading post in the state.
Beside it is the "Paradise Tree" planted in Oklahoma in 1802 by Choteau, who brought it over from France. And, it's STILL STANDING! It is felt to be the first tree planted in Oklahoma.
We also drove to Spavinaw, birthplace of Mickey Mantle and home of the huge Spavinaw Dam which forms the reservoir from which Tulsa water originates. I talked about this town after a previous visit at http://tinyurl.com/6vb9v93 .
On the way home, and to be honest I'm not sure where we were, Joe showed us this "Bicycle Tree", which is just what you think -- a tree with dozens of bicycles hanging from it's branches and over much of the property. I hate to admit it, but it kind of puts Route 66's Shoe Tree to shame! :-)