sunset at tenkiller state park

Day 115 – Cherokee Country

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Day 115 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

I set off from Dallas for the third time since beginning my road trip last September. My mom asked, “Do you want me to take a picture of you leaving again?” I figured that drill has been captured, so Petey and I left without smiling for the camera. I had to re-route my trip in order to keep some confirmed dates with friends and to stay out of the cold as much as possible this upcoming fall.

It took me almost four hours to reach Gore, Oklahoma, the beginning of our new journey. I must admit, it was a lonely drive. For the last several weeks during my father’s illness and ultimate death, I have been surrounded by friends and family. Many times I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans all on the same day.

Generally, I need and prefer alone time; however, today was overwhelming. As we pushed across miles of rolling hills speckled in green and brown grass with trees still rather bare, I couldn’t get lonely thoughts out of my mind. I longed for magnificent scenery, fun music, or a call from a friend to distract me.

Burger Barn (Permanently Closed)

I tend to get emotional when I’m tired and hungry, so I thought stopping at the Burger Barn for a burger and fried mushrooms might settle me down. While it didn’t distract me much, I was pleasantly surprised by my $4.83 lunch. I’d go back if I were ever near Gore again!

burger barn
Burger Barn

Tenkiller State Park

Around 1:30, Petey and I finally reached Tenkiller State Park our first and last stop of the day. I decided I need a little more rest and what better place to do it than camping beside a lake. Upon registering for a campsite, I asked the friendly lady at the front desk, which area is the most protected from the wind as the lake rippled with small white caps. She suggested a point where “rocks block the wind”.

I couldn’t imagine the farthest point into the lake would be protected from the wind, but I passed through the suggested campground loop and made my pick. It definitely isn’t protected, but after scoping out the areas, it was the prettiest. I may be hoping for a breeze by the evening anyway.

VANilla at tenkiller lake state park in Oklahoma

We took a short walk to a nearby cove where I must have spent 30 minutes searching for a darn geocache. I found a lizard, a fossil, thorns, sap, and broken glass, but not the cache. Oooh, so frustrating! According to the geocaching website, I’m not the only one to be unlucky, so I don’t feel too bad. Petey, miffed by my circles beneath the trees and squats to peer under the rocks, wondered if we’d ever go for a walk and occasionally wandered off to do his own exploring.

Eventually he got his way, and we followed a paved trail throughout the park for a relaxing, leisurely stroll. We enjoyed lovely views of the lake, dam, and new outcroppings of wild flowers before returning to our campsite to blog in tranquility. I have finally adjusted: alone and peace. Petey and I have the whole camping area to ourselves and all afternoon we only laid eyes on seven other people and a deer loping through the park. Nature = a happy place!

Well, I’m off to boil some pasta for dinner and to watch the sun drop behind the lake. Maybe I’ll try for the cache once more…ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, camellia
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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

8 thoughts on “Day 115 – Cherokee Country

  1. I hope you relaxed and enjoyed your dinner and a peaceful evening. I miss you and love you tons. Safe travels……

    xo’s Mom

  2. Beth,

    Sounds like a good decision on your part to get back on the road. I have thought of you and your mom often over the past few weeks. Many memories. Also, I had forgotten that you were Les’s Ring Dance Date. Man, how time flies.

    Love you. Jan

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