Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Modern Wagoneers Visit Quartz Mountain Nature Park - April 2012

Quartz Mountain Nature Park is situated near Lone Wolf at the west end of the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma.  The park is one of the original seven Oklahoma state parks designated in 1935, and formerly known as "Quartz Mountain State Park."  The park now boast "Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center," which is a rustic, yet contemporary resort facility.  For more information about the resort, visit:

Four rigs caravaned out of Oklahoma City on Thursday morning, eventually meeting up with camp hosts, Floyd and Joyce Cook, and Bill and Phyllis Haivala.  The scenic drive to the park was met with fair weather all the way.  But that would soon change as spring storms were approaching southwest Oklahoma. 

We took advantage of the remaining fair weather and set up camp and enjoyed an evening cookout. 

Our camp flag displays the Red, White, and Blue, State of Oklahoma, and the Modern Wagoneers Good Sam Chapter flags.

John and Sue Gelm are set up for the weekend!

Susan and Maynard at rest.

Setting up an RV sometimes requires "team work."

David and Wilma Adams enjoy conversation while supper is cooking.


The Gelms listen to one of Bill's stories.

Gary Tidball watching the weather build.

Floyd and Bill climbed to the top of the mountain . . . alone.

Because this area is a "nature park," the deer are abundant.

Couldn't help but get a pic of this little guy on his hammock.  I wish Maynard was so disciplined.

The Adams are sporting a new Tuscany coach.  What a beauty!

So much for the nice weather.  The band of storms shown contained the tornado that caused six deaths in Woodward, Oklahoma.

The storm sent several of us, including pets, to the nearest shelter, which also served as the camp area public restroom.

Gary Tidball suggested we use the pavilion for a storm shelter / dining hall.  It was built from native boulders in 1935 and has withstood many violent storms. 

Not only did the pavilion keep us dry and safe, but thanks to Bill, Floyd, and Frank (the wood carriers), its fireplace also kept us warm.

Scott and Amy Murray and their two boys were camped next to Susan and me.  Scott works for Barnhart Crane & Rigging Company, and supervises the erection of wind turbine towers.  The Murrays are full-time RVers and have traveled across the country with their 5th wheel wherever Scott's job takes them.  Amy home schools the boys while on the road.  What a great experience for this really neat family!

The sun came out the following morning and we conducted our monthly chapter meeting in the Cooks' RV.

Later in the day, we caravaned to Altus where we visited "Museum of the Western Prairie." 

A "hack," from the late 1800s, was used to deliver the U.S. Mail.  Note the stove pipe at the upper right of the roof.  A wood burning stove was used to provide heat during cold days (because nothing impedes delivery of the U.S. mail).

A few additional pictures from the museum . . . .

Growing up in the early 1960s, I was certainly aware of the "Cold War" and the threat of a Soviet nuclear attack.  But until this excursion, I never really knew just how close it was to home.  In 1961, Altus Air Force Base became home to the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron, one of six squadrons deployed to maintain twelve sites of Atlas ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) within a 40-mile radius of the base.  The strategic location was chosen because it was out of reach of submarine based Soviet missiles.  

The map pictured above depicts the location of the twelve missile sites around Altus.  I trust this is no longer "classified" information!

We wrapped the day up with dinner at "Fred's Steakhouse & Saloon."  You get a large steak for the money, but not the best quality.

Susan and I will next be joining the Oklahoma Good Sam Club at the Shawnee Expo Center to host the Spring Samboree, "Under the Big Top."

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