I don’t normally write about vacation trips. More often than not, we’re traveling to meet friends or family and it’s gauche to kvetch on a blog when you’ve had a great week, other than the abject misery it took to get there and back. I had a brush with that awhile ago, involving the clash of the first world expectations and a third world delivery system.
I titled this “the end of the trail of tears” because Broken Bow, or Hochatown which is a little north, was at the end of the “trail of tears and death” for the Choctaw who were moved from their lands in Mississippi and Alabama to their reservation in fifty-miles-from-nowhere Oklahoma where they have a casino.
Let me say something up front – I do nearly zero research when I write these things. I approach this blog from the perspective of a dude that is a reluctant traveler at times, doesn’t much care about what’s there, and prefers to stumble into things. If I’m going to go, I prefer a crappy section of town in Wichita to the sanitized resort in Florida.
In this case, I loaded up on free material at the ranger station at the park. So it came easy this time. Not that I can be bothered to summarize it for you.
Broken Bow was a surprise. In a past life I had to do a few trial network deployments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. They seemed flat, boring. And the drive took you though some of the flattest, most miserable looking country there is.
Not so here.
First off, You will be driving. There are no airports to speak of close by. In my case, I wound my way up 121, though Paris, Texas across the Red River, and into town. A short, reasonably easy, interesting drive if you happen to live in North Dallas.
The area around Broken Bow lake, and Hochatown sports a number of types of cabin rentals. From the basic park service cabin to a privately owned chalet, you can find something. We stayed at a well appointed “cabin”, more of a chalet, nested in a field of awesome pine trees. Turned out, there’s a some cool restaurants in Hochatown, and even a few wineries (which caught me off guard). I didn’t think that grapes grew in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. Turns out, they don’t. The wineries import the grape juice from actual vineyards, then go to the business of making wine. Some of it drinkable. Not the $25/bottle I paid, but still OK.
Broken Bow lake has a number of sports activities. A number of canoe and Kayak rentals as well as a pretty decent zipline setup. We kayaked down rivers right out of the movie “Deliverance”. I couldn’t help looking up and hoping there weren’t hayseeds readying an attack. Then again, unlike in the movie, I didn’t antagonize the locals on the way to the lake. They seemed friendly and helpful, So I was on my best as can be expected behavior.
The water in the lake is clear and surprisingly cold for August in this region. Figuring I’d get used to it, I dove right in. For some reason, it didn’t work. I actually got colder, and stayed cold. Brisk or Bracing comes to mind.
So there’s woodsy touristy camping stuff to do. I don’t do tenting any more, but they had some fairly rustic sites, if you’re into that kind of thing. I spied a few RV hookups. So there’s that.
Enough of the chirpy touristy stuff. Here’s what to watch out for:
First, there are supermarkets in Broken Bow. Hit them before getting to Hochatown. There’s only some mom and pop stuff there with expensive durable foodstuffs and meager beer selection. Which brings me to the second point – if you are there on a Sunday, beer may be the only thing you’ll get. For reasons I can’t explain, food stores we went into had no beer. And wine and spirits are in either the wineries, or a liquor store, both of which were closed on Sunday. Either that or a few beers and we figured the hell with it.
If you are coming from North Texas on a Sunday, better stock up.
Lastly, if you have a truck, drive it. If you bring something more sporty, like my wife’s mighty Nissan Maxima, you may have to tread lightly getting to your digs. We bottomed out bad nearly every time leaving the street our place was on.
Other than that, not much to complain about. Cool place. Who knew it existed?
I’ll be back. For sure.