Elk Creek, near Checotah, Oklahoma
We had a very pleasant time at Fort Smith, with the team at Aspen under Tammy H being very welcoming to every guest. Tammy is an experienced pillion so I popped her the back and she gave me a quick tour of the CBD, showing me a particular turn not to miss when heading for Oklahoma.
In the morning we took that turn unerringly and through some passing showers were on our way to try and find the site if the Battle of Honey Springs, known to the Confederacy as The Affair at Elk Creek. The morning stop for coffee and what ever might appeal to our palates was Gore OK. We had passed through rather unprepossessing scenery and Gore fitted right in. The old fire engine on the corner was the most exciting thing we had seen! Opening the door to Emily's Restaurant was like entering Aladdin's Cave. A riot -but organized and tidy - of color and a profusion of goods of almost every description. As I found out, it is run on the Harvey Norman model. And that in a town of less than 2,000 souls.
Going into the restaurant section, we found there was a queue to get in and soon the place was rather full! The cakes were outstanding and demolished in short order. The owner had a strong connection with England so John was her favorite. He is now in a position to write her family history! But she also was helpful with some information on finding the battlefield.
In Checotah the GPS could not help us further and the locals had heard of the place but had no idea on where it was. There is a Walmart in the town so I thought that someone in there would know. A few more failures so I am now heading for the customer service center, but without much confidence. But right alongside was a branch of Peoples National Bank. As a banker myself, I know that bankers are helpful, resourceful and intelligent people. And what they do not know, they find out. The young lady behind the counter was all of the above and soon was writing down the address for me and we were on our way. Thank you, Megan.
I have said repeatedly that the Americans are excellent at preserving and interpreting their history. Here at this important battlefield I find there are exceptions. Apart from being very poorly signposted, it is poorly marked, not memorialized and the Visitor Center is rudimentary. The volunteer was new, but I knew more about the battle than she did. Consequently it was a let down. I understand they have plans, but the State and Federal governments should fulfill their responsibilities here.
The afternoon saw us shoot north to Tulsa where we were to spend a couple of nights with my old and very dear friends, Terry and Martha Ann. We went out for dinner, along with their brother in law Ernest and it was a very pleasant time.
Today the men are going to college football in Oklahoma City. This will be good
Duncan learned to ride a motorcycle at the age of twelve on a 50cc Honda belonging to his older brother, Ronald. The arrangement was a short ride in return for cleaning it. He has graduated over the years owning and riding many different bikes, but he has never ridden a Harley Davidson.