Great Plains Country - Southwest Oklahoma
Morning – We begin our tour of southwest Oklahoma in Duncan at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. We’ll take a seat in the museum’s theater to experience what the Chisholm Trail was like as we smell the coffee and bacon from the chuck wagon, feel the blowing wind and see the lightning, and feel the chairs shake as the cattle stampede. The cowboys and the cattle they drove up the Chisholm Trail are captured larger than life in a bronze statue that stands 15 feet high and 35 feet long (allow 1 hour).
Afternoon – Lunch is on your own in Lawton before touring the Museum of the Great Plains that preserves the culture of the Great Plains area. Exhibits include a replica of a trading post from the 1830s and over 3,000 pieces of 20th century Plains Indians artifacts (allow 1 hour). Next, we visit Fort Sill Historic Landmark and Museum, a 19th century frontier army outpost and a current military base. A tour of Fort Sill Historic Landmark & Museum will feature the historic homes and buildings on the Post Quadrangle and Geronimo’s gravesite. Groups can make special arrangements for a reenactor to present the life of a Buffalo Soldier that served during the late 1800s at Fort Sill (allow 2 hours).
Evening – Our overnight and dinner today will be in Lawton.
Morning – After breakfast at the hotel we visit Medicine Park one of the first resort towns in Oklahoma. Here we find a quaint cobblestone village that attracted celebrities, gangsters, and presidents with its serene, picturesque setting along Medicine Creek in the early 1900s (allow 1 hour). Medicine Park sits at the entrance to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge where buffalo roam freely on the range. The Wichita Mountains are said to be the oldest range in the world and date back 500 million years. A drive through the refuge offers not only the scenery of the prairie and lakes, but also an opportunity to see buffalo, longhorn, elk, prairie dogs, and other wildlife. Take a break at the Quanah Parker Nature and Visitor Center to browse the interpretive displays or visit with a ranger to learn more about the area (allow 2 hours).
Afternoon – We will enjoy lunch at Quartz Mountain Resort in southwest Oklahoma at Lake Altus-Lugert before we tour the facility and Arts Center (allow 2 hours). Departing Quartz Mountain, we will travel north to Erick, the hometown of famous musician, Roger Miller. The Roger Miller Museum contains memorabilia and personal items of Miller, who is associated around the country with his hit from the 1960s, King of the Road (allow 45 minutes).
Evening – Our overnight today will be in Sayre located on Route 66 and the county seat of Beckham County. We’ll drive by the Beckham County Courthouse which appeared briefly in the film The Grapes of Wrath.
Morning – After breakfast at the hotel we head north to Cheyenne and the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. At the visitors center, a 27 minute film, Destiny at Dawn, tells of Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s attack on the Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle in 1868 (allow 1 ½ hours). At the visitors center, photos and a diorama depict the history of the battle and the Indian Wars. A drive through the area will give us a brief look at the Black Kettle National Grassland which encompasses 30,000 acres of rolling hills with a variety of wildlife that inhabit the grasslands (allow 30 minutes).
Afternoon – We arrive in Elk City for lunch before touring the National Route 66 & Transportation Museum which pays tribute to all eight states that the “Mother Road” passes through. We will see artifacts, murals, and vintage automobiles that are symbolic to those that traveled and those that worked along Route 66 (allow 2 hours).
Evening – Enjoy dinner at one of Elk City’s restaurants before checking into a hotel for the evening.
Morning – We begin the day in Clinton at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum which will take us on a journey through six decades of Route 66 history with an audio tour that was written and narrated by Michael Wallis, author of a well-known Route 66 guidebook (allow 1 hour). As we travel from Clinton to Weatherford we will see wind turbines lining the countryside. A stop at Weatherford Wind Energy Park lets us get up close to a turbine blade to give us a better idea of the massive size of the turbines and learn more about the efficiency of wind energy (allow 30 minutes).
Afternoon – Enjoy lunch at one of Weatherford’s many restaurants. Weatherford is the birthplace and childhood home of astronaut, General Thomas P. Stafford, and at the Stafford Air & Space Museum we will tour an amazing collection of aircraft and artifacts from space missions. This center houses one of the most comprehensive collections of rocket engines in the world (allow 1 ½ hours).