Old Highways Still Have Beauty, Small Talk, Cafes / Tall Trees, Friendly Folks and Old Fashioned Cobbler Still Found beyond in State

Article excerpt

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is another in a series of "see Oklahoma" columns .

"Okie Farmers "Love Their Land Throw Your Junk in a Can" -Farm Bureau

Remember the Burma Shave signs on the old U.S. Highways?

Well, this similar series of signs by the Farm Bureau showed up recently on old State Hwy. 9, east of Stigler and Keota. It started me to thinking about how much we miss these days, traveling on interstate freeways.

That old personal experience, of waving to people, reading signs and stopping now and then, is almost gone. It used to be that getting there was part of the fun, but that has changed.

Driving an interstate freeway is almost like airplane travel. We seal ourselves in what amounts to a pneumatic tube or steel projectile and ship ourselves to the next place. We miss everything that's in between here and there.

Usually, I'm like everyone else. I jump on an interstate and drive as fast as the law allows to a different part of the state before getting onto the state and old U.S. highways.

This year, however, I've made up my mind to rediscover on weekend trips the Oklahoma that exists along the old highways and even county roads.

Already, I have found that much of the beauty is still there - away from the interstates - hidden away like forgotten landscape paintings in the attic.

Also, the people are still friendly and like to pass the time of day, when you wave at a small town intersection or stop at a small town cafe. When was the last time you waved hello to anyone on a freeway?

They still serve coffee and home made pie in small town cafes. One of my favorites is Nancy's Cafe in Gore. Nancy still makes peach and blackberry cobbler. Now, you must remember that cobbler is almost a foreign word in the cities these days.

Did you ever see cobbler at McDonald's or Burger King? Did you ever try to order cobbler at a gas station/convenience store/restaurant/deli? They serve what passes for a piece of pie wrapped in plastic and cooked days ago.

Well, Nancy makes her cobbler each day. Not only that, but she serves it hot, so the ice cream will melt and mix into the fruit juices. Now, that's the way to make a pit stop in the middle of the afternoon.

Gore, by the way, is known to most folks as a town just off Int. Hwy. 40 near Lake Tenkiller. But to me, it's the southern end of a beautiful drive on old State Hwy. 10, coming from Fort Gibson down through Braggs.

Much of that is a winding tree-lined road, especially north of Braggs, where there is another old fashioned cafe loaded with frontier antiques, such as old turn-of-the century pre-electric cooking utensils.

I enjoyed that stretch of road so much I decided to collect short scenic drives in Oklahoma.

The Talimena Drive, of course is downright spectacular on State Hwy. 1 east of Talihina through the Ouchita National Forest. That 54-miles stretch ranks with some of the most beautiful drives in the nation with numerous spots to see out over the Kiamichi Mountains.

However, there are others - smaller, not so well known and long forgotten.

The first few miles east of Seminole on State Hwy. …