Another beautiful part of our state…..
Welcome back. Oolagah Lake which was built in 1950 is still a well-kept secret for many but not for the campers who were at Hawthorne Bluff campground this weekend. Sold out is an understatement as the “full sign” was hanging at the check-in office from Thursday through Sunday. With fall break for the kids, good fishing for the adults and great weather for all, it was the ideal getaway for a long weekend. The fall foliage has started and with the heavy rain in Kansas which flows into the Lake Oolagah, water levels are high and with all the gates open sightseeing below the dam is quite interesting. Of course, a mile north is Dog Iron Ranch, the birthplace of William Penn Adair Rogers or as we call him Will Rogers. Will was born in the house on November 4, 1879 and he became the owner of the property when his father died in 1911.
Before the lake was created the house was moved to its current location about three quarters of a mile away from its original spot to a hilltop. Nowadays it’s a museum that is open to the public. You can tour the home which has been preserved from the time when Will and his family lived there for free. Narrated movies from his days in Hollywood are playing in both the house and the rebuilt barn and the view of the lake alone is worth a trip. There is also a barnyard full of animals for kids to play with, making a visit fun for the whole family.
While you’re over that way be sure to check out the old original town of Oolagah where there’s a history museum and a life size statue of Will on Main Street. He was the most popular man in American when he died on November 4, 1935 and for all you fans on November 2nd-4th the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, the Dog Iron Ranch and the Friends of Will Rogers organization are throwing a birthday party for Will and we are all invited. Call the museum for all the details.
As for me, I’ve been staying on the old Dog Iron Ranch for the last two weeks. It’s a place I often come to write. Not as remote as Waite Phillips’ Philmont Ranch in New Mexico where I often travel to, Oolagah Lake is still a bit off the beaten track in places. As Waite used to say, “We do our best and most constructive thinking when alone, for it’s only in silence that God speaks to us” and this seems to work for me too.
I’ll end this week with one of Will’s epigrams:
“A man only learns in two ways- one is by reading and the other is by association with smarter people.”
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road….