Our Big Trip Across the Western US - September 2015
Today was another travel day that began at about 8:00 AM with warmer start, although just 70 degrees we saw a high of 98 degrees later in the day. Our trip was uneventful until we decided to stop at the Chickasaw Cultural Center near Sulphur, Oklahoma. We first stopped at their welcome center right off I35 south and learned that we needed to drive 9 miles to the center.
We drove east through Davis and then to Sulphur where we turned, as directed, towards the cultural center. It seemed like a very long drive and we finally ran out of road in a turnaround near a large man-made lake, Lake of the Arbuckles. We asked a lake visitor nearby and he told us we had passed it, so we headed back the way we came. We finally found it near where we had turned down the road. The gates were beautiful white brick and looked more like a country club or gated community entrance than what we had expected.
The cultural center is a wonderful place to display the history of the Chickasaw Nation. The history of this group of Native Americans included their forced move from their lands east of the Mississippi to Oklahoma after the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed by congress. In their home in the southeastern US they used dugout canoes and traveled, fished, and hunted on the lakes and rivers. This center focuses a great deal of attention on the dugout and the canoe below is a very old genuine dugout that was produced using stone tools and controlled burning.
The grounds of the center are beautiful with paved walkways; golf cart transportation for those needing a ride around, and the pond features a beautiful fountain.
The walkway out to the center of the lake revealed that the pond not only represents the plants that are typical for the area but is stocked with fish. Sandy first noticed a turtle and within a minute there were a dozen turtles along with very large catfish and large sunfish. We purchased a handful of food for them and were entertained as the snapped up the food as fast as you could drop it on the surface of the pond.
We also found a very long walkway that led to an overlook of the Chickasaw village. This village would have been typical of the way the Chickasaw lived before they moved to Oklahoma. They used native plants to make their homes, palisades, and dugout canoes and their diet included fish and game as well as cultivated crops.
We retraced out path back to I35 when we finished at the center and drove the rest of the way to Hurst Texas. We learned very quickly that “Express Lanes” means “NO EXIT” as we got off on them and ended up 8 miles out of our way. After correcting our mistake we did find out hotel and after checking in we drove to Mary Ross’s home and had a great meal and lots of conversation. We will be with her again tomorrow and are sure we will find plenty of topics yet to be discussed. Our final photo is an oil well pump that started dotting the landscape as soon as we entered Oklahoma and this one was near the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
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