“Not all who wonder are lost.” This quote from Tolkien perfectly describes my trip home. I loved taking a different route home and staying off the interstate as much as possible. I wanted to cross the Oklahoma pan handle. So much of Oklahoma’s history is tied up in the Dust Bowl and I wanted to see the area most affected for myself. It was a stark contrast coming from the majesty of the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone to the emptiness of the plains, yet there is a beauty in the vastness.
At times the area seems inhabitable, but the Comanche made it their home for thousands of years. When white settlers did finally arrive they did learn how to use the land, but at the cost of tearing up the grasses and leading to the Dust Bowl. The stories of dust storms covering houses and killing all the crops are heartbreaking. I even read about families forced to eat tumbleweeds. We drove through one of the principle towns in the area, Boise City. It has an interesting history as the name translates to tree city. The name comes from part of the effort to convince settlers to move to the panhandle. Not only were they told “rain follows the plow” but Boise was a beautiful tree lined city. As you can see from the pictures, both statements were wrong. The Dust Bowl is an interesting aspect of our history as it is a story of hardship and endurance. I don’t always have time to wander, but on this trip I am glad I did.