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June 1, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Research!

Kate Hart
How perfectly timed is today's RTW prompt? Lee wants to know the weirdest thing you've ever researched for your writing. I didn't even arrange it this way-- she picked it by her very lonesome-- but it is a great chance for me to show you guys some of the weirdest stuff I saw on the research trip my husband and I took to the Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma last week.

(This is me! Doing research! Also! It is hard to write in a notebook in 50 mph gusts!)
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Photobucket Okay, so weird. Well, we visited Ft. Sill, which is where Geronimo ended up a captive. Reportedly, he was never kept in this guard house except when he had a little too much fun in town and needed to sleep it off. But this guy didn't fare so well. It's like Mumford & Sons goes to jail. Hipster incarceration.

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We also saw this mule gun. That's no typo. The sign said the designers neglected to account for the mule's reaction to having explosives on its back. Oh, to be on a fly on the wall for that one...
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In horrifying things, we headed outside the Refuge to Cutthroat Gap, only Cutthroat Gap is inside the restricted area of the Refuge, so we had to look from afar-- and there was a skinned wild hog hanging on the fence beside the historical marker. Equally alarming: Ft. Sill has one of the buckets from that massacre, but thankfully,  not the head found in it.

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Inside the Refuge, there is a strange area called the Holy City. It's used for passion plays, apparently. From the outside, it does look a little like Biblical Israel.






But on the inside?
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I know the money laying around is supposed to be donations, but why that one kid is holding a stuffed Simba, I have no idea. Meanwhile, a creepy disembodied voice recites Bible stories. The husband got a Waco vibe. Even Kermit was scared. So scared he got on his chariot and split.

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This prairie dog totally wanted to bite my toe.
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I am glad neither this elk nor this buffalo got a chance to step on my toe.
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We were also extremely glad this cloud went the opposite direction from our car.
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In possibly my bravest bit of research to date, we visited the Jesse James museum in Cement, Oklahoma. (That's pronounced "SEE-mint," for all you non-Okies.) The sign on the door had two numbers to call, which prompted this tweet:
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Photobucket The guy who let us in was super nice, though. He was headed to Chickasha ("chick-a-shay," non-Okies), to help with tornado cleanup, so he just left us there and told us to close the door when we left. Small towns FTW. It wasn't the Smithsonian, but we read a lot of very interesting information about the James/Younger gang's exploits in the area.






Finally, two things to file under "badass." One: Marlow, OK has the world's coolest playground.
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And two: I wrote a scene set on Elk Mountain in the Refuge. Having never hiked that mountain, I was obviously just making it up, but when we did head to the top, what did I come across?
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My scene. In the flesh. Or in the flowers, as the case may be.

Have you done something crazy in the name of research? How did that work out for you?
Head over to YA Highway and tell us about it!




10 comments:

  1. First - This makes me miss Lawton/Ft. Sill. It had really grown on us.
    Second - Did you notice that the mule at the museum was actually a mule skin on a zebra body? Yeah, the taxidermy guy didn't have foam mule laying around.
    Third - The Holy City is super creepy and I made it a point to never go there but the Wildlife Preserve is pretty rad.
    :)

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  2. Whoa--how cool would it be to take a trip for my research?? I need to start saving up! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  3. So cool that you took this trip for research. So what's with the skinned wild hog? Is that to scare away trespassers or do wild hog skinners live in Cutthroat Gap?

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  4. Cat - I thought of you while we were there, for sure! My aunt also lives in Lawton and my grandparents in Duncan, so I know the area fairly well.

    Pam - If we hadn't had to flee tornadoes in a hotel, the whole trip would have cost about $300. The perks of camping. LOL

    Tracey - I prefer to think it's a warning to other hogs. "It could happen to you too, pig! Look out!"

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  5. Love the pictures, and I'm a little bit jealous that you got to do your research in such a striking and interesting place!

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  6. Um...prairie dog looks mucho scary. All the other pics are so delightfully fabulous. I wish I could take a few trips to some of the places I researched - like Japan. Mount Rushmore. Cool.

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  7. A real road trip road trip! Awesome! Congratulations on your anniversary, too, btw.

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  8. My husband's maternal side of the family is from Lawton, OK--still have a lot of extended family out that way.

    Isn't that great when you "make up" details of a place and later discover how accurate they are? I had some of that with an historic ship--I described the belowdecks in a certain way (including smells and the lighting) and found it to be eerily spot-on when I finally got onboard a ship.

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  9. Love all your photos, looks like a really fun road trip. And LOL at the mule gun!

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  10. In. Love. With this setting. Happy Anniversary!!

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