My wife and I are back in Baltimore after a 26 hour drive straight through from Ponca City. We had been postponing our trip for several weeks because there were two big events in Ponca City last weekend that we wanted to see.
On Saturday morning, the Museum at Standing Bear Park was dedicated. A number of speakers got up to talk about the Museum including Carl Renfro, former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, Congressman Tom Cole who is a member of the Chickisaw Nation, Jim Gray from the Osage Nation and Charles Moncooyea of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe who had some very provocative remarks, but the highlight of the event for us was the flag ceremony with children of the tribes represented in the museum. After the flag ceremony, we photographed four of the lovely princesses of the Native American Nations who happened to be walking up the sidewalk from the museum flanked on either side by the Native American Flags. Take a look at the photo essay we made for the Standing Bear Dedication Ceremony.
Some people ask my wife and I why we make the 1300 mile trip between Baltimore and Ponca City several times a year by land instead of flying. The main answer is that we don't like taking our shoes off. Air travel has become so inconvenient and unpleasant, that we will do just about anything to avoid it. It is much more convenient to pack up as much as we want in our trailor, leave when we feel like it and stop when we want to, than to drive over to Tulsa, catch a plane, be stuck in airports, and have to rent a car when we arrive. In addition, aside from the convenience and independence driving affords us, we spend half as much on gasoline as it would cost for two round trip airline tickets.
Long distance driving is really more like an athletic event than anything else - a marathon if you will. It is not the physical demands of the trip that wear you down but the mental strain so we do everything we can to keep the trip stress free and to mentally prepare ourselves for the trip for several days in advance.
Of course, the most important thing is to be well rested. On the day before our trip, we make sure and get a good night's sleep. Most people assume that on the day of the trip, we would be up at dawn to travel but nothing could we further from the truth. We have found that the optimum time of day to begin the trip is between 4 and 6 pm. You are going to have to drive through a night to make a 26 hour trip, so you want to schedule your trip so you get your night driving out of the way at the beginning of the trip when you are at your best.
I like to take a nap just before we leave and then drive straight through the night. We usually stop at about 6 am and I take another one hour nap in the car to keep me going all day. The only really difficult part of the trip is the last hour when we are coming into Baltimore and have to completely change our style of driving to keep up with the high-speed rush hour traffic.
I mentioned that there were two events we wanted to see before we left and the other was the appearance of "Riders in the Sky" at the Poncan Theatre on Friday night. "Riders In The Sky is a Western music and comedy group which began performing 1977. They have won two Grammy Awards and have done music for major motion pictures, including Toy Story 2's "Woody's Roundup" and Pixar's short film, "For the Birds".
The group includes Ranger Doug ("The Idol of American Youth"), Woody Paul Chisman ("King of the Cowboy Fiddlers"), Too Slim ("a Righteous Tater"/"The Man of a Thousand Hats"), and Joey ("the Cowpolka King")." I was most surprised when I went to their Wikipedia entry to find out that Chisman has a PhD in Nuclear Physics.
The group played a special concert in honor of the hundredth anniversary of Gene Autry's birth. They were traveling to the city of Gene Autry on Saturday to play at the actual 100th anniversary celebrations so it was a tremndous honor to be able to host them on the eve of this special date. Gene Autry set a special record on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame." Stars on the walk are given in five categories: motion pictures, radio, recording, television, and live theatre. Gene Autry is the only celebrity to have a star in all five categories. Take a look at our photo essay for "Riders in the Sky" at the Poncan.