October 12, 2013


Last week the Dey family took an impromptu excursion through the Ozarks of Missouri and Oklahoma up into the vast prairie of Kansas. Every day we saw something new, marveled at the beauty of nature, and took LOTS of pictures.
The first day was spent in Mansfield, Missouri at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Home. That woman has always been an inspiration to the writers in our family! It was gratifying to finally see the picturesque home where she spent most of her life.
That night we camped out at the Dodson's where we had a blast eating ice cream and looking at family photos. We always love hanging out with you guys--including the 'gang' at 5am (haha:)  
Day 2: Cherokee Heritage Center! This was one of my favorite stops. I was simply awe-struck by the tribe's customs and stories. They must have been a people full of poetry and music and ingenuity considering their beautiful culture. Following our visit at the museum we camped out on a peninsula at Tenkiller Ferry Lake. It turned out to be a perfect bird-watching site as there were Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Seagulls, Blue Jays, and several other species. The sunset was beautiful too. Cabe got this picture of me right when all the colorful splendor was just beginning.
     The nice thing about vacation is that you are completely on your own schedule. You don't have to be anywhere at a certain time, you can sleep in as long as you want, and meals happen when ever you're hungry. I don't believe we packed up camp until close to lunch time:) Highlights of day 3 included Fort Gibson and the Five Civilized Tribes Museum. 
  There we are! Enjoying the rustic appeal of Fort Gibson. Unfortunately, most of the fort was closed for renovation, but we got to enjoy most of the old buildings. At the museum we learned about the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Chickasaw tribes. Each tribe was (is) wonderful in their own unique ways.
In the golden hours of evening we drove through the Oklahoma hills to our campsite on the Osage reservation. At one point Mom gasped excitedly and told Dad to stop the car! She had spotted this little fella whom we duly named Terry the Tarantula. He was almost as big as my hand which rather intimidated me. 
     It was an exciting night we spent in the OK hills. Raccoons boldly raided our garbage in front of us, the three amigos got lost on a hike and went twice as far as they had intended, the shower house was full of frogs, and we stayed up late singing rounds and ballads around the campfire.
Our final day was spent on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. The scenery was breath-taking! And then of course, there were the buffalo...... Those great big beasts were wonderful and kinda scary too. I stood as close to the car as possible just in case one of them decided to stampede:)

Our final stop was the "Little House on the Prairie"--the site where the Ingalls family used to live. It was the perfect conclusion to an epic trip. Family vacations are so much fun!

Thanks to Cabe, Mavis, and Dan Dey for the great photos!

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