Yesterday dawned bright and beautiful, with mostly clear skies and a light, cool breeze. It was the perfect day for a drive. On Old Route 66 driving from Edmond to Arcadia, you can escape from suburbia into the rural countryside of Oklahoma County. Ten minutes after leaving the city limits, there is scant evidence of the urban center mere miles away. The public perception of the land here tends toward flat, but the truth is that the hills in central Oklahoma roll and undulate over the landscape in quite a lovely, respectable manner.
Wildflowers are still blooming in the pastures and alongside the roads. The wild sunflowers, standing six or seven feet tall with flowers the size of softballs, are just beginning to go to seed.
The cedar trees you see here aren't native to Oklahoma, they are invasive due to the favorable climate and considered a nuisance. The large yellow splashes of prairie goldentop and the prairie grasses (I think the one pictured is little bluestem) grow wild. When they grow in fields like this, farmers and ranchers sometimes bale them into prairie hay.
Rural roads, even the blacktops, are lined with little shrubby sumac trees. The grasses, the larger trees, and the flowers still look like summer, but those little crooked sumac trees are beginning to blush red.
The round barn in Arcadia dates to about 1898. It housed livestock, hay and supplies and was a meeting place for townspeople. In the 1980s the roof of the barn collapsed. Since that time, a group of retirees worked to restore it to its original condition. Upkeep is ongoing; you can see a man working on the roof in the picture I took yesterday. Today the loft of the barn can be rented for special events. It's such a popular tourist attraction among travelers on old Route 66 that the town constructed a little area beside the road to pull onto for picture taking. When Paul McCartney drove The Mother Road to celebrate his birthday in 2008, it's said he took pictures there.
This part of the state is still a bit unfamiliar to me, but I am exploring and learning the area around my new house. I may never get used to the red dirt, but this place is starting to feel like home. If you ever visit, October is a beautiful time to see all the beauty central Oklahoma offers.