It’s a beautiful if windy Tuesday afternoon. I’m sitting outside our rig at the Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area, or LETRA at Fort Sill, and the views are amazing.
It’s 1820 in the afternoon/evening, and my blogging is punctuated by occasional rumbles of artillery fire to the east. Fort Sill is home to the US Army Artillery School as well as the Air Defense Artillery School. The fires are not loud or constant; it sounds more like the occasional roll of thunder from an approaching storm. The boys are more excited than nervous about it, even if we did pass some slightly disconcerting signs on the way to LETRA.
Diana’s dad was stationed here from 84 to 87, so Diana wanted to pass back through to see her old home, church, and school. We arrived last night after an adventurous and expensive day. We are now the proud owners of a used Husky hitch to replace the 6-week-old Reese hitch that I broke yesterday morning. Note to all 5th-wheel owners: make certain your hitch is open before you back in and hook up. I didn’t, and when I felt the resistance that I thought indicated I was reaching the gate, I gave it some gas and bent the hitch gate badly enough that we had to replace it. That was the bad news. The worse news was that the local dealers didn’t carry the Reese series that we owned, and wanted over $700 for a new box. The good news was that Earl’s RV had a used Husky hitch that would carry us, and only wanted $400 for it. Two ATM stops later, I had cash, and the Earl’s guys even installed the “new” hitch for me. We finally got underway two hours later than I wanted, which precluded a stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, but we made it to Fort Sill around 6:00 PM.
It took us another half an hour to make it to the campground, though. We had stayed off I-44, wanting to avoid paying tolls. That brought us to a different gate than the campground directions indicated, which meant we ended up driving an extra 15 miles or so after we got turned around. If you visit LETRA, make sure you go to either Key Gate (recommended by the campground) or Apache Gate (recommended by the staff at Key Gate). The LETRA gate is only open on long weekends, and that depends on who you talk to.
We got a late start to the day, and drove around the campground a bit to enjoy the view. We found our way to the US Army Artillery Museum at Fort Sill which is a free self-guided tour, and pretty neat to boot. They have quite a few old artillery pieces there, including a one-pound cannon that was designed to be fired from the back of a mule, and it was. Once. Seems no one bothered to consider the mule’s reaction to having a cannon fired from its back. The museum also has the only nuclear artillery piece ever fired by the US Army, the M65 240-mm cannon.
After the museum, we spent the afternoon driving around Lawton, to visit Diana’s home and church. We were stopped perhaps a minute or so to take photos of the house when the current resident came out to ask why we were taking pictures of her house. She was more receptive when I explained why.
On to Sherman, Texas tomorrow. That’s where I was born, although we moved before I was two, so I have no real memories of the town. But I want to drive through town, find the houses we lived at, and take a photo or two of Austin College, where my dad taught before we moved to Marietta.
And yes, we drove through Cement, Oklahoma Monday. It’s a tiny little place, and we missed getting any photos of signs. But here’s the map route, just to prove we did it!