Great Plains Loop

Day 7-8: Deweese, Nebraska to Norman, Oklahoma and Lake Texoma

With 500 miles to go, we had to leave our beloved winding country roads for a while and hop on I-35. By sunset we made it all the way to Dennis' cousin's place on the outskirts of Norman.

At our lunch stop, I finally got a photo of the cicadas. In the southern Great Plains, their buzz is thunderous, and I had forgotten how much I like this sound.
Dennis and Cousin David. Notice any family resemblance?

We spent the night at David and Kathy's place, and the next morning we continued south to their cottage on Lake Texoma.

My first question was "what are those tall poles on either side of the dock?" They are "pins" that allow the dock to float up and down. In 2015, the dock floated all the way to the top when the lake level was 25 feet higher than normal!
Hummingbird at the cottage (Dennis)
Hummingbird at the cottage (Marion)

With the rest of the the Gastgeb clan, we were ferried to a nearby island, three at a time, on jet skis, where we spent the afternoon blissfully bobbing in bathwater-warm water.

David, Deb, Kathy, Ruth,Tim and Dillon
The island
Deb, Tim, Ruth, Dillon, David, Dustin, Kathy, Alfred and Dennis
I accidentally recorded the GPS track for our boat ride!
We knew it was still 1000 miles back to Tuson, so we got on the road that afternoon to see if we could put a few hundred of those behind us. The Texas panhandle is unrelentingly bleak. Maybe all the land is owned by agribusiness conglomerates, but this region seems to be completely depopulated. More importantly for us, there is no public land, so no state parks, national forests or even BLM land. We ended up at a cheap motel on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas.
The only good memory of the Texas panhandle is this spectacular sunset.
Lubbock to Ruidoso, New Mexico