Posts tagged ‘Oklahoma’

January 29, 2014

Scottish Rite Temple is Site of 2014 NAI Region VI Workshop

Guthrie Masonic Temple

The National Association for Interpretation Region VI Workshop will be held in Guthrie, Oklahoma on February 24-26, 2014.

The Temple of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry will be the primary venue.

I traveled to Guthrie with other members of the planning committee on Monday to iron out some final details.  The temple is an incredible building.  If you don’t join me at the NAI convention, be sure to take a tour of the Temple the next time you find yourself in Guthrie.  You’ll be glad you did!  (Until then, you can take a 360° visual tour online!)

One of the rooms in the temple. The others are just as grand!

One of the rooms in the temple. All the others are just as grand!

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December 29, 2013

Day Two: Petit Jean State Park (Arkansas)

Pictograph Cave 01

Petit Jean State Park, outside Morrilton, was Arkansas’s first State Park.  Construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps was started in 1933, and we hoped to take a look at some of their handiwork still visible in the park.

We had pitched our tent in the dark in an empty campground and prepared for bed. The next morning we discovered that, among all the sites available to us, I had chosen the most expensive of all: a $30 full service (electric, water, and sewer) RV site.  Whoops!  We had camped at the Ritz and hadn’t even noticed!

We first visited the CCC-built Visitor’s Center, which has a room of interpretive exhibits about the park’s natural history and physical geology, as well as the CCC and early park advocates.  We then visited other CCC sites, such as Davies Bridge, the Boathouse, the CCC overlook, the CCC camp, and the CCC water tower.

We took a hike past the curiously shaped “turtle rocks” on our way to Rock House Cave, an overhanging shelter that has faint paleo-Indian pictographs scrawled on the wall in red and black pigments.

Then, we hiked to Bear Cave – so named because a bear was known to hibernate in it at one time.  It was so small in comparison to Rock House Cave that we continued hiking up the trail beyond it wondering if we had in fact found the correct thing.  (Apparently we had!)  On the way back, we had a great time exploring the weathered fissures in the rock.  We discovered handholds and footholds carved into the sandstone, so we used them to scramble to the top of the outcrop.

Finally, we stopped for a late lunch at the restaurant in the park’s Mather Lodge, a portion of which was built by the CCC.  Mather Lodge is the only CCC-built lodge in the Arkansas State Park system.  Most of the original structure is now used only as a waiting / sitting room.  We worked on a jigsaw puzzle-in-progress in this area while waiting for a table to become available in the restaurant.   A well-appreciated fire was burning in the fireplace, which was a nice touch on a cold day!

After lunch, there was only time for a quick walk to the Cedar Falls overlook before hitting the road for home.

Persuaded by billboards, we made one more stop in Muskogee, Oklahoma for “Christmas At The Castle.”  We hadn’t been there before…  And now that I have, I am not sure whether to be impressed by the sheer volume of illuminated inflatable yard ornaments, or disappointed in the mile-long repeated displays of blow-up Santas on motorcycles and Frosty snowmen on airplanes. [There’s my love-hate with tacky tourism, again!] I bought an “animatronic” singing Teddy Roosevelt caricature (a la Billy Bass) for $5 at the Christmas store in The Castle, which Isabel and I definitely think was a good score!

By the time we reached Tulsa, the ice-laden trees and bushes — beautifully enhanced by dazzling white light from the street lights — were a sublime reminder that we were lucky to have missed it all.