77 County Seats on a Motorcycle Seat

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by vt700guy, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    As the title says, the State of Oklahoma has 77 counties. As you will learn, they sit in very diverse and distinct eco systems and environments. We have desert like conditions in the far NW panhandle, and swamps in the SE. I've long wanted to visit and photograph the courthouse for each county.

    While, I have previously visited many of them (approximately 30), I have only recently decided to photograph the courthouse in each county. I have listed each county/city below, and will add a post number as I visit them.

    My hope is that I/we can learn something new about each county along with enjoying the interesting architecture that each building boasts and the unique environments that surround them. It also provides a very good excuse to get out the door and ride my bike, as deciding where to go is often the hardest part of the ride for me.

    I'm open to suggestions on interesting roads, museums, restaurants, etc. that any of you may have for me.


    1. Adair County, Stilwell
    2. Alfalfa County, Cherokee
    3. Atoka County, Atoka
    4. Beaver County, Beaver
    5. Beckham County, Sayre
    6. Blaine County, Watonga
    7. Bryan County, Durant
    8. Caddo County, Anadarko
    9. Canadian County, El Reno
    10. Carter County, Ardmore
    11. Cherokee County, Tahlequah
    12. Choctaw County, Hugo
    13. Cimarron County, Boise City
    14. Cleveland County, Norman
    15. Coal County, Coalgate
    16. Comanche County, Lawton
    17. Cotton County, Walters
    18. Craig County, Vinita
    19. Creek County, Sapulpa
    20. Custer County, Arapaho
    21. Delaware County, Jay
    22. Dewey County, Taloga
    23. Ellis County, Arnett
    24. Garfield County, Enid
    25. Garvin County, Pauls Valley
    26. Grady County, Chickasha
    27. Grant County, Medford
    28. Greer County, Mangum
    29. Harmon County, Hollis
    30. Harper County, Buffalo
    31. Haskell County, Stigler
    32. Hughes County, Holdenville
    33. Jackson County, Altus
    34. Jefferson County, Waurika
    35. Johnston County, Tishomingo
    36. Kay County, Newkirk
    37. Kingfisher County, Kingfisher
    38. Kiowa County, Hobart
    39. Latimer County, Wilburton
    40. Le Flore County, Poteau
    41. Lincoln County, Chandler
    42. Logan County, Guthrie
    43. Love County, Marietta
    44. Major County, Fairview
    45. Marshall County, Madill
    46. Mayes County, Pryor
    47. McClain County, Purcell
    48. McCurtain County, Idabel
    49. McIntosh County, Eufaula
    50. Murray County, Sulphur
    51. Muskogee County, Muskogee
    52. Noble County, Perry
    53. Nowata County, Nowata
    54. Okfuskee County, Okemah
    55. Oklahoma County, Oklahoma City
    56. Okmulgee County, Okmulgee
    57. Osage County, Pawhuska---------------->>> (Post # 15)
    58. Ottawa County, Miami-------------------->>> (post # 2)
    59. Pawnee County, Pawnee
    60. Payne County, Stillwater
    61. Pittsburg County, McAlester
    62. Pontotoc County, Ada
    63. Pottawatomie County, Shawnee
    64. Pushmataha County, Antlers
    65. Roger Mills County, Cheyenne
    66. Rogers County, Claremore
    67. Seminole County, Wewoka
    68. Sequoyah County, Sallisaw
    69. Stephens County, Duncan
    70. Texas County, Guymon
    71. Tillman County, Frederick
    72. Tulsa County, Tulsa
    73. Wagoner County, Wagoner
    74. Washington County, Bartlesville
    75. Washita County, Cordell
    76. Woods County, Alva-------------------->>>> (Post # 8)
    77. Woodward County, Woodward
    #1
  2. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

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    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    Ottawa County - Miami (pronounced Miamuh)

    Ottawa county is in the far NE corner of Oklahoma, and is bordered by Kansas, and Missouri.

    The total land mass of Ottawa county is 485 square miles, and there are approximately 31k residents.

    My daughter and I rode in on a Sunday evening during a flash flood warning, following just behind rain storms the entire way.

    IMG_20210314_183305414_HDR.jpg


    IMG_20210314_183312602_HDR.jpg

    The courthouse is a newer, one. Built around the year 2000 from what I could tell. I love the reflection of the flag in the window.

    IMG_20210315_092231282_HDR.jpg

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    Route 66 runs directly through the county, and the city of Miami has long claimed to be the gateway. I had to borrow the pictures from Google. The first one for obvious reasons, and the second because I had my daughter taking the photos on her phone and they turned out very blurry.

    Screenshot 2021-03-18 at 3.41.52 PM.png

    Screenshot 2021-03-18 at 4.18.44 PM.png

    As cool as the town of Miami, and the courthouse were, my favorite story regarding Ottawa county is the town of Picher. What was once a bustling little town with a Zinc and Lead mine nearby, has since become, not only a ghost town, but not a town at all. At it's peak, Picher had a population of over 14,000 people. They contributed over 50% of the lead and zinc used during WWI. However, in 2006, the U.S. government deemed it unsafe for residents to stay and began buying out those who remained. As you might assume, many residents did not want to leave, and as of 2008 many had in fact stayed. Sadly, in May of 2008 a tornado hit the town killing 8, and injuring many others. This wiped out a majority of what was left of the town, and most chose not to rebuild.

    The school district was dissolved in May of 2009, and the last class graduated in May 2011. All that remains today is a few abandoned homes, a county barn, some of the original school structures, which are being used by a local company....and what appears to be one brave soul, base on the condition, and upkeep of the house. The house now uses the old mascot (a gorilla) as a yard ornament.

    Once again, the photo quality is not great on these two. Luckily, from here on out I used my phone and got better quality pics for the first few counties this weekend.

    image.jpg

    Untitled.jpg

    These piles of rock are from the mine below, the voids left are part of what shut the town down...The government is concerned about the ground collapsing.


    IMG_20210315_100436648.jpg

    That's it for Ottawa county for now....
    #2
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  3. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Coweta Oklahoma
    Late 70s and early 80s those chat piles would be covered with dirt bikes and dune buggies every weekend. I rode there a few times.

    It is now an EPA superfund site.
    #3
  4. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

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    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    There are still tire tracks on most of the piles.
    #4
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  5. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    Stay tuned for the next installment. A trip to Woods county to buy a 6 pack of beer that was brewed by one of my best friends.
    #5
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  6. Dirt2007

    Dirt2007 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Subscribed :lurk
    #6
  7. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Cool idea. I still have 13 Oklahoma counties that I haven't ridden in yet.
    #7
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  8. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    Woods County (1,290 Sq. miles Approx. 8900 people) - Alva

    Home of the Goldbug (A Symbol of Excellence or so they say)

    Alva is a sleepy little farming community that came alive for a few years during the oil boom with new hotels and businesses going up. While the businesses and hotels remain, they are only doing a shell of the business they did back when things were booming. (At least from what I can tell by looking at the cars in the parking lot. I haven't asked to see their books, but I'm pretty sure they would say no if I did.) Alva also happens to be situated on the the TAT so many of you have probably spent a hot summer night cooling off in a hotel room there.

    Woods county as a whole contains several interesting places if you happen to be traveling through or want to take a road trip...For starters, there are 3 state parks.

    Alabaster Caverns, Great Salt Plains, and Little Sahara

    The Courthouse: I was riding my dad's Harley enabling my friend Justin to ride with me.

    IMG_20210328_133843189_HDR.jpg

    Next up was the main reason for the trip to Alva. My good friend Justin is one of the owners of a brewery (Enid Brewing Company), and is the brew master as well. He has been working on getting a canning line for a while, and I always told him when he did that we needed to ride to the farthest place possible and buy a 6 pack of a beer he brewed. Well, the day finally came, and we bought a 6 pack of Enterprise Amber Ale, and a 6 pack of Salt Plains Lime Crusher (Named after the state park mentioned above) at the Alva Market. Yes, he has a hundred or so gallons of each available any time that we could drink here in town, but what's the fun in that right?

    IMG_20210328_130429108 (1).jpg

    Alva is also home to Northwestern Oklahoma State University. This is one of many amazing buildings on campus.

    IMG_20210328_134835726_HDR.jpg

    Since I mentioned the State parks in Woods County, here's a picture of previous rides to the parks.

    Little Sahara:

    IMG_20200102_140927795.jpg

    Great Salt Plains: You can dig for selenite crystals here, which are the only ones in the world with the hour glass shape sand in the crystal.

    IMG_20181013_102352722_HDR.jpg


    I don't seem to have one from Alabaster Caverns, looks like I will need to ride over and take one soon. I'm sure my superb writing and pictures will encourage the masses to travel to Woods county Oklahoma so make sure you look me up when you visit and I'll try to join you for a portion of your ride or bring a beer to drink with dinner.
    #8
  9. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    Thanks! I still have 27 left to ride. Most of them being in the far SW and SE. Luckily for me I didn't come up with the courthouse picture idea until recently so I have an excuse to go back to all of them again. I did hit Osage county and Roger Mills county recently and got some good riding/pics in so I will post about them soon.
    #9
  10. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    I've had to go to the Osage County Courthouse a couple times for work. I took this pic there:

    [​IMG]
    #10
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  11. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    2,549
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Like your courthouse/county seat concept. Ride on.
    #11
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  12. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
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    Location:
    West Central Indiana
    In, In, and In!

    I absolutely love Oklahoma and this is a great thread so far. My wife is from there and my best friend/brother in law was raised in Morris and now lives in Choctaw.

    I lived there for 9 years on two separate Air Force tours. I did a lot of bird hunting and fishing back then and when the song says "The land we belong to is Grand..." it's true!

    In all my travels around the world, it's my experience that Oklahomans are awesome people.
    They may not be "better" than some others, but none are better than they are.

    Going to visit late next week for a 5 day "weekend" and weather permitting do some fishing at Greenleaf and Okmulgee, and maybe Eufala or Okemah.

    Keep it going!

    Jay
    #12
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  13. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    Wow, thanks so much for replying. I'm glad to know people are liking the concept.

    I have lived in Oklahoma my entire life and never plan to move. What base/bases were you stationed? I live near Vance Air Force Base.

    I coach softball so I'm pretty hooked up right now, but I have a couple stories ready to be written and will be out creating more as my season winds down over the next couple weeks.

    You are definitely picking a great part of the state to fish, if you end up coming west at all give me a shout and I can get you on an amazing large mouth bass pond.

    Thanks again for following along, can't wait to share more of this great state with people.
    #13
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  14. Son of MotoPolo

    Son of MotoPolo The mountains are calling...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Somewhere north of SF, and west of CO
    Just found your thread and this is a GREAT idea! While I won't be anywhere near Oklahoma anytime soon (although planning to be there for the 2024 eclipse), this concept could be adopted for any state. Great way to learn about where you live.

    And like you said, deciding where to go is often the hardest part of the ride. Problem solved!
    #14
  15. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    NW Oklahoma
    Osage County: 2,304 square miles (Rhode Island is only 1,214 sq. miles) It's the biggest county in Oklahoma.

    The county seat of Osage county is Pawhuska. Ask your wife about Pawhuska and she will probably tell you that's the home of the Pioneer Woman.

    So I'm a bit out of order here as to when I visited the counties but I don't suspect that will cause too much trouble. I actually visited Osage county on the same trip as Ottawa County.

    This is my favorite courthouse of the bunch so far, as it's still the old original building as far as I know. It's on a fairly steep hill so I included a picture looking down from the steps towards the bikes on this one as well in order to show just how steep the steps are.


    IMG_20210314_161307907_HDR.jpg


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    According to the sign it was built in 1912, 5 years after the county was named. Makes me wonder what they used the first five years?

    IMG_20210314_161405368.jpg

    While in town my daughter and I took some photos at the normal tourist locations.

    IMG_20210314_162130118_HDR.jpg

    IMG_20210314_144900514_HDR.jpg


    Osage county is of course named after the Osage Indian tribes, and that's where we get one of the most interesting stories in Oklahoma history in my humble opinion. You see, the Osage Indians purchased the land that is present day Osage county so that when dealing with the U.S. government they had a higher standing than tribes who did not "own" the land. This purchase included the mineral rights. When oil was later found in the area they became some of the richest people in America. This would lead to tragedy among their people as the "head rights" they owned became very valuable and a source for less honest people to scheme ways to inherit them, and the income they produced.

    Attempts to solve the resulting murders of innocent Osage Indians were always blocked by crooked local officials and the killings continued for much of the late teens and 1920's. Eventually the newly formed FBI was called in to help and changes were made to only allow Osage Indians to inherit the head rights, which both stopped the killings and brought a few (only a few as many were never caught) of those responsible to justice.

    Clearly, what I typed above is a very very brief overview of what happened in Osage counties darkest times. If you like to read I highly recommend a book called "Killers of the Flower Moon" for a much more detailed version of how it all went down. Alternatively you could wait a bit and watch the movie about it that is being produced this spring and summer.

    Shortly after reading the book, I made a trip to the cemetery in Gray Wolf, Oklahoma and paid my respect to some of the more well known victims. The headstones were amazing, and it was a bit surreal to stand on the same grounds as I had read about in the book...

    IMG_20200415_132301130_HDR.jpg


    Presently, Osage county has a tall grass prairie reserve and Buffalo once again roam free, as well as another one of our great state parks...Osage Hills State Park.

    I borrowed this picture of the Buffalo from Google, but the rest were taken by me.

    Screenshot 2021-04-10 7.25.30 AM.png

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    IMG_20190320_102408096.jpg


    Well there it is, my Osage County story. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed discovering it.
    #15
  16. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    West Central Indiana
    I was stationed at Tinker twice.

    I'm more adventurous than average and pretty outgoing so I traveled almost all over the state. I never made it to far SE OK or Guymon.(was in Guymon a few times when I was a kid to visit an Aunt thst lived there)

    The people (away from "the City" ) are awesome. Any city (OKC) dwellers reading that may be offended but they know it's true. If they're on here they're likely not the problem causers though.

    Looking forward to more ...heading out to the 405 tomorrow am!
    #16
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  17. okietrailboss

    okietrailboss Long timer Supporter

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