Friday, June 7, 2024

Dinosaur, Steamboat & A Fort

 Location: Virgil Point COE Campground; Sawyer, Oklahoma on the banks of Hugo Lake

Another nice Corps of Engineers campground and a campsite right near the water. The campsite isn't situated so the setting sun is directly out my door, but that's OK. Today is day four and is moving day. A heavy thunderstorm blew through on the first night here resulting in the lake rising maybe two to three feet over the last couple days. It was strange in that the thunderstorm didn't seem to be forecasted on my weather app that I've relied on for years or maybe I just missed it. 

Another nice campsite for $11.00 per day

The view back to Liberty from up the hill by the boat ramp parking lot.

I took this one this morning of the sunrise while looking out my door.

This is the view out my back window as I'm typing this post on my laptop. The great thing about moving campgrounds often is this view will be different this evening. I hope the next one is as peaceful as this one is this morning.

Although a nice campground, I don't get great vibes from it. Something just feels a little out of place or out of sync. It's just a feeling and I haven't experienced anything physical. If I had the time, I would research to find the reason for such a strange feeling in such a pretty place but since today is moving day, I'll just move on and stay blissfully ignorant. I know I won't be back here though. Just to be clear, it's not a fearful feeling, just an uneasy feeling. Maybe I'll listen to the Eagles song Peaceful Easy Feeling on the way to the next campground.

I had two things I wanted to explore while staying here. The first was Fort Towson. The old fort site is maintained by the Oklahoma Historical Society and they have recovered some of the old fort with plans for more recovery in the future. Although it was too wet and muddy to walk around the old fort site, they have a pretty good museum. Being a veteran, admission was free. Yeah, yeah I know I'm supposed to be so jaded about museums but I can't resist them. One a scale of 1 to 10, I give this one a 6. Pssst,,,by the way I went to another one after this one.

The fort was first established in 1824 to protect the recently arrived Choctaw Indians from attacks by the Plains Indians and white settlers. It is located only five miles from the Red River which back then was an International Boundary with Mexico. Today the Red is the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. Once Captain Shreve cleared the great raft (100 mile long log jam) from the Red River in the 1830's, steamboats were able to reach Fort Towson and it became an entry point to Mexico and eventually to Texas when it gained its independence in 1836. In 1999, the wreak of the Steamboat "Heroine" from 1838 was found near here in the Red River. Famous people such as Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin passed through Fort Towson on their way south. The Confederates took over the fort during the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression or War for Southern Independence) and became headquarters for the Confederacy in the Indian Territories. It is also the site of the last Confederate General's surrender at the end of the war. There is a lot of history in this small area. Some of that history may account for the bad vibes.

You don't often see maps of the original locations of the displaced Indians as a result of the bad Indian Relocation Act. I took this picture of one in the Fort Towson Museum

A model of the Heroine steamship that sand on the Red River about 5 miles from here.

A replica of the paddlewheel on the steamship. It helps put the ship in perspective 

And staying with history at the museum, they sell historic brand chewing gum. It was a little stale, but surprisingly, the taste brought back good memories of childhood.

The second thing to explore around here is another museum. This one is a much larger one than Fort Towson. It is the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Oklahoma. Although I explored the whole museum and there are some great things to see and learn about, the main reason I went was to see the Dinosaur. The museum is an art and archaeology museum with free admission thanks to some deep pocket philanthropists who may be trying to appease a guilty conscious or they may just simply be nice people. It was a nice place with good vibes so I'll go with the nice people choice. The main attraction for me was the dinosaur. It is a Acrocanthosaurus atokensis. It looks like a T-Rex. It was found nearby and was dug up by some amateurs in 1940. The original was sent to a laboratory in South Dakota for preservation since it was disintegrating quickly once exposed to the atmosphere. The neat thing is the dinosaur replica we see today in the museum was paid for by a fund raising event of elementary school children. Pretty neat uh?

Even knowing it was in the museum, it took me by surprise knowing that something like that used to live in this area. Remember, the word "dinosaur" has only been used since around 1840. Before that, they were known as "Dragons".

It was a pleasant surprise finding a bench like this in the museum. I didn't sit on it though because it had such a shine to it I was concerned that if I sat down I would slide off and bust my behind. It wouldn't be the first time, but would be embarrassing.  

 Like I said, today is moving day. I'll be heading about 90 miles west of here to another COE campground on Lake Texoma which is about 1 1/2 hours north of Dallas. Nope, I won't be going to Dallas. I've been there, mainly to check out the JFK assassination site and since I didn't lose anything there, I don't need to go back.

I wasn't able to get any real good sunset pictures but was able to get this one through some trees. It's from the parking lot of the boat ramp just up from my campsite. 


I promise, there is a sunset there somewhere. Anyway, it was a nice evening walk around the campground.

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road. 


  1. Dragons? Never knew that! Thanks...

    1. I learned that at the Creation Museum I went to last year. Pretty neat.

  2. Nice pictures of your camp site and love the bench in the museum.

    1. Thanks. I am always on the look out for good "thinking" benches.

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome Barney, be safe over there in Alabama

  4. I like Lake Texoma. We stayed at Burns East. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It sure is a big and busy lake. I think I prefer them a little smaller and more peaceful....LOL