Car Troubles, and an Interesting Conversation

Trip Start Jun 30, 1970
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Trip End Oct 01, 1970


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Flag of United States  , Oklahoma
Friday, September 18, 1970

We continued to Wichita where we bought gas and talked to the gas pump attendant for a while. The car would not start so he gave the battery a boost on the charger, which seemed to do the trick.

Through Wichita we had to change the wheel as the spare we had been using was unbalanced.  Then the engine started knocking.  We stopped at the Chevy dealer in Perry to see what they could do, but the foreman was out to lunch.  While waiting we rested by laying down on the lawn of the court house – apparently not the thing to do – many old men were sitting on benches all around and obviously disapproved.  On his return the foreman, recognizing our somewhat impecunious state, recommended a small garage nearby, but it was closed.  Eventually we found Masons Garage.  Mr Mason discovered the rocker shaft had broken – he replaced it for us for $13, parts and labour all included. One big advantage of a Chevy is that they are quite easy to fix and parts are available pretty much everywhere.  While he worked Mr Mason and another old Indian man chatted to us, interested to know what we were doing, where we had been, etc.  The Indian man talked of how the Indian people had welcomed the white man into the country initially, only to be subsequently suppressed and treated as sub-human.  He talked of the treaties that gave them reserved lands, only to be taken away from them when oil was discovered beneath them.  He talked in sorrow rather than with bitterness – he was a devout Christian, a blessing the white man had brought – and had found forgiveness had given him peace.

The repair job was finished about 1630, in time for us to visit the Cherokee Strip Museum before driving on to Oklahoma City.

In Oklahoma City we found a Mexican restaurant, walked around the city for a while, and near the bus station met a fellow BUNAC student touring by Greyhound.  A surprise in this city was the State Capitol Building, very grand and intimidating as all government buildings tend to be; but there on the lawn was an oil well with a working donkey pumping out the black gold.  Americans never let anything get in the way of commerce.

Driving South through the town we stopped at a public house, but it turned out to be a pizza house full of screaming kids, just like a madhouse.  We talked to the guard for a while and then continued on towards Dallas.

We stopped for the night to camp at Platt National Park.  The park is a thermal spring area and the smell of sulphur hung heavily in the air.  At some time in the early hours John heard strange noises a little closer than was comfortable and crept into the car for the remainder of the night.
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