Chicken Creek. Love it.
Our quest was a 220 mile journey from Medicine Lodge, KS to Pampa, TX, to help with a Kicking Bear Youth Camp. It’s this ministry that we have kind of fallen into, and being empty nesters, have the freedom to take part in. And we get to act like ten year-olds again with no mom or dad there to make us behave. For more info go to kickingbear.org or like Kicking Bear Base Camp on Facebook to check out the fun shenanigans.
So west we headed. In our area, my husband is an old hand when it comes to knowing every dirt road, creek crossing, and cow path in south central Kansas and north central Oklahoma. West Texas is new uncharted land for him and has been 32 years since my foot had fallen there.
He fired up his trusty GPS, the ‘Babe-In-A-Box.’
“How about we call her an actual name, like Agnes Jones?” I suggested. “Don’t you like that better?”
He peered over the top of his sunglasses and kept driving.
I chirped on, “Did we bring a map? I actually like a map better. No offense Agnes.”
One of my children informed me that maps are ‘stone age’, but I’m visual and like to lay map out across my lap. I want to see what is in proximity to where. Like how far Pampa is from Amarillo, and if I truly remember where Palo Duro Canyon is for after the trip. I need the big picture. Not necessarily the whole detailed plan, but only enough for me to be confident in where I’m headed.
Also, I am a compass rose gal. I’m friends with north, south, east, and west. Right and left does not come natural. At a moments notice I panic, have to clench which hand feels stronger, confirm that my wedding ring is located on my left hand and stick out my pointers and thumbs on both hands to see which forms the letter ‘L.’ by then a semi has eaten my lunch, and I need a defibrillator to jumpstart my ticket.
No, Agnes does not speak my lingo, and I have to scramble for readers to see her little blurry screen.
Agnes said not a word, but some odd reason, she directed us to drive around a block in Alva, OK and galavant through a roadside park in Buffalo, which we knew better.
As we boogied on down the road into the land where they pretty much grow only sand and rocks, my phone alerted me that since I am now traveling outside of the United States, sending messages could result in significant charges added to my bill. Interesting.
“Well, Cliff, I know they say that Texas is a whole other country, but I didn’t realize we needed visas to travel over the Kansas state line.
“It’s sure getting flat the farther we go and drier. These folks need rain in the worst way. When we get set up out tent, be sure and keep the flap zipped shut. I may have chased off a bear with a spatula last summer, but if a snake crawls in our tent, I be GONE!” No worries about us ever moving to the desert.
After a stretch of lonesome highway a sign appeared, pointing to The Mountain View Cemetery. This puzzles us, as well as the still silent Agnes. There is no sign of any kind of mountain, hill, or gopher mound for at least 100 miles.
I point to a sign in the ditch, “Now I can understand the thought behind South Flat Church of Christ .
Agnes pipes us and encourages us to head south.
“Wait! She left me,” Cliff exclaimed more bamboozled than a jilted husband who has come home to an empty house and a Dear John note, “I’ve just lost the signal.”
“Are you sure we don’t have a map?” Finally, at a post office stop in Booker, TX, Cliff retrieved an atlas from behind the back seat. (For the record, if you keep an eye out for a post office by looking for an American flag, well, it works real well–except on Flag Day. Yep, flags were flapping everywhere, just like they should be!)
Now we were set. Cliff had Agnes, I had Atlas. and the road stretched south out of Perryington.
But of course, not the highway number Agnes had directed.
“She can’t find me,’ Cliff sighed.
“Well, in a few miles it turns into Highway 70, and we are good to Chicken Creek.”
Sure enough we cross the Canadian River, which was about as wide as its line on the map, and ta-da, Chicken Creek and the Kicking Bear sign! We made it!
After a fabulous time at camp, we spent the next evening in Amarillo and proceeded to find our way to Palo Duro Canyon. At one stop Agnes, still pouting from being outed by something from the Santa Fe Trail Era, sent us to an intersection in semi-heavy traffic and said, “Turn right now.” Right was papered with a zillion ‘Do Not Enter! Wrong Way!” signs. The International sign for “NO” had been invented right at this very spot, I am sure. It was obvious Agnes needed updated. Cliff got us up and over and around an overpass and finally we journeyed south.
Now, I was on familiar land, but after being deceived by Agnes, guess who had a hard time believing me? “Is this the right road?’ ‘How much farther do we go east?’ and ‘As flat as this is, are you sure there is a canyon around here?’
As we dropped into the crevice, second only to the Grand Canyon, we took in the rich beauty of the area that we were blinded to, because we had been so doggoned worried about being lost. It was a totally different majesty.
While I’m not anti-GPS, this reminded me of how many times I listen to voices that sound legit, instead of going to the map of truth for myself. The danger of listening to the voices without the biblical filter, who wants to be led in circles again, and how do you know who to trust?
God gave us that Bible so we could have the whole picture laid out, to make following Him possible. The last place He wants for us to be lost in a land of despair. Not seeing it detailed to the inth degree builds our faith, with the Holy Spirit as our decoder of sorts.
Lord, please guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Turn my heart towards your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Psalm 119:36-37