I think I like Oklahoma

I'm out in Oklahoma getting ready to fish the Fish & Chips tournament. This is another chapter in the good life that I wrote about last week. This has been a great week, and it isn't over yet.

We're fishing Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. It was formed in 1940 and is something like 46,500 acres. The fishing is supposed to be pretty good. I don't know that for sure yet, but I do know that the wildlife around here is extraordinary. On our way to the ramp, we had to brake for a pheasant that was walking across the road without a worry in this world. You don't see that very often. And while we were messing around on the water yesterday we saw a couple of red foxes playing along the shoreline. That's something to watch. They were really cute. I enjoyed watching them. But that's nothing compared to the place we're staying.

It's in Quapaw, population 984 according the 2000 census, and I believe it was named after Quapaw Chief John Quapaw. (He donated land for a community school back around 1891.) It's called the Downstream Casino Resort, and I'm here to tell you, it's first-class all the way. They have valet parking for your truck and boat as well as golf cart service to and from it after they've parked it. That's the sort of thing a guy could get used to. I can't remember ever having that anywhere else.

The parking lot is smooth as silk, too. I've been skateboarding all over it for the past few days with only a couple of mishaps. Of all the places I've been, it's the best skateboarding parking lot I ever seen. I love it.

The first night we were here they had a Halloween disguise contest. The winner was awarded a check for $3,000. You can imagine what the place looked like. There was one of everything and everyone. Nothing was left to the imagination — nothing. (Sorry. I don't know who won or what they were wearing.) My partner and I thought about wearing our tournament jerseys and going as professional bass anglers, but we chickened out. I wish now we'd done it. It would have been a memorable experience, although I doubt we would have won anything.

We'll start fishing for real this Thursday. Usually I say I can't wait, but in this case the decision isn't so easy. When we're not fishing we'll be competing in poker tournaments. That's always a lot of fun. I'm better at it than you might think, especially considering how frugal — actually cheap — I am. I'll let you know next week how everything turned out. I know one thing now, though. Even if I don't catch a single fish or win one hand of poker, this will go down as one fine trip.

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