I went the long way to Eucha, Oklahoma this morning for an assignment. I took a combination of smaller highways to get there-partly to avoid a toll and partly to explore a part of the state I haven't seen much of. Even though I'd worked at the Tulsa World before, and grew up in northeast Oklahoma, I don't remember ever having been to Salina or Spavinaw.
After a quick assignment in Eucha, I took Highway 20 back west toward Spavinaw. I stopped at Snake's Den Bar and Grill for lunch. While I ate, I talked with the owner, Butch McDonald. He's also the town's Chief of Police and a Vietnam Veteran. He drank another cup of coffee and bragged about the hot barbeque sauce with his back to the jukebox while I ate.
He was born and raised in Spavinaw. He says he can play 17 instruments but can't read a note of music. On Saturday nights he plays lead guitar in a band called the Red Hot Pork Rinds. They had to take the name of the band off of the sign out front-people kept coming in and asking to buy some spicy pork rinds.
I wish I'd had more time to spend exploring Spavinaw, the lake, and Salina, Oklahoma. Maybe I'll get back that way again soon. In the meantime here's a few pictures from the road.
A diner waits for lunch in front of a small stage at a bar in Spavinaw. The pole is used by patrons of the bar if the mood strikes them. The weight limit is 175 pounds. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Butch McDonald drinks a cup of coffee at the bar that he runs in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. There are three bars in Spavinaw. McDonald's bar, called Snake's Den, recently won the horsehoe throwing competition held between the three bars. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
A view of Spavinaw Lake, where Tulsa residents get their water, on June 29, 2012. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Donations from local patrons hang above diners at Snake's den. The bartender describes the place as "half country and half biker." JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
A training jet stands as a monument on the west side of Salina, Oklahoma on June 29, 2012. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
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