Like any good Pioneer Woman fan, I’ve always wanted to visit her ranch in Oklahoma. I’d googled the route from Houston to Pawhuska so many times that Google Maps would just laugh at me. You hear “Texas to Oklahoma” and think it must be a quick easy drive since we’re neighboring states but then your former friend Google Maps points out that it’s 8.5 hours and you melt a little on the inside.
My husband has spent the past three years trying to figure out how to get us all to Disney World again, I’ve spent the last few trying to figure out how to get time to get us all to Pawhuska. The love for PW is real.
This summer something different happened. I saw that they were offering tours of The Lodge for anyone visiting her store, The Mercantile. If you’re not a huge PW fan, The Lodge is the home where she films her cooking show. She blogged about remodeling an old ranch lodge for guests and that later became her cooking studio. I happened to mention to Mr. Byrd that visiting The Lodge would be a dream come true for me.
Imagine my surprise when his was response was, “why don’t we go?”.
Um. Yes. And please don’t. Judge. Me. When. I. Jump. Up. And. Down. Like. A. Little. Girl.
We had one long free weekend before school started back so why not? We planned to stay at my in-laws in North Texas to break up the trip and somehow Mr. Byrd was convinced to drop out of the girly trip and stay behind with my father-in-law. Oh well… more PW for me.
On the way from my in-law’s to Pawhuska we stopped at an amazing placed called Chickasaw National Nature Reserve, which was dreamy. I’ll tell you more about that another day because you must visit it if you’re driving through OK. We stayed one night in Stillwater, OK and then got up the next morning to drive a little over an hour to The Mercantile.
This is the point when the fan girl goes into overdrive. You see, my life is all about the love of a good view. My husband harasses me non-stop about pulling over at any scenic location just to stop and look. I always tell him that he could have a girl that spends a couple of hundred dollars at the mall or he can be happy with me and my appreciation for rolling hills and scenic sights, which is free.
Driving into Pawhuska you can see rolling hills dotted with cows, horses and windmills. It’s just beautiful. Not only is it lovely but then it starts clicking that some of these hills you’ve seen on the blog that you’ve been reading for over the last decade.
If you come in from the direction that we came, you’ll even see the Drummond Ranch sign, at which point your palms might get sweaty and you might start looking for Cowboy Josh riding down the side of the road on a horse.
I want to keep going on and on about our visit but here’s the shortened version….
Every ten seconds you think “oh that’s ___________ (insert amazing, wonderful, awesome)” and then the rest of the time you’re thinking about how you feel so connected to everything because you saw it all come together piece by piece on PW’s blog. (I warned you about the fan girling.)
We didn’t eat in the restaurant because the wait was long and we were driving back to DFW that day but we did shop in the Mercantile. I got THE BEADS. You know the ones. Turquoise. Fabulous. Wonderful. (Buying a thesaurus on Amazon now.) Then we headed upstairs to the bakery and candy store.
If you go – do yourself a favor and get the Spicy Cowgirl coffee. My dream is that one day they’ll deliver to Houston.
Finally after ooh’ing and ahh’ing at every thing, including the bathrooms, we walked to the counter and asked for the ticket to visit The Lodge.
We got back in the van, and for the second time that day it had problems starting, as if I wasn’t nervous enough already. I called Mr. Byrd who told me that I just needed to find an Auto Zone. Um.. I’m in Pawhuska… there is no Auto Zone.
Let me tell you that when Ree says it’s a gravel road for miles, it’s a gravel road for miles. Yet every bounce up and down or view of the wild horses out the windows just got me more and more excited. (I can’t warn you anymore about the fan girling – it just gets worse.)
We finally pulled up and saw it – The Lodge.
The view as you’re pulling up is the same one that you see all the time on her blog or the TV show. As a view connoisseur , it was solidified my love for the Lodge before we even walked inside.
But The Lodge did not disappoint. The decor was outstanding. The pantry was jaw dropping. The rooms were lovely. The bathrooms were exactly what I want when we redo our home’s bathrooms.
We got to look at the prep kitchen and the room where the store all of the props from the show. I found some pumpkins in the prop room that I’m working on recreating a how-to tutorial for you.
My kids loved The Lodge. They played checkers, rooted nosily through the fridges, gasped at the views off of the deck and asked if we can move to Oklahoma. Yes. Yes, we can.
One of my daughters was so excited to use the bathroom because The Pioneer Woman probably had used that same one. The other daughter kept rubbing her elbow on things and exclaiming, “I’m leaving behind my DNA!”. #Homeschoolers (and I’m sorry about that Ree).
And in the most kindred moment, I found an oven mitt with a burned corner, that’s my style of cooking.
They gave us free range of The Lodge. You could open any drawer or closet door or just sit and look at the view off of the deck. It was a dream come true.
I need to stop going on and on before someone for a mental health check for me because I’m not going to pass it.
It truly was a dream mini vacation.
And somehow… my van started perfectly… which was great since there were about 50 women there and only one old cowboy watching over all of them in The Lodge.
We headed home on the gravel road lined with purple wildflowers. I wanted to stop and pick some to dry and remember but I chickened out. Instead I stopped and rescued a box turtle.
Of course our trip couldn’t be that dreamy and easy because in Oklahoma City the poor van finally gave out to an electrical short. Someone jumped us and we were able to get it running but we couldn’t turn it off the rest of the way to my in-laws!
I want to go back and I will, especially since my mother-in-law can’t wait to go back either.
The Pioneer Woman has been such a great example to me with this blog and building a positive, loving online presence and it’s something that I’m very thankful for.
Fan girl? Yes. With a great reason? Yes.
Moving to Oklahoma? Not yet. Texas is my heart.