By: Jon Blackwell
If you are an avid reader of C4x4 you may be familiar with the Day of Dirt Adventure, sometimes just known as the D.o.D. For those unfamiliar with the D.o.D. it is a back road tour of Oklahoma's forgotten history. A group of mostly Jeeps convoy along a 50-80 mile route of as many dirt roads as possible visiting old homesteads, early statehood schools, almost abandoned towns, old bridges, and pre-statehood cemeteries. It is an easy day worth of driving, but a good time to meet other like minded people and even learn a little local history. A lot of people live in an area forever and not realize the history that is a short drive away.

This years D.o.D was held April 11th with our start point being Stillwater, Oklahoma. With Stillwater being about the same distance from Oklahoma City and Tulsa it allowed Jeepers from North Eastern Oklahoma to attend just as easily as central Oklahoma Jeep owners. It did however require an early wake up for those coming from a bit further away such as Lawton and Enid.

We all gathered in Stillwater at 0900 and it was impressive to see about 100 Jeeps pull into and take over the parking lot. It is hard to believe that the first Day of Dirt was held Oct 13, 2012 and had 15 Jeeps and 2.5 years later 100 Jeeps roll in for this non-wheeling event. It rained on the drive to Stillwater and that was okay with the hope that it didn't rain all day and would keep the dust down. With about 100 Jeeps in attendance the convoy was split in two and since the route was a circle it was decided that one convoy would run the route backwards and we would cross paths somewhere on the other side. With the drivers meeting out of the way and singing Happy Birthday to Olivia, a young Jeeper who celebrated her birthday on the D.o.D. we headed east out of town. This writing will be from my point of view running the route the ?right? way.

A few miles out we caught our first dirt road, now earlier I mentioned that it had rained on us on our way to Stillwater and we had hoped that it would keep the dust down, unfortunately the Northern part of the county must not have received any rain as the road was quite dusty. We headed north a few miles to our first stop, a large abandoned school house. It was built in 1910 and was just over 3500 square feet and for a rural school is quite large. There was also a gymnasium next door. It must have served a large area as most schools from that time frame were typically small one or two room buildings. We had to be careful though, the school was heavily guarded by............... a Llama?

We loaded up and headed East to Hart Cemetery, named after the Hart family who not only is buried there but also owned the land the cemetery is on. The cemetery itself is fairly large, but contains less than 30 graves. Just about a half mile down the road and around the corner was the Mount Vernon Cemetery. En route to Mt. Vernon Cemetery the Day of Dirt convoy was promptly stopped by a local Sheriff. After a few questions regarding our intentions for the day and after being advised that we weren't out to tear up the roads but rather see some forgotten history with our kids, friends, and family he let us continue our journey. He caught up with the other convoy later in the day and mingled with them, he appeared to be a decent guy. Mount Vernon Cemetery is actually in Pawnee county and contained some remains of a structure, though it appeared to be too small for a church.

From Mt. Vernon Cemetery we headed South East to the town of Quay. It was originally known as Lawson with the Post Office established Jan 17th, 1894. The name was changed Feb 24th, 1903. In 1909 the town had about 100 residents and with the oil boom had a population of 4,000 by 1920. The Post Office closed in 1957 with the school closing in 1965. The town now has less than 50 residents. The North side of town is in Pawnee county with the South side being in Payne County.

Just a few miles East of Quay is a jog in the road between two large stone walls. This is the remnants of a train trestle for the Missouri, Kansas, Texas (MKT) railroad. There are a few railroad ties up top, but no rails or wooden structure. About a mile up the road a creek was dammed and the train would stop and fill up with water as at that time they were steam powered.

At this point we headed South a few miles at which point we passed the other convoy. What a sight that was, 100 Jeeps passing each other on a long country road, it had to be the Worlds longest Jeep wave. But wait....... they are covered in MUD! Where did they find that? We eventually turned West and began our journey back towards Stillwater.

We traveled by Twin Mounds an old Native American cemetery and ceremonial area on our way to Ingalls. Between Twin Mounds and Ingalls the dust died down and the roads started to get sloppy.... we had found the mud! Ingalls was the site of a gun fight more furious and more deadly than the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In August 1893 the Dalton-Doolin gang were hiding out in Ingalls; when the US Marshalls came to town to get them a gun fight broke out. Three Marshalls and two residents were killed with several people being wounded including a couple of the outlaws. The outlaws were eventually rounded up.

From Ingalls we headed South a few miles to an area known as Ghost Hollow. As the story goes, a tree in the area was used to hang criminals. In the 1890s an innocent man was hanged and overnight the tree lost all its bark and from then on it would glow in the moonlight. The road through Ghost Hollow then turns and follows next to the North Canadian river for a few miles until we cross the Stillwater Creek Bridge. Though the bridge was placed here in 1936 it is actually two older bridges of differing widths cobbled together to likely replace a larger through bridge that may have washed out.

Less than a mile east of the bridge we stopped at Clayton Cemetery and as most cemeteries in Central Oklahoma it was established in 1890. The cemetery is segregated with the North side being the white side and South side being the black side with most of the deceased likely being from the Moorehead Plantation which was located a ½ mile south of the cemetery.

We left the Clayton cemetery heading North by the small town of Mehan for which I could find no historical information about at this time. We continued on a Northwardly track working our way back to Stillwater where we ended the Day of Dirt Adventure at Kicker, the car audio companies World Headquaters. At Kicker we explored their museum and demos and ended the long dirty day by giving away door prizes such as a winch, lift kit, Camcans, gallons of bedliner, rust preventative coating, a LED light, many gift certificates, steering stabilizer kits, grab handles, a CB, and CB antennas just to name a few. Door prizes were donated by some vary generous sponsors which include, 4 Wheel Drive Hardware, Blue Water LEDs, Rough Country, Superlift, Full Metal Badges, Right Channel Radios, Firestik, POR15 Coatings, Magnaflow, Rockauto, Daystar, Teraflex, Painless Wiring, and other private sponsors.

As the event continues to grow and evolve new things are learned that will hopefully make next years event even better. Not only was two convoys a first for the Day of Dirt so was having Sponsors and I can't begin to show my gratitude for believing in the event enough to provide their products as door prizes. I think this certainly made the event top notch and look forward to working with them all again next year. Until then, get a little dirt under the tires.

To see more pictures both past and present find Day of Dirt Adventure on

Photos Credit: Jonathan Blackwell, Randy Riech, Barry Brisco, Echo Machey, Jack Irby, Jonathan Greenroy, Karen Greenway, Katie Warner, Nazih Al-Mufleh, Staci Tressler, and possibly others.

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