I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Greetings from Stillwater, Oklahoma
N 36° 07.026’  W 097° 20.204’  Elev. 1149 ft.

The distance around the Earth at the equator is approximately 25,000 miles. The average distance from the Earth to the moon is 238,857 miles, nearly ten times as far. Why does this matter? Because over the course of my land-yachting career I have traveled over 750,000 miles.

To put this in perspective, I have traveled enough miles to have gone around the Earth 30 times, and covered enough ground to have gone to the moon and back, and back to the moon again and would now be on my second return trip to Earth. But why does that matter? Because in all those miles I’d never hit a deer; I’ve seen many.

Sure, I ran over and flattened a raccoon once; I killed a formerly dimwitted dog that actually ran in front of me in a fateful and fatal attempt to bite my front bumper while it was moving at 65 m.p.h.; I’ve slammed into three owls; and I once drove through a flock of starlings, which sounded like a burst of industrial popcorn popping. But in all those miles I’d never hit a deer … until recently.

I’m not proud of these statistics. If I could’ve avoided any of them I would’ve — killing critters is not really my gig — but I had no choice in the matter. And while the owls were certainly heartbreaking enough to hit — technically they flew into me — it was the deer that was really crushing, no pun intended.

I was traveling south on I-35 in Oklahoma shortly after 3 a.m. when a beautiful 6 or 8 point buck, truly a deer hunter’s wet dream, came out of nowhere and crossed the Interstate in front of me, head down, determined to get … somewhere. He was not running, but walking. I suspect he had a date; it was that time of year. Unfortunately for both of us, he never made it to his romantic rendezvous, obviously.

So why does this matter? And what does this have to do with food (other than roadkill venison that I did not stop to collect)? Because Bucky screwed up the yacht and I had to stop at the nearest place I could find, hopefully with a mechanic who could bend the bumper mount off of the left front tire. That led me to the Cowboy Travel Plaza at Exit 174, site of (they claim) the Largest Beer Cave in Oklahoma and The Smokey Pokey Restaurant and Bar.

The Smokey Pokey’s main claim to fame is barbecue but, as it was early, I had breakfast as soon as they opened while a Road Service was being located.

They have a pretty decent breakfast deal at the Smokey Pokey. For $8 you get ham, hash browns, a waffle (or short stack of pancakes) and two of the biggest eggs I’ve ever seen in my life. Better yet, they have warm syrup. And it’s pretty dang good, partner.

But even though the ham was great and the humongous over-easy eggs were perfectly cooked, even the warm syrup didn’t assuage my grief and guilt over snuffing Bucky the Stud on Big Deer Date Night. (Sniffle.)

And so we roll.

The Smokey Pokey Restaurant and Bar, I-35 Exit 174, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

About The Author

Tio Wally

Tio Wally is pilot emeritus of the 75-foot, 40-ton land yacht SS Me So Hungry. Now a committed landlubber, he reports on food wherever he is whenever his fancy strikes.

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9 Responses

  1. Obbop

    Hwy. 58 in Oregon. From I-5 to US 97 south to California. Narrow 2-lane and the running deer went under the left-front tire. Crunch. At least the critter died quickly.

    At a trucker’s message board I read that Generally, 76 truck stops (T/S) are gone or went independent

    The Albuquerque 76 on the west side of the town had the finest cream chipped beef!!! I asked if they could plop it atop their phony mashed potatoes.

    No problem.

    And a platter appeared with a couple pounds of taters, white gravy and ample cream chipped beef was placed before me.

    Around twice the size of a regular plate. Oh my. And very tasty!!!!

    Some places could cook the finest fried eggs. Other places’ eggs were akin to the ugly ones I cook at home with the hard ugly edges.

    Worst truck stop breakfast ever was in Montana… on US Hwy 2 if I remember correctly. Up among the pine trees at a high elevation and it was cold yet May or June.

    One of the smaller truck stop chains I am trying to recall the name of.

    Horrid place!!! Horrible food.

    Ahhhh!!! It may have been a Husky T/S

    Good pics.

    Smoking was allowed everywhere back when I was hauling freight but I generally refrained unless it was deserted inside. Even then I blew the smoke away from the waitress.

    The U-shaped counters, often 2 or more, were common with booths to the side and/or front and often a “wall” with a sign stating “on-duty drivers only.”

    So much less crowded on the roads and in the truck stops back in the 1970s and more crowded in the 1980s and thanks to excessive immigration getting ever-more crowded (not a good thing for quality of life in my opinion…. pack in the people akin to sardines in a can…..ugghhh).

    Anyway, enjoying reading about the treks and stops at eating joints.

    Oh heck; here’s a tale of the finest, by far, fried chicken dinner I ever wolfed down.


    Keep the posts coming!!!!!

    I revel in reading your posts from across the USA.

    The coverage of food, food outlets, locales, events… a multifaceted blog/Web site that offers much more than the “typical” average repetitive vittles-related reading from most food-related blogs.

    Keep it up!!!

    • tio wally

      I’ve never stopped at the Albuquerque 76. If it’s the one I think it is it’s the old one on top of the hill. Don’t know if it’s still open. I read the blog post. I never stop at the Iowa-80 for two reasons: 1.) I generally avoid truck stops because, well, I hate truck stops: There’re too many damn noisy, stinky trucks at them, and; 2.) I went to the Iowa 80 once years ago and, hell, it was a little more than a giant tourist trap. I ended up going west and stopping at a funky independent that had a little hot deli in it that was great; it’s now a trucks-only Pilot with no food. (Bastards!) BTW: you’re getting crusty edges on your eggs because your pan is too hot. Glad you like the posts. Abraço.

      • Obbop

        “little more than a giant tourist trap.”

        That is sad news.

        When I devoured that awesome chicken dinner the T/S was nothing close to a GIANT and definitely not touristy.

        At that time the 76 truck stops was the BIG chain with Petros just starting.

        The Walcott I-80 was a smaller place and your typical T/S for that part of the country.

        Of course, those were the “good old days” when one rarely had much trouble fighting crowds at a T/S and parking was rarely a problem when time to sleep.

        One problem place was the San Francisco Bay area, especially on a Friday when the trucks gathered for Monday deliveries and that area had a lack of truck stops.

        But, being from the SF Bay area I knew of places where I could park since I was a local guy.

        When I hit the road again in the laterm1980s I could easily notice how the super slabs and cities had become more crowded with traffic, different attitudes among smokey, state and local level and that truck stops were more crowded, more oriented towards 4-wheelers and just a general “attitude” difference with drivers facing more stress.

        When I left long-haul for the last time I knew I would never return.

        But, I am glad I experienced an alternate life-style, the sub-culture within the USA of the long-haul trucker.

        I also GREATLY enjoy the posts about food and other things as experienced/written by a modern-day driver.

        For the record… part of my driving time was in a 1976 “corn-binder” with no air ride (air seat, though, its coffin-sized super-small sleeper and…. MANUAL steering!!!!.

        And I hauled freight where I often had to maneuver into places not intended for a modern long trailer semi to unload. Thar meant a LOT of backing, tight corners, etc. and at slow speeds when turning that non-power-assisted steering wheel took a LOT of pushing and pulling that was HARD work.

        I left that truck with the arms of Popeye the Sailor!!!! I believe that at least a few times in later life that more then a few drunks and trouble-makers were deterred just by the size of my arm muscles alone!!!!!

      • tio wally

        I too am from California (born Coronado) and lived near the Bay Area for some years. RE “with no air ride.” Sorry about your back.

  2. Jenessa

    Howdy! I’m TioWally’s daughter, Jenessa. It’s so great reading about my Dad’s adventures. It’s just too bad his adventures in food eating don’t bring him to my neck of the woods. Getting food with Dad is always a great adventure.

    • Jason Lam
      Jason Lam

      Glad to have you all reading the blog. Tio Wally just sent me new adventures that I got stocked up. Can’t wait to post them soon.

      • Obbop

        Of course…. Jason’s writings are also nifty-keen and great reading.

        The combined efforts of all involved create what to me is an above-average food-related blod and with the combined effort the constant flow of new entries is a BIG plus.

        Blogs with stale turning-green-with-moldy-entries are too common and can quickly lose their appeal; akin to potatoes, either raw or cooked and mashed, that have sat too long.

        However, I HAVE seen the mold upon a few old mashed potato-filled pots bright with various colors that remind me of the black-lit posters of the latter 1960s and early 1970s.

        Anyway…. in the words of Dugout Doug of WW2 and Korean War fame; I shall return.

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