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We made a weekday escape


It was a Monday and we decided to do something different.

But what to do on a warm and sunny Monday?  Jeremy and I love to road trip so we thought we would head east and check out a casino and have dinner.

We literally got in the car and headed east. This was hard for me to do because I am a planner.  I want to make the most of our time together traveling.  I did look at a map, that’s right, we went old school.  The problem, there are no casinos in eastern Missouri.  There are some casinos near the Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas state lines, but we’ve been to those.  And in my mind, I already have a shot glass from each of them.  Why go back?

I opened google maps on my phone, that’s right, I went new school.  We decided to head south and hit a casino or two in the middle east part of Oklahoma.  There was a casino in Pawhuska and wait… what’s this… from my list of “Shot glasses wanted” there is a celebrity store and restaurant in this small town.  It was decided, we would go to the Mercantile by Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman. 

We didn’t take the highway, we took the back roads, which was fun.  We went trough a town and their sign promoted them as “the place helium was discovered.”  Dexter, Kansas.  I asked Jeremy if he thought everyone in town talked in high pitched voices.  It got a courtesy laugh.  Good enough for me.  We were already through town and down the road when I decided I should have taken a picture.  I did not, I’m a bad advocate for Kansas. I have shame.

We arrived in Pawhuska around two o’clock in the afternoon.  We walked around the part of town run by the Pioneer Woman.  Two gift shops, the Mercantile Restaurant, Charlie’s Sweet Shop, the Boarding House, and P-Town Pizza.

We picked up a shot glass at the Mercantile.  Nice one, ten bucks, not bad.  We decided to eat in the restaurant.  There was an hour wait at the Mercantile at 2 on a Monday afternoon.  We decided we might have better luck at the casino.

On our way to the Osage Casino, we passed a new fancy Osage Casino, which was still under construction.  The Osage Casino in Pawhuska is pretty much a metal shed.  The casino was small. There was a snack bar, but it didn’t look like anything special.  They also didn’t have a regular bar, that was something special and a little disappointing.  A casino without a bar? WTH?  Jeremy tried his luck with the Little Shop of Horrors game, and I sat down to play Press Your Luck.  Jeremy lost some, I made same.  We came out even. 

By the way, boooo to the Osage casino, they did not have shot glasses… boooo.  They did not have a gift shop. To be honest, Osage is one of those companies that has the exact same shot glass at every casino.  Boooo… Just the logo.  If they would add the name of the town, I would buy a new one at every location, but since they sell one generic, they lost their chance at the extra sale.

We asked one of the casino employees for a good recommendation for food, it was about 3pm now.  They recommended Buffalo Joe’s, which we discovered closes at 2pm on Mondays. 

I forgot to mention, in the Drummond area there is an old bank. I loved the sign on the outside of the building. A Robbery Alarm. I want one of those.

We did not want to wait at the Mercantile, so we tried P-Town Pizza.  Stone fired pizzas.  We split a Pizza-Ree-A.  It was good, perfectly baked, the balsamic drizzle was nice then throw in the small red and green tomatoes and lots of cheese.  Jeremy got the grownup cherry limeade, which was also very good.  The best part was the garnish.  Maraschino cherries injected with moonshine.  I could have just eaten those all day.

Because it’s me and I never want to pass up an opportunity to see one of Roadside America’s recommendations.  Pawhuska is the home of America’s First Boy Scout Troop. There is a sizable statue sitting next to the Osage County Historical Society Museum.  The monument was created by Jim Hamilton.

There is another statue of a single scout saluting in front of the museum. Bill Sowel created the statue to recognize the first Boy Scout Troop in America and the only troop to be formed under a British Charter.

The home of the first troop claim is often disputed.  Barre, Vermont also has a statue commemorating the first troop.  According to the Oklahoma Senate webpage, “We had a small Episcopal church in Pawhuska, Saint Thomas, and the priest was from England. Reverend John Mitchell had actually served as Chaplain to Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts. In 1909, Mitchell organized a troop of scouts in Pawhuska and equipped them with English uniforms and manuals,” said Sen. Joe Sweeden, “That’s how our country’s very first Boy Scout Troop began.”

Besides the Pioneer Woman, turns out Pawhuska’s other big claim to fame was it was the town where the FBI started their hunt for Bonnie and Clyde.  We saw one of their hideouts when we were in Joplin last year.

Check out some of our other trips and stories Beyond Wichita.

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