A September 2004 trip
to Sayre by hersplash
Quote: Get off the nostalgic Mother Road to get back to the Old West at the Flying-W Guest Ranch.
One morning, I woke to view buffalo through my window. I went out behind my cabin at night to watch the buffalo and Longhorns up close. They say you can usually hear the coyotes howl at night, but my air conditioner drowned out any outside noise. Sleeping there, I never felt any pressure to get up early to start the day. Everyone is really relaxed, so I could do my own thing in my cabin without being bothered.
No meals are provided, except with large groups, but they do sell bottled water and ice cream at the ranch. About 5 miles down the road is a small store called Four Corners. I could buy soda there and had one of the greatest hamburgers ever. The place is really popular, so be prepared to wait in line. Five miles the other way is another convenience store, and further down in Elk City is a Wal-Mart and grocery store.
Reservations are suggested, although I just stopped by and they had an opening. You can find them online at www.flyingwonline.com.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
The Flying W Guest Ranch is a working cattle ranch filled with lots of wildlife. They offer trail rides with your own horse or theirs. They even have two enormous Belgium horses that they used to pull a carriage for a wedding that I witnessed. You can ride the mechanical bull, or meander through the many buildings where you feel the Old West come alive. You can watch as the ranch hands do their day work, or just sit back and enjoy the unbelievable scenery. At any time, you might see deer, wild turkeys, quail, beaver, cows, bulls, buffalo, or more. They even have a Beefalo -- a longhorn and a buffalo that bred. This is so uncommon it occurs only once in a million.
On this trip, I realized that traveling alone could offer great benefits. I stayed on the ranch for four nights, and the staff treated me as one of their own. I picked their brains about ranch life, horses, wildlife, and history. One night, Don brought me hot biscuits with homemade Plum jelly. The next day I enjoyed a home cooked Buffalo stew made by his wife. They drove me around the land, taught me how hay was bailed, explained the history of the area, and drove right up to the Buffalo and Texas Longhorns. I was in awe standing next to these huge buffalo, with only a wire fence separating us. More amazing was watching Don feed the Longhorns right out of his hand. I think being there by myself afforded me some special extras, but I truly believe these kind folks would treat each of their guests equally well.
The ranch is really a quaint, little town. With signs printed in an old western typestyle, they have a Town Hall, Ice Cream Parlor, an original 1880s Blacksmith Shop, and a little building titled Office. I also saw an original 1885 Chuckwagon they use for cook-offs to this day and a beautiful 1912 Wheeler Windmill next to the barn. The owner told me that they are expanding the ranch in the next few years. They will be adding buildings and everything will be done so that the whole place will look like it would in the 1890s. They will have 45 buildings when completed, including a Saloon, Marshall’s office, Barber shop, Post Office, and Undertaker’s office all complete with original artifacts.
Also on the property is a museum and a 2300-year-old Buffalo kill site. Their Town Hall and Barn are large enough to hold corporate retreats, and they have two busses that can handle large groups, including a trip to the nearby Washita National Park. Elk City and its Route 66 museum are only a short drive away.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
Flying-W Guest Ranch Overview
Don’t forget to take your camera. At the tops of some of the hills, you can see the vast land in a multitude of colors. You can observe beautifully manicured farmland, hills covered with the dark red Oklahoma dirt, and buffalo and cattle grazing on the land. At the end of the trip, you’ll really appreciate the beauty of Oklahoma.
The horses are pretty tame, but they will choose one for you based on your riding experience. Reservations are suggested but not required. The staff works on the ranch all day so they can get the horses ready quickly if you just stop in. They can take groups, like birthday parties, or individuals.
Horseback riding at Flying-W
Attraction | "Flying-W Museum"
The museum has a collection of old saddles, including one once belonging to Gene Autry. There is a case containing hundreds of arrowheads found on the Buffalo Kill Site on his property. There is some old furniture, Western paintings, and Western sculptures. They have a room filled with a cute collectible village, including buildings, trains, and such that the kids would certainly enjoy.
In the back of the museum is a large garage showcasing many classic cars, including one similar to the one in Back to the Future. Don’s father had been in the funeral business for many years, so you’ll see a number of old hearses, including one from 1860 with the original glass, snowshoes, snowflake axel grease, and German silver. Also, there is a Studebaker wagon from 1895 to 1900; a Wheeler Wagon from 1885, originally used to pick up salt in Cheyenne, Oklahoma; and a Chuckwagon from 1895. I imagine any car buff would love this place. Next to the museum is a gift shop with lots of collectible and novelty western items, along with their own delicious Buffalo Jerky.
The museum is open to the public, but does not have set hours. The employees or owner will give you a personal tour when you request it.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 30, 2004
I learned that hunters were here between 300 B.C. and A.D. 300. They originally killed the buffalo by running them over the sandstone cliff. Eventually, the hunters speared them. The average sized kill was around 20 to 30 animals. Following each kill event, the hunters turned butchers and skinned, disarticulated, and deboned the animals.
Archaeologists have found the bison bones and spear points used in the killings. Small fire hearths contained burned bone fragments identifying areas where the hunters dined and rested during the butchering process.
I visited the site and saw the remains of many bison. Basically, they are found at the base of this cliff. They have a map where you can see where everything occurred, like the cliff falls and butchering. It was unusual to see this site amongst lots of green vegetation, other cliffs and wildlife. It seemed very hidden amongst the rest of the land.
This site brings you back in time and is good for all ages. It was interesting to see the live buffalo on the land, and then see that they were there so many years ago. There is ongoing exploration and excavation of the site. Special excavations are planned where guests can participate. For further information, a booklet is available to view published by the Oklahoma Archeological Survey titled Archaeological Survey of Late Archaic Bison Kill Sites in Beckham County Oklahoma.
Buffalo Kill Sight
Flying-W Guest Ranch