Sunday, January 17, 2016

Meers Store & Restaurant

      This review is a long overdue pleasure.  In fact I can't believe I haven't done this already, having eaten here many times in the past.  Meers, OK is located "way the hell in the middle of nowhere" Southwestern Oklahoma near the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.  If you're not familiar with Oklahoma this is an area of rugged, mountainous country with remote country of undiscovered historical value.  Many species of wildlife have called this area home for many years including buffalo, deer, wild longhorn cattle, and elk among others. 

      Meers is located about 2 miles north of the boundary of the refuge and if you aren't paying attention you may just think you have passed it by.  This is not your fancy restaurant or even your run of the mill dive eatery.  This is the real deal, live history of food culture from many years past.  Do not let the outward appearance fool you.  This is real American history, since 1901.  Once a bustling town of miners seeking gold in the Wichita Mountains, all that remains of the town of Meers now is their world renowned family restaurant of the same name. Meers population has dwindled from the gold rush peak of 500 down to the present residents: one family of six people, eight cats and a dog.
      As for the is on the register of National Historic Places, Food Network Top American Restaurants, Bon Apetite's Best, Travelocity Editor's Pick, and Tulsa World's Best Burgers in Oklahoma.  During peak seasonal times if you are not in line during feeding times you may not get fed.  It is that popular on a regular basis with not only the locals, but anyone within a 300 mile radius.  The Meers Store and Restaurant has became famous for our Meersburger, a 7" diameter burger made exclusively from prize winning Texas Longhorn beef raised on the family's own ranch.  The most famous burger is the ONE POUND MEERS SEISMICBURGER, which comes with EVERYTHING on it.  There is also the Meersburger with or without cheese.  There are also  BBQ ribs, brisket, sausage, chopped beef, and chicken.  There are steaks, hot wings, a variety of hot dogs, and a myriad of sides such as Deep Fried Corn on the Cob, Fried Okra, Fries, Stuffed Jalapenos, Fried Pickles, Fried Green Beans, Fried Green Tomatoes, Potato Salad, Beans, Coleslaw.....and the list goes on.  There is an assortment of drinks including their very own Meers Gold Beer.  There is nothing fancy or pretentious about this place; just incredibly good food. 

      There is ample parking in several lots as well as right along the road.  There are also outside dog kennels with plenty of water and shade because they don't want your pet suffering in a hot car in the summertime heat.  Of course when you return your pup will smother you with kisses as they have been smelling that beef while you were inside. 
      On this day we were in the Wichitas hiking and taking photos with our grandson so a visit to Meers was without question.  I have eaten the Meers Burger on many occasions and can only say it is one of my Top 5 Burgers of All Time.  Simple presentation on a tin plate with a delicious, savory hunk of handmade lean longhorn beef with real cheddar cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles.  Nobody goes away from this burger hungry.  Even on a cold Sunday there was still a line to get in the door.  As you can see, the place is packed with ambience. 

      This time I planned to try something a bit different such as their famous BBQ or steaks, but as always once I was inside and smelled that burger I was done.  Brock and I corralled the Meers half pound Cheeseburger, his with fries and mine with fried Jalapeno Strips.  Barb went with the BBQ Polish Sausage with fries.
      This meal was every bit as delicious as I remember.  Brock polished off his burger and fries, grandma's fries, and a big bowl of ice cream as well.  Must be nice to be young.  I guess it takes a lot to fill a 14 year old's size 10 shoes!  Barb and I however took part of each our meals home in the traditional 'to go' box.  Even though the place was packed and very busy our service was incredibly good!  We didn't wait long for our food and our server came by several times to check on us.  And so another visit to the Wichita Mountains and Meers, OK comes to an end........but not without the tradition of a great meal. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oliver Twist Heads East

     Unfortunately we continue to have issues with our truck and the "check engine" light.  Once again in Mesa we had the oil, filter/air filter changed and serviced and came to learn that our DEF tank sensor is faulty.  They did reset it, but informed us that our truck (and this part) is now in recall and that there is a national backorder for the DEF tanks and included sensor.  The dealer in Mesa informed us there is no way they would get it in the next two weeks.  We called ahead to Duncan, OK to the closest dealer to our grandson's place and explained our situation.  He did put it on order for us NOW and explained that he is currently waiting on 7 other tanks after two weeks.  We already planned on arriving in OK the 14th and staying through the 24th so I am praying advanced planning will pay off.  The truck is running very nicely and they explained that we can continue to reset the sensor when needed, but when the sensor does completely fail the truck computer will automatically govern our engine speed accordingly.  If this sounds familiar refer back to April 2015....towing at a maximum speed of 20 mph.  Our truck is still very much within warranty, but who needs the headache? 
      We have decided to head directly to Oklahoma via (not the most direct route) a route on major highways overnighting at locations with readily available dealers or Auto Zone locations (as they can also reset it).  So our route should look something like Mesa-Tucson-Las Cruces-Odessa-Wichita Falls-Marlow.....we may be camped there for an extended period to get this resolved, but what are our choices?  I love this truck, but after several maintenance issues I find myself much like the young character in the classic novel Oliver Twist with his famous banter....."please sir, may I have some more?"
     Leaving Mesa we headed SE to Tucson and another familiar boondocking site .   This is about 7 miles SW of South Tucson on the Ajo Highway (#86).  There is a free RV dump and water spigot at the TTT Truck stop (Mr. T's Gas Station) next to the Pilot Travel Center on I-10 exit 268 which we visited prior to setting up camp.

       We were here to visit a very dear USAF buddy Mark Page who resides here.  Another veteran of the AWACS wars around the world, Mark and I have kept in touch over the years. Mark retired 10 years ago and is very happy playing Mr. Mom to his beautiful 10 year old daughter as well as restoring custom motorcycles, including a vintage model Triumph. His wife, Shadica, is a Major in the USAF and has 3 years left till retirement for which she can't wait!  He and his wife were wonderful hosts as we all reminisced about the good old USAF days and the south.  It sure was so good to see Mark again. 
      From Tucson we headed east once again ending up in Las Cruces, NM.  So far the truck is running fine with no other indications.  For the 2nd year we stayed at the Siesta RV Park in Las Cruces.  Reasonable prices ($30) for full hookups, WiFi, and Cable TV.  We decided to spend a couple of days to visit a friend and restock our eclectic cooking include frozen green chile peppers, dried green chile powder, a ristra, and dine on some of the best Green Chile Cheeseburgers to be found anywhere!   Diesel was a delightful $2.01.
      Our first day back on the road took us across West Texas.  If you've never been here this drive is one of perseverance.  335 miles the first day took us to Odessa on I-20.   

There is a whole lot of HORIZON out here, but allows for some pretty good gas mileage if nothing else.  We averaged a record 17.1 mpg for the day!  Gas enroute at truck stops was an incredible $1.93 a gallon for diesel, but I didn't need it.  We boondocked at the Wal Mart parking lot on the West 338 loop.  I have also been battling a pinched nerve in my upper back that is torturing my left arm.  These usually only last a day or three, but this has been going on now for about 2 weeks.  Barb is ready to shoot me for obvious (and less than obvious) reasons.  I will have to see the doc in Oklahoma once we arrive there.  The truck is still running beautifully with no "check engine" light yet. 
      Day #2 in West Texas took us another 303 miles into Wichita Falls as we left the interstate and traveled US 277 NE towards Oklahoma.  Mileage again was a good 13.5 mpg with no "check engine" light, but even better was the $1.73 per gallon price for diesel here!  Once again we graced Wal Mart with our overnight stay.  We were not able to 'water up' before setting up so we used our 'last resort'......bottled water for minimal usage.  The next morning we crossed the Red River into Oklahoma, only 87 miles to go. 
      We rolled into Marlow, OK early afternoon to find that the RV Park we had reservations for was no longer business.  We did some quick backtracking and found space in Town & Country RV Park which was even closer for us. 

In fact there was plenty of room.  We came to find out that although everyone loves the lowering gas prices it plays hell on the local economies of oil country towns.  We did not know how long we would be here awaiting our truck part so we got the monthly rate, which was a great deal at $300!  Our arrival also coincided with a cold snap rolling through with 2" of snow and temps that fell into the teens our first couple of nights there.  We do have a heated water hose that we got last year when were here and surprisingly hadn't used since then.  Always good to be prepared "Down South".  We still have not had a "Check Engine" light and diesel is $1.85 here. 
      So we await news of our truck part.  I called today and it is still on backorder, but the dealer knows we're here.  We can still wait here as long as February 2nd and still make our Mardi Gras reservations in NOLA.  We will thoroughly enjoy visiting with our grandson, our peer grandparents, and eating some pretty delicious local cuisine (yes, I've already had some gizzards).  Pray for success!