HIGHWAY 412, OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE — It’s not easy to make a straight stretch of prairie highway interesting.
As this story plays out we’re driving west of Slapout on Oklahoma Highway 412 and there isn’t much to see in any direction.
The horizon line is more than fifteen miles out and forever receding.
Out here 70 mph feels like 40 mph.
A good radio station out of Liberal, Kansas and the occasional, sneeze inducing dust mite, are my only diversions.
You can look it up.
There’s a stretch of this highway from Slapout to Hardesty more than 65 miles that’s plumb line straight.
We stopped in Guymon to ask about the road.
Professional drivers like Cody Smith couldn’t think of any better examples of long and straight.
“Not a gas station for miles,” he says.
A visitor asks if he would be surprised if 412 would prove to be the longest, straightest road in the U.S. “Not suprised at all,” he replies.
We found Danny Agers and Tom Burke over at the El Sol Diner next to the truck stop.
The ladies were two shy to talk but Danny and Tommy racked their brains trying to think through their own long and straight paths through life.
Tommy thinks, “There’s a road that starts out in Boise City. It goes on up into Lamar, Colorado.”
“It’s pretty straight,” agrees Danny.”
“It is straight,” affirms Tommy.
Finally we ran into Micheal Shannon around Four Corners, Oklahoma, further west of Guymon on the way to Boise City.
He used to drive this stretch every day.
Micheal came to know whatever landmarks there were to see, and he used this section to wind down before he hit his own driveway.
“I would kind of get things straightened out in my mind,” Shannon recalls. “By the time I got home I was halfway human.”
So now there is a dispute.
North Dakota lays claim to the longest, straightest stretch of highway.
Oklahoma has these two section to compare.
The question is something to contemplate when there’s nothing else to do but stay in your own lane.
Following the question on http://www.roadsideamerica.com , travelers wrote in that the straightest section of ND Highway 46 is around 30 miles.
Oklahoma travelers claim both sections of Highway 412 between Slapout and Hardesty, and Guymon and Boise City are much longer.