Wednesday, August 6, 2008

(Day 8) New State = New terrain…

Friday, July 11th, 2008
Day 8
Alma, AR to Bartlesville, OK

“Free” Continental breakfast was waiting for me this morning. I sat between 2 women carrying on a conversation, 1 on the far left side of the lobby and 1 on the far right side of the lobby. I’m not sure what they were talking about, but if you drew a line from one lady to the other, it would have run right over my plate. I’m not so sure this motel thing is better than camping out.

Anyway, I stuff my face with stale bagels, fruit loops, orange juice, 2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, pack my bike and get back on the trail around 8:30am. I still have some of the Ozarks National Forest left to enjoy:

Throughout most of Arkansas, the water looked a little cloudy to me:

…but the road worker I talked with yesterday said it looked clear to him…? I made sure this section was NOT clear after I was through with it:

There isn’t a whole lot to write about today, I was just riding:

Leaving Arkansas behind me:

Here is the very last bit of Arkansas on the OK/AR state line:

And here is how Oklahoma welcomes me:

… with no welcome sign to be found. But notice how the road gets a little muddy entering Oklahoma…a sign of things to come?

Nahh, Oklahoma is just fine:

See, they’re even grading the roads here:

I even found God’s mountain:

(wait… which one isn’t?)

Here comes the long and straight roads I’ve been looking at on the maps and yes, they’re definitely long and straight:

Who says I didn’t stop and smell the roses? (or whatever plant this is):

Finding places to “irrigate the land” was becoming easier; this looked like a good spot:

All bridges should be built this way:

Then there would be less of this:

It’s hard to see but flooding had taken out the far end of the bridge above. There was a path leading into this river, but the boulders in the foreground were obviously intentionally placed to prevent “most” people from advancing.

The next available bridge was about 5-10 miles away, so trying to get through this may not have been such a bad idea and I’m pretty sure the Orangutan was capable of completing the task. But, fortunately, the better side of me decided to take the long way around, however I’m sure it would have been fun to try.

I like the way they build telephone poles here. I’m no engineer, but I would venture to say these poles would last longer than the traditional “T” poles that I’m used to seeing:

Signs of life here on I-44, but their route seems too easy and non-interesting:

I kind of like my route better here around Loveless Corner:

Not only are the telephone poles different, so are the water towers:

And, you can’t stop on the interstate and take artsy-fartsy pictures:

Sorry for the tilt here, it was hard to get a good picture while riding, but look far off into the horizon, you can see the gap in the trees where the road leads, straight as an arrow:

Then I come into a not so ritzy part of town and another road closure:

“Road Closed” signs mean nothing to me… well, maybe they they do now:

So, I turn around and try another route. This is looking back:

…and this is looking forward:

It was a very, very slow descent into deeper mud and thicker brush. There was actually a paved road underneath all of this mess, but it was slick and smelled uninviting. I was running low on water at this point as well, so I turn around and take the highway to the nearest town:

Nowata, OK. Hopefully they had some wata… Amazingly they did and this is where I sat to refill my camelback and load my pockets with more granola bars:

I don’t know why I struggled with which side to sit on, I don’t really have an opinion on either school, but I liked the concept.

Hey, an oil well? I thought we imported all of our oil:

I saw a lot of these. But, they didn’t look like they were yielding much, I guess we have a long ways to go to meet up with our own demand.

Anyways, the sun was getting lower and it was time to find some camping. Osage Hills State Park looked like the closest option. Bartlesville, OK was in my path, so I drove through and couldn’t believe the amount of constant wind blowing through that town. A guy at a stoplight called it “relentless”. I call it annoying and I’m not sure why anyone would decide to move there unless they had plans to build a wind farm. But, apparently people do move there as it was a pretty nice town. I guess I was so intrigued with the wind that I forgot to take any pictures…sorry.

So, next stop is Osage Hills State Park, they’re serious about cars traveling in the wrong direction:

For 10 bucks I get a primitive site and a hot shower:

I forgot to pick up dinner in Bartlesville (10-15 miles of eastward pavement riding to go back) but I had some granola bars that would hold me over if need be. I was kind of hoping one of the other campers would offer some food. About the time I started thinking of this, a nice guy, his wife and grand-daughter walked by and offered hot dogs. Deal! I feel bad for forgetting their names, but, again, extremely nice people:

This guy has done some long distance riding before, so my story wasn’t so outrageous here. I was telling him the towns I was going to and he would try to offer “good riding roads” in between. I told him I already had some backroads mapped out on my GPS… “Oh, these are good backroads I’m talking about”. So, I walk him back to my campsite and show him on the GPS how I define backroad. Now he was a little more aware of my intentions and goals :)

Anyways, it was a long day and there was a breeze coming through the park during the night. Something I hadn’t in my first 4 camping nights, it was very comfortable.

Tomorrow’s plan was to simply make it to Alva, OK.

Total mileage: 1762
Daily mileage: 263
Wildlife observed: Just a bunch of birds
Favorite Sight: The small trees that filled Osage Hills SP. The tree-line seemed like it was only 10 feet tall.
Favorite Scent: Had a lot of bad scents today, nothing positive.
Favorite Sound: “Would you like to come over for some hot dogs?”
Favorite Taste: The hot dogs (mustard, ketchup and relish)
Favorite Feel: The wind holding me up at stoplights in Bartlesville
Ailments: Nothing really, still holding up well, I think my body has adjusted to life on the road.

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