Wednesday, October 12, 2016

173: Sooner, or later

Before we leave Oklahoma (tomorrow!), I want to share a story from Lou about her family's origins in the state.  Her great grandfather was set to participate in the land rush on April 22, 1889.  This was one of the sanctioned settlement events that allowed pioneers to move into the "unassigned lands" - areas that had not been assigned to Native Americans (who had been moved there from other places like Georgia and Tennessee when white settlers began to arrive in those places in large numbers.)

According to family legend, he became ill and was not able to head off to claim a parcel when the gun went off. However, he did eventually head into the unassigned lands, and found a nice parcel, which was being held by another man. He agreed to purchase the other man's stake for $10. So, instead of being a "Sooner" - someone who jumped the gun and entered the territory ahead of the official start time - I suggested that her great grandfather was a "Later"! In any case, the land is still in the family. Lou and Hal live in the home that her father built (and where she was raised), and just down the road, a cousin lives in the home her grandfather built. Thus her Oklahoma roots run deep.

That front is the cause of our north winds
It's getting cold out here. Yesterday we fought a crossing wind from the south, and today we are facing it from the north. The front is coming, bringing colder weather, but we hope no rain.  

For the first time in a long time, we had a blowout. This came right after we stopped to pick up our miracle click-stand. It had fallen off the front pannier, where I was always a bit anxious about it.  No harm done to it, but had we been descending at a rapid pace, it could have been a long way back to retrieve it. Or we might not have noticed that we had lost it, which would have broken my heart. In any case, I will be in charge of securing it from now on.
Thankful it was unharmed!

What's it like to ride on the old Route 66? Most of the old sections of the road are concrete. The surface is fairly good, but the cracks between the sections are bad. If you are not attentive and drift over (or get blown!) it could be serious. When the surface has been degraded, it's paved over with asphalt. This is particularly the case in the low places - i.e., the bottoms of the descents. Pretty much every bridge or low place must have been washed out at some point, because they are almost always paved over with the asphalt. Which is too bad, because it means you really have to watch your descent in order not to have a high-speed smack into one of the asphalt bumps (the repairs are not exactly smooth). Other than these old segments, we spend a lot of time off the side of the highway, on the frontage road. The old road probably wound around here and there, while the Interstate takes a very straight path. So we cross it every 3 or 4 miles to stay with the old route. 
Have to watch for cracks

Cotton boll on a rocket - cool!
In the towns, every business seems to post with pride the Route 66 emblem. And there are lots of the old inns and motels everywhere - most of them in sad states of decay and desertion. But they still have those great signs!  I love the arrows and swooping sense of motion they convey.  And a few of them are still offering lodging.
Sadly vacant

Just the sign left here

Newly renovated!

More arrows - still in operation

Loved this one, and it's still in operation
The day's report:  Weatherford to Sayre, 65.4 miles/8105 to date

Our routes lately are pretty boring!  Just a straight line west.


  1. What do you mean boring - you have Hext and Texola coming up. And later, (much)the thriving intersection in Vega!

    1. I think Vega is where we fixed the flat and had the Subway sandwiches, which was a good thing, as the cafe in Adrian was closed by the time we got there, and they weren't serving anything but pie, anyway! Tough times for these small towns. Yet they hang on.


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