Oklahoma RecapPosted: June 21, 2013
I left Eisenhower State Park and quickly was into the glorious state of Oklahoma. From the song I thought the state would be sweeping plains. The area I have rode through has been anything but. Massive lakes (I’m currently close to Lake Eufaula, the largest man made lake in the world), huge sandstone cliffs, and rolling flowered grazing land.
The patrons of this fine state have been incredibly friendly however odd experiences have arisen out of this outgoing attitude of theirs. For instance, I was riding past a tiny town called Caddo. They had no gas station, grocery store, or eatery. In fact the only businesses I saw were open was a tatoo parlor and a single screen theater showing “Epic”. I would wager most people’s flat screen rivalled the theater’s screen. Just outside Caddo I heard a young girl’s voice shouting at me from behind. I stopped and sure enough there was a girl probably about 12 yelling and waving her arms. Unable to understand what she was on about I rode back. Between gasps she explained her caretaker had went to the next house down the road and the girl had begun to panic fearing her caretaker wouldn’t return. I offered her my water; she took it and to my dismay she put her mouth full around the nipple. No good deed… After she caught her breath I asked what her name was. “Phoebe” was all she volunteered and then asked if I would walk to the next house with her. Of course I said yes. As we walked she gave me family recap. From what I could gather the woman watching her was a friend of her father’s girlfriend. Why she was afraid of being abandoned never really came into picture. We got to the house and Phoebe ran up the driveway to a woman in her late 30’s standing next to a car that had past me not 15 minutes prior. Me thinks Phoebe had a flair for the dramatic.
Another man who was running a local liquor store gave me his life’s story including his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and the accusations she leveled against him and his sister as her condition worsened. “I just don’t know where she gets this stuff…” he mused. I commented it may be like living in a dream state. “Sometimes when you wake up from an odd dream you wonder where the hell your brain came up with that none sense.” I proffered. He agreed and then spent the next ten minutes recapping the dreams he had through out his life until someone else walked in and saved me from this tedious slide show of another’s subconscious. I stepped outside the shop and as I put my purchase on my bicycle a woman sitting in an SUV spoke loudly on her cell (everyone here speaks loudly on their cell as far as I can tell). She stopped and yelled at her children to quiet down, then turning her attention to me said, “What my kids? Two for a dollar.” I laughed and said I didn’t know where I would put them gesturing to my bike. There are plenty more experiences like that to go on about.
There have also been some very kind people as well. This morning a small gas station owner flat out gave me a powerade because he “really respected what you are doing.” Anytime I stop on the side of the road people pull up and ask if I’m OK. One man sporting a cowboy hat asked if I was broken-down “or just sittin’ there bein’ colorful. I assume he was referring to my bike jersey.
Oklahoma has been tough on me and the Ruckus. The weather until yesterday has been erratic and often not in my favor. Head winds and cloud bursts made the first two day’s ride tedious and uncomfortable. The first night I wild camped it thunderstorms for nearly 10 hours. The roads here, by my own oberservation and local’s admission, are really bad in areas. The going has been so rough I have had 4 flats in 2 days due to the inner tube getting pinched against the interior rim when I hit a large rock or pothole. I’m doing my best to dodge and weave but there are just so many. My phone also stopped taking a charge and Sprint is not present in Oklahoma, so I am relegated to a no contract flip phone which has made navigation much more difficult.
The roads are significantly less litter strewn than Texas, but I have never seen more roadkill in my life. Literally every ten yards in some places. Not just wild animals, dogs and cats as well. Given the placement of some of these poor creature’s final resting spot I feel confident some of the locals swerve to hit them. Armadillo’s in particular. Think of the one on Rango, but clearly hit on the shoulder of the road.
Robber’s Cave State Park was a welcome and fantastic break. Sporting multiple lakes, rock climbing, horse back riding, hiking trails, mini golf, and a swimming pool, I wished I had more than a full day there. I also had wonderful neighbor’s, the Frazers who I spent a good amount of time with. They even fed me a steak dinner. My time is about to expire so more on Oklahoma later. I’ll eventually catch up on all these places I’ve seen and people I have met, but maybe not til I’m back in WI.
Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.