Enid to Woodward, OK

The road goes on forever and the hills never end
At least that is what it felt like as I rode this section in the 90+ F heat of the day

This was the third time I've done this ride on my loaded touring bike, and, by far, the hardest. The wind was kind to me today, but the heat wasn't. I was lucky that some folks had set up a movable Barbecue place about 55 miles from Enid since, by the time I got there I was running out of water and had only salty chips left to eat. I would have made it to the next source of food and water, some 18, very hilly, miles later, but I would been in bad shape when I got there. As it was, I had a candy bar and a 44 oz drink when I did get there and that was, barely ;-}, enough to get me to Woodward.

Things started out nicely this morning with easy riding on a good shoulder

My night at the $100 motel was pretty good, although I really shouldn't have had that last cup of coffee on my way out of OKC yesterday morning ;-{. The Ramada Inn in Enid was very well set up and it was a good, if expensive, place to stay. Even a very nice room can't make me sleep well when I'e had too much caffeine! I'm in a $44 place tonight - they gave me a $6 discount for being a bicyclist ;- } - the Sands Motel in Woodward. It has every feature, except a restaurant, that the Ramada Inn had last night, including wireless. It isn't as 'nice' and the room is only half as big, but this is definitely a better buy. Even without the discount, the cost would have been half of last nights room cost.

The breakfast buffet was good at the restaurant this morning, but, as last night, I got to eat with some seriously obese folks. These are people who, because of their excess weight, had problems just walking across the room to get another plate full of food ;-{. After breakfast I packed my stuff and got on the road about 8 AM. Riding, once I got out of town, was very good. The wind was light and mostly at my back. The shoulder was great and traffic was light. The sky was clear and the temperature around 80 F.

The shoulder wasn't always great, bit is was almost always rideable,
This route is called The Cimarron and I'll be going to Cimarron, KS, where the Cimarron trail ended

My first stop was about nine miles out of town in Lahoma where I remembered that there were convenience stores. It was early to stop for a snack, but the next services I remembered were about 30 mile out near Cleo Springs. It turned out that there was another convenience store at about 15 miles that I had forgotten. My next stop was at the convenience store/restaurant I remembered near Cleo Springs, only the restaurant part was, almost, gone. They did fix me a decent ham and cheese sandwich and I rode on to the Glass mountains some ten miles further on. Riding was good, pretty flat, and the wind wasn't the problem it would have been yesterday. Shoulders were usually excellent and only rarely unrideable.

The start of the Glass Mountains section, my favorite part of this ride
The first image shows my least favorite part!

Showing off the long zoom (420 mm, 35 mm equivalent) on my TZ-3
The two images above were shot, hand held, from the same location and cropped about the same amount

The small visitors center where the highway enters the Glass Mountains
Note the flag which is showing light winds from the south-east

A picture taken about five mile further west in the Glass Mountains

An image showing the interesting geology of these 'mountains'

I enjoyed riding through the Glass Mountains for the third time. They are pretty, interesting, and don't require much climbing to ride through ;-}. It had clouded up as I was riding, so the temperature wasn't too bad either.

At the western side of the Glass Mountains, the road starts climbing. I remembered that and thought that there were some kind of services ten miles or so later. It was clearing up and getting hotter and, when I reached 45 miles from Enid, I stopped to check my GPS for services. It didn't know of any within 20 miles and the ones beyond 20 miles weren't on my route, so I stopped to rest and eat the honey bun that I had picked up at my first stop. I was hoping that there would be services at 55 miles out of Enid where 281 crosses 412.

My lunch stop some 15 miles after the Glass Mountains
The most important place on my ride today

When I got to that intersection, 412, which had been narrow two lane with small shoulders for a long time. went back to divided four lane with excellent shoulders. More importantly, where the road widened, there was a small sign which said "BBQ ahead." THe BBQ turned out to be trailer in a dirt lot on the north-west corner of the intersection. It didn't look too promising but, when, just passed the BBQ, I saw a sign which said Mooreland 18 miles, Woodward 28 miles, I turned back and rode the extremely rough dirt road in. Mooreland had the services I had been hoping for and 18 miles was a LOT farther than I had hoped it was.

The barbecue place had a fairly extensive menu and, at 2 PM when I got there, a regular flow of customers. I got a brisket sandwich dinner and a coke and the lady running the place filled one of my water bottles for me. I needed that lunch and I needed that water even more. I didn't realize just how much I needed them until the four lane ended after, less than a mile later, the four lane ended and a half a dozen miles of narrow, hilly, and shoulder-less two lane started. The sky was clear, the temps were in the nineties, there was no shade, and I was tired. I stopped on time to cool off in some shade, but, 30 seconds after I arrived in the shade, the mosquitoes found me ;-{.

Looking back from near the end of the long climb some ten miles after my lunch and ten miles before the next services

After the nice four lane started again, there was a long hill - or really series of hills - to climb for another few miles. It was good that I could see several antenna towers at the top of that hill since it meant that that was the local high spot. When I made it up to those antennas, I ran out of water again. It was a dry mouthed seven miles from there to Mooreland.

Does having two train lines running next to it make a road even flatter?
That grain elevator - the 'little' thing sticking up on the horizon above the tracks - is in Woodward

After Mooreland, it is a pretty flat ten mile ride to Woodward. Before Mooreland, when 412 was descending into a gentle valley, I notice a train crossing the hills in the distance ahead. Then looking up again, it seemed like that train had quickly reversed its direction. Then I realized that I could see two trains, on considerably faster than the other running on different tracks. How unusual. As I got near Woodward, 412 ran parallel to not one, but two, sets of railroad tracks. Those tracks must separate after Moorland.

I stopped, as promised, at a Subway for supper before riding on to this motel. I've eaten at that Subway every time I've ridden through Woodward. My wife and I ate there the last time I was here, in 2004, when we were driving from Dodge City, where I had ended my tour that year, down to visit Jim and Freda Foreman.

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