Day 20, Tour 10 Mena, AR to Wllburton, OK

My shadow, heading north on OK 2 at about 6:30 PM

I planned to ride to Talihina, OK today. It was short - < 60 miles - and relatively easy ride so it was only 3 PM when I rode into Talihina. The first thing I did was pick up something to drink at the Dollar General since, like yesterday, I'd run out of water shortly before entering town. Then I cruised into town heading for Pam's Diner to have a late lunch / early supper. It was closed. So was the only motel in town. So was the Subway - new since my last visit 3 years ago and the only other place to eat. I was still considering riding on to Wilburton - making an easy day into a hard one - when I rode in. Now my decision had been made for me.

Wilburton, which has the nearest motel to Talihina, is 32 miles from Talihina, but there is more climbing in that 32 miles than in the 55 miles from Mena to Talihina on AR 8 and OK 1. The temperature, mid afternoon, was in the high 90s, the humidity was high, and the wind was from the south while the climbs are to the north. Those were going to be some hot climbs. Moreover, my bad knee was hurting before I reached Talihina. I bought a 3 liter bottle of water because it fit well in my food pannier, and headed for Wilburton.


Looking south from AR 8

Looking west

I left Mena about 9 AM, heading west on AR 8. It is a pretty ride in a, reasonably flat, valley between two ridges several thousand feet higher than the valley. The road usually has a shoulder and traffic is light. There is a good bit of climbing in the first 20 miles - you reach Oklahoma after about 15 miles - of the ride, then the next 20 miles is flat.

My bike taking a break at the border

In the middle of the ride to Talihina

I was hoping the small store I stopped at the last time would be open - small chance since I was riding on Sunday - but not only was it not open, it wasn't even there anymore ;-{. Fortunately, I was well prepared - I stopped at a grocery store in Mena on my way out of town - since there were no services during this ride.

Hillier riding after the middle of the ride to Talihina

My bad knee was hurting a bit today, but I managed to make it stop by repositioning my feet on my large flat pedals. That ability has proven very useful on this tour. Still, climbing a seemingly endless series of small hills during the last 20 miles on the way to Talihina was getting to me. I was very much looking forward to getting to Talihina ;-}. When it proved to be closed ;-{, I had to get into a better frame of mind and get on down the road to Wilburton.

OR 1 - which is what AR 8 becomes in Oklahoma - continues on down the valley for another dozen miles before joining OK 2 and turning north. That is when the climbing starts. After the first, and biggest, climb - 2 miles at 5 or 6 % grade - OK 1 heads west again while OK continues north across more ridges. The last ime I was here, I rode on on OK 1so I knew what the first climb was like. The remaining 16 miles to Wilburton were not as bad as they could have been, and, with the exception of another mile or so of 5 - 6% climbing, were good, and very pretty, riding. I made it to Wilburton about 7 PM.

Looking back at the road heading west from Talihina

The ridge getting lower

Part of the, two mile long, first climb

Some more steep climbing near Wilburton

Tomorrow, I head west again, probably to Holdenville.

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