Day 23, Tour 10 Oklahoma City to Watonga, OK

Much of this ride was on old US 66

After a great visit with the Foremans, Jim and Freda took me to the start of the Donut Ride - an OKC tradition. I met a lot of nice folks, including Fred who, as Geezer 1 is in charge of the ride. It was fun to meet some new OKC folks and a few folks that I had met before, especially Andy who rode with Moni and me the last time I left OKC on old 66, ten years ago - see: - Andy had ridden in from where he was riding the the Oklahoma Freewheel - well over 200 miles in 24 hours - to join us this morning. It was great to visit with him and to see his bike - a crank forward recumbent which he said, and proved by riding it such a long distance to the Donut ride this morning, was incredibly comfortable. Unfortunately for me, he was too tired from that marathon ride to ride out with me has he had done a decade ago. I was surprised today that I didn't remember much of Route 66 from riding it before, but then I realized that that was becasue I'd been focused on Moni and Andy on my first 66 ride. I have strong memories of them, but I wasn't paying much attention to the road. Good people, both of them, and it was great to visit with Andy again.

Heading for Lake 'O' on 36th street

Lake 'O'

White caps on Lake 'O'
I took this shot from Route 66 Park

I headed out west on 36th street, leaving OKC to the west. I noted that the temp was 87 F at 9:30 AM. It was about 10 F hotter today than when we rode 66 in June of 2000. I rode 8 miles getting to Lake 'O' - it has an (indian?) name that I can't remember which starts with O - then I got on the bike path around the lake - it was smooth and well designed and went over an old bridge - now pedestrian and bike only - paralleling the 66 bridge north of the lake. I was very exposed to wind at the north end of the lake - I'd say 15 mph with gust well above 25 - from the south-southeast. That was the kind of wind I had all day in stretches that didn't have windblocks. Most of the route does not have windblock such as trees and buildings and about 50 of the 74 miles I rode today had strong cross winds. It was a lot hotter and windier than those same roads were in 2000.

Shortly after I got 36th St on the other side of the lake, I turned north - a wonderful feeling in that wind! - on Sara planning to get to Foreman Road which runs to 66 at El Reno. Unfortuately, Foreman road north of Yukon is now inaccessible, and, after trying to get there and then having to ride a mile back into the wind ;{, I decided to stick to Wagner road till I got past Yukon. I thought I would be able to get to Foreman Rd by going north on Piedmont, but couldn't. If I had gone one more mile on Wagner, I would have saved two miles, one into the wind, of riding. Not wanting to ride south again (!) I went to the next road north, Wilshire Blvd, and road it until it got too bumpy and then rode a mile south to Foreman. If I had gone one more mile on Wagner to Cemetery Rd, I would have saved two miles, one into the wind, of riding. My problem find Foreman cost me four mile of extra riding. To be fair, Wilshire Blvd, which was a lot hillier than Foreman Rd, was also a lot prettier and more interesting riding.

When I finally got to Foreman Rd, I had ridden 20 miles and I stopped to take a break. It was about ten more, hard riding on a bumpy road with strong and gusty sidewinds, miles to El Reno and lunch ;-}. About two miles before El Reno, I met two women on high racer recumbents who had heard I was riding that that was from a post Jim Foreman did to the Oklahoma Bicycle Society. That was fun!

Piedmont Rd, heading north

Foreman Rd, heading west

A bike parking place on Foreman Rd.
Those are oil related things I'm using to park and that is a wheat field beyond my bike
Those two things, along with some cattle, form the economic base of this part of Oklahoma

I had a hard time finding a place for lunch in El Reno - most of the ones my GPS knew about were closed - and ended up a neat, and packed, diner where I had a great milkshake and coney dog with onions. Lots of onions. Then I headed west again on Foreman Rd to old 66 which, at that point, is Bus 40. Five miles later and lees than a mile before Bus 40 rejoins I-40, I was back on old 66. Bump, pedal, pedal, bump, pedal, pedal... on the joints between concrete slabs. No shoulders and relatively narrow lanes too, but very little traffic. Rougly 15 miles from el Reno, old 66 intersects US 270 heading north and riding gets a lot smoother and faster.

Wheat elevators in El Reno
I was passed by a wheat hauling truck just before I took this picture

At the west end of Foreman Rd

Old 66
Note the wind blown trees

It was a great relief to finally be heading north, to Calumet, after riding west most of the day. My speed doubled - I was cruising at 18 to 22 mph and riding was easy. Calumet was five miles of much easier riding. I stopped in Calumet - I had also stopped, to cool off, at the intersection of bus 40 and old 666 - to get water. I had one empty and one full water bottle, so I split he water between them and topped both of them up with ice from a drink machine. Then I bought a cup of Coke from the same machine and stayed in the cool store while drinking it. after Calumet, 270 goes north west, and, after about five miles turns about 20 degrees south. What a difference 20 degrees can make. That turn cut my cruising speed from 13 mph to 9 mph. There wasn't a lot of traffic on 270 leaving Calumet, but most of it was oil hauling trucks. They were very polite to me.

Entering Calumet

Leaving Calumet, heading northwest

The dirt road where all the oil trucks were going

At last, after my final five miles of stiff cross wind grinding, 270 turned north-northwest at Geary. I stopped at Kim's Rusty Diner in Geary for a second lunch - nice place with very good service. I had a BBQ sandwich with coffee - two cups - and water - about four large glasses. did I mention it was hot? Then I cranked on north at 19 to 22 mph ;-}. I arrive in Watonga - 16 miles - less than a hour later having ridden 74 miles in a little less than 6 hours.

US 270 heading north from Geary
Everything a cyclist could ask for, including an 18 mph tail wind

A neat mesa that reminded me of the Glass Mountains north of here

Tomorrow, I head northwest on US 270 for Woodward, OK.

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