Day 15: Hugo to Ada OK - 105 miles
When I woke up this morning in Hugo, there was a heavy fog. Last night, when I rode in in the rain, I asked the woman at the motel about where to eat breakfast. She told me there was good place about 3/4 of a mile down the road. Since I hadn't eaten a meal since Idabel at 3 PM the previous day, I was hungry. The fog was too thick for safe bicycling, so I walked on down the road. I could only see about 100 feet ahead. I walked 3/4 of a mile. Nothing. I walked a mile. Nothing. Finally, at 1.25 miles I saw a McDs. Not my idea of a fine place for breakfast, but it would do. I went in and ordered two orders of 'hotcakes and sausage' and a medium coffee. The clerk wanted to know what the other person wanted to drink <grin>, but those two orders made a decent breakfast.
I didn't leave Hugo till 9 AM, in part because of the long walk for breakfast (oh yeah, I found the recommend restaurant 1.5 miles down the road...), but mostly because of the fog. When it lifted, the day was beautiful. I rode west on US 70|OK 271, crossing the southern end of The Indian Nation Turnpike (no bikes allowed) and then north on OK 271 to Antlers OK. 271, despite a headwind, was the best riding of the day. Really pretty, little traffic, lots of birds, and lots of hills. Nice! It was 23 miles from Hugo to Antlers. 10 miles west and then 13 miles north.
At Antlers, "Deer Capital of the World," I stopped for a large soft drink and a little rest. Then I headed out of town on OK 3. I didn't make it out for quite a while. My bike's handling felt funny, so I pulled into an empty parking lot. Or rather I turned into the lot and crashed as my front wheel slid out. My front tire, the one with the new old tube installed yesterday, was very soft. Oh dear. So I put the bike against a corner of a building and removed the front panniers. Well, in my haste to remove a pannier, I didn't pay enough attention to the ground around the corner. I twisted my ankle as I went to remove the left pannier. I sat on the ground for a while nursing my ankle, then I got up and limped back to the bike and tried the pump. My attempts at patching the broken hose didn't hold air. I put the panniers back on and looked around for a way to fix my tire. There was a service station a block or so away on the other side of the road, so I limped over there pushing my bike and grimacing. Walking hurt.
Fortunately they had a compressor - one of the few in town judging from the number of folks who came by to use it while I worked on my front wheel. First I looked for objects sticking in the tire. None. Then I removed the tube from the tire and inflated the tube. It was leaking at an old patch. Resolved: I will not bring old patched tubes with me on future tours! I got out my second - be prepared and all that - tube and installed it. When I first pumped it up, it held air, but when I deflated and re-inflated it, it leaked badly! Resolved: I will not bring old patched tubes with me on future tours! I removed the leaky patch from the first tube and re-patched it, removing the second tube from the tire while I waited for the rubber cement to dry, then I found and patched the new hole in the second tube, waiting for it to dry while I installed the first tube. Finally, I was able to put everything back together and go into the store/service station to clean up. I wasn't in very good mood at this point. I knew, from past experience, that I could ride OK with a sprained ankle. It hurt a bit and riding was a long way from RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), but I needed to get on down the road.
Leaving Antlers on OK 3 was OK (I couldn't resist!) but 3 deteriorates as it crosses the Turnpike again. From there all the way to Coalgate, 46 miles down the road, 3 has a rather narrow shoulder and a bit too much traffic. In much of this stretch, it is evident that OK 3 will be four lanes in the near future. I do hope they give it a better shoulder! It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good as it had been earlier. I stopped in Atoka for lunch - not too impressive a place, but it has motels and a good diner. I enjoyed the all you can eat buffet for $5. It was about 3 PM when I stopped to eat after a bit more than 50 miles of riding. I stopped again in Coalgate to get snacks and something to put in my water bottles. This was a nice stop since a woman with several young children wanted to talk about bicycle touring. She had been, pre kid, a fairly avid bicyclist and was looking forward to when the kids got bike enough to ride. I stopped again on the way out of town to take some painkiller for my ankle.
Riding was much better after Coalgate. 3 has a great shoulder all the way from there to Ada. It also is more fun to ride because of the hills and curves. 3 had been rather boring between the Turnpike and Coalgate, but now it was fun with swoopy curves and, by OK standards, big hills.
I was quite tired - 8:45 minutes of riding, some of it with headwinds and most of it with a sore ankle - when I got to Ada near sundown. Once again I'm stuck without a place to eat supper, but this time the restaurant is just across the parking lot and opens at 6 AM tomorrow. I'm looking forward to breakfast! I'm also looking forward to seeing Jim and Freda Foreman tomorrow evening. Good folks whose company I really enjoyed last summer.