Day 17 : Oklahoma City to Clinton OK 95 miles with a little climbing and good company

Jim Foreman and I met Moni and Andy, two OKC bicyclists at the Wiley Post Airport in western Oklahoma City this morning. After a good breakfast of big Cinnamon rolls <grin> Moni, Andy and I rode north for about mile and then headed west to connect to Route 66. Moni and Andy rode with me for fifty miles, then headed back to OKC to complete their century ride. I rode on for another ten or fifteen miles and then Alvin, who lives in Clinton, met me at a service station and rode with me the rest of the way to Clinton. It was really nice to have company on my first day back on this tour.

Moni and Jim


The first part of our ride west was on Wilshire Blvd, which took us past some fancy farms and other rural stuff. Pretty and easy riding. Then we jogged south a mile on Cemetery Rd to Foreman Rd and rode west on Foreman (Jim gets his name on everything) Rd to Yukon OK. We stopped in Yukon - we'd ridden about 20 miles - for a bathroom and Gatorade break, and then continued west on Bus 40 (very light traffic) which is also US 66. When Bus 40 headed south to I-40, we continued west on 66. Just look for the signs for Fort Reno.

US 66, like other two digit federal highways of that period, is concrete slabs with tarred expansion joints. {Thump- thump} repeated every few seconds... It also has strange 'shoulders' which slope upward to keep water on the road. Not ideal bicycling, but, with little traffic, not bad. After another 15 miles or so, during which 66 got pretty hilly, we stopped for a very good lunch at the truck stop at the intersection of 281S and I-40. It was crowded, so Moni asked a couple sitting in a five person booth if we could join them. Nice folks from Pittsburg KS and we enjoyed visiting with them. The food was good too!

At the 281 intersection, Jim had told me we had two choices: ride I-40 for a few miles or follow the 281 spur to Hinton Junction. Moni wasn't willing to do I-40, so we did 281S. It was, as Jim had said, rather unpleasant bicycling: big trucks, lot of traffic and a narrow road with no shoulder.

Fortunately it ended in a couple of miles when we turned south on 281 to go back south towards I-40 and US 66. The worst area seems to be becoming four lanes, so this route may improve in the future. 281 crosses the Canadian River over a long bridge made up of a lot of short bridges, but traffic was light - the trucks go north on 281 and we went south - so it was pleasant riding.

Moni and Andy leaving the rest stop

Shortly after US 66 exits west off 281 we stopped a 66 rest stop to relax and cool down. By this time of day - mid afternoon - the temperatures were in the mid 80s. We had a pretty consistent five to ten mph south wind all day which helped to keep us cool, but 66 continued to be hilly and trees often blocked the breeze.

A few miles after the rest stop, Moni and Andy turned back towards Oklahoma City. We had reached the fifty mile mark, after about four hours of riding, and they headed back. It was great getting to know them and great fun riding with them. I hope I get to see them again on future rides through OKC. As I rode on down 66, I notice severe flagging of trees indicating strong south winds. I was thankful we didn't have them today!

I stopped at a service station (the first one since the truck stop) at the intersection of OK 58 and I-40 and got a candy bar and a rootbeer. As I was sitting outside eating my snack, a truck drove up with a short wheelbase recumbent mounted to it. I said hello to the fellow who got out of the truck and he asked 'Are you Mark?' I said yes and he introduced himself. Alvin, with whom I had been exchanging email about riding together tomorrow, had decided to try to find me so we could ride together for the last 25 miles or so into Clinton as well as tomorrow morning. We made an odd couple riding on 66: a loaded touring bike and a short wheelbase recumbent.

It was really nice of Alvin to join me and lead me into Clinton, with a much needed stop at Braums in Weatherford for a big milkshake, and even nicer of him to pay for that milkshake, the room he booked for me in Clinton and, later, my supper. Alvin says this is just the way folks behave in western Oklahoma, but I think it might have as much to do with Alvin's personal generosity as it does with western Oklahoma civility. I appreciate both.

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