Day11 Sallisaw to Henryetta OK (and then on to Moore OK with a little help from a friend)
I rode from Sallisaw to Henryetta where Jim Foreman picked me and my bike up and drove us to his home in Moore. I had originally planned to ride to Okemah, but it was farther than Jim and I thought so I would have been late for our meeting. Fortunately Jim had his cellular phone with him so I was able to ask him to meet me in Henryetta instead. Today's ride was about 80 moderately hilly miles and going on to Okemah would have added about 20 hillier miles. It would also, as it turned out, have required riding in the rain. I'm glad I didn't have to do it!
I started my day by re-riding the eight miles I rode yesterday before turning back because of the oncoming rain. A few miles further I rode through Vian and discovered a not too great looking Motel. If I had know that motel was there last night, I would have tried (and probably succeeded) to get to it before the rain hit. I would have missed a nice visit with the couple on motorcycles, but I would have saved about sixteen miles of riding.
After Vian, it is another ten miles to Gore and then Weber Falls. I stopped at the Jolly Rodger Restaurant in Gore for my second breakfast. I ordered a stack of pancakes - the waitress made it a short stack. Since there were only two cakes in the short stack, I should have been upset. Since each of the cakes was the size of a dinner plate and half an inch thick, I was happy with the short stack! My average speed to Gore was 15 mph. I think I had a bit of a tailwind.
View near the Muskogee Turnpike
After Gore, 64 turns south - and now I knew I had a bit of a crosswind - goes through Weber Falls and then under the Muskogee Turnpike (no bikes allowed) before turning west to parallel I-40 to Werner. At Werner 64 heads north, but I headed south to 266. Passing through Weber I noticed an adult bike parked at a pharmacy and then a paved rail trail bike path. Pretty impressive for a very small town. When I stopped at the truck stop just south of town for some gatorade and a candy bar I met a second adult bicyclist who was quite nice and deservedly proud of the fact that Werner actually cared about bicyclists. She told me about the area and about the roads I was soon to ride.
266 is a US highway which parallels I-40 until Chectoah and then heads north around some lakes while I-40 goes south around them. After about 30 miles or so 266 comes back south to end at Henryetta In between there are a lot of rolling hills and pretty country. The first part of 266 has good shoulders, but they come and go on the later parts. There is only light traffic so the lack of shoulders is not a problem.
I lost the metal clip that I use to keep my maps in my map holder back in Arkansas. I hadn't been able to find another and my map kept falling out, so when I saw a drugstore in Checotah, I stopped to ask if they might have one. A very nice young lady said they didn't but there was a variety store just a block away that might have them. I rode over, saw the door was locked, but then a family came back from lunch (at the American Legion Hall as it turned out) to reopen the store. When I went in, I asked the mother about the clips. She didn't have any for sale, but she had two that she gave me. Then she and her 10 years son asked about my trip. I wanted to show them where I was going, but I was just running off the edge of the map I was using, so she found an Oklahoma map and gave that to me. When we talked about services in the next thirty miles and it turned out that they were quite limited. She said 'you better eat before you leave town!" and gave me a ticket for a free meal that was part of Checotah's Rodeo Days celebration. The meal was at the American Legion Hall just two doors down from her store. Each ticket was a vote for a candidate for the Rodeo Queen to be elected the next day and this, very nice, lady had purchased more tickets than she could use. I went over, had my free meal and, as I was finishing up, the girl from the drug store came in. It turned out that she was last years Rodeo Queen! What a great experience of small town Oklahoma hospitality!
Riding out of Checotha I had a flat tire. Oh well, so life isn't perfect! I found an inch long wire from a truck tire stuck in my rear tire. Because it was sticking out if the tire I was able to locate and repair the puncture without removing the rear wheel. 15 minutes of delay and I was on the road again.
I stopped at a country store about midway between Chectoah and Henryetta for a snack. At this point I was still planning to ride to Okemah to meet Jim Foreman at 5 PM. It was 3 PM and the lady at the store told me that it was 15 miles to Henryetta and another 29 "very hilly" miles to Okemah. Opps. I rode on to Henryetta, stopped for a Subway meal, and called Jim on his cellular phone. He was nice enough to come get me in Henryetta.
Jim Foreman, one of the many nice folks in Oklahoma!