Day 12 Moore to Enid OK
When I left Jim Foreman's house in Moore this morning about 8:30 AM, the sky was low gray clouds and the wind was blowing out of the north at 10 to 15 mph. When I got to my motel in Enid about 8 PM this evening the sky was partly cloudy and the wind was from the north at 17 mph. This was a long days grind into stiff headwinds. I estimate (I broke a wire on my computer and I need a soldering iron to fix it so I don't have ride timings or distance measurement, but I do have cadence and the clock function which are what I normally view when I ride) that I rode for about 9.5 hours today with an average speed of about 10.5 mph. Not bad into that wind!
I rode north from 27 St in Moore on Shields Blvd to Reno Blvd which just north of I-40, then I rode west on Reno to just west of I-44. I rode several main streets going north for a mile, then west for a mile, etc in order to get some relief from the wind. When I got to the Northwest Expressway I was on Meridian Ave. All of this was pretty low traffic since I rode it on Sunday morning. This would not be a practical route on a weekday morning!
OK 3 heading northwest
Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City is six lanes or so with no shoulder and on Sunday morning, light to moderate traffic. I stopped to eat a first lunch before it crosses Rockwell Ave and the services end. This was about 10:30 AM and I had been riding for two hours just to cross the city. During that time the low gray clouds had sprinkled on me a bit, but, other than the wind, the weather was comfortable for riding.
About 11 AM I left the city and the highway went to four lanes with wide shoulders. At this point it is OK 3 heading northwest. Roughly 20 miles later it turn north and reaches Okarche. I stopped there for a second lunch at about 1 PM. Lunch was quite good at the Tower Cafe - so called because of the oil derrick sitting behind it. Okarche has several places to eat and to stay as does Kingfisher about 9 miles further north on what is now US 81. I stopped there and bought some grapefruit juice to go with a bagel I brought with me.
There is a strange problem with US 81 between Okarche and Kingfisher: the two sides of this separated four lane are not at all equal. The south bound side has a wide shoulder while the northbound side has no shoulder at all and a nasty (go off it and crash) edge. I quickly walked my bike through the grass median and rode the 'wrong way' to Kingfisher. After Kingfisher, north bound 81 is OK till 20 miles or so south of Enid. Then the wide shoulder exists some times on both sides, and always on one side, mostly the southbound side. I switched back and forth to follow the good shoulder! Note the neat clouds in the wrong shoulder picture!
I stopped at Dover (another bagel) and Hennessey (milkshake). Dover is a much smaller place than Hennessey, but has almost the same level of service, i.e. a store and a place to eat. Neither seem to have place to stay. Bison is just a grain elevator and Waukomis is a truck stop and motel. I was tempted by that motel, but decided to struggle on though the seven miles into Enid.
Cloud over the entrance to Vance Airforce Base just south of Enid
Enid is a pretty big town with lot of services. I rode three mile after entering Enid and passing the first group of motels before I passed the center of town and found the place I wanted to stay. Considering that I was riding directly into a 17 mph wind, that was a fairly major effort on my part.
I had planned to continue north from here tomorrow, but that !@$$! north wind is still supposed to be blowing at 10 to 20 mph. I don't want to do another 100 mile day into it, so I may head west instead. I need to check on places to stay in north western Oklahoma before I can decide on my route.
I've told folk that were convinced they couldn't ride across the US east to west that the wind out here blows from the south in the summer. Some of the trees along this route are visibly 'flagged' to the north because of that 'fact.' My ride today should have been an easy 100 miles with a decent tailwind! Instead it was a marathon grind into a strong headwind. What went wrong? Well a big front just came through here from the north as I rode north. That doesn't happen too often in the summer although it happens a lot on the winter and winds then are generally from the north. As a result of this front, I rode into beautiful (except for the wind!) weather. The humidity is lower than it has been since I started and the visibility is incredible. Passing through this front took me out of the eastern/southern summer haze/smog/ozone soup that I, unfortunately, now live in the mountains of western North Carolina. That was nice.
It was also nice that I wasn't riding in Oklahoma yesterday before the front passed through. Some of the places I rode today had three inches of big thunderstorm rain yesterday! Jim Foreman and I sat in his garage and did repairs on my my bike while thunder and lightning and pouring rain were happening in Moore. That was also very nice. I thank Jim and Freda for a great, and well timed, visit!