Day 12 Enid to Woodward OK
The winds today were 10 - 20 mph from the northeast. I opted to go west instead of north - not a hard choice! It was a good choice since I had either tail or cross winds all day and tomorrow, when I must go north and west, winds are forecast as 10 to 20 mph out of the southeast. Yes! There are advantages to having lived out here and having some familiarity with weather patterns. Since I have 120 miles to go tomorrow, I need that tailwind.
My route was straight forward (most routes out here are since there aren't a lot of roads): get on US 412 in the middle of Enid and go west till it reached Woodward. Before I decided to do that, I stopped at the tourist info center in Enid to see exactly what was in Woodward and to ask about services along the way. I found plenty of services in Woodward, but no services at all for over forty miles in the middle of the trip. Unknown services at Cleo Springs about 30 miles into the trip and at Moreland, about 75 miles into the trip. no services in between.
I stopped for a second breakfast in Enid since I wasn't sure what I would find on down the road. Heading west on US 412 was a pain in Enid because of heavy traffic and road construction, but 412 got pretty nice once I left town. I had the same weird shoulder on the wrong side of the road experience leaving Enid as I had had coming into it. I think what has happened is that the road was a two lane road with wide shoulders and, when they expanded it to four lanes they took the cheapest route: cut off most of the 'inner' shoulder on the old road and built an inferior road for the other lane with no shoulder. As long as I don't get into trouble for riding the wrong way, I'm happy with this solution. It beats the heck out of North Carolina's 'solution' which is to not build shoulders at all!
It turned out that there is a cafe in Lahoma which is ten miles west of the center of Enid, so I could have stopped there. I didn't stop till Cleo Springs, about 20 miles farther west. I figured Cleo Spring was my last hope for lunch, so I rode north a mile into town only to find that there was no place to eat there. There is a grocery store right next to the, long since burned out and closed, cafe. I went in and got some stuff for a big snack: an ice cream sandwich, a nutty-butty bar, and a honey bun. Then I rode back out to 412 and turned west looking for a place to eat my snack before it melted. Opps - there is a cafe (convenience store, gas station) just west of the road to Cleo Springs! What to do? I took my ice cream in and proceeded to eat it while waiting for the waitress to take my order. Then I ordered the 'small' special (instead of the 'large' special) and ice tea. Even with the small special, there a lots of good food and good ice-tea. Most of the customers, and there were a lot of customers, seemed to be local farmers and oil workers.
After that cafe, there is another service station|food store at Orienta a mile down the road. Orienta is where 412 heads west following the Cimarron River while US 60 heads south to Fairview. Fairview it is only five miles or so down the road and has a lot of services. On 412, the next services are at Mooreland, but there is a lot of interesting country before you get there. There are also a lot of hills...
I never though of Oklahoma as having mountains, but I ran smack into the Glass Mountains today! To be fair they are really just high mesas, but they are pretty and interesting - somewhat like the Badlands in South Dakota. They are also part of where the plains rise up to become the high plains. That means a seven hundred feet or so altitude gain and, because they road doesn't just go up but rather goes up and up, and down and up and up, and down, etc; I'd guess I climbed several thousand feet today. The hills are steep enough and long enough so that there were a couple of places in this section where my ears 'popped' while climbing. Gee, that's what happens when I'm riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, but in Oklahoma? This is nice riding! I stopped several times to rest and enjoy the scenery.
Riding conditions deteriorate when 412 crosses US 281. Then there is a long (ten miles or so), hilly, stretch of narrow road with no shoulder and too many big trucks. Traffic was light and some of the steep hills have passing lanes so it wasn't too bad, but it was less than pleasant when several big trucks blasted past as I ground slowly up a hill. That seemed to happen on most of the hills and there are a lot of hills in that ten miles.
At the end of that ten miles, I climbed yet another hill to be greeted with construction signs at the top. It turns out that the construction is pretty well finished and the road is now a new, wide four lane that is flat to a bit down hill all the way into Mooreland (6.5 miles)! Nice riding and very easy riding compared to the stretch that came before it!
Mooreland has a very nice convenience store/service station and a motel as well as a lot of construction on the main street. I stopped for a big coke, then rode on to Woodward. After getting through the construction in Mooreland, riding is again very easy for the eight miles to Woodward. It is wide four lane with, this time, a shoulder.
In Woodward the shoulder goes away and traffic was a bit much as I rode through town about 5:30 PM. I started this ride about at 9:30 and took at least two hours of breaks, so the ride time was about six hours for ninety hilly miles. Boy, it sure is nicer having a tailwind than a head wind! I hope the winds 'serve' me as well tomorrow.