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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My work in Missouri was done. It was time to head home.

Having gotten to Missouri with a Saddlesore ride mostly on I-40 and I-44 (see elsewhere in this forum), I wanted to do as much of the return trip on backroads as possible.

The weather had been patchy, so I wasn't surprised to wake up to this:



I rode down route 63 from Columbia to Jefferson City, the state Capital; here's the capitol building:



From Jefferson City, I took 54 south. I wanted to see the Lake of the Ozarks. Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed with the Lake of the Ozarks:



I was pretty surprised at how crowded the area around the Lake of the Ozarks was. It was really built up. They even have roving guard dogs.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Past the lake, I found a smaller road that cut off part of the route. I did sacrifice another look at the signs for Pomme de Terre Lake. Where do they get the names in this state?

73 was nice; there were a few decent twisties, and some interesting sights.



Now here's a road name I can get behind!



73 took me to 65, which is almost highwayish, so naturally I had to get off of it as quickly as possible. I pulled off to take route 125 south. I stopped for gas in Fair Grove. I had two "That's a Triumph? I used to have one" discussions before I was out of there, and I also saw a cool convertible.



Route 125 was a good road. Oh, and the weather had improved considerably.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I enjoyed route 125 a lot. It passed through the Mark Twain National Forest, which stopped shortly before the state line. I was in Arkansas.

Immediately after crossing into Arkansas, I found myself behind a minivan. It was poking along, so I was really glad to get a wave around. Shortly after the wave around, route 125 split off from route 160 (which it had joined a few miles back), and I stuck with 125. I thought I saw some sort of sign about a ferry ahead. What?

Yes, there was a ferry ahead.



There were some cool bikes waiting there for the ferry.



We discussed the riding in the area while we crossed the river.

They split off shortly after we crossed the (Bull Shoals) Lake. I ended up behind a pair of guys on cruisers, including one with pretty extreme ape hangers. I poked along behind them for a bit, but then got around and the fun really began. I had decided to take route 7 all the way south to I-40. That turned out to be a pretty good call.



7 was a good road. There were a lot of Police around Jasper. 7 seemed to follow the top of a ridge for a while. I decided to stop at a randomly selected overlook. It turned out to be a good choice.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This really was one of the prettiest spots of the whole day.





From here, I continued south to Russellville. I was really surprised by how good the riding was along this stretch. I've heard there is good riding in the midwest, but now I believe it. It was a little tough finding my way through Russellville to my next road, route 27.

Route 27 was okay. It took me to Danville, population 2392.



Etc., etc., a few more turns brought me into Oklahoma. Okay, there was one interesting incident. I'd been doing the tire saving slalom (weaving in my lane to minimize the tire squaring off) when I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I'd been keeping pretty close to the speed limit, so I wasn't worried. I was even less worried when he only asked for my license, and not my registration. He said he was just checking on me since I was weaving. He said some people had complained. Presumably not about me personally. He checked my license (apparently there aren't any warrants out for my arrest), and that was pretty much it.

Here's the sign welcoming me to Oklahoma.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I stopped for gas right after entering Oklahoma.



I talked to a guy there who had the thickest, twangiest accent of anyone I've ever met. Without serious concentration, I'd never have understood a word he was saying. I had an easier time on the Orkney islands.

After filling up, I headed west, with some general ideas about which roads to take. It wasn't too much further down the road that I passed through the little town of Wilburton. Roll the L when you say it; Willlllburton. Sorry; for some reason, as soon as I saw the name of the town, I imagined Mr. Ed pronouncing it. It was past 9:00, so I decided to call it a night and hopefully still get some dinner. I found a little hotel that offered me a room for $50. That's pretty cheap, so I asked to take a look at the room first. It seemed clean, so we had a deal. I unloaded the bike, showered, and headed out to find dinner.

My choices turned out to be a) Pizza Hut, b) McDonalds, or c) gas station food. Pizza Hut it is! Like an idiot, I had my usual 3-4 diet cokes with the meal, so when I got back to the hotel, I had some trouble falling asleep. Moron. Once I did fall asleep, I was awakened by the sound of rain.

Oh, goodie.
 

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Nice job HiD!!
And great bike by the way!

All looks like a great ride on a great day too.
With the added spice of being pulled by the police too!!
Always adds to the excitement!!

Well done.


V.
 

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You appear to be marooned in Oklahoma.


Perhaps you need a ttub nori for the return trip home :D?


DaveB.
 

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Since you're stuck in Oklahoma in the rain, can we assume you stayed at Hotel Hell-O? (Although to be sure, I stayed at a $50 a night dump in Roggins, CO which was about $49 overpriced. One had to pay to leave. :D)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Boy, how late do you all want me to stay up? Can't a guy get some sleep before he finishes his ride report? :D Good one, DaveB.

Well, I woke up, and peeked through the blinds on the window to see that it had indeed rained, but there was dry pavement out there. Some patches of water, but mostly dry pavement. Cest la vie. When I first opened the door, I immediately saw something laying on Misty's seat. ***? Holy heck; now that's what I call service:



Color me impressed. This is one of the good ones. I happily cleaned Misty off with the towels that were in the bag, and prepared for departure. You don't get breakfast with a $50 room, so I decided to heed the wisdom of the forum, scorn McDonalds (even though I've always felt their pancakes are better than anyone has any right to expect) and find some Mom and Pop place along the way.

Here's the view departing Willllllburton.



The first few miles looked kind of promising on the map. I swear on a stack of service manuals, this is in Oklahoma:

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A few turns later (did I remember those route numbers correctly?) I found myself crossing a lake (good; that was on the map!) and saw a Mom and Pop place with a full parking lot. That's a good sign. The gas station next door had some cover, and the ladies behind the desk were happy to let me keep the bike there while I had breakfast. They even asked me to move it closer to the door so it would be further under cover.

Breakfast was slow, but good. I reviewed the morning's pictures, text messaged Mrs. HiD, and studied the map of Oklahoma. The final route decision would await my survey of the sky after breakfast.

I got gas before heading off, not because I needed it, but because they were so nice to me about sheltering the bike. I hope they don't spend the $4.23 all in one place.

The sky ahead looked very gray, so I grimaced, and headed north to I-40. I passed through the picturesque little town of Eufaula (wow; I remembered the name correctly!)



before crossing another leg of the lake. I passed a fenced field with some odd-looking cattle in it. I had to make time (Google maps had told me I had 720 miles to cover by the fastest route), but the curiosity was killing me. U turn...



Texas Longhorns. Cool. The sign also mentioned elk, but I didn't see any of those. Big deal; we have them in my home county. Home; I should be headed there. I got a few photos, and got back on the road.

Turn here, turn there, and then I felt a few drops. Just as I got to the underpass below I-40, it started to come down in earnest. I stopped, pulled on my rain jacket, and hit the highway. Fun, fun, fun. I'd kept my mesh gloves on, figuring they'd dry out faster than the leather gloves when the rain stopped. Good call.

The first sign said it was about 104 miles to Oklahoma City. Wow; I didn't think it would be that far. But those 720 have to fit in somewhere. The rain stopped about 20 miles or so along the highway, and I started to amuse myself by shifting my hands around to get the gloves to dry, which they did reasonably quickly.

I pressed through OKC, and stopped on the far side to (in order of priority) take off the rain jacket, get some caffeine, and gas up - may as well, since I was stopped.

Getting back on the highway, the sky looked very dark ahead. Again. But this time with lightning. I got off at the first exit, and headed off due north. Ninety degrees off the direct azimuth to home, in other words. Oh well, at least the sky ahead was dry, and I was seeing some of America's history.



I kept riding north (trading the lead over and over again with a woman in a little blue compact) until the sky looked storm-free to the west. Then I took the first numbered road that went west. Getting on that road was fun:



Hey, it's the great plains; you take your curves wherever you can get them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
On and on I rode, doing the tire saving slalom all the way.

Oklahoma is flat. Really flat. Not absolutely entirely flat, but really, really flat.

_________________________________________II___________________________

And wide. Flat is okay. Wide is okay. Together, they are far from okay. This was not captivating riding in the usual sense.

But still, there was a certain grandeur to it, at least once your mind gets sufficiently scenery-starved.

Your first indication that a town is coming up is when the grain silo and/or water tower appears on the horizon.



This picture was taken 15-20 minutes after the actual first appearance, but that would pretty much be a single pixel on images this size.

So the silo or tower appears, and slowly grows, until a base of rougher horizon appears below it. That roughness slowly resolves itself into trees and buildings. Then you see a sign, proudly announcing that you are in Kingfisher, or Watonga, or Seiling, or Pampa (where Woody Guthrie bought his first guitar). You pass through an aged image out of Norman Rockwell. I'll let Arnett, Oklahoma serve as the representative of these little havens of America that we all hope are still out there somewhere:







They are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In the flatter areas, as soon as you pull out of town, you can see the next grain silo.



Look closely. It's there, just above the car.

I stopped in Seiling, Oklahoma to check my map. A police car pulled up next to me. The officer asked where I was going, and I told him. "I'm not sure I'll make it today," but he assured me that he takes his family to Santa Fe all the time, and it never takes him more than about 9 hours in his minivan. "If you aren't home by midnight, something's wrong" were his exact words. Nice guy, even more so than the last officer I'd spoken to on this trip.

I crossed into Texas at Higgins, Texas. I stopped for gas, and saw a great sign laminated on the counter of the gas station.



After determining that the gas station café was the only game in town, I had a late lunch there. I quickly determined that the lady at the next table was that fabled grillmeister, Mrs. Perkins. I do not believe Bob's warning was made in jest. The group of guys sitting there discussing dogs was a great conversation. I wish I'd recorded it.

I'd passed through Amarillo many times on I-40, but this time I saw another side of town. Not necessarily the best side of town, but at least I was sure of where I was. I didn't have a Texas map, and I didn't see Amarillo signs until I got pretty close, so I had been riding along wondering if I was going to run into Amarillo or the New Mexico line. Nope; Amarillo.



It took forever to get to the highway. I hate stop and go traffic. It was none too cool, either. Just west of Amarillo, I made another gas stop and sent another text.

Oklahoma does not have a monopoly on flat.



My tire saving slalom had a wavelength of 1/12 to 1/13th of a mile. I played mind games, and occasionally won. I was delighted to see the first sign for Tucumcari.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pulling out of Amarillo, Misty was like a horse that smelled it’s stable. Up until then, I’d had no trouble setting a speed and sticking to it. I kept it within 10mph of the speed limit for essentially the whole trip. But as we got closer to the NM line, she wanted to run away from me. I’d look down and discover I’d crept up to higher speeds again, so I’d back off, and before long, there we were again. It was especially odd, since I usually notice a loss of power in 4-wheeled vehicles as we get to the NM line. Misty was having none of that.

The clouds behind me were so glorious, I almost pulled over for a few pictures to turn into a panorama. I contented myself with over the shoulder shots.



That sky was behind me. This is what was ahead of me:



And now, if Cat will permit it, I'm signing off for the night. I'll try to finish the report tomorrow.

The great plains are really, really big.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Really big.


Anyway, as soon as I crossed the state line, I pulled into the welcome center lot to pull on the rain jacket.



Good thing. New Mexico first welcomed me with an enthusiastic shower. There was a BMW motorcycle ad a few years ago that asked if riding in the rain counted as bathing. Judging from my wife’s reaction when I got home, I can answer that question firmly in the negative. This was serious rain. The traffic was slowed to well under the speed limit. I was doing 60-65 (the limit is 75). Most of the 18-wheelers were doing 65 or so, and the occasional pickups pulling an RV or boat were barely maintaining 55. Bad conditions. The worst of it were the gusting cross winds. I was tempted to match speed with an 18 wheeler that passed me, but then I thought about a strong gust catching that truck, and decided to keep my distance. I never saw any lightning get close to me, but that’s why I’m here typing on this computer. It was certainly on my mind.

The rain broke a mile or two from Tucumcari. I wasn’t sure it had really broken, though, so I decided to get some dinner and see how the weather looked after that. Any more storms like this, and I was going to find a hotel for the night. I pulled off the highway to look for food, and glanced in my rear view mirror to see a perfect double rainbow. Naturally, out came the camera.



Yes, I know it's not a great stitch, but it was two shots in auto mode.


After some searching, I finally found a local place that looked like it might have good New Mexican food. I needed some green chile. I got it.



The food was great. The singer in the lounge, not so much. Some people might have liked his singing. To me, it was comically bad. He could have given the guy from the first Oklahoma gas station a run for his twanging money. After I ate, I called Amy and she checked the radar map for me. After some deliberation, I decided I wanted to sleep in my own bed enough to brave the last 200 miles. I almost regretted that decision.

Setting out from Tucumcari, I quickly spotted a massive storm off to the north.


 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A few miles later, a storm to the west came into view. When the road swung around to the west, then south, I saw a third storm off in the distance to the south. I was riding in the dead space between three huge thunderheads. They looked like they were each five miles high and thirty miles long. The northern storm was a massive block of cloud, sweeping across the plains, illuminated from within at regular intervals by huge bolts of lightning. Some of the time, the lightning was actually visible below the cloud. Most of the time, it lit the cloud from within. The storm to the north was pure entertainment. As I followed route 104, however, it took me further and further west, toward I-25 and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I thought the western storm was hung up on the mountains, so for many miles I wondered how far it reached; if it was wide enough to cover I-25, I had a problem. Possibly a serious problem. I didn’t know if I had it in me to get through another storm like the state line storm, but I had no choice.

For miles and miles, I watched the northern storm and the western storm. I almost never saw actual lightning bolts in the western storm; it was illuminated from within, throwing the mass of curling clouds into pearl-lined relief every time the thunderhead discharged. It was like the two storms were dueling, a call-and-response battle between Jupiter and Thor for supreme control of the skies. I could dimly see mesas and mountains around me, so I was home again in my high desert, but the storms and the surreal light made it seem like an alien place. I crawled along my deserted trail like a mouse searching for shelter in an artillery battle, feeling very small, very exposed, and utterly captivated by the fireworks with which New Mexico was welcoming me home. If I hadn’t been determined to be home by midnight, I would have stopped and watched the show for hours.

There’s one stretch of really good curves on route 104. They climb the south face of a canyon. As I rode up those curves, I was getting very concerned. The western storm seemed to have decided that a charge would win the battle with the other storm. As I rode around each curve, it looked like the storm was just on the other side, and I would ride into a solid wall of water, wind, and electricity. It almost seemed to peek around the bend, taunting me, playing hide and seek before finally striking. I felt like I could reach out my hand from the clipons and swirl the clouds ahead. But every bend uncoiled to reveal another curve, and another dry sweep of pavement. Finally I came out on the top of a plateau, and discovered that the storm was still miles away. I still have no idea how the storm could have looked that close, and been so far away.

It was still far away, but straight ahead. I was convinced I was going to have to ride through it. I also wanted to make sure I got some video of the storm, so I pulled over and got out the camera. I took a couple of videos,

http://s80.photobucket.com/albums/j...Elddas ride/?action=view&current=MVI_0772.flv

then tried some still shots (one of them happened to catch a good flash),



and then pulled on my rain jacket. While I was suiting up, a car stopped to see if I was okay. I told him I was fine, and asked if he thought we’d have to pass through the storm. He didn’t think so. I thanked him, and a few minutes later, we were off down the road. He was a mile or so in front of me, and now there was another car a mile or so behind me. In a few minutes, the road became wet, and I realized I had somehow skirted the south end of the storm that I’d thought was hovering over the mountains. I don’t know if the road looped down and the storm went straight, or if the storm changed course, but soon it was behind me, over my right shoulder. I was still glad of the jacket, because it had gotten rather cold, but I was even more glad that I wouldn’t have to endure that storm.

Minutes later, the road crested a hill and the lights of Las Vegas, New Mexico appeared in the darkness ahead of me. It was a beautiful, welcoming sight in the darkness. I got right on the highway, and about an hour and a half of easy riding later, I was home.

It was a good couple of days on the bike. The riding in Missouri and Arkansas was surprisingly good. And I saw parts of Oklahoma and Texas that few people ever see. I'm glad. But the experience of riding between those storms north of Tucumcari will alway be with me. It was amazing.
 

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A great round trip and trip report(s). I've ridden much of that area. Your picture of the Chisolm Trail sign made me homesick. I grew up just a few miles off the Chisolm Trail in northern OK, and still miss that area. Yes, Oklahoma has some flat areas. On a clear night, if you're near the center of one of those flat counties, you can actually see the lights from every town in the county, just standing there! If touring by bicycle, at lunch time, if someone asks where you're coming from/where you're going, you just point at the horizon and say "I started there, and I'm going there", pointing to the other horizon. It's the only place I've lived where you can see yesterday and tomorrow.

Thanks again for the great memories!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It was 510 or so on day one, and 820 or so on day two. Day two was in many ways more challenging than the saddlesore 1000, what with the more serious weather issues and seat-of-the-pants navigation.
 
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