January 15, 2018;
First, let me apologize for the long time between postings. I have not abandoned my bicycling, but rather had a severe case of "writers block" ..... at least for a little while. I decided it was about time to bring it back. The riding has been on hold for a bit as I'm recovering from a broken femur that happened as a result of a crash on another ride. I will catch you readers up with that on another post. But first ..... let me take you out to the wilds of "The Breaks" south of Erick, Oklahoma. Erick, the second town after leaving the Texas Panhandle coming into Oklahoma on I-40 was the home of Roger Miller, a recording artist of the 60's, as well as his brother-in-law Sheb Wooley, (Purple People Eater). One of Roger's songs was "Do-Wacka-Do" ..... like most of his songs, a silly little ditty that told a tale. His biggest hit was "King of the Road". During the 60's, I always enjoyed his songs. So, when I found they were holding a bike ride named after one of Roger's songs ..... Yep ..... I had to go.
The ride started at first light, barely. I had decided to go for the Metric Century distance, which proved to be almost more than I wanted. I was really glad I did not cave in though, and went the entire distance. There were other options for shorter miles, and these were also much easier to navigate. They saved the hardest miles for the last ten on this ride, and by the time I was done ...... I was DONE!
As I stated, the ride started at the crack of dawn .... I couldn't even get a decent photo because it just wasn't light enough.
Sue and Tabitha, a couple of riders I knew from other rides. They rode with me for a while, but we later became separated.
The roads were as primitive as the entire area.
Here you can get an idea of the lay of the land. We went downhill a long ways to the valley floor below.
Whatever goes down, however, has to eventually come back up. This is the nature of "The Breaks". A very rugged landscape, ever changing, and very sparsely populated. I believe in the entire 62 miles, we saw one motor vehicle.
The reward for the climbing was the view.
An abandoned schoolhouse ....
I had one other companion who accompanied me on the entire 62 mile ride. It was so nice to have someone along. At this time, I had no idea of the rugged terrain that awaited me the last ten miles. I would have been very apprehensive to go that last ten miles alone.
There were a few old homesteads scattered throughout this route. Not very many, and most all were abandoned.
Prickly Pear cactus ..... common in the west. Not so common out where I live.
There were several water fords throughout the ride. As the temperature heated up, the speeds through these fords got faster, throwing up some of the cooling water over us.
One of the homesteads that was not abandoned. This private road was one of the best maintained on the route.
Typical red sandstone formations on the southern portion of the ride. Western Oklahoma is noted for it's red soil. Here in the western part of the state, it is mostly sand.
Fish Creek in the background.
An Oasis in the desert!! This was so inviting, I had to take off my shoes and sit on the edge of the tank and soak my legs and feet. It felt SO good.
The water coming out was not a huge flow, but clean, clear, and good to fill up an almost empty water bottle. The water skaters didn't seem to mind my washing my legs and feet, or snitching a little water.
From here on the road (if you can call it that) changed dramatically! Very rough, primitive tracks with some impossible grades. I wouldn't have missed this for the world!! It was SO beautiful, and a part of the country few will ever see. At this point, I was already getting tired, but the constantly changing scenery urged me onward.
It was in here that we scared up a small herd of cattle that may not have ever seen humans before. They looked at us with wild eyes, and took off running, leaping fences and cattle guards like they weren't there. In three minutes, there were no cattle in sight. We saw some deer, and a few pronghorns on this portion of the ride.
Matt, starting down into a rugged area.
After several miles, the long downhill ended in another water ford, this one with a loose bottom with large rocks. Discretion had us walking our bikes through. There were no vehicles back here that we saw, help would be a long time coming. Also, no cell service.
After the long downhill, we had to climb back up an equal amount to get back to where we started. Almost done here, just about 4 more miles to go. Steep, hard miles. I walked places of this.
Finally reaching the end of the ride. I was tired, but they had good food waiting, great barbecue and liquid refreshment. It was good!
After leaving the ride, and traveling through "downtown" Erick, I couldn't resist a few pictures of the town. This old building had character! Open for business, it was a souvenir shop, and they also served sandwiches. Just fun to poke around. The owner was as much of a "character" as the building!
Main street, downtown Erick, Oklahoma at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon. As you can see, the town was packed with Saturday shoppers. How many places could a photographer stand smack in the middle of the main drag for a picture without having a single car come by?
The Roger Miller Museum
The ride Tee.