I took more pictures on the way back since I was on my own schedule.
Typical mid-Oklahoma view.
Hills in the background. No trees anywhere.
You couldn't find two rocks this size in the entire city of Memphis. In Oklahoma they anchor the fences with them by filling these wire baskets.
WTF? I realize there isn't any wood out here, but you'd figure there would be a better use for those pretty stones.
I ran into this guy 100 miles or so out of Newkirk. He is on an '08 KLR with aluminum panniers and two spare tires. I wondered how we never passed him, but he had started his trip earlier, stored the bike for a bit and had gotten underway again. I don't have a clue what his name is. He was a non-member lurker of ADV.
Somewhere around here Jalapeno corn dogs, spicy chicken nuggets and a Sonic burger were battling it out inside me. At first I hoped I would make it back to camp.
Then I started to think I would just go back to the truck stop.
Eventually I just hoped I could find a tree to hide behind.
This is where I made it to. Cattle had been grazing around here, so my contribution didn't stand out.
I got gas in Dewey, OK and pressed on. My original plan was to stop and find a camp around here. It was about 5:00 and getting cooler by then, but somewhere along the way I decided I would try to go all the way back to the park from which we started. Averaging 35mph on the trail, I figured I could make the last 100 miles by dark.
I wished I had time to visit this Tom Mix museum. It intrigues me that there are people alive that are Tom Mix fans. He made westerns in the 20s, and died in 1940. The only reason I ever heard of him was because of his grizzly death which it is said he was decapitated by a suitcase in the back seat of his car when he ran off the road. A little research reveals that the museum in Dewey claims to have the actual suitcase.
This area caught my eye going both ways. It was like a miniature mountain range. I don't know if those formations are natural or the result of some kind of mining type operation.
After that it got dark and suddenly it occurred to me that the glass in a headlight does more than just protect the bulb, it shapes the beam. The packing tape that I was using didn't do any of that. My headlight made a slight spot on the ground and would occasionally illuminate a low hanging tree branch, but was otherwise worthless. I rode slower and slower as not to outrun the light. I wanted to call up the GPS and have it find me a quicker route to the park, but I was afraid of getting on a big highway with no light so I dutifully followed the trail. By 8:30 it was officially, very dark. I was only 10 or 12 miles from the park, but I was moving very slow. I stopped to call my wife and thought I heard some extra noise when I shut off the engine.
It gets worse. When I restarted the engine there was a definite, loud clatter coming from the valve train. I was definitely in trouble. It was pitch black, I was hours from home, miles from my campsite and about to have major engine trouble. I rode on slowly trying to ignore the clatter that occasionally got worse then better. Then it started to lose power. I thought it might be the plug fouling from lugging the engine so slowly, but I was sure that I would never get it started again if it died. I had to give it more and more throttle to keep it running until I had it all the way open.
The engine was bucking and surging and sounded like a two cycle that is running so rich it misses every other stroke. After a couple of miles it suddenly picked up and started running slightly better but still hurt. I ran stop signs, passed a car in an intersection and used the shoulder to merge once I got to the highway to keep from stalling the engine. I pulled into the park, stopped the bike at the same spot we started the day from and tried to soak it all in.
The office was closed so I got one of those 20oz beers, my flashlight some tools and started in on the engine.
It was a long day, but I managed to get a buzz and get some sleep.
It was just as hopeless in the morning. The cam bearing let go and spread the parts around the engine. Most stayed in the rocker cover or stuck to the stator magnet coil thing.
The stator was shorting on that gob of bearing. That explains the poor running that I thought was the plug.
The problem was the cam bearing came apart, the cam dropped down and killed the water pump seals filling the crank case with anti freeze. The cam bearings are sealed so it wasn't a lack of oil, it just died on its own.
So I called my wife and she started a seven hour drive West to rescue me.
Before she left she told me to buy a new bike that wouldn't strand me so she wouldn't keep having to come get me.