Heading south on 81 from Eischens in Kingfisher I was finally on my way to the Oklahoma Adventure Trail. With a belly full of great fried okra and chicken thanks to Fixator I began to ask myself why camp out at all.
Great question but I had a hefty head wind to deal with and the first real ride with the new DRZ 400. I had just spent the last month going from the front to rear wheel checking everything and finding that yes, they really scrimp on grease at Suzuki. Otherwise a better bike than my last ride.
The carb re jetting seemed to be spot on, much better than stock. With my luggage full of camping gear, I see that the rear spring is going to be the next of just a few fixes needed to get the bike right.
With my new 3.8 gallon gas tank I went onto reserve at 135 miles in Medicine park Oklahoma. After a tour thru town I headed off to the Doris campground in the wildlife refuge. They were full except for one spot in the primitive campground area. Spot number 20 the last one and supposedly a quarter mile from parking. I was going to get my exercise this afternoon. It turns out the area loops back around and my camping area was right next to the road, this is looking up.
I was still wondering why I was camping? I set up my area and the weather was perfect.
Across from me camped a couple in there 30ís. I dropped into my normal set of preconceptions about people. To be honest I was feeling a little better than they were as they bickered and seemed a little on edge. He had that look like some one who had done a few too many drugs and his body language was a little abrupt. I thought about one of my sons and then felt sad about my attitude.
Another lady came by and I found myself being critical of her demeanor even though she was friendly.
I continued my snooty attitude for a while and then wondered why I was thinking that way. Combination of stress and shittly thinking must be the cause.
Ok I said to myself it is time for some attitude re adjustment.
I finished some dinner comprised of a cup of soup. I was still reeling from all that chicken earlier and then took a quick spritz from my handy shower in a bag full of lake water. Invigorating to say the least.
Feeling cleaned up I took an early retirement for the evening. The weather was just perfect and as I lay on a very comfortable air mattress listening to Lucinda Williams on my IPOD.
All of the sudden I realized why I go camping. Getting away from work and life in general. I started to think about the couple across from me and I felt much more comfortable with them and about everything. I donít know why, but getting into a grove on a basic level is just therapy for me. Good riddance shitty thinking! Things were looking up already.
As the night slid by I made my way thru a number of great albums then ended up with some classical and off I went to sleep about 1:00 a.m. Hours had passed as I set there staring at the big dipper. Wow, I am easily amused.
The next morning I slept in and after some great French press coffee got the DRZ packed and headed off to the start of the OAT Mount Scott loop.
As I pulled up to the great mountain I said mumbled to myself that this isnít a mountain itís barely a hill.
A few miles away from the great mount Scott I entered Meers. Interesting looking restaurant with a crowd of people going in. Signs ahead said road closed so I decided to have some breakfast and finish the morning time. It was already 11:00 a.m.
The line inside wasnít too bad but the wait seemed forever. Once I was seated I realized they served one thing only and that was a hamburger. It was nearly lunch so I ordered after a long wait. I started to read the menu and they boasted that they had the best burger in the country. Pretty strong statement for any dive in America. They even quoted the food network as the only burger place in the US that raises its own Angus beef. I thought I might be in for a treat since I ordered a burger and onion rings. The place was dimly lit and looked like some old mining joint you might visit in Colorado or even Idaho.
After what seemed to be an eternity I finally got my meal. To be honest, I do think that was the best burger I have ever eaten. The bread seemed to be fresh and maybe home made. The bun wasnít too thick and the fixings were perfect. Just the right amount of mustard, lettuce, tomato and pickle made this one fine meal.
The side order was another story. Frozen onion rings fried in, what tasted like, rancid grease. The strong advice from me is to order two burgers, you wont be disappointed. Finally I made my way thru the crowd and outside, geeze it was 1:30. The line was crazy outside; it must have taken these folks the remainder of the day to get fed.
Finally ready to tackle the OAT after a detour for about 6 miles around some construction.
Nice curvy asphalt that quickly turned into a very premium dirt road. I think my average speed increased when I left the pavement.
The gps info was spot on as I wound my way over to Quartz Mountain. I found one hiccup with the gps that was quickly figured out. In about two miles I came to a turn onto a section of grass that paralleled a waterway, this was a very neat detour for a few miles.
Then I was off to Quartz Mountain and another small snafu with the gps that was quickly figured out. A turn down this gps routed road
ended up here
not a big problem and routed myself around the gate.
Riding by lake Altus I noticed a number of nice camping areas. This looked like a great area to camp the next time I ride the southwestern OAT. North of the lake the route ended at a wooded area that was blocked by some construction equipment. I decided to attack this part of the route from the other side and made my way to this road that headed back east and south.
Eventually I bumped into what I think was the North Fork of the Red River. I started to cross and was feeling the weather starting to change, I was alone and the river seemed to be flowing. Realizing this could end a badly I decided, while perched on the bank, to forgo this area. To end badly for me is to have boots full of water. I hate that.
It was very soft sand so I got a 10-minute exercise routine horsing a fully loaded bike back up an embankment in soft sand. Wheels were axle deep for a few minutes.
I remembered what we did in Idaho in deep snow. Oscilate the throttle and sure enough there was a sweet spot where the tire cleaned itself and pulled at the same time. I was out of the sand in no time.
It was around 5:00 p.m. and I had been on the trail for about 3.5 hours. I could see that it was a pretty straight shot to Elk City so off I went. A quick hop on a four lane divided highway then back onto some great dirt roads that led me back into the south east side of Elk City about 5:30.
Over all I like the OAT a lot.
Great job is laying this out.
It is a great way to spend an afternoon. I am not looking for super knurly terrain, just a great time. The dirt roads were partially covered in gravel but anything over 40 mph was very comfortable. 50 to 60 completely eliminated the baby ruts left from the last rain. I love to click off miles in the country like this and canít wait for the next section.