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Old 06-12-2013, 09:19 PM   #54
Near Normal
Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Day Eight

Just outside Adair, OK. Slow down or speed up?

Day Eight
Adair to Alva, OK
Whenever you read ride reports about the portion of the TAT through central Oklahoma, riders talk about the issues they have with the mud. I had this in mind when I set out this morning, especially since Oklahoma had been battered by storms the previous weeks that had dumped rain in this part of the state. With all of maybe 10 horsepower at my disposal, there was no way that I was going to attempt to plow my way through any of these quagmires, I was just going to have to find a way around them. About 30 miles down the trail from Adair there is a swampy area around the Verdigris where it feeds Lake Oologah. The portion of the TAT that normally runs by this swamp was now under water for at least 400 yards coming from the east. Even if I made it through this mudhole, who knows what it would have been like even closer to the river? Since most of these rural dirt roads in the plains states are laid out on a grid, it is easy to find your way around the obstacle. I was able to backtrack to Highway 60, which put me back on the TAT outside of Nowata. As I was fueling in Nowata, I had a pleasant discussion with a couple of local ladies who wanted to take pictures of the Toad. One of them said that her husband had owned a Super Rat, and she just had to show him a picture of the green Hodaka someone was riding through town.
As you “ride the grids” in the plains, it is easy to get complacent. The roads of the TAT can stretch on for dozens of miles, straight as an arrow. It was on one of these stretches outside of Nowata, NS 413, I believe, that reminded me to pay better attention. One moment the road was straight, level and well groomed, but over the next rise the road dropped away into a narrow, rough rocky chute that had me hard on the brakes, sliding down the hill, skidding to a stop just before splashing into a creek that was several feet deep. It took me a moment to get my heart rate down before I could ride back up the hill and look for a way around the creek. Of course, I was angry at myself for allowing this close call to happen. I was not paying attention for only a moment, but sometimes a moment is all it takes.
Another re-route that I had to take that day was near Hulah Lake west of Copan. The lake was high and the water was over the road as far as I could see down the trail at the southwest corner of the lake. I had to backtrack and head southwest to Highway 99 and that allowed me to loop around and get back on the TAT. After the Hulah Reservoir, the TAT takes you up into Kansas and into the little town of Elgin. As you approach the town, signs proclaim that Elgin is the town that was “too tough to die.” At the end of the 19th century, Elgin was one of the largest cattle shipping towns in the US, but now its population is only 89 souls. The streets are wide and made out of brick. You can tell it must have been something in its day.
West of Elgin, you ride into the Osage Indian Reservation and by the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. I was hoping to get a buffalo to pose next to the Toad, but it must have been their day off. It was then into Newkirk for some fuel and then on to Alva for the night. I found that I had to be very careful on this stretch of the TAT. There are oil and gas wells everywhere, and so there are large trucks hauling tanks and equipment barreling down the middle of the road. These guys are on a schedule, and are not too concerned about sharing the road with motorcycles. They also make the road very rough with deep trenches and deep powdery silt. I had to tiptoe through this section, but finally arrived in Alva where I met Donna for the night. It was 99 degrees when I arrived, with the winds picking up speed to over 30 MPH.
301 total miles today, 1,852 for the trip so far. 6.2 gallons of gas and 23 ounces of injector oil through the pump, which seems to be doing a better job. The original 35 year-old rear brake shoes are now shot, and I will have to replace them in the morning, but the Toad is still hopping.

Mudhole near Lake Oologah

ABee screwed with this post 06-12-2013 at 10:23 PM
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