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Old 06-15-2013, 10:10 PM   #74
ABee OP
Near Normal
 
Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Day Nine



The Toad gets new brakes in the WalMart parking lot. Alva, OK

Day Nine
Alva , OK to Liberal, KS
The day dawned warm and windy. The weather report called for temperatures over 100 and winds gusting to 45 mph by the afternoon. Despite this, I was still looking forward to the ride and the chance to see a part of the country that I had never seen before- the Oklahoma Panhandle. Before I could hit the trail, however, I had to replace the rear brake shoes on the Hodaka. They were the original shoes from 1978 and they had gone over 4,000 miles, so they were due! The wind had already picked up and I had to chase down my shop rags when they were blown into the WalMart parking lot when I forgot to anchor them down with a wrench or other tool. Despite this delay, I was soon on the road heading west out of town. Like many people that had never been to this part of the country, I had visions of a place that was dry and desolate, where rugged people labored hard as they eked out a living from the land. Indeed, I did observe some areas that were dry, sandy and rocky. There were many old abandoned farm and ranch houses that made me wonder about the people who had lived there and what happened to them after they left. Still, there seemed to be much more going on in this part of Oklahoma than I had imagined. There were still many large farms and ranches that seemed to be thriving. There were many chicken ranches and hog feeding lots that you smelled long before you passed them. Of course, I still saw numerous gas and oil wells. A pleasant surprise was the abundance of wildlife. Animals were everywhere. The Hodaka is relatively quiet, so I kept sneaking up on unsuspecting critters. Antelope crossed the road in front of me. I saw a badger scurry across the trail on his way back to his burrow. I flushed a ring-necked pheasant that flew parallel to me for a few yards before breaking formation.
A fuel stop in Buffalo, Oklahoma had me chatting again with people interested in the old Hodaka. I would have stayed longer to talk about old bikes, but the heat was fierce and there was little shade.
Even though I was enjoying the sights, this leg of the journey was rough on the Toad. Not only did the temperatures climb into the triple digits, the winds had me downshifting down steep downhill sections when I was headed against the wind. By the time I arrived in Liberal, the temperatures and gusty winds that were predicted had materialized. I had slowed to a crawl, barley able to make 30 mph against the vicious winds that howled out of the northwest. I remember a passage from an old geography textbook that said something like: “As you head west across the plains the terrain rises almost imperceptibly to the base of the Rocky Mountains.” On the Toad this day, the climb in elevation was VERY perceptible. I could feel the presence of the Rockies that lay in the distance. It was nice to finally arrive in Liberal and crawl into the camper and get out of the wind and heat at the Western Star RV Park on the eastern side of town. Dorothy’s home town did indeed feel like a refuge this day.
I travelled only 195 miles this day, but the Toad gobbled up around six gallons of fuel and 24 ounces of injector oil fighting the hot winds.



Between Alva and Buffalo, OK
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