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Old 05-01-2013, 12:44 PM   #16
zekester63 OP
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The local radar showed rain right over my area, but it was moving through. Okraider81 ensured me that once that blew through, we’d have nicer weather on our ride out to Natural Falls. So I left home about 3:30 on Friday, and just as I was getting ready to leave it started sprinkling again. We met at our designated meeting place in Catoosa, and it continued to rain. It sprinkled on us most of the way there. This really wasn’t too bad since we both have pretty good gear, but it isn’t the most fun way to start a ride in my opinion, especially when you're going to be camping.

I had managed to find some nice unpaved roads to ride once we got past Locust Grove. Most of them were great riding (that’s okraider81 there in the hi-viz jacket):



Oops, this doesn’t look very promising.



And don’t ask me how I know that the water on the right side of this little “wall” is about 2Ĺ’ deep. We weren’t going to cross here, and there were enough obstacles on the sides that we weren’t going around either.



Looking away from the damaged water crossing (note Roxy is facing the other direction...) after realizing that we aren’t trials riders with the balance that might be required to cross on that narrow wall.



We stopped for gas at Flint Creek, which was only a couple miles from Natural Falls.



We made it!



The nice lady in the window proceeded to inform us that her husband told her that they were expecting “3-4 inches of rain overnight”. I *think* something got lost in the translation somewhere, and in reality it was ĺ”, not 3-4”. At any rate, we were here and not going to let a little rain turn us back!




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Old 05-01-2013, 12:47 PM   #17
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We found a nice, big, cedar tree to camp under, thinking this might protect us somewhat from the rain. It did, but the dripping also made us think it was raining much longer than it really was.





By the time we set up camp, we were getting hungry. Well, okraider81 is ALWAYS hungry! So we both made our dinners - I had beef stroganoff and okraider81 had his red beans and rice. And yes, I’m real glad I had my own tent!



I had planned a ride for some exploring from Natural Falls, but as it turned out, we started losing good light and the rain wasn’t exactly inviting either.



Afterwards we made ourselves something hot to drink to warm up a little and decided to just call it an evening.


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Old 05-01-2013, 12:50 PM   #18
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It stormed pretty good during the night, but one thing Iíve learned about camping, is that I have to bring earplugs to get any sleep. I heard a few cracks during the night, but other than the general lack of comfort being on the ground, I slept through the night just fine. Okraider was up by 6, showered, made breakfast and coffee and back in his tent before I even began to stir around 7:30. Generally Iím awake an hour earlier, so I was pretty surprised to see the time. It was raining though, so we really didnít get into any hurry to pack up camp in the rain. Fortunately it stopped and we packed up and were ready for some more adventure!



These hooks (which I suppose are lantern hangers, but I also hang trash on them), were handy for hanging our jackets.



Okraider81ís DRZ, aka QEII, ready for more action:



So we set out on our dayís journey, looking forward to what might be in store for us. Just a couple miles from Natural Falls is a water crossing. Iíve seen in other RRs that this is usually easy enough to cross, but to expect it to be at least a boot wetter. So I had my doubts after all the rain weíve had recently that weíd be able to cross it. On our way there we came to this section. It ended up being about 1í deep in the middle, so we crossed without issue. Okraider81 took the lead as I was getting my camera out, just in case I could capture an unforgettable shot (donít worry, okraider81 has a couple of me from previous off road adventures).





We get to the river. I could hear it before we even turned the last corner, which wasnít very promising. A reroute, that I did already have planned, was about 20 miles extra, but it wasnít going to pose any problems with gas, as we were only looking at maybe 80 possible miles, if we were able to explore a couple places I wanted to along the way.

Illinois River crossing. Obviously we opted for the reroute!



okraider81 evaluating the river:



This is what most of the roads were like in this area. Not too bad.



Although I didnít stop to take any pictures along the reroute, and no offense to anyone that lives along that way, but I could have sworn I heard dueling banjos a couple of times! I grew up in a small town in NW Arkansas with 863 people, so I know what living out in the ďsticksĒ means. But Iíd never seen the likes of this before. To be honest I was probably too scared to stop for pictures! Just kidding. It was VERY rural though, and I actually enjoy seeing areas I would generally never have any reason to see otherwise.

This is probably a well known float site for some, but Iíd never heard of this place before:



It took us around 45 minutes to get to other side of the river, 100 yards from where we were.



I donít think anything would be crossing this river today. The white caps were enough to scare me off.



We enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way from there. Some portions were paved, but the majority of it was unpaved.





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Old 05-01-2013, 01:19 PM   #19
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Near Chewey, OK there were detour signs, and that was the direction we needed to go. For a moment I debated following the detour signs, but fortunately I decided to just press on until we actually got to the place we might need to turn around. Luckily we needed to turn off right before the spot the road was out (actually I think they are rebuilding a bridge), so we turned and went along our merry way.

We were in real low land now, so I wondered if we would have any problems passing. Didnít appear so though.



There wasnít even any water in this crossing, but there were obvious signs of recent activity.



More scenic roads:





Here Iím not sure if okraider81 was wiping the sweat from his brow, or saying ďwhewĒ to himself for barely missing me as I pull an emergency stop to take pictures.



Combs bridge. We saw a Vstrom and KLR cross the bridge and pass by while we were stopped, but they pressed on without stopping. Maybe itís because we were on ďdirt bikesĒ.








Bathtub Falls. Very interesting rock formations.










Pumpkin Hollow. I have no clue what this place is.

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Old 05-01-2013, 01:21 PM   #20
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We made it to Tahlequah, so time to fill up.



B & Jís Restaurant in Tahlequah makes a MEAN Reuben sandwich. Right up there with the best Iíve ever had.



While eating we planned the next leg of our adventure. There were many possibilities, most of which were unknown because of inadequate maps or ability to see clear enough on Google Earth to determine whether roads were gated or not. Airdale7 had given me a tip on where to go, so we had that as our primary plan, with a little side exploring along the way.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:23 PM   #21
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So off we were after a great lunch, heading from Tahlequah to Qualls, OK. Qualls sounds like a town, but itís really just a couple of buildings. It was paved all the way to Qualls, but from that point it was all unpaved. Some really nice roads to explore on. A deer shot out in front of me along the way, but fortunately far enough ahead that I didnít need to stop and change any garments. This was a nice, paved road full of hills and twisties, but after seeing the deer, Iíd probably not try to straighten out any of the curves any time soon.

After a few miles in one direction we came to an area I had marked on my tracks that might not be passable, but it was actually fine. This is the sort of thing that makes DS rides fun to me. So we crossed it (just to cross it) and turned around and headed back to Qualls. I wish we had more time to explore this area, but we still had quite a long ride home yet that day, so we kept it fairly short.



Coming back out of the WMA, I saw this sign:



From there we rode Indian Road along the west side of Tenkiller Lake, until we got to Highway 10A. From there itís west towards Greenleaf State Park.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:29 PM   #22
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Nearing Greenleaf Lake, I had marked a place to check out - it turns out the turn off was on the old highway (I'm assuming) that crossed Greenleaf Lake. About halfway to the lake, we found the path. I think itís just a hiking trail that goes around part of the lake though, so we didnít venture in there very far before turning around.












I also wanted to see if there was any way to get from Greenleaf to the WMA to the north, but it was all gated. Based on what I could see in Google Earth, there are miles and miles of double track that Iíd love to explore in that area, but it doesnít look like there is any way in from this side. I think the only way is from the north and where we previously were at Qualls. I think a lot of the area is gated though, belonging to the military (Camp Gruber Training Center).

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Old 05-01-2013, 01:30 PM   #23
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So now itís time to head for home. We rode through Muskogee to top off our tanks, and then zig-zagged our way northwest through parts of rural Oklahoma back to the Tulsa area.



The McColloughís are obviously good people to know in Porter!



Local law keeping Porter safe!



We stopped at an abandoned convenience store, where okraider81 was to head north and I was heading further west. Iím surprised QT hasnít occupied this corner yet. I donít think it will be long, as itís fairly built up in this area already.



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Old 05-01-2013, 01:31 PM   #24
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Overall it was a great time. Lots of dirt, some obstacles/reroutes, good food, great scenery and good company. Canít wait until our next ride!

Stay tuned and Happy riding!
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #25
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Nice ride man. I'm betting that Vstrom and KLR you saw where out riding some of the TAT as it crosses the Combs bridge IIRC.

Thanks for sharing
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:53 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
Nice ride man. I'm betting that Vstrom and KLR you saw where out riding some of the TAT as it crosses the Combs bridge IIRC.

Thanks for sharing
I wasn't aware the TAT went through that particular area, but that makes sense. Cool!
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:47 PM   #27
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Frog Rock Ride

Next up...the OAT and Frog Rock!
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:50 PM   #28
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I've been on a couple other rides recently that I figured I would report on. Someone recently called these reports a "travelogue" and I thought that was very appropriate. So I thought that if nothing else, this is a great place to document my "travels", albeit mostly local and of short length adventures.

These next few pictures log a recent ride of mine one sunny afternoon. Spring weather had finally arrived and I was itching to ride and explore some new areas.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:51 PM   #29
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Here's my route. Basically my plan was to head west through Sapulpa, Kellyville and then to Bristow, where I would turn north/northwest. I would pass through Shamrock, Oilton and Drumright on highway 99 until I got to West 21st, where I would head east, picking up approximately 11 miles of the OAT (Oklahoma Adventure Trail). From there it was east on E0580/Terlton 48 Rd, south on Highway 48 to Highway 51, then east through Mannford to Keystone State Park, then begin my journey towards home.





As always, I try to stay off the beaten path as much as possible, but its not always that easy to find unpaved roads within a fairly large radius of the metro area. So much of the route was paved, and being from this area, I didn't really see much to photograph along the way. Part of the route was on Route 66, but really it was only a means to get where I wanted to be. Iíve been wanting to check out the OAT, and this portion is the closest to home, so it was a worthwhile ride to investigate it.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:51 PM   #30
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Here I've picked up the OAT:







Here's a shot after a couple of miles on the OAT.


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