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It was just a day
a little ways a way
when Blueberry made quite a fray.
I did as most would do
Made many promises so
I could have my way.
I promised love and attention
among much devotion
if only we could have
one last ride.

A sprocket set, a shock, two tires,
two brake pads, and a pulse generator
were promised for later
It still took some fork seals
to seal the deal.

Not to mention
that drive chain.

Blue agreed and off we went
to leer at deer and zig zag
through the wildlife.

Our ride was done
No problem was had.
Not one single one.
I rolled down the garage door
with a tear in my eye
while promising “I’ll be back, dear.”

The weeks roll by,
Life gets in the way
County came by
and took my road away.

That gives me some time
another week would be fine.
A week goes by,
nothing has changed.
Two more fly by
and still everything
has remained quite the same.
My road is still MIA
I have yet to be back to my dear.

The guilt is just too much
I can stand it no longer.
Plus, the weather is lovely;
It would be such a great day
for a ride.

It’s time to man up and go
back to my dear
Slowly I roll up the garage door
and peek in an eye.
Stuttering “I’m sorry, dear.”

I roll Blueberry out
into the light.
Sun shines so bright
it is quite a sight.
There’s blue paint
under all that dust!

The tool box is opened
parts are hunted
repair manual dust
is set free with a puff

Sprocket, the cat, administers
advice from the corner
Another peep out of her
and she’ll need a coroner
Broom posted near
should Roostzilla appear
Tom Waits is crooning
while Youtube is streaming
repair for Blueberry, my dear.

It was an easy job
or so they said.
I lay flummoxed on the
cold floor, close to tears
trying to think
frustrated and greasy
in need of a drink
when Blueberry gave
me a wink.

It serves me right
after weeks of neglect.
Who was I to think
it would be a fast
and easy fix?

My lesson was learned,
promises shouldn’t be made
on a whim.

For your dear will always
know and make you pay
because it’s impolite to make
promises you won’t retain.

For today, the battle is won.
Dani zero, my dear one.
It’s back to life
Back to my finals.
Another week of neglect,
how to gain respect?
Maybe another white lie of
“I’ll be back, dear?”

Signed,

Wanderings of a Girl Ryder

The closest call of them all

Okay, so that’s not entirely true, but I haven’t experienced something like it yet. It was a lovely, windy, dusty evening in Oklahoma. And, I took my theoretically garaged Blueberry to school. As luck would have it, my class was canceled due to our classroom having been commandeered by some pay-to-be-in-it society. All those Phi Kappa Phi’s and what not. So it was a sign in and split class. Just what I love to drive 25 miles to find out. As I was leaving, someone had started some little conversation that for some odd reason I felt the need to quip in. My two cents were given and not 20 seconds later I was out the door. It was kind of nice, the wind hadn’t picked up to the 45 mph wind gusts and it was still light outside. 

I made my way back to the interstate and took my spot on the inside turning lane where people, theoretically, are least likely to turn into your lane. Theoretically. I’ve had that happen a couple of times before. Not as often as when they’re on the inside lane. Some people really need to learn how to drive. All of a sudden those hours and hours of driving school in Germany make sense, but I digress. 

I sorted in behind a little Nissan and off to the interstate we go. And, off the winds were, too. Boy, I haven’t ridden in such a gusty gale in a long time. A couple miles down, the car behind me starts to pass just where the speed limit increases. I was about to pass as well. But, as he passed me and the little Nissan, I noticed the deer in my peripheral vision coming from the right.

It all happened so fast, and I have no idea how it all ended so well. I couldn’t tell you all that happened other than that my focus was on reaction. That poor deer skipped in front of the Nissan and right into the car that had just passed us. 

Car parts flew everywhere thanks to the wind gusts. And the deer, poor thing!, was airborne. I just remember thinking that it felt like I was in some redneck movie where some rednecks in lifted trucks zip through a yard taking out all the lawn decorations which are rashly ejected from their location. Years of close calls have prepared me well for what happened on Thursday. I was able to monitor debris, the car that hit the deer, the Nissan. It also dawned upon me that other deer might be on their way to the road. Sometimes my multitasking skills surprise me. 

The deer (poor, poor thing) flew up at least 10 feet in the air in the left lane, and flew into my lane, over the Nissan, and into the ditch which would have been right next to me if I hadn’t been paying attention.  The Nissan and I pulled over, while cars that had been just slightly behind us all passed. We ran over to the the little black car to make sure the people in there were all right. Their car looked awful, but they were all well and that’s all that mattered. The passenger received a major shock; Neither of them had seen what happened since the hood of their car popped up and was basically glued to the windshield. It could have been so much worse for all of us.

Yup, it was a close call. Both the Nissan and the hit car were shocked that I was still alive and well.  Always being observant and swerving really are life savers. Luck sure was a lady. Having all your gear on really adds a little extra sense of security. I didn’t have to include a worry session about skin grafting into my multitasking. And, honestly if I had been in a car, I’m not sure I would have been able to avoid everything as well. Being on a bike, when one is paying attention, gives you a whole lot of flexibility.

What shocked me and annoyed me, though, even though I have read about this phenomenon in many psychology textbooks, was that no one else pulled over to check if things were okay. And, we were passed by a whole lot of people. A whole lot. There was day light, so they saw how bad that car looked and not one iota of care was given. Sad.

I’m on the interstate at night on a regular basis, and I tend to see a lot of deer. Judging by how other drivers usually just whiz by, I’d say most people don’t pay that much attention. On a similar note:

A little less cell phone and a little more driving, people.

Ah, my biggest pet peeve. Anywho…

In other Wanderings of a Girl Ryder news, as some of you know, I’ve started a small video series on Youtube all about Oklahoma. Working title is “Oklahoma: It’s not as bad as you think it is.” As, I said, it’s a working title. Maybe I’ll change it to something more up-beat like “Oklahoma is awesome because…” Technicalities. Pictures for this video series can be found on Facebook.

As I was stumbling through yet another small cemetery, I met yet another unhappy dog. I seem to be the common factor in dogs’ unhappiness. He was big and beautiful. And, not pleased.Of course, it wasn’t a big deal until he was guarding my car and I wasn’t allowed to touch it.

So I resorted to low threats; I threatened to sick my cats on him.

Looking forward to some wind free days (hahaha, I know) so Project (Color) Madness can continue. Speaking of which, even Medicine Park has gotten some color! I love being inspiring 😉

For you riders, stay safe and continue to pay attention to the millions of things going on around you.

And, for you drivers, do something considerate for your fellow drivers and put down the [I won’t get explicit] phone. Thanks! Have an adventurous weekend!

Just a day in March

Know thyself. I’m pretty sure that’s a quote somewhere. Well, I do know myself. Knowing myself lets me know that my bike will probably be in the garage for a bit. With this bit of knowledge, I’ve decided that if I wait for me to get my bike fixed, it’ll be a long couple of weeks. Although I have considered it, I will not be sitting in the lounge chair of my office browsing Google Earth while wearing my helmet. When life hands you motorcycle mechanical problems, take a car. Not the ideal situation, but a Plan B is better than no plan. Gotta love Plan B’s. 


Figures that I would trade one mechanical problem for another. My little adventure mobile, formerly known as the geek mobile, is making the oddest noises. It wouldn’t be an adventure without a little suspense, right? Will the car blow up or won’t it? 

 

Some times life gets a little busy. Getting in an adventure of any sort these days has been a scheduling challenge. I hate having to schedule spontaneity. But, there I was scheduling my spontaneity for a Monday. There would be no work…except that it was a business trip. But, that was it. Who says business trips can’t have detours? If you don’t take detours, you don’t see the occasional eagle chilling on a road post. Sure, some may argue it was a hawk. Who is to say that eagles can’t chill on road markers? Were they there? No. So until someone hunts down that immature golden eagle and proves me wrong, it was an eagle. And, I’ll swear it on someone’s grave until that day. And, after that day because who is to say they found the same bird I saw. Ah, I do love a good debate – when the truth gets blurred and a poker face can get you far. Or maybe that’s just when someone debates with me.

 

I know that probably goes without saying, but dirt roads are so much easier in a car. My dirt road freedom has invoked the pact that all adventure destinations will be found using dirt roads only. Unless there are no dirt roads and I can’t convince my car to turn into Wonder Woman mobile and dart me through the sky. Some days my negotiating skills with inanimate objects are worse than others. Pessimists might point out that dirt roads will kill my tires with nails that fall out of farm trucks. But, I just tell ’em that the glass is half full and life is so much more fun when one wears pink sunglasses. Nails in tires…like that’s going to happen. And, I’m not even going to let the nail that was stuck in my tire this week prove their point. I’m pretty sure I picked that up on a paved road anyhow. Until someone shows me a GPS marker of where that nail was picked up, it’s joining the eagle.

 

I found myself coasting on the back roads around a lake. No, not the one where bodies allegedly kept popping up. I think I found something more annoying. So there I was on a road that was supposed to lead to an equestrian club and a concession stand. Classy combo, right? Neither were found, but I was tailed by a dog who had his bit down damn well. A stretch of road that would take mere seconds to travel even with the 10 mph speed limit cost me a good half an hour. He’d start at the right corner of the car and circle to the rear. Clear time to hit the gas pedal. Before the thought could be processed and the foot could respond, he’d made his round and sped in front to the right corner again. I thought it was amusing. My business partner found it less amusing. So we progressed down the road one foot at a time one frustrated person, one annoyed dog, and one hysterically laughing person. It didn’t help when I thought of the idea to honk the horn. Turned out the dog didn’t like that at all. It actually gave him a dose of refreshed energy. After 30 minutes, thirty foot of road, and a gazillion rounds around the car, he lost interest. Just like that. I was slightly disappointed to be dropped like a hot potato for a stupid tree. This would have never happened had he been a cat.

Image

Another plus of taking the car, I can listen to belly dancer/swing dancing singer Sparrow and pieces by Vivaldi and Haydn.Yeah, it didn’t really make the whole car thing sound better in my head either.

 

Summer Lovin’, ’cause winter blues just sounds sad

An ode to summer:

O, summer! How fair thee were,
Thy nights so fine
Sky starry lined.
Thy days so toasty warm
That sweat rolling in my eye
Did lest dull my love for thee.

Nor sweat drenched hair 
Which clung to my lid. 

Visor up, my steed and I
Would ride
Yonder fields sweet wildflowers bloom
Where buffalo charge
And longhorns chase
On long straight roads
The heat would rise 
And melt my toes
As we ride

The paths of travel
are empty
For
Few souls brave
Thy love
But those knights
in leather armor
Ah, and the pages
In their gear of
Oakley shades and
flipper-floppers

The water pack
melted to my back 
I sip something weird
Which chemical is that I taste?
Water line gone awry, my steed and I
are freshly bathed

Thy gusty gale dries us out
With a lovely coat of red.
Thy scorching heat simmers up
Thy heat waves drift about
Causing my steed bother
As it overheats

We arrive a detour later
In thy gracious presence
All disheveled
How you move us so
I touch my skin
It’s aglow ten shades darker
Forty degrees warmer
I rip my lid from my head
It’s been transformed;
A ten gallon cowboy hat 
Full of water
Evaporated before it meets
The sizzling pavement

Upon dismount
my riding boots are locked
in passion with the tar

Yet thee tease
My sweat drenched hair and gear
Thee refuse to dry

Alas, then you leave!
After all we’ve had!
The sweet smiles and laughs,
The ten pounds lost in thy sauna
The tan lines no one understands
The kittens in my pack
And sweat stains on my back

You disappear into the night
Not a word nor a gusty hot gale
to kiss my cheek one last time
But, what’s this I see?!?

SNOW!

O, summer! How I miss thee so
Please
Come back to me

–Truly Yours,
                                  Wanderings of a Girl Ryder

Another Amazing Year!

Hello, 2014! And, hello lovely readers!

Looking back on 2013, it was an amazing year filled with many wonderful people and impressions. November and December are a blur, but the year ended and started with many adventures (some with Blueberry and some without) and good times. 

So my first thoughts for 2014, besides the never-ending, fun, work related stuff, include the following:

1. Possible riding destinations.
2. Blueberry TLC.

In the past, I’ve just been randomly exploring small towns and different locations. We’re doing things a little differently this year. I’m thinking themes! So the following themes will possibly become my obsession this year: geocaching (geocaching motorcycle adventures!), doors, and mailboxes. Yep, the photographing nut in me has developed a crush on doors and mailboxes. Soooo….suggestions? Tell me about some awesome doors and/or mailboxes!

Besides being my longest, and best, relationship, Blueberry has been a God-send these past years. From learning to be a better rider and driver, having Blueberry has honed my ability to see small details (and in record time) while providing many interesting adventures. It’s high time I paid back.

What are your riding plans for 2014? Tell me about one place you’d really love to check out this year; I’d love to hear about it!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside 2013

And, inside, too. Hence so few updates. I’ve been battling a never ending cold for the past month. It has, however, given me some time to pull all my winter gear out of the closet. It was a hard job finding those winter gloves, let me tell you! I’ve been out a little bit, cold and all, and I couldn’t help but wonder how I survived two winters with out any decent wintery motorcycle gear. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

 Blueberry is patiently waiting for me to change some oil. Sounds like a great Thanksgiving day project; Show some thanks to my faithful companion.

It turns out that I don’t have the best luck when it comes to technology. I plugged a hard drive containing seven years’ worth of pictures from random motorcycle/life adventures only to find that there’s nothing there anymore. It be kaput. Drat. It didn’t take a lot of brainstorming to find a silver lining. Perfect (legitimate) excuse for some extra motorcycle riding! Therefore, I’m not bummed at all.

Speaking of trips, I’m scouting out different adventures for the rest of 2013 and for 2014. Any small Oklahoma towns of interest? Any small towns with a salacious past? Would love some suggestions!

So Project (Color) Madness has been a hiatus as you’ve probably noticed through lack of pictures on Wanderings of Girl Ryder Facebook page. No more! I’ve got some new victims! And, a lot of new ideas. So stay tuned as Stone Turtle Ranch Lodging enters into Project (Color) Madness part II.

Besides spending a lot of time creating a Honey Do list for myself (that’s time consuming seeing as the list just keeps growing. Yikes), I’ve also picked up the hobby of reading. Mighty fine considering I can barely navigate through my living quarters without bumping into books and motorcycle stuff. Even found one of my Keith Code books! Motorcycle + Book = Can’t get much better especially if there’s coffee involved.

I hope all y’all have an awesome, safe Thanksgiving holiday! Remember that EVERY day is a good day to be thankful!

Driving Miss Daisy on the Extra Sunday

Sunday’s alright for driving. Yup, as a matter of fact, Sunday’s alright for playing Miss Daisy. And, who would want to miss out on the conversation gems like extra Sundays, theories about ghost towns, missing windmills, and those friendly shotgun wielding Oklahoma folk? Not this rider, especially when I get to be a backseat driver. I, therefore, volunteered to be Miss Daisy.

My old…er companions I mean the lovely ladies I accompanied talked about the concept of an extra Sunday. Apparently when you get to a certain age and lifestyle, days blend together and Saturdays turn into odd Sundays. Odd because nothing that usually happens on Sundays happens. What actually does happen on Sundays? I mean Donut shops still make donuts, coffee shops are still open (if we had any), and Wal-Mart still rolls back prices and rolls small shops out of the market. Of course, it comes as a nice surprise (or maybe a bad surprise if one had plans on the first Sunday) when one wakes up on the actual Sunday to realize there’s an extra Sunday to enjoy. Or maybe it’s a pre-Monday. A Monday everyone can love. A Monday where people can go have fun on their motorcycles enjoying nature…while polluting it. Hm, let me rephrase that. A Monday where people can take their motorcycles for a ride to nature and go hiking while picking up other people’s trash. You’d be amazed which holes I’ve been in where there have been beer bottles and leftover gatorade bottles. Really people? The water bottles are much lighter to carry back when they’re empty. But, I digress. It’s nice that some people can blame having extra Sundays on memory problems that come with old age, but how do I get to write it off? Something to ponder on my extra Sunday.

For years, I’ve been wanting to do Ellenbrook’s refuge tour partially explained in a book called Outdoor and Trail Guide to the Wichita Mountains of Southwest Oklahoma complete with a map featuring a little sombrero-wearing dude riding a donkey. If that doesn’t add credibility to the adventure factor, then what would? I’m all about turning left at the cactus…until you find out that the cactus that was there in the 1970s isn’t there anymore. Bummer.

Skeptical was my middle name when prepping for this tour. Especially after reading the route description. A tiny paragraph (I’m talkin’ a two sentence paragraph) covered 75 miles of travel all on dirt roads. I thought the directions were sucky to say the least. Based on the route the donkey was on and GoogleMaps, I pieced together what I thought an accurate route description. I probably shouldn’t make fun of Ellenbrook’s sucky directions since I beat his sparse paragraph with a post-it note. Unfortunately, the ladies who were driving Miss Daisy had even less faith in my post-it note and brought a GPS.

“Where’s y’all’s sense of adventure?”
“It’s out for pie.”
Hmph.

Cruising the back roads of Oklahoma made Ellenbrook’s sucky directions not so sucky all of a sudden while stopping next to thousands of sun flowers…then again those weren’t mentioned in the map. The Post-it Note directions worked well…with the GPS. Turns out street signs aren’t really used out in the boonies. And, if they are, it’s for target practice.

75 miles and only one car seen. We passed more cattle on the road than cars. I warned #333 and #273 of their fate, pleading with them to stage a revolt and run before it was too late. Not sure they believed my facts to be on the level. Cows. People told me I lived in the sticks. I was tempted to offer a trade at one of the ranches. Figure I’d go back once I’ve found a nice way to market a neighbor who moves mailboxes at night.

This adventure gets travelers the closest they’ll ever get (without trespassing) to Baker’s Peak and Cutthroat Gap. Story time, yo: 

Cutthroat Gap is located next to Cut-Off Head Mountain. One leads to the other, I guess. In the spring of 1833, Kiowa warriors were off on a raiding mission. The remaining (mostly women, children, and the old) were attacked by the Osage tribe. The Osage unmercifully killed most of the Kiowas who were camped in the valley. The heads of the dead were cut off and placed in brass buckets throughout the camp. There’s a nice surprise when one’s looking for a cup of sugar. Among the dead was a chief who had led a war party attack earlier in the year on traders coming back from Santa Fe. They do say Karma is a bitch. From this raid on traders, the Kiowas allegedly stole silver coins ($10,000 worth back then). Legend has it that coins were still popping up in Cutthroat Gap years after the massacre.

Moving on a couple years, Baker’s Peak gets its name from PFC Baker who was on a scouting mission from Camp Radziminski (historical marker picture from blog post Cold Springs…sort of) with another scout in 1859. The story goes that they found themselves surrounded by 200 Comanche and Kiowa warriors. Baker’s companion was killed, and Baker sought refuge on higher ground (isn’t that a Star Wars concept?) In a battle that lasted two days, Baker is said to have killed over 80 Native Americans. He was rescued by a search party from Camp Radziminski. 1 vs 200 sounds somewhat like an exaggerated bar story for the guys. I wasn’t there, so I’ll just give him the benefit of the doubt.

Ellenbrook’s map went well (with the Post-It and GPS) until the water tower. Not to be seen were (possibly) the Taylor Ranch house, an old wooden windmill, a natural spring, and cemetery (I do love cemeteries!). Maybe they all got sucked into the Twilight Zone since Ellenbrook’s excursion in the 1970s. Someone should have sucked the map up, too. Utterly confused about where the hell we were on Ellenbrook’s map we trekked on. I now have Googlemaps homework. Does Googlemaps cover the Twilight Zone? It’s Google, I’m sure it does.

Gorgeous Oklahoma scenery on the tour. Worth the trip even if the windmill, spring, and cemetery can’t be found. Sucky directions and all, Ellenbrook’s book is highly valued in my personal library with all of its trail recommendations and area history. I’ll upload my Post-It note to the Facebook album. Happy pre-Tuesday!

Stop the car!

I recently went on a short Oklahoma road trip with some friends. Since there were so many of us without motorcycles, one of my friend’s was nice enough to drive (car= hello dirt roads!). However, that doesn’t stop me from making fun of my friend’s car or his driving. Yeah, I’m a bad passenger driver; I just have to much fun riding shotgun. I think he had fair warning from previous trips that what happened would happen. While driving, I always tell him the cool things that we could stuff in the huge trunk of his car.

“Hey! That cute, white donkey with black spots would fit in the trunk of your car! Let’s go borrow him!” 

Of course, we couldn’t just put a donkey in his car’s trunk…at least not without a companion. I’m pretty sure we could fit at least three little donkeys in the trunk of his car. Or, one little donkey, one llama, and a miniature cow… or maybe just a cat. Anyhow, there’s a lot of room in his car.

As we’re coasting down a dirt road somewhere in Oklahoma, my eyes scanning the dusty tree/fence line still hoping to see a camel or an owl (I’m not picky) and counting beer cans laying in the ditch, I spot something I’ve been hoping to find.

“Stop the car!”

Brake response on the first shout, I was impressed. Better than other riders/drivers, and old…er people I know.

“What’s going…” But I didn’t hear the rest of my friend’s question for

I scrambled out of the car and hopped into the dry creek bed on his side of the car. The only thing my friends could do fast enough was slide their attention from the right side of the car to the left side where I was busy. Amongst someone’s household goods (if anyone needs a cheap coffee table and other furniture, let me know…), was a spool for wire commonly used in utility profession. I risked bug and spider bites to pick it up, drag it out of the creek, and examine its condition.

Looked good. Meanwhile, my friends were staring at me out of the car windows wondering what in the world I was doing. I smiled back all excited and charming. Although my charming smile probably looked more mischievous than anything else. I really need to work on that. I waved for my driver to come over to the creek.

 

“This,” I said pointing to my newly found treasure, “would fit nicely in the  trunk of your car.”

Silence.

“It’s cleaner than a donkey.”

Silence

*Big Puppy Dog Eyes*

“Pretty please.”

And so my new addition to Project (Color) Madness was loaded into the trunk of my friend’s car for the duration of the road trip. It has since received a nice coat of paint and is my new coffee table on the porch. To think if I hadn’t scrambled into the creek, I would have never seen the lucky horse shoe left in the cement creek barricade. Lucky for me; not so lucky for my driver. Probably the last time he’ll drive for fear that next time it will be a donkey.

When GoogleMaps doesn’t plan the ride

September 14th had finally arrived. I’d been waiting for this day for a long while. Of course plans changed, as they often do, but that wasn’t about to keep me from riding on a day I painstakingly removed myself from my work schedule. Ah, the challenges of self-employment: guilt of taking time off. I was slightly pacified when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to continue Project (Color) Madness due to lack of color. Yup, I had forgotten to buy some more paint. Maybe forgotten isn’t the right term. More like I couldn’t decide which colors I wanted to buy. So many colorful options. Maybe I’ll go for Pumpkin and Martian after all. Who names these colors? Where was I?

Somewhere along the route planning process I took a detour over to the familiar destination Procrastination. It really is a homy, cozy place where I feel right at home. Two minutes before I left, I remembered that I had no idea where I was going. I browsed through Google Maps as I laced up my pink shoelaces, remembered the road that was supposed to be Route 66 and called it good.

As I was waiting for my friend and his tag along, I remembered what I neglected to add to my application; a warning stating that I have a 5 minute wait policy. Although, I don’t mind waiting a little longer for people who I know are coming so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I had brought a book for just such a reason. Unfortunately, I brought one of E.M. Forster’s books and I have the hardest time getting into his work. So reading short snippets (20 minutes) leaves me feeling confused and frustrated. The perfect way to start a ride. I should have brought the book on Buddhism. 

Longer Saturday rides have been somewhat unorthodox in my life lately. It was nice to be able to cruise through small-town Oklahoma and see life for once. For once in a long while, I didn’t feel as though I were a character in the Twilight Zone. If there’s one thing I love observing, it’s small-town life. We rode through Cement where the town folks were congregating at the gas station and car wash maybe catching up on the weekly happenings. Much nicer than Cyril where all we saw was the police officer waiting for some action. Cyril was kind of dead. Apparently they didn’t get the notice that that’s only allowed on Sundays. 

Riding through Pocasset, I really didn’t feel the urge to stop. I was actually a little confused because I couldn’t for the life of me remember there being a Pocasset the last time I was on that road. According to my research, the highest population the little town of Pocasset has seen is 350 and that was many moons ago. The only building of potential interest to me was demolished in the 60s. How mean is that, the internet starts flaunting how cool the Minter Brothers Building was only to tell you at the very end that it’s no longer there. What good does that do me? The gas station we passed was quite old. It looked like it should have been demoed in the 60s. A couple of gentlemen were standing and sitting around the gas pump shooting the breeze. I could almost hear them voice their concerns over the crops and their chuckles drift into the breeze of the chilly September morning. One of the younger men, gave us a nice wave; I recognize another rider when I see one. We left the town folk of Pocasset to their Saturday morning meeting.

When we finally got to a town I remembered as existing, we pulled over after passing some awesome smelling diners and a donut shop with the name of Paradise something or other. They weren’t lying, that shop smelled like paradise. I can’t explain why I didn’t stop for a coffee and a donut. Sitting on Main Street in Minco was exciting. At least for me. My company didn’t seem to find Main Street quite as fascinating as I did. Now, Minco’s main street isn’t something I’d write home about, although I guess I kind of am at the moment, but it’s still full of life and energy. The small boutiques and antique shops were all open. They all had some of their merchandise displayed on the sidewalks with their doors propped open to let the cool, fresh-smelling breeze drift in to their stores.

Things I didn’t know about Minco: the town was named after a great Chickasaw chief, Itawamba Minco. Minco had school, El Meta Bond College, from the 1890s to the 1920s. Meta Chestnut founded the school, which offered classes ranging from elementary to high school, determined to bring education to the frontier. Unfortunately the lovely school building was also dismantled. Minco even has a small museum on Main Street across from the Coffee Cup Cafe (that’s my kind of cafe). The museum’s not open every day so it’d be a smart idea to call and make an appointment (405-352-4480). The small town offered attractions such as polo and corn festivals back in the day. Polo in Minco, who would have thought? The town still hosts an annual honey festival. The 22nd festival is coming up this year. Judging by the last year’s festival, I’m gonna assume 2013’s festival will also be in December. The festival has grown over the years from nine booths to over 90. They have many crafters and made in Oklahoma products. I know what I’m doing in December.

Cruising past Minco through the hay fields, not literally of course – I’m not sure Blueberry would forgive me for such an off-roading adventure. The smell of freshly cut and baled hay filled the air. All my two minutes of map reading were doing pretty well until we reached El Reno where I wasn’t sure which direction to go. Last minute lane change paid off, though. And, we found our way to downtown historic downtown El Reno. Since we hadn’t really used the 30 minute random stop cushion I built in, we had some time to kill. Which I found great, and others found not so great. Strolling the streets by my lonesome, I came across many interesting shops and murals. I’m not sure which I liked best: the shop names, the decorations, or the creepy cats who looked at passersby from the shop windows. 

The GoogleMap imprint in my mind had started to fade, and since one of my friends had already been to Okarche, I let him take the lead.Upon leaving El Reno we cruised through the housing area surrounding downtown. At a four-way stop, I paused distracted (as always) by a building I spotted tucked around a corner. Meanwhile one of the riders continued on to the main road much to the amusement of two mean looking little Chihuahua-mutt gangsters who were monitoring the situation.

“Are those strangers on our beat, Bugsy?”

“Yeah, boss! yeah, boss!”

“Nobody comes through our place, see? This ain’t the highway, see?”

“Lemme at ’em, boss! Ooh, lemme at ’em!”

“Get rid of ’em, Bugsy.”

I’m not fluent in Chihuahua gangster, but I think that’s a pretty accurate translation

The alpha male had his crony do his dirty work. This is where we experienced the potential wrath of the one-eyed dog and his sidekick. The hyper little dog “Yes, boss’d” the one-eyed dog and excitedly chased the Buell down the road. All the way to the next stop sign. Meanwhile the boss gave the rest of us “the eye” as we waited to see the fate of the Buell. Now I’ve seen a lot of different scare tactics in my day, but I think that was the scariest one yet. The rest of us sat back and watched with amusement as the excited, dim-witted crony skitted right and left barking excitedly behind the Buell. I was tempted to just turn towards the cool looking warehouse, but I thought it’d would have been a little unfair to send one rider through Chihuahua territory. So if one person jumps off the bridge, we all do. It sounds idiotic in hindsight. 

All was then quiet and it was time for the rest of us to test the Chihuahua water. I slowly cruised by the evil-eye-giving boss and his crony expecting the same frantic welcome. Not an ounce of interest was given; I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed. I guess Chihuahuas only dislike Harleys. We left the boss and his little sidekick to the mean street life of El Reno. 

I have renamed (for the time being) Okarche the City of Dying Crickets. Enough said about that. Then again: I thought the name maybe came from the fact that there might have been an oak arch somewhere at sometime and the folks just couldn’t spell, but the name comes from the words Oklahoma, Arapaho, and Cheyenne. You figure it out. Okarche had such a large German population that German was the official language in some churches and businesses. 

Eischen’s.The main reason for our ride. It’s the oldest establishment in Oklahoma which is about as far as I read on whatever material of propaganda I learned of Eischen’s which is probably why I missed the part where they only serve fried chicken. No burger and fries for this girl. No silverware and plates, either. It felt a little like I was eating at home and trying to skip the need for a dishwasher. But, give me some fried okra and some pickles and I’m easily assuaged. I was a little alarmed at just how many people like to eat without utensils as the oldest establishment in Oklahoma in a town of millions of dead crickets was pretty full. The serving sizes are decent, and I was able to pack some fried okra and pickles for a road trip snack. Didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Okarche due to not wanting to face the wrath of the crickets. 

All I could remember of the GoogleMaps directions was to take some horizontal on the map road out of El Reno, and turn off to the right on a county road before I-40. Finding the horizontal road was pretty easy since it was nicely labeled “Old Route 66.” I love clear signage. But then there were no more signs and before I knew it there was I-40 directly ahead of us. The car in front of us decided to turn onto an unmarked badly paved road, so I did the same. When in doubt follow the car in front of you. I wasn’t about to get on the interstate. I was willing to assume the road would lead us somewhere close to where we wanted to go. Still being curious to know where the hell we were, we pulled over and I let one of the riders pull out a fancy phone to determine our location. It turned out that we were on the right county road, so we cruised down the bumpy, grassy road as I prayed to keep my greasy lunch down. Cruising along on Route 66 is amazing. Maybe it’s all the hype built up around it, but it gives a feeling of being part of the past. Or maybe I really do need to stop my Twilight Zone marathon…

The best impression, of the short stretch of 66 we rode, was a bicyclist we saw. At first I thought it was a cruiser taking a break due to the massive saddlebags, but as we got closer it became evident that it was a bicyclist not taking a break but pedaling steadily down the lonely stretch of 66 we were on. I was totally impressed by this rider. He had his tent strapped on to his bike and his fancier-than-mine camera hanging from his neck glued to his back by sweat. One could barely see his bicycle under all his gear. I think it’s safe to say he was planning on seeing a little more of Route 66 than we were. Rock on, dude! 

GoogleMaps never did mention anything about a spur, and due to a time crunch ( this would be that ‘wife bit’ in the rider application) we got on the interstate and cruised into the Red Rock Canyon where I enjoyed the rest of my okra and pickles. If I weren’t so lazy I could pack road-trip food all the time. The only destination where I make an effort to pack food is Cookietown. Only because you can’t go to Cookietown and not have a cookie. It’s got to be against some universal law. 

Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading!

Pictures from the ride can be found on WGR Facebook page

Rider Appliction: The Wisdom of a Picky Rider

The evening got off to a rocky start. No, not as in the town Rocky, but it was just as desolate. An evening could not be cheery and on the way to happiness when one is faced with such a critical decision. As I heaved my last bit of equipment out, I had to finally face the problem. In front of me stood two very appealing options. But, how can one choose? It really isn’t fair. 


So I did what I do best; I procrastinated. I shoved the problem aside and continued with the task at hand. I followed the instructions to a T…well, as well as a person who despises reading instructions can follow instructions to a T. It was almost too simple. Maybe that’s why my taste test tasted an awful lot like horse food. After shoving my latest cupcakes into the oven whilst praying for a miracle to turn my horse cupcakes into a mouth-watering culinary experience, I had to return to my problem. Procrastination was over.


Wine or coffee? The wine smelled refreshing and tart. And, the coffee smelled so comforting. It wasn’t until the fire alarm startled me from my quandaries that I began to explore my options. As I was fanning the screaming smoke detector, I realized that I could have both. Problem solved, kitchen filled with smoke, and a happy coffee and wine drinking misplaced rider, it was another ordinary evening.I managed to veer from a Rocky destination to a Cookietown destination.


Twenty minutes of waiting time really does give a baker a chance to do fun things besides singing along to Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits. I browsed the lovely internet for motorcycle parts. I hate shopping. Unless I ran out of coffee, I’d rather shoot nails into my foot with a pneumatic nail gun than go shopping. But, when it comes to motorcycles, that dreading sense of doom which views nail guns as happy shopping alternatives doesn’t hover above me. It gets even better when I’m actually able to order stuff for Blueberry. New visor and brakes all around ordered, kitchen aired out, and I still had 15 minutes to kill.


In my six years of riding, I’ve always had amazing luck running across a few decent riders on a regular basis. Living in a military town, riding buddies come and go. It’s a fact of Lawton life. It’s probably in the Universal Book of Lawton Law that awesome riding buddies are destined to move. I think it’s just life’s way of keeping me on my toes. How does one find a decent riding buddy? Honestly, all of my awesome partners in crime have been purely by chance. I mean who would have expected to find an awesome riding buddy just cruising through the refuge? Most would probably say that gas stations are always full of riders. True, but my luck with the gas station riders hasn’t been so good, statistically speaking.And, I do love statistics…

 

In my six years, when it comes to riding buddies I really have experienced the good, the bad, and, unfortunately, the ugly. Over the years, I have joked about needing an application to allow people to apply to be a future riding buddy. A great way to help the riding buddy cause when Serendipity is mad at me. Others have joked that I need such an application since I’m so picky. Now, I’m not usually a picky person, but when it comes to the riding company I keep, I’ve gotten just a tad bit picky. In my smoke doused sugar high, there really wasn’t a better time-filler than creating just such an application.


So in all its potentially offensive glory, here is my application:

 

 


And, lastly please note: I don’t want to hear about all your modifications because I do not care.

No multiple choice here, yo. Which is a convenient way to test if people can read and write also.