Day 20: Oklahoma City, OK to Bristow, OK
Distance: 91 miles
Climbing: 4,000 feet
Not sure what to say about today. Weatherwise, it was a carbon copy of yesterday: cool bordering on cold in the morning and warm and muggy by late afternoon. If we’d had a tailwind, I probably would have been too warm in my long-sleeved jersey, but it was a light headwind all the way.
As we move eastward in Oklahoma, the terrain is getting a bit hillier, as the climbing numbers indicate. There aren’t any big hills, just lots of little ones.
Most of the time, I didn’t feel like I was riding on Route 66. Leaving Oklahoma City, we parted ways with our old friend I-40 and are now paralleling I-44 northeastward toward St. Louis. However, Route 66 doesn’t seem to be in use as a frontage road for the Interstate as much as it was in western Oklahoma. So we are riding on secondary roads that follow the same route that 66 did, with the old road occasionally visible in the weeds and trees on either side of us.
I started out riding with Lon, Susan Notorangelo, Franz, and Jim Hlavka; we took a different route than the one that Lon had on the route card because Jim Ross, who was our special guest at dinner last night, had suggested an alternate way to get out of Oklahoma City that would be less traffic and possibly include more of historic 66. Lon wanted to try this route out, so we did a bit of exploring of some of the nicer parts of Oklahoma City, including a 1930s historic neighborhood with many Arts and Crafts bungalows.
Eventually, we reconnected with the official route and shortly afterward stopped at the Round Barn, which is a large wooden barn (round, naturally) that was been meticulously restored by a crew of senior citizen volunteers who called themselves “The Over the Hill Gang.” The acoustics were extraordinary.
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful: very rural with lots of trees, hills, horses, dogs, and a fair amount of traffic. I am still feeling a bit tired from yesterday and from the 1,000-plus miles I’ve already ridden, and Chicago seems like it’s still a long ways away. Missouri is just a couple of days away, and I know that the rolling hills there are going to hurt, but I’ve been through much of that part of the route before, so I reckon I can get through it again.
One nice thing is that Susan Notorangelo is riding with us from here to St. Louis, and having her on the trip is bound to make it more fun. Let’s see: about two more days of Oklahoma, four of Missouri, and about three of Illinois to go….
P.S. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get an Internet connection here in Bristow, so I won’t be posting this until tomorrow at the earliest.