Day 22: Vinita, OK to Carthage, MO
Distance: 106 miles
Climbing: 2,200 feet
I like this motel. It has a full-sized public laundromat right on the premises. Give me a clean, non-smoking room with a bathtub, and I’m a happy camper. The only thing it’s missing is wireless Internet, but I can at least dial in with the modem, which was impossible a couple of nights ago.
We road in three states today, but the scenery didn’t change much from yesterday that I could tell. Still lots of agriculture, green fields, horses, trees (including pecan trees), and lots of dogs. The last few days have been rife with dogs. Besides the little guy who joined the peloton for at least a mile in downtown Tulsa yesterday, my favorite was a beautiful border collie who jumped off his front porch as I went by and just ran alongside me in the grass for a few hundred yards. He must have thought I was some kind of exotic sheep. No barking – just a happy run.
We’ve also been seeing some wildlife – as well as a lot of roadkill. The unfortunates seem to be mostly armadillos, but some turtles and possums have also been spotted, including one mother possum whose babies were crawling all over her (I didn’t see that myself; maybe it’s an urban legend).
But I also rode a fair bit with Jim Hlavka and Reed Finfrock, and they’re both good at identifying all the birds that crossed our path (scissortail fly catchers, meadowlarks, killdeers, etc), and Jim and I both saw a woodchuck scampering into the undergrowth. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woodchuck before. I thought it might be a beaver at first. I’m such a city boy.
The weather was overcast for the most part, but no one was complaining after yesterday’s deluge. Unfortunately, the forecast for the next couple of days is not good. Lots of rain. The big question is how much of it will happen while we’re riding. I think it’s a certainty that we’ll get pretty wet, but it’s not supposed to be cold, so that will help somewhat. And tomorrow is a relatively short day (followed by two long ones), and the wind is supposed to shift to the south, which is an improvement in the grand scheme of things.
So, I’m trying to think positively. This is a vacation after all, at least in theory. The truth is, though, that I’m ready to be home sleeping in my own bed. Riding through two to three inches of rain in Missouri is just something I have to get through before I can do that.