Tuesday, May 21st – Day 49 – St. Robert (Dixon area) to St. James

Screenshot_20190521-185033_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:      No road flooding after last night’s storm

Worst part of the day:  Rob’s turn to get an eye issue

Distance: 35 miles         Riding Time: 3hrs 47min

Bed count: 29                 Sleeping Bag count: 20

It was tough getting up this morning as our bed at the Young’s home was as comfortable as ours back home. But, get up we did. Got ourselves dressed and headed upstairs where George was already up getting breakfast ready for us: ground sausage in gravy, scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, fruit, coffee and apple juice. It was a delicious wake-me-up!

Got our panniers packed back up, loaded into the trunk of George’s car and loaded the bikes on his car rack. We took a couple of pictures with George and Kay and thanked Kay for her hospitality. 20190521_083540(With our fantastic Warm Showers hosts, George and  Kay!)

Then George drove us back to the truck stop where he’d picked us up yesterday. A couple more pictures with him, hugs of thank you and goodbye and then we were off.

Almost immediately we were greeted with a nice downhill. The only thing that would’ve made that downhill better would’ve been the absence of a headwind! That was what we would be dealing with all day today. Upper teens to low 20s headwinds for practically the whole ride.

A side road off of State Route Z took us to the village/hamlet of Devils Elbow. Crossing over the Big Piney River, we stopped for a picture of the bridge (built in 1923). 20190521_092653

Another young man was also walking toward us to do the same. He said that he was an actor and they were shooting part of an indie movie, Jabberwanky (on Facebook), there. They had a couple of those rent-an-RV (CruiseAmerica) vehicles, one for the actors and one for the crew plus a trailer for their equipment. Last night’s storm had them hunkering there at the Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ.

Yesterday while we were stopped in Waynesville talking with the mayor, she mentioned that we had to stop at this place because the ceiling was covered in brassieres!! Even though the place wasn’t open, the cook was there cooking up ribs in his smoker and he let us in to the place. And sure enough, attached to the ceiling were numerous brassieres!! Don’t know the history of this quirky place and what brought about this “bras on the ceiling” phenomenon. 20190521_09342620190521_093907(The brassieres and other items attached to the ceiling of the Elbow Inn Bar & BBQ.)

Rolling on, we were shielded from the wind by the trees that lined our route. That made a nicer ride even with the rolling hills, climbs and descents we encountered. Along the way about 8 miles in, it was Rob’s turn to get something in his eye! Stopped and tried to flush whatever it was out, but, no success. (It irritated him for the rest of the ride!!) Rode through the small town of Newburg and stopped at a Dollar General in Doolittle for our lunch break (PB&J on our flour tortillas and OJ).

Next came the toughest part of the ride. After Doolittle, we were pretty much riding next to I-44 and had no protection from the wind which was really blowing in our faces now! Lots more rolling hills made it a struggle getting into city of Rolla. We were still about 10 miles out from St. James and there was a thought of just calling it a day and getting a motel there. But, we pushed on even though we knew there were more of those tough rolling hills ahead of us.

The approaching storm was not anticipated to hit St. James until around 4 and we figured we’d get into that town with time to spare. Our yesterday’s thought of riding all the way to Cuba, an additional 13 miles, was thrown out the window!!
Got a room at a nice place, the Greenstay Hotel & Suites, and got settled in. Rob tried again to flush out his eye with again not much luck.

Turned on the TV to one the local channels to see what was happening with the incoming storm on their radar. A wide band of red stretched from north to south and would eventually hit us around 4:30-5. The weather forecaster was even talking about a tornado watch for around Waynesville, St. Robert, Rolla and possibly St. James!! We thought of our night’s Warm Showers hosts where a tornado warning was in effect for their area!!

Flags flying at the next door McDonald’s were whipping in the wind as we looked outside to see what was going on! TV weather people were constantly interrupting regular shows with tornado watch/warning/sighting updates! The heavy rains hit a little before 5. We called the front desk and asked what to do in case of a tornado. The person said to get into the bathtub. So, we prepared for any tornado possibility by taking our important things (phone, wallet, electronics, down jackets, etc.) into our room’s bathroom which was well away from the windows! We even had a few momentary power outages as the deluge finally arrived. 20190521_165201(Hanging out in the bathroom hoping that no tornado hits our area!)

Going anywhere for dinner! Yeah, right! Had our ramen (Fay) and PB&J on a roll (Rob) in our room. Almost two hours later, the rain was still falling. Later, we had our 2nd double rainbow of this trip! The first was back in Elk City.

It looks like tomorrow will be another decent day for riding. Winds are looking to be better for us.

But, weather is ever changing here, so we’re just making adjustments on the fly!

Until our next post….

Monday, May 20th – Day 48 – Lebanon to St. Robert (Dixon area)

Screenshot_20190520-165044_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:     Our Warm Showers hosts

Worst part of the day: More dogs

Distance: 41 miles        Riding Time: 4hrs 22min

Bed count: 28                 Sleeping Bag count: 20

Rolled out of bed around 6:30 to a beautiful, blue sky morning. Got ourselves ready and made the long walk from our room to the motel’s breakfast area. Waffles, bagels, oatmeal with coffee and OJ. Fay made up a couple of extra waffles for us to take for a later snack.

Finished packing up back in our room and we were on our way around 8.
Winds were fairly light out of the northeast (the direction we headed for the 1st 8 or so miles). Lebanon had a couple of neat Route 66-themed murals at a park right on our route.20190520_08312620190520_083602

 

20190520_085125(Came upon the active motel on the eastern side of Lebanon. 73 years in business! Wow!!)

Today’s route, all on Route 66 stayed pretty close to I-44 for the most part, but, trees and other green foliage provided an enjoyable path. Had a couple of times where dogs came at us! Fortunately, they were all bark and no bite!

Our ACA route led us to the Gasconade River and the old bridge that crossed it. This bridge has been condemned for at least a couple of years and had been blocked with guardrails on both ends! There was a new bridge under construction next to the old bridge’s site. But, folks who live around there would like to see the old one refurbished, though, because of its history.20190520_101209(You can make out the guardrail blocking the pathway through Rob’s bike.)

20190520_10093420190520_101228

The ACA Updates and Corrections sheet warned us about this and listed two detours, neither of which appealed to us. ACA also said that it was passable for bikes which is what we chose. Arriving there, we just offloaded our bags, lifted the bikes over the guardrail, reloaded and walked to the other side and did the same to get back on the route. A lot better than either getting on I-44 or taking an 13-additional-mile, rural road detour.20190520_10204620190520_102114(You can see how deteriorated this old bridge is from the roadway and the curbing. But, it is an original! Soon it’ll be gone! So sad.)

Further down the road, stopped at a small general store/bait shop/hunting license place. Picked up something to drink and had those extra waffles from this morning. It was a nice break.

Rolling on, we eventually rode into the town of Waynesville. They, too, had a neat mural on a building side. We stopped for pictures there and who would drive up? None other than the Waynesville mayor, Luge Hardman!! She offered to take our picture with the mural and even gave us Route 66 pins! She was so nice!!20190520_130707

We had a nice climb out of town (other bloggers had said that this was a tough climb, not to us!). Up next was the town of St. Robert and the home of our Warm Showers hosts, George and Kay Young. George wanted to pick us up at a truck stop close to our route as their place was a ways up the hill on narrow roads. He’d done this with other cyclists they’ve hosted.

Arriving at his home, we got introduced to their furry family member, a “small”, 5-year-old dog named Finley. Finley was an Irish Wolfhound and George said that she weighed about 150lbs!! A very affectionate dog! Always wanted to be around us! We loved it!!

20190520_155042(Relaxing on the kitchen floor. Blocks the entire pathway!!)

20190520_172917(Just to give your a perspective on Finley’s size!!)

George showed us to our very nice downstairs room. In addition, his downstairs had a full bath along with a combination exercise and TV area. Anything thing we needed, he made available. Another fantastic host!!

Dinner was at around 6:30 and George made a wonderful meal of BBQ chicken, BBQ corn, a green salad, macaroni salad and toasted sourdough bread. Kay, his wife and a nurse at a local hospital, got home around 8. We were glad she could off early because normally her shift wouldn’t end until around 11:30!! The four of us ontinued to sit at the table and chatted all the way up to 9:45!! They are such wonderful people!! We hit it off so well with them.

Tomorrow, our plan is to ride to our 2nd “saint” town, St. James. But, if the weather is more favorable, we may push on to Cuba. Only the conditions will tell.

Until our next post….

 

Sunday, May 19th – Day 47 – Springfield to Lebanon

Screenshot_20190519-165630_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: Tailwinds most of the day

Worst part of the day: An early, unplanned awakening

Distance: 56 miles Riding Time: 4hrs 49min

Bed count: 27 Sleeping Bag count: 20

Got woken up early this morning by the cats. They kept on nipping at our feet around 5:15am! They just wouldn’t stop, so Fay got up and fed them an early breakfast. That seemed to work as they left us alone for at least another hour. We had our breakfast and coffee then packed up and got on the road around 8:15. The ground was still wet, but, the temperature was mild so we only needed our lightweight jackets. That was just right. We fed the cats one more time before leaving just in case the Miles and his family got stuck in traffic. 20190519_082211_2044(Out front of our Warm Showers host’s home.)

We were lucky today as we had tailwinds for pretty much the whole day. Yes!! Yes!! It was a nice ride throughout the countryside, but, very little shoulder. In the morning traffic was very light. But, as the day went on it got heavier.

Passed by some fairly new nice neighborhoods on the route out of Springfield. Had plenty of rolling hills, but, nothing too extreme. Lots of family farms along the way. About 25 miles along, reached the town of Marshfield. This was the birthplace of the American astronomer, Edwin Hubble, for whom the space telescope was named! There’s a replica of the telescope on the grounds of the Marshfield county courthouse.20190519_105353_286620190519_105443_6077

More and more rollers followed Marshfield on our Route 66 path. For a while, the clouds had gotten a bit darker! Wasn’t sure if we were going to get hit with rain, but, that never materialized! Yes!!

Took a lunch break outside at a Phillips 66/Redmon’s Candy Factory location in Phillipsburg. Had our PB&J on flour tortillas.

Got to our hotel around 2:30. We planned on meeting a friend, Lanny, at 4 at our hotel for dinner. We met him back home at a dinner party hosted by our friends, Sarah and Steve, about couple weeks before we took off for this trip. He was staying in Houston, MO, about an hour and 15 minutes away from us. He had an aunt who’d just passed away here in Missouri and came back to give eulogy and visit family. Couldn’t believe how we just happened to be in the same area and at about the same time! We had a very nice dinner at Applebee’s (picked that restaurant because Rob wanted to watch his hockey game, again another sad result). It was such a pleasure to get to know him better as this was only our second time meeting!! 20190519_180836_4585

Tomorrow, we’re off to St. Robert and the home of another Warm Showers host. A somewhat short ride, around 40 miles, but, the wind direction is not looking too good! So, we can only hope they’re light.

Until our next post…

Saturday, May 18th – Day 46 – Rest day in Springfield

Best part of the day:     Fay’s inner thigh issue a lot better!

Worst part of the day: Today’s afternoon thunderstorm

Distance: 0                     Riding Time: 0hrs 0min

Bed count: 26                Sleeping Bag count: 20

Felt good to get up when we wanted as there was no reason to get going. We’ve felt pretty lucky so far in that we’d been able to dodge the storms and take a days off when needed at the same time. That’s the one real nice thing about riding self-supported as you set your own schedule. And if it’s raining, you don’t have to ride.

So far, we’d only once had to take out our rain jackets. And that was when it was looking like rain on our day out of Santa Fe, but, wound up being hailed upon! We hope we’re not jinxing ourselves.

It was nice to sleep on our host, Miles’, nice pull-out sofa that fit us just right. One of their cats, Dusty, was up early scratching at the sofa near Rob’s head. Both of the cats are so sweet and gentle, but, can be rambunctious. They’re brother and sister and they get along very well.20190518_194044_288820190518_194107_5737(Our companions for these last two days: Ty (top) and Dusty.)

When Fay was down in the basement retrieving the family towels, they would love to jump inside the dryer. She had to literally take them out because they just wanted to lay inside it! First, Dusty jumped in when Fay took out their load and then the other cat, Ty, jumped in when she was putting our load in. They’re inside cats and they love to sit at the window and watch the birds fly around their big trees in the front and back yards.

We worked couple of hours on our upcoming days. Did some tweaking here and there of our route distances knowing that we’ll be riding into headwinds. So, we shorten some of those days. And then we tried to figure on when we’d be arriving into Chicago so we could purchase our Amtrak tickets for home.

We’re anticipating getting there on May 30th, if the weather permits. So we booked pretty much the only day that was available to have 2 coach seats, Saturday, June 1st. All the other days both before and after the 1st were booked most likely because of graduations and Memorial Day. We even checked for availability as far out as June 5th with no luck!! So we’re hoping and hoping that all goes well for the rest of the trip so we can arrive in Chicago no later than the 31st and make our train for the ride home the next day.

Around noontime, we decided to go to Walmart about 1.3 miles away to get a couple of things for the next few of days. We knew the storm was coming in around 3pm and wanted to be back by then. We used one of Miles’ car as he said we could. Again, how great was that! The area was under a severe tornado watch up until 5pm.

The storm finally hit around 3:45. No tornado or hail, just thunder and heavy rain. Rob checked the radar on his phone and saw that this system extended northward from at least central Texas to what looked like southern Minnesota and sliding to the east! That’s got to be at least 700+ miles long!!

Just like here in Springfield where we had originally planned to camp at the KOA, the storm dictated that we’d have to look for a hotel. Well, because of the local college’s graduation, a lot of them were very expensive. So we were extremely grateful for our Warm Showers family for allowing us to be their guests.

Dinner was the rest of our last night’s leftover Chinese food. It was good and more than enough. For dessert? What else but cookies!! P&J would love that

Tomorrow, we begin our 5 “saints” ride days: first Lebanon (obviously not a “saint”), then St. Robert, St. James, St. Clair, and finally St. Louis! Hopefully we’ll be “blessed” with decent riding weather!

Until our next post….

P.S. Rob sends a Happy 70th Birthday to YES keyboard wizard, Rick Wakeman!!

Friday, May 17th – Day 45 – Carthage to Springfield

Screenshot_20190517-185704_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:     Countryside riding

Worst part of the day: Being chased by dogs. Guess how many?

Distance: 77.55              Riding Time: 7hrs 22min

Bed count: 26                 Sleeping Bag count: 19

Had the alarm set for 6 but rolled out of our sleeping bags around 6:15. Had our own breakfast in near of the office along with the muffins we had a couple days ago from the Buffalo Run Casino Resort. Looked at the weather and it said sunny with crosswinds and a little tailwind but for only until about 10ish. So we decided to get going around 7:45 to take advantage of the winds.

20190517_075129_864320190517_075412_553420190517_075331_8606(We came upon this “blast from the past” place less than a mile outside of the RV Park! It looks to be an active theater!!)

The roads were so nice with hardly a car to be seen as our route took us off of Route 66 and meandered through the back country roads of cattle ranches and Timothy grass (we think) farms. 20190517_095839_4512

We were “greeted” by a lot of dogs that loved to chase after us. We think we’re getting so use to them by now that we just kind of take our time and not panic. Well, except for the ones that look and sound very vicious. Then we just holler, growl meaner and make ourselves look bigger than them!

20190517_110935(Someone’s “Engine”-ious idea for a mailbox!!)

20190517_110622(One of several live turtles that we saw crossing the roadway. This one hopefully did as this road is not heavily traveled.)

For 40 miles, there was nothing until the first town we came upon which was Miller with a population of 699. We came across a local diner there, the Burger Shack, that had a lot of cars in front and more people were arriving there, too. We were hungry and in need of a break. Both of us ordered a double cheese burger with fries and a drink. As we were waiting for our food, we got to talking with some people next to our table. One couple moved there about 9 years ago from Colorado because they came to visit a friend and absolutely fell in love with the small town. Then her sister moved out there about 2 years ago. They were curious about our ride and had many questions for us. Finished our lunch and were back on our way with 35 more miles to go.

Here’s where our ride really turned on its head. The morning part of ride was relatively flat with easy rolling hills. But, as soon we left after lunch, we encountered many rollers and “roooolllers” that we didn’t expect. (For those of you who are familiar with Irish Hill Road out towards Ione, think about those “dips” on that road, but, on steroids!!)

Fay was feeling very sluggish after eating that huge double burger and was having a hard time. Up and down and up and down. It was a Friday and in the later afternoon, many more cars were out on the road with only a little shoulder.

Came upon the neat little place called Paris Springs. A South Carolina transplant had married into a family that had this Route 66 property. He’d been working on it for a number of years. Lots of eclectic memorabilia there!

20190517_143540(Right out in front of the Paris Spring Sinclair station in the middle of the road.)

20190517_143715_441820190517_143705_564320190517_143928_918420190517_144010

Still had around 25 miles remaining to the home of  our east Springfield Warm Showers host, Miles. We contacted him to let him know that we’d hope to arrive by 6. We rushed to arrive by then as they were wanting to getting on the road by that time to Kansas City for the weekend. We actually got there around 5:30 where Miles warmly greeted us and showed us to the garage to store our bikes. He then gave us the tour around the house and said we could use the kitchen and washer and dryer. He also said that we could even use their car if we wanted!! Wow! Now that’s a host!! His only requirement for us, just feed their cats twice a day.

20190517_182210_9868(Rob “entertaining” the cats with the sunlight reflection off of his watch onto the wall.)

Then they were off to KC leaving us in charge of their house and the cats! Since we had hurried to the house, we didn’t take time to do any dinner grocery shopping. Thought about ordering a pizza to be delivered, but, decided upon Chinese food instead. Ordered a whole bunch items and used Door Dash for the very first time! We’d ordered plenty enough for even lunch and dinner for tomorrow. So, there’ll be no need to leave the house and venture out into tomorrow’s forecasted nasty weather.

Looking forward to a good night’s sleep and tomorrow’s planned rest day.

Until our next post….

 

Thursday, May 16th – Day 44 – Miami, OK to Carthage, MO

Screenshot_20190516-175514_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:    Camp Mi Casa

Worst part of the day: Fay’s inner thigh still an issue

Distance: 51 miles        Riding Time: 4hrs 41 min

Bed count: 26               Sleeping Bag count: 18

It was hard to leave our hotel this morning. Last night, we had the best buffet dinner with amazing desserts. Our bed was so comfy. It was one of those kind of mornings where knowing that we only had a short, 50 mile day, we weren’t in any rush to get going. We had a lovely continental breakfast provided by the hotel. We did manage, though, to get on the road around 8:20ish.

Got ourselves back on Route 66 just north of Miami. We were told at the hotel yesterday about an old theater, the Coleman Theatre, back in Miami. It’s been around since 1928 and has never closed! Sorry we missed it!

Further up the road, we came to another small town, Commerce. It had the boyhood home of some fairly famous baseball player. Someone named Mickey Mantle! That name goes back 50 years!! Stopped for a couple of pictures of it.

20190516_084855_587420190516_084755(The plaque and boyhood home of NY Yankees great, Mickey Mantle.)

20190516_085436_564220190516_085621(A couple of sights in Commerce.)

Our route kept weaving between northwards and eastwards, but, always with a tailwind!! The next little town we passed through was Quapaw. For those of you who are M*A*S*H (the TV series) trivia aficionados, you’ll know the significance of that town. We’ll leave it up to you to figure it out.

After Quapaw, we crossed into Kansas for the whole 12-13 miles is has of Route 66!! Rolling along through Baxter Springs and a back road, but, still Route 66, we arrived at another famous landmark, the Rainbow Curve Bridge.

20190516_102108_697520190516_102201(The Rainbow Curve Bridge before the village of Riverton.)

20190516_103101_155(Our newfound French friends!!)

While there we happened to meet two couples on motorcycles from France!! Did our best to converse with them. They were riding from Chicago to LA figuring to take a couple weeks to get there.

Next up was the town of Galena, the oldest mining town in Kansas (so they claim). 20190516_110810(A mural in Galena at the main intersection of town.)

Saw some more Route 66 and Cars (the Pixar movie) stuff in town! Real cute!!20190516_11125920190516_11141020190516_111748

Leaving Galena, we crossed into Missouri (no “Welcome to Missouri” sign on the Old Route 66 road).

We stopped at the town of Joplin at a McDonald’s to take a break. We’d gone around 35 miles and Fay was getting very grumpy and needed to eat. Ordered something to drink and we had our breakfast sandwiches that we had ordered last night at the casino! We had a leftover food credit from our dinner last night to get those sandwiches.

One of the helpful things that Missouri had that helped us navigate our Route 66 path through Joplin, Webb City, Carterville and into Carthage were these signs! Really didn’t need our ACA map to get us to our destination!! Just “follow the yellow brick road” as it were!!20190516_11290020190516_134646_9874

We had only 15 more miles to get to our evening’s lodging at Camp Mi Casa and RV Park which has tent camping available. It was only $15.00. We made a stop over to Walmart to pick up dinner before going to camp.

Arriving at camp, we got checked in, set up and off to the showers. The owner, Jennifer, was real nice! And the showers, they were the cleanest that we’ve ever seen in an RV Park. They’re even cleaner than some hotels we’ve stayed! She takes pride in her camp and is very proud of it. They’ve worked very hard and been open for 3 years now!

20190516_16581420190516_165750(Their cute office and “rec” room buiding and our “diner” for tonight!!)

20190516_165857(Our campsite behind the office building.)

We used their TV room which had a big table and lounge chairs to have our dinner. The wind has been blowing pretty good outside and it was a pretty warm day. Still have been checking on this weekend’s upcoming storm. It’s supposed to arrive sometime Friday evening and last through Saturday!

We got lucky today. Tomorrow we head to Springfield, 74+ miles, and one of the Springfield area Warm Showers requests we made last night at the hotel came back saying that we’d be able to stay at his place! He’s fairly close to our route and further more, he’ll be heading out of town Friday evening for a couple of days, so, we’d have his place all to ourselves! The only caveat, just feed his two cats a couple of times a day! Piece of cake! So, we’ll look to meet him at his place tomorrow afternoon after he’s off work to get the lay of his place. That’s so cool of him to do that!! One less worry for tomorrow and Saturday.

A good weather day tomorrow for most of the day. We just want to get to our host’s place ahead of the storm.

Until our next post….

Wednesday, May 15th – Day 43 – Chelsea to Miami

Screenshot_20190515-125540_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:     Tailwinds for the whole day!

Worst part of the day:  A painful inner thigh for Fay

Distance: 50 miles        Riding Time: 4hrs 3min

Bed count: 26                Sleeping Bag count: 17

Yesterday at dinner, we had a good laugh with Frank from the Chelsea Motor Inn. When we first called about the availability of a room a few days ago, Fay asked him as to whether breakfast was provided or not. His response was, “whenever you bring it!!” Well, we had a good laugh again about it!!

It was a beautiful morning when we got up. Had our non-motel-provided (LOL!!) breakfast in the room!! Yesterday at the market, we had picked up a 4-pack box of egg & sausage biscuit sandwiches. So this morning, we heated up those 4, having 2 for breakfast and saving 2 for later. Packing up, we were ready to roll at 8.

Just before leaving, Trudy came out from their house (which is adjacent to their motel) to say “goodbye” and wish us a safe trip. That was so nice of her to do that and is indicative of what kind of caring owners Trudy and Frank are!

Today’s ride was nothing out the ordinary with light rolling hills, nice road shoulders, miles and miles of cattle lands and grass fields, and best of all, TAILWINDS!!20190515_113100(One of the grassland farms which will eventually become hay for cattle.)

About 18 miles into the ride, we stopped at the McDonald’s in Vinita for a 2nd breakfast and coffee. Fay also wanted to stretch out a sharp pain on her inner thigh that cropped up this morning. She took two Aleve to lessen the pain.

One of the things that we’ve seen along the roadsides ever since we entered Texas was a different species of roadkill than what we have back home. On the rural Sacramento county roads, we’ll come across mashed skunks in various states of decay along with their “wonderful” aroma. What we’ve seen here are not the skunks, but, armadillos from small to football-sized in many different mangled conditions!! We even come across turtle roadkill here!! Not very big, more like the size of your hand. But, we’ve also passed, surprisingly, live turtles on the road shoulder (no live armadillos, though)!!

Yesterday, we happened to pass another touring cyclist just outside of Catoosa. When we caught up to her, we asked for where was her ending destination? Her answer was that she didn’t have one and that she was riding for the Gospel. Well today, we passed her again just plodding along (maybe at only 3mph-4mph)! Fay asked her where she stayed last night. Her reply was that wherever she could find! Fay tried to stay with her, but the pace was so slow on the flat road, she thought she would fall over!!

Even though we had the tailwinds, we opted to stick to our original schedule of staying in Miami (the locals pronounce it “my-am’-muh” and not “my-am’-mee” like in Miami, FL.) and not push all the way to Joplin, MO, and 80+ mile ride.

There were no campgrounds there, so a motel was our only option. We decided to treat ourselves today as we really didn’t celebrate our 37th anniversary, Rob’s 66th birthday and Mother’s Day in a proper way. We found the Buffalo Run Casino and Hotel here in Miami and even though it was about 3.5 miles off route, that’s where we chose. We got a nice stay-n-play package that lowered our room price down to $49. We’ll enjoy a nice dinner tonight to take care of these three in one fell swoop. We’ve got a really nice room, one of the best ones we had on this trip.20190515_163101_5422(Our nice-sized room at the Buffalo Run Hotel. Lots of room for our bikes and a nice work space. Out of our room’s window in the distance is the Will Rogers Turnpike/I-44, a toll road.)

Tomorrow, we’ll not only say goodbye to Oklahoma, but, hello/goodbye to Kansas (there’s only about 12 miles of Route 66 in KS) and hello to Missouri! That’ll put us into our 6th and 7th states.

Until our next post….

Tuesday, May 14th – Day 42 – Tulsa to Chelsea

Screenshot_20190514-145343_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: Finally light crosswinds and tailwinds

Worst part of the day: A mostly muggy dayDistance: 50 miles Riding Time: 4hrs 8min

Bed count: 25 Sleeping Bag count: 17

Once again it was nice to be indoors because it rained and thundered early in the morning. We could hear the thunder and see the lightning come through our windows. We had a short day, 50 miles, and since it was raining, we decided to leave a little later than usual. Our kind and generous hosts had a nice selection of breakfast items and Robert made French pressed coffee for us. What a nice surprise!

The storm system that had made the roads wet had pushed off to the southeast, but, it was still fairly muggy. We warmed up pretty quickly as it was in the low 60s at our ride’s start.

We said our most heartfelt “thank you’s” to Becky and Robert and started out going through the heart of downtown seeing a couple of beautiful churches. 20190514_085839(Us with our fantastic Warm Showers hosts, Robert and Becky.)

20190514_090841_5358-120190514_090835(The two churches early on our route.)

We then ventured into more quiet residential streets and off of the busier Route 66 road. Heading out via th northeast part of town, we wound up on a backroad around some of the industrial parts of the city: a FedEx distribution center, an aerospace business, a car recycling place (flattened and stacked cars all over the place), and one other open area that didn’t have the most fragrant of aromas!!

Finally returned onto Route 66 where in Verdigris we stopped at a convenience store for a break. Picked up some O.J. to go with our flour tortilla & peanut butter. Fay dug into the bottom of one of her panniers and grabbed the leftover blueberry pancakes and bacon we’d saved from back at Rob’s brother’s place. Fay threw out, “Hey Rob, do you want to eat this and put P&J on it?” Where he answered, “sure, that sounds good.”

We only had 25 miles left to get to our final destination and the winds were once again at our backs!! We were in heaven and flying along the relatively flat road.

We missed a turn to a side road in Foyil, Andy Payne Blvd. There was a statue of a person running at a corner of that road. Didn’t know it meant, but, later researched that Andy was a Cherokee who won the 1928 International Trans-Continental Footrace back in 1928 running the 3,423-mile route from LA-NYC much of it along Route 66 in just over 573 hours (or just under 24 days of time!) over an 84-day staged run!!

But, because of missing that turn, we stopped at another convenience store for ice cream sandwiches.

Tonight, we’re staying at the Chelsea Motor Inn. It has only 6 rooms.20190514_191201_318

The owners, Frank and Trudy, are so nice and funny. We had made reservations, talking with Frank, on the day when we had the storm back in Elk City. We guess we made a big enough impression that he stopped by our room to say “Hi”! He’s quite a talker and has lots of stories to tell. Even Trudy, his wife, said when we checked in that Frank reminded her that we were coming in today. 20190514_144450(Our Route 66-themed room at the Chelsea Motor Inn.)

For dinner, we went over to the Mexican restaurant across the street. Frank and Trudy got there a little later with their friends. Frank was excited to see us there and still had many more stories to tell. 20190514_183915(At the Mexican restaurant, Lindo Veracruz, with Frank and Trudy.)

After dinner, we walked next door to the grocery store and picked a up couple things for our possible long ride tomorrow.

The weather forecast for this coming weekend is for another thunderstorm to hit northeast Oklahoma! So, we started thinking about getting further into Missouri before it hits. Our original goal was to take 3 days to get to Springfield, MO, but, we might try to make it in two. That would mean tomorrow’s ride might go all the way to Joplin, MO (80+ miles), instead of Miami, OK!! The winds are looking to be favorable for the next few days, so, it might be a possibility! We’re keeping our lodging options open since we’re not sure where we’ll wind up tomorrow. We’ve done a couple of 70+ mile days, but, no 80-milers yet on this trip.

Wish us luck!!

Until our next post….

Monday, May 13th – Day 41 – Chandler/Davenport to Tulsa

Screenshot_20190513-194625_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:    Staying with our Warm Showers hosts

Worst part of the day: Lack of a road shoulder and impatient drivers

Distance: 65 miles        Riding Time: 5hrs 54min

Bed count: 24                Sleeping Bag count: 17

Fay had a hard time sleeping last night. Some kind of animal was making a noise all night long. Had a quick breakfast and got on the road around 8ish. Last year on Mother’s Day, we slept in a barn with horses, pigs and other animals outside on our Atlantic Coast MS ride! So, yesterday was a big upgrade!!

Our route this morning brought back onto the same road on which we arrived yesterday. So, we were not looking forward to the no shoulder and fast cars. We got about 6 miles into the ride and Fay yells out “Phone, wallet, and glasses. ” Anytime we stop and start up again, that’s our checklist. Well this time, Rob says, “let’s pull over because I’m pretty sure that my wallet is still in the tent.” When Fay packed it away, she didn’t notice anything bulky or unusual. So, we open up the tent and sure enough, it was in the side pocket where he always keeps it. Just a small bump in the road to start off with, no biggie.

20190513_092320_7599(On Main Street/Route 66 in the town of Stroud. Pretty much all of the business are on the roadway.)

At about 27 miles along, we stopped in the town of Bristow at a Sonic restaurant. We’d noticed that they’re all over here in the Midwest ever since we entered Texas. We found out it originated here in Oklahoma!. We each had one of their breakfast sandwiches which came with tater tots.

Approaching Sapulpa, our ACA route took us off the busy Route 66 road and onto a side road, West Ozark Trail. That road was a hazardous, broken concrete, accident-waiting-to-happen path!! Eastbound riders like us have a scary and bumpy downhill. Just trying to navigate around the road cracks in the shadows from the trees presented an extreme challenge! But, we managed to get through it without incident.

Reaching Sapulpa, we stopped at a Dollar General for a big container of O.J. and to use the restroom. We also let our Warm Showers hosts know where we were at so they had an idea of when to expect us. We still had about 14 miles left to go.

A fairly quiet and nice rural road brought us to the outskirts of Tulsa…20190513_152323_2663(A welcoming sign into Tulsa!)

20190513_153104_48320190513_15312720190513_153254(At a display of the historic Sapulpa-Tulsa train and an old oil derrick leading into Tulsa.)

…and eventually over the Arkansas River. About a mile later, we arrived at our destination. We were greeted at the door by Becky and then her husband, Robert, came out to greet us. They graciously open up their home and even allowed us to park our bikes inside. Unloading our panniers from the bikes first (easier to take the bikes up stairs that way!), we wheeled them to a back family room. Their home is a neat, old, 2-story home built back in 1923!! Beautiful wooden floors and staircase!

Glasses of ice water immediately quenched our thirst! Becky even offered to do a load of laundry for us! Fantastic! She showed us up to our 2nd floor room. They even have a laundry chute for the 2nd floor! The laundry room was actually in the basement. Got a nice, hot shower and while we were doing that, Robert started getting dinner ready!

Back downstairs in the kitchen, Robert was “slaving” away making spaghetti and a marinara sauce with anchovies while he joined the three of us in enjoying glasses of pinot grigio with crackers and cheese. Also on the menu was a Caesar salad which included anchovies in the dressing!

They have nice garden patio in their backyard. With it being a very pleasant afternoon outside, that’s where we enjoyed our wonderful meal and lots more excellent conversation. It was the first time having a spaghetti sauce with anchovies. They give it a subtle, light fishy, taste! Very good!!20190513_172637_1970

It was getting close to 6pm and Robert needed to head out. A bit early at dinner, we learned that he has a group of friends where on Mondays from 6-8:30 in the evening, they get together to play music in a bicycle shop of all places!! They have a core group of about 8-10, but, sometimes more show up. No audience, just fun, jazz jam sessions. He plays drums: a simple kit of a bass drum, snare and a high-hat. Pretty much everyone else plays guitar. They all have a good time! He’s been doing that for about a couple of years now.

Fay hit the sack around 9 while Rob watched the Sharks/Blues game 2 (not a happy ending from Rob’s perspective) getting to bed after game’s end.

It’s supposed to rain overnight tonight, but, be sunny tomorrow. It’s good to be indoors once again on a stormy night!

Until our next post….

Sunday, May 12th – Day 40 – Mustang to Chandler/Davenport

Screenshot_20190512-170715_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: A number of Route 66 Nostalgic Spots

Worst part of the day: Lots of traffic and no <expletive> shoulders!

Distance: 74 miles Riding Time: 6hra 30min

Bed count: 23 Sleeping Bag count: 17

6:30 came too early for us, but, we wanted to get an early start due to winds. Jim was up even earlier getting breakfast ready for us: blueberry pancakes, eggs and bacon. What family does for each other!!

We said our thank you’s and goodbye’s and were off a little after 8. The roads north out of Mustang to get back on route had very little shoulder if any, but, also not a lot of traffic.

About 8.4 miles later, we were back on the ACA map route heading towards Lake Overholser and the Route 66 Overholser Bridge! Stopped there to take a couple of picture and quickly chatted with a couple of women from Montreal, Canada. One was riding a motor tricycle and her friend was following in a regular car.20190512_09054520190512_090638

Continuing our eastward route through Oklahoma City, we came upon this neat little, old Route 66 place, Ann’s Chicken Fry House. It wasn’t open, but, had cool some 50s nostalgic stuff outside.20190512_09310720190512_093204

We eventually made our way out of OKC and headed north toward Edmond about 8 miles away. Lots of rolling hills on the 4-lane road where we finally had our first defined bike lane for only about a mile or so. Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas are growing, but, it doesn’t seem like their making these new neighborhood bicycle friendly.

Navigating our way through Edmond, we’d been riding for almost 3 hours and in need of a break. Saw and Arby’s, but, it was closed!! On a building next door, there was the fantastic Route 66 mural. 20190512_11171620190512_111821

Found a place for lunch, a large, Midwest burger chain called “Whataburger”. One of Fay’s friends had recommended we go to one at least once on our trip and here was our opportunity. Our burgers were good as was the service! When the server brought out our order, she also had a tray of ketchup packets, salt and pepper, and napkins, too!! Pretty cool!!

Riding on, we made our way out of Edmond and now eastward. More rolling hills passed some pretty nice gated and ungated residential neighborhoods! Coming into the small town of Arcadia, we made a stop at a place called Pops 66. It’s a combination of restaurant, convenience store, and gas station. But, what makes this place stand out are the 800 different varieties of soda pop!! 20190512_13111020190512_130945(above: That’s their location “sign”. below: There are rows and rows of these soda bottles inside the restaurant!)

A little further along the road in Arcadia is the famous Route 66 round barn!! Why it was built in a round fashion back in 1898, we haven’t been able to ascertain. But, it is a big tourist attraction.20190513_055034

Now, our route brought us on the most stressful part of the day. Most of these next 8 miles had big rollers and no shoulder, and even worse, a number of impatient OK drivers zipping around us passing on blind corners and hills!! Sometimes getting a little too close! We waved “thank you” to those drivers who waited for the road ahead to be safe to pass us, but, there were many other morons who didn’t.

Managed to reach the next town, Luther, and it’s convenience store where we stopped for an ice cream break! The weather had warmed up and the ice cream tasted so good! Back on the bike, we now had a few miles of a wonderful road and shoulder! Still those rollers as you can see by the amount of climbing we had today. But, alas, all good things come to an end and we were once more back to no shoulders and constant callouts to each other of “car back!”

The ACA route took us off of the main Route 66 and through a nice, small, quiet town of Wellston. We waved and said “good afternoon” to residents who happened to be outside and our greetings were reciprocated.

Now back on Route 66, it was more of the same: rollers and no shoulder. Arriving in Chandler (of course, climbing a hill to get into town!), we found a grocery store at the east end, Atwood, and picked up some things for tonight’s dinner. Fay had cooked up some spaghetti pasta the night before, so, she picked up some a sauce topping, a bag salad, flavored water and of course, cookies for dessert!

Finally we arrived at our evening’s lodging, the Oak Glen RV Park, a few miles past Chander. Fay had called them on our rest day in Mustang to see if tent camping was available, which it was. Randy, one of the owners, showed us where we could set up. It was a nice grassy area right next to a pavilion. He said we could set up in there, if we’d like. So, we did. We were real close to the bath house (shower and restroom combined). The RV Park’s storm shelter (i.e. tornado) is right next to it! 20190512_18425020190512_184400

Got the tent up, showered and brought our dinner up inside the office area (they had a microwave inside, yeah!!)).20190512_173223(Our set up for the night in the pavilion.)

It was a tough day today and we’ll most likely sleep very well tonight albeit on concrete floor of the pavilion.

Tomorrow, we head for Tulsa (65 miles) and our 2nd Warm Showers host. Looking forward to meeting this couple.

Until our next post…