Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Favorite Detour

Destination: Medicine Park

If there's one thing I'm good at (besides pulling off my charming sunshine-like disposition...), it's taking a detour. It's 12:55, and I am expected to show my face at 1:00, I see a road that looks cool- I'mma take it. Medicine Park is basically on my way home, so I tend to ride through a lot. If you're in SW OK, then you definitely have to ride through. There's a mc shop (Chaps My Ass), The Tavern, and two restaurants.

 A favorite route is taking the Lake Road from HWY 58 through MP, and then ususally heading down Big Rock Road. I learned the other day that Lake Rd is actually called Elm. Go figure.

Big Rock road runs through Big Rock Estates. Note to watch out for teeny-boppers trying to practice their drifting skills on the way up/down.
More pictures can be found on WGR's Facebook.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Off Topic...

Country Rentals
Totally off topic, but if you or someone you know is looking for a place to rent in beautiful SW OK, I totally recommend checking out Stone Turtle Ranch.

Bringing it back on topic, Motorcycles welcome! Tour guide available (I know some really good roads).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Summer Ride

Destination: Hinton, OK

Trying to catch up on some of the many miles I've logged. A friend came out from LA and we rode up and met a friend up in Hinton, OK. Cruised down the winding road into Red Rock Canyon State Park. Fun road. But, as most fun things Oklahoma has to offer, it comes in small bite-size increments. Nevertheless, the ride up going past Fort Cobb and Lake Fort Cobb is pretty nice. And, the road into Binger, OK has is a grade 8%. Too bad the speed limit on that part is about 25 mph...

From Porter Hill to Hinton, it's about 60 miles. Red Rock Canyon is on the East side of the Hwy 8 going through Hinton.
Silver, No Name, and Blueberry

From Red Rock, we all drove back down to Binger and then headed out towards Union City. From Union City we hit 152 going out to Mustang and then OKC.

Hit up Bricktown and the Memorial. Eventually, we ended up in CycleGear (what I imagine Heaven to look like).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blueberry's 1st Mod

Yes, Blueberry finally got it's first modification: a driven 520 conversion kit. -1+2. And, it's blue. And, there's no more weird noise (a major perk).
So maybe changing the chain and sprockets the day before a major ride wasn't the greatest idea in the world. There's that hindsight thing again. But, it's not every day where a mechanically inclined friend is around to help you change your chain and sprockets. At least not every day in my world which is surrounded by cats. Just call me Little Edie. And, not the Drew Barrymore version of Little Edie. If you're gonna watch Grey Gardens, watch it right.

So it wasn't the most opportune time, but it was a time, nonetheless. We pulled off my old chain with a little drill-bit blade. Pulled off both sprockets. Put the new sprockets on and everything around it back on only to have to take it all back off. It wasn't until we were ready to put the chain on when I realized that I needed a chain-riveting tool. Yup. There I was with no back tire on my bike. And even if I had the back tire on, I wouldn't be able to go anywhere without a chain. So I did some major texting to try to track down a rider with this tool. I even found one who would loan it to me. Turns out that just because it looks like a great fit, don't cut the chain until absolutely certain. And, even IF you are certain, don't do it! It ended up being a few tiny millimeters too short. No pulling, stretching, dragging, squeezing, or praying could change that. Figures that all this would happen on a Sunday. A day where no local bike shop is open. A day where nothing wanted to go right. That's the kind of day it was.

Time to brainstorm...once again. It dawned on me that Cyclegear may sell master-links. I called the OKC branch and asked them to hold two master-links for me. So we had an unexpected 150 mile total road trip to take. For a couple of master links. Driving to OKC just for 8 oz of metal really is not my style. But, I wasn't about to let the possibility of a Talimena road trip slip through my fingers. While at Cyclegear, I also got oil and an oil filter for my next oil change. At least I didn't drive up for just 8 oz of metal. Back at the house, we put the chain and wheel back on Blueberry. So what if my chain now has two master-links instead of one. It's a frickin' blue chain! Looking back it probably also wasn't the brightest idea to test out a new chain so far away from home. Good thing these things never cross my mind when they ought to.

Lessons I've learned from this modification:
◦You need a chain rivet tool
◦Just because it looks like you can take one more link out, DON'T!
◦Buy an extra master link...or two.
◦When tightening the master link with the rivet tool, loosen the tool periodically and make sure the link's not on too tight.

Talimena Drive

Destination: Talimena and Back
Miles Logged: 350ish

Okay, so things are getting a little (understatement of the year) disorganized. But, I guess the shoe fits.

This ride was awesome! Even though I was expecting something better. I guess I've been watching too many YouTube videos of Deals Gap (aka the Dragon's Tail) and was expecting something of the sort. Nevertheless, it was still pretty a great way to spend a Monday.

It was Labor Day weekend and after some brainstorming, a rider buddy of mine and I came up with a great idea. We thought it was the perfect weekend to do the Talimena Scenic drive. So my friend came up from Louisiana with his lifted pick-up truck and his bike on a trailer. I was currently chain-less due to the fact that somewhere between the 20,000 -24,000 mile mark, my stock chain began making awful noises. The racket it was making, it sounded like my sprockets were missing a couple teeth. So since my friend was a little more mechanically inclined, we tackled my chain/sprocket problem with only a couple minor complications. Two master links later, we were ready to go.

Due to the distance from his tailgate to the ground, he had to pull into a ditch to be able to use his ramps. I felt my heart stop as Blueberry began to lean a little too far to my side as we gently rolled it up the ramps. I used the only tie-downs I had, some heavy-duty tie-downs left over from my old man's army days. We trailered the bikes up to Talihina. Depending on how you drive from the Lawton area (the route and the speed) it can range from 4-6 hours. Got a kind of late start and took a right instead of a left (taking a detour over Lake Texhoma- awesome lake, by the way). It may have been my fault. Right seemed like the logical direction according to Oklahoma signage. It's all Oklahoma's fault. Sounds about right. With our little detour, we made it up to Tali around 2:00ish. The rider from Eufaula (I always want to say U-fa-lu-fa) we were meeting in Talihina was already there waiting on us. After grabbing a bite at Pam's Hateful Hussy Diner --is that a name or what? Definitely my kind of place-- we filled up our bikes and found a parking lot to unload the bikes.

Talimena Drive
Hwy 1 from Talihina, OK to Mena, AR runs about 60 miles one way. Almost guaranteed to see many bikers since the Talimena (hopefully not all are prone to my blonde moments and get the name at once) route is pretty well-known.
The Talimena Drive takes about an hour one way. Time flys as you're going through the curves and before you know it, you've reached the end. Lots of bacon in Mena. I had the pleasure of having my debit card declined in Mena. Thank you, USAA. Thank God for Discover card since someone never carries cash mainly because someone never has cash.

From Talihina, we all went our separate ways. I headed back to Stone Turtle Ranch, and the boys went back to their homes. I loaded up my heavy-duty tie down straps, the finance book I packed for the trip and never read (it's the thought that counts), and rode back to Lawton around 6:00. I ended up taking the back highways since I didn't take a map and GPS/cell phone use is beyond my capabilities. No smartphone for this rider. The original plan was to take backroads up to the interstate that eventually goes through OKC, but somehow that just didn't workout. The road from Tali to McAlester is pretty awesome. From McAlester to Ada seemed to take forever since that's when my pack really started feeling a little heavy (it probably weighed a good 30-40 lbs). It was like a ruck march- just not. The ride was definitely enjoyable since there was still sunlight to enjoy the views, the curves, and the towns. From Talihina to Ada it's about 125 miles. It was shortly before Ada when I started to get worried. My gas light was blinking furiously and it was getting dark very fast. Once I got to Ada, I wasn't worried. I've ridden through there enough to know my way around. I also knew that I wanted to head to Chickasha and not Duncan because the darker it got, the more I was begging for the nice, fast interstate. I was wearing down on my 11 reserve miles by the time I got to a small town that had fuel. I stopped in Allen, and all they had was 87. I grew up near a gas station in the middle of nowhere. I know the quality of the gas usually sucks. So low-fuel and darkness be damned, I continued on to Ada. I stopped in at their bigger gas station, got gas, and looked for a payphone since my cell phone had been roaming for a while. It was my luck that the payphones weren't working. I had been expected back home an hour ago with three more hours of traveling to go. A gentleman at the gas station offered to let me use his phone. I must have been some sight for a stranger to offer me his phone. I was so glad to make it to Ada, I could have cried. Anyways, from there I got on Hwy 19 and went up to Chickasha before getting on the interstate. I pulled into a gas station just as they were closing. I was able to talk them into staying open 5 more minutes so I could refuel. Thank you! At that point, I was happy to see an interstate. Finally made it home by 11:00p.m. passing only two black cows on the side of the road. That s-curve by Stoney Point Rd always has cattle out at night. 
Over all, my adventure was a blast. And, Hwy 19, even though it may not seem frequented much, actually has a pretty decent amount of traffic on a Monday night.

More pictures can be found on WGR's Facebook.