Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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!

Monday, October 28, 2013

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 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."

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!
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

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 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 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."


"It's cleaner than a donkey."


*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.
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

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 can be found on WGR Facebook page!
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rider Application: 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.
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Attack of the Cupcakes

I don't believe I've ever mentioned my escapades in the kitchen. I'm no Martha Stuart or Rachel Ray, that's for sure. In fact, most of my baking/cooking attempts are labeled with the word disaster at the end. Some of the highlights:

The Schnitzel Disaster of 2008
The Waffle Disaster of 2009
The Biscuit Disaster of 2009
The Waffle Incident of 2010- Not quite as bad as the Waffle Disaster of 2009.
The Potato Disaster of 2007 - This involved a microwave fire.
The Noodle Disaster of 2011- Where'd all the water go?
The Pancake Disaster of 2009
The Pound Cake Disaster of 2010- it weighed a whole heck-of-a-lot more than a pound

Those were the highlights. Cooking usually involves a fire alarm. I haven't made it through very many cooking attempts without a fire alarm going off. It's not cooking until the fire alarm goes off, at least that's what I thought while growing up watching my mom cook...

Practice makes perfect, right? God, I sure hope so!

Recipes and I don't get along very well. Recipes want to do one thing, I want to do another. Since I'm usually on a coffee (and coffee song) high, I'm usually able to rationalize why not to follow the recipe. And off into experimentation I drift. 

So what was I doing standing in the kitchen at an ungodly hour jamming out to Frank Sinatra, Tom Waits, and the Balkan Beat Box? I just couldn't resist a recipe for snickerdoodle cupcakes. Who could? I didn't know what a snickerdoodle was, but it sounded whimsical and fun, so I snickered and doodled it up. Turns out that snickerdoodling got a little more complicated than I thought when the recipe (there's that pesky business again) called for scooping balls of batter (batter can be balls?) out and rolling them in cinnamon butter. I have to make cinnamon butter?!? 

Um, I think not. So instead of rolling batter in butter, I decided to fill the muffin tins and pour cinnamon butter over the muffins. I stuck the butter in the microwave and zapped it fluid. It wasn't long before a funky smell permeated the air and a rumbling sound emitted from the microwave. I can't say I was surprised, but I really wasn't expecting the volcanic buttery eruption which I encountered. I guess leaving the butter lava in the microwave would actually be an easy way to butter my next meal. I'm sure I'm not the only one who despises working with butter. Such a microwave would allow a simple way to dispense butter on any meal. Where's a patent office when you need one?

Since I have no idea what snickerdoodles taste like, I can't compare and contrast. Considering my guinea pigs I mean friends haven't dropped dead, I think the recipe's a keeper. Motorcycle cupcake holder please! Ya know, so the cupcakes only attack my hips and not my riding time. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

To fish or not

So I thought that I would do something I haven't done in a while. Actually sit down in advance and plan out a route for a ride. The first time in a very long time where "in advance" doesn't equate scrolling through Google Maps ten minutes before rolling out. I am one helluva procrastinator. Six (going on seven) years of college didn't kill that habit. In fact, I think it made me a better procrastinator; I don't even stress out anymore when a paper I haven't started is due the next day. If that's not a blessing, I don't know what is.

It dawned on me that it had been quite some time since Blueberry and I have been to a particular lake near a particular small town in a while. The last time we were in that area, it was a tad bit chilly (40 degrees plus wind chill) and taking a frostbite detour just wasn't appealing. As I kept this destination in mind for a day, it wasn't long before I heard a rumor drifting through the grapevine purely by chance. 

Apparently, since the water levels have been so low fishermen aren't just catching fish anymore. Rumor has it that four dead bodies have been reeled. I wasn't too hot on fish, but in this case I think I'd opt for the (naturally) aquatic option. Since accidentally tying your body to concrete bricks is unlikely, it's highly probable that homicide is the case. Turns out that the folks living in that nice looking little town are of a violent sort. 

I don't know if this additional information made the idea of going to this lake any less appealing, but curiosity DID kill the cat... I also think it's safe to say that the small town won't be hiring me for any public relations work any time soon.

Due to the fact that my information did come through the grapevine, and I have no idea how accurate it is or if it was just some crazy story to get me out there stomping around in the mushy, low-leveled lake, I'm leaving the name of the lake and town a mystery; I did not find any information to back up this accusation. I did, however, find that they had a similar incident occur a couple of years ago where a fisherman caught more than he bargained for when he hooked a car containing a corpse. So maybe things are being swept under the water after all...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Speaking of Oompa Loompas

Just a quick update:

Oompa Loompas triggered an outing I meant to blog about a while back. For those of you who don't receive candy newsletters from those lovely little oompa loompas, I thought I'd share some information since a longer post about it won't be happening since someone is currently engulfed by Project (Color) Madness...

There's a tasty cholocate factory in the area. The next time you're in Davis, OK make sure you check out the Bedre Chocolate factory which is by the Chickasaw Nation welcome center. The chocolate is simply amazing (so much for that whole no-sugar thing). I personally recommend the espresso chocolate. Shocker, right? The original oompa loompas would be proud of the tasty treats the Chickasaw Nation conjures up. And, while you're on your way to buy some chocolate happiness, you should make a quick stop in Tatums, OK.

Tatums is a small all-black community which has been around since the 1890s. The community is one of thirteen still existing all-black communities. Back in the days before the great depression they had everything from a post office to a mechanic. They even had a hotel...because travel was so popular back in the 1920s. There are some neat remnants of better days still to be seen in Tatums. A silent movie called Black Gold was filmed in the town in 1928 with a big action scene taking place on Main Street (so I read). However, the only evidence of this are located in a museum in California.

Pictures from my trip will be uploaded to Wanderings of a Girl Ryder Facebook page.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Google Maps plans yet another ride

You know it's going to be an awesome motorcycle adventure  when the ride starts with a jump start. Not Blueberry, of course. After stopping by the store to buy some gummy worms (the early bird gets the worm and the early worm gets eaten), these early birds had some worms, jump started the companion bike, and rode off into the sunrise...well, rode off into the west while the sun was rising in the east. No need to get technical.

As we approach the unexpected town of Rocky, the excitement of the unknown is starting to show in my face as I pray the town is bigger than Cookietown. Please at least have a post office! It's in a slight curve of the road that I get distracted from my negotiations with the town-size gods when I spot a young man just sitting in the ditch observing passersby...not that there were any. If that unexpected sight didn't send my negotiations down the drain, it was the strong feeling of deja vu. I kid you not, it was not long ago that I curved through the curves of HWY 115 back when it wasn't under construction (okay, so maybe it was a while ago) that I saw a young man just chilling out in the ditch watching imaginary cars and me go by. I'd almost bet my IRA it was the same young man. You might think that's unlikely; 100 miles apart the same man sitting in the ditch. But, if I find myself on the outskirts of Rocky, why can't he? Plus, how many people can list ditch sitting as their favorite past time? Besides the fact that I was experiencing a weird case of deja vu, it may as well have been a scene from The Twilight Zone. There was this episode in the first season, I believe, where a woman drives across the country by herself. During her travels, she keeps seeing the same hitchhiker. Everywhere she goes, there he is. Just staring at her. Now, her hitchhiker ended up being the grim reaper so I'm hoping it's not quite like an episode out of The Twilight Zone. I probably shouldn't start and end my days watching Twilight Zone episodes...

Google Maps hadn't mentioned anything about a town named Rocky, but there we were in a small town with absolutely nothing besides a post office and four churches. Do I know how to negotiate or what? In a town named Rocky, I would have expected the theme song from the movie Rocky (the first one) to float down from hidden speakers on Main Street. How cool/odd would that be? God knows if I lived in Rocky I would have Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti blast upon those who ran over my trigger wire on Main Street. Make someone feel like they're in the Twilight Zone for a change. Of course, I had to wander the empty streets of Rocky. Even the churches were empty. On a Sunday morning! In Oklahoma! Blasphemy! Where's the Bible Belt hotline number when you need it?

The people (if there are any) of Rocky have a thing for little dogs. Not one Great Dane or Lab was seen. Millions of little vermin were spotted. Maybe the little dogs are from an unknown planet in outer space who landed, invaded, and annihilated all Rocky-ians. Good thing they didn't zap us, too!

It's taken me over four years to realize this: small town Oklahoma is closed on Sundays. No exceptions. What a Twilight Zoney trip it has been. As we enter the abandoned downtown of Cordell, not a soul was seen. The diner offering everyday lunch specials was closed. I guess their Sunday lunch special is to let people starve. Good thing for worms!

On the corner of Sayre and Sayre (okay, so it's not that small), you can find easy access to a five step program. All in one street corner! Five steps, you ask? First, when you commit a crime, the police will assist you (step 1). Of course, sitting in jail is no fun so you have plenty of choices to select your bail bond source (bail bonds men galore- step 2). Since there's likely to be a trial, a leech...I mean, lawyer will be necessary. Options for this third step exist, of course. You'll go to court in Sayre's fine court house (step 4). And, when the leech sucks you dry, and has coffee with the judge, you'll experience the fifth step of the program: Norfolk Correctional Facility. Sayre has a nice bank- just sayin'.

All jokes aside, going back to step four, this was the reason for my trip. Not going to court, I'd like to save that for my experimental years, but the Beckham county court house was featured in the 1940s Grapes of Wrath movie with Henry Fonda. I can't remember seeing a court house in the movie, but if the sign says so, it must be true, right? I do, however, remember an OKC milk truck in the movie. The coffee mentioned in step five would probably be had at the Brick House (...she's a brick...HOUSE) Coffee Shop off of Main. How excited I was when I saw that the little court yard with flowers, chairs, and tables was part of a coffee shop. It's like Pavlov's dogs; the idea of coffee starts conditioned salivating. I see a nice little coffee shop reflected in the window. How neat to find such a treat in a five step town! As little espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and iced coffee drinks are dancing around in my mind (and little muffins, too) I go to the door to find a heartbreaking sign on the door. "Closed on Sundays." Might as well add a sign that says "No coffee for you chump!" Where's the hospital for my broken heart? They probably don't have one since medical is probably available at step five.

Somewhere between Sayre and Altus, I lost my hair tie. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that just twenty minutes of wind and open hair can cause unimaginable painful tangles which take hours of patient combing to get undone. Ain't nobody got time for that, but I still like to avoid the ten minutes of hair removal by excruciating comb yanking. At the last gas stop of the 270 mile adventure, I searched my backpack for another hair tie since I usually have extra. Usually, but not this time. I really just need to attach a few to my handlebars. I did, however, find some combat boot shoe laces a mile long. How'd those get in there? I can't remember. So shoelace hair tie it was. After looping a quarter of a mile of shoelace around my hair, I tied it off and attached it to my shirt so someone's antenna wouldn't find itself with an Oklahoman for decoration.

Pictures on Wanderings of a Girl Ryder Facebook page!
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

There's no historical marker in Alfalfa

Some mornings I truly question my sanity. How is it that I'm here? Not just here physically, but mentally. I mean who in the world decides to get up at  0500 in the morning (who would have thunk one of those existed in the morning, too?!?) on a Sunday? Only to pound the keyboard with my head... I knew there was something missing. COFFEE!!!!!

Even with the amazing power of coffee, I wonder about my sanity. The tasty, black, cowboy energy juice which provides me with happy feelings, and thus happy thoughts, tells me to forget all this sanity jazz and get to work:

After getting off of work, I was in the need of some quality time with my baby. My poor neglected baby. I'm still waiting for the rebellion to kick in and for those teenage years to shine while keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that they don't; I would hate to have a spat with Blueberry over attention issues. The Oklahoma summer was just getting into the swing of things, a warm (hot!!) breeze (gusty gale) swept over the plains as I pushed Blue out of the garage. I'll admit right now that I'm trying to pacify Blue with a little materialistic attention. Yessirriebob, more kitsch was added. It looks pretty damn spunky, if I do say myself. Biased opinion since I like spunky kitsch. The sky was blue with a little cloud coverage here and there. A ten percent chance of storms was predicted by our occasionally accurate meteorologists, but what's ten percent? A tiny piece of pie, that's what it is.

Not only is my sanity questioned on a regular basis, but the methodology I have for picking riding destinations. I'm pretty sure I decided on this ride's main stop while playing around on Google Maps. But, who could resist a town named Alfalfa? Not the girl who insists upon calling Lake Eufaula (did eu-faul-a down the rabbit hole?- hm, maybe I'll be able to remember the name now) Lake Eufalufa (like oompa-loompas). Sure, I planned a huge detour through Red Rock Canyon State Park and Hydro, but the highlight was to be Alfalfa.

Camelbaks are pretty awesome. No, I didn't happen to run into that evasive camel, but I did remember to pack some water in a camelbak which landed in my neon pink backpack. The standard camelbak harnesses are just too normal for my taste. The camelbak is actually pretty convenient, considering that I choose to wear a helmet, to be able to drink (...water) while riding. Yep, I'm not one of those cool cruiser riders who can chill out in their whatever rag whilst smoking a cigarette and reaching for the coffee in the coffee cup holder. Okay, so that coffee cup holder is more of a Goldwing thing.It makes those "Oh my God! I think I'm going to die of heatstroke" stops obsolete. At least in theory or until one of the lame non-camelbak bringing riders has to stop. How many times can camelbak be used in a paragraph? Let's find out. So all is good as we're cruising to detour stop numero uno, home of MVP Johnny Bench - not that I know who that is... As I'm casually sipping on my water, I ran into some technical difficulties with my camelbak. Leave it to me to find some way to get a free shower during the ride. Theoretically, turning off the water supply is easy. But, somewhere in the process something went wrong and I had the water hose in one hand and the spout in my mouth. None of which were connected. It wasn't until after my shirt and Blueberry's gas tank were soaked through, that I realized my H2O plan was quickly deflating. That makes seven. To pull over or not to pull over was almost the question as we ambled down a lonesome country road. Smarty that I am, my left hand ignored the clutch as it was occupied saving my water. How to get the mouth piece back on the water hose with one hand and no idea what's going on under my helmet? I would have thought I have a better chance riding that camel. With a little ingenuity and a whole lot of luck, I stopped the geyser which was my camelbak and saved my water stash. And, the camel is successfully elusive yet again. Who could have stopped at seven?

It was a little amusing that Binger is currently undergoing road improvements when there ain't much road to be had. Not that they don't deserve paved roads, but what used to be such a charming little town to curve into is now just about as dull as some other places. They even removed that Caution steep decline sign...and the steep decline. Unless I blinked and missed the treey, steep decline into Binger. It is Oklahoma, after all. Or maybe someone just realized that the decline really wasn't all that steep to justify a caution sign.Eventually, I'm going to have to find a different cover story to get some folks to ride with me. My definition of cool town compared to theirs seems to be a tad bit different. Some might argue a couple galaxies apart. As my bored companions chilled out infront of Binger's (hopefully) abandoned medical clinic, I walked the streets. After all, it was the home of Johnny Bench...whoever that is. Maybe I ought to Google him. As we took that non-camelbak wearing rider water break, the sky began to change in the direction of detour stop#2. It really didn't look all too bad, but as we packed our stuff together and left, the chills of the old funeral home sent us into the eye of the tiger. The closer we got to Red Rock Canyon, the worse the sky looked. As much as I love rain, I'm over riding in it. Been there, done that. No need to repeat. I'm no dog; after repeating the same lesson 32 times, I've finally had it. I'd consider this lesson learned. Until it's forgotten, of course. With six miles left and a nasty looking wall cloud awaiting our arrival, I pulled over to confer with my caravan. Now, I don't know a whole lot about weather. God knows, I've driven in some awful stuff, but to just ride right into an avoidable storm sounded slightly daft even to me. How helpful they were. We follow you, they said. So if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you? If it looked like fun... It's kind of disturbing when I'm the sensible one. Speaking of dogs, the bright side would seem to be that the members of my caravan are as loyal as dogs. Flip a B, we did. And, we curved right back through Binger. An elevation change was not to be found.

It looks Binger was the talk of some other towns recently. And, no it wasn't about what's his face(?). It seems that high noon in Binger ended up on Facebook and the news. Looks like some teenagers need to find some productive hobby, other than fighting that is, to replace their boredom. Well, and some mothers apparently. It's kind of sad that no one steps up to the plate when something like that happens. It's a small town, you'd think someone would step in. Well, I guess you thought wrong. Speaking of plates, it's time to move on to the next one. Johnny Bench. Bench played two seasons in the Minors before moving on to a 16 year home-slide home run in the Major Leagues (baseball) with the Cincinnati Reds. Did you know they have sites on baseball vernacular? I do now. And, to think this baseball legend started in Binger, OK; He was valedictorian of his graduating class at Binger High School. Exactly how he made the jump from high school to the minors, I do not know. I guess in the land where sports are worshipped, the impossible really is possible. Playing in the major leagues, according to Wikipedia (professors just love that source), was the childhood dream of this small-town boy. Daddy's advice helped make it happen. Hm, maybe it was daddy's childhood dream, too... Binger was settled in 1901. That year was an exciting year as they also got a post office. Binger is supposedly the home of close to 30 businesses... All of which are closed on Sundays. Back in the good old days, Binger was also the home of a hotel and Deer Head Saloon (don't want to know how it got its name). Nowadays, it's got a museum dedicated to that one guy. Personally, I'd rather have that saloon with the deer head. Binger even has some ghosts to call its own. Some hauntings have been reported in Binger (homes and old high school); I'd make some connection to the funeral home, but I just don't have it in me. That and I'm pretty sure the funeral home isn't as abandoned as it looks...
It turns out Google Maps isn't as accurate as I keep hoping it is.From the map I looked at earlier, I would have thought that hwy 58 is a straight shot down from Hydro to Carnegie. It turns out it is not so. As I try turning into a field expecting hwy 58 to miraculously appear and take me to Alfalfa, it was obvious that the little Google car had not been on this stretch of road. As we got closer to the main stop, a historical marker warning sign was posted on the side of the highway. Location of alleged marker was Alfalfa. What could it possibly be for? I didn't know, but I planned on finding out. Having the tendency to keep the eyes moving, I spotted an abandoned barn tucked away behind a forest of undergrowth and trees. Of course, the caravan had to turn around and park in front of a redneck looking house so I could walk the fence line back to the barn. I half expected someone to come out with a shotgun to investigate where that loud muffler noise was coming from. Guess it was just too hot to open the door. Not that I'm complaining. I've learned my lesson when it comes to barns and pictures. On the way to Hobart there used to be this gorgeous three-story red barn. I always wanted to stop to get a picture of it; It's something one doesn't see very often. One day as I was preparing to stop (it happens occasionally) for this barn, I noticed there wasn't a barn to stop for anymore. Therefore, the risk of an angry redneck was worth it. 

Before I knew it, we were in Alfalfa. Alfalfa is a town consisting of an old school and three houses if you count the abandoned farm house. We found alfalfa bales in Alfalfa, but nothing else. There was no historical marker to be found. After some research, it's not a registered historic marker. At least not a marker important enough to register. Maybe it was just a misplaced warning sign to tease people to stop in Alfalfa. Or to get them to enter the old school never to return to the light of day and buildings which don't smell of hay. Apparently, there once was an old store, fire department, and a gas station. The fire department is still there, if my memory serves me right. But, the old store must have been torn down a ways back. And, that my dear readers, was Alfalfa. After all the excitement of camelbaks, creepy still-in-business funeral homes, storms, and missing historical markers, the day called for some coffee topped with ice cream. Being as there was no store or long lost diner in Alfalfa, a gas station would have to do. One of these days I hope to find an awesome little diner in one of the ghost towns I ride through. This hope also seems to be as evasive as that camel. 

Totally off topic: Perry, OK used to publish a weekly German newspaper in the early 1900s (like 1912ish). How cool is that? Perry certainly didn't have a banner displaying that info when I cruised through there in April. Wouldn't you know it, but I clicked on a volume which mentioned the Apache prisoners on Fort Sill. 

Click here for the Facebook photo album.

This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back to Pauls Valley

I'd like to start out by saying that it absolutely drives this grammar Nazi insane that Pauls Valley doesn't have an apostrophe. Like you have no idea! Did Paul not know how to spell?!?

After all that crazy tornado producing humid nastiness, Oklahoma graced us with a gorgeous day to go riding. Not only that, but life graced me with three riders who wanted to go riding (and actually showed up). If that's not a blessing, I don't know what is. Not that having no one to ride with has ever stopped me before. It is, however, nice to ride in good company. Being that I usually ride solo, I tend to forget to give people a decent heads up before doing something. Of course, I'm usually looking at everything and anything, so I barely give myself enough heads up before randomly squeezing the brake levers. Sometimes, I do believe my hand has a mind of its own. Okay, not true. The camera has been awfully chatty with my hand. The two of which are now ganging up on my riding plans. 

So on the anniversary of the disastrous Riders in Oklahoma meet and greet, I found Blueberry and myself mozying on over to Porter Hill, Oklahoma. I tend to be a little late when the meeting location is Porter Hill because I have to stop to see if the camel is out enjoying some luscious OK greens. That and I want a picture. I want a picture of Blueberry with the camel in the background. Preferably with a nice Middle Eastern veil or five draped over the camel. Maybe with some Middle Eastern music floating in the background. Not that the music could be seen in the picture, but to create that dreamy ambiance. That's not too much to ask for, is it? It must be my luck that when I have time to chill out and scan the pasture with my camel radar on that the camel is nowhere to be seen.

Of course, all but one Lawton rider bailed on the opportunity to go on a ride that was more than 25 miles. Their loss. The official meet up restaurant in Chickasha was determined shortly before I inflated Blue's tires. Who doesn't love spontaneity? We cruised past the macho man fence (go check it out, there's a helmet on nearly every t-post) near Cement to coast down Main Street where we met the top dog. Quite literally. The beagle was not too excited about these two strange vehicles browsing down Main Street. After some tire sniffing, his droopy eyes showed the willingness to let our disruption slide this once. He'll probably round up the posse next time. High Noon in Cement. 

Time was on our side, which meant that we had enough time to take a detour through Ninnekah. Not that I think we found Ninnekah, but it's the thought that counts. In the middle of nowhere at t-intersection a sign appears relaying to travelers that city hall is to the left and the school is to the right. A look to the left reveals nothing. No main street, no town-like buildings. A look to the right provides the wide expansive view of even less plus a tumble weed blowing down the road. To the left it was. Eventually we did pass a small metal shack with a sign claiming it was city hall. Of course, it could have just as easily been a prank to lure unsuspecting souls into the script of a horror movie.

Time wasn't as much on our side as I thought. Blueberry's clock is slow. Who can blame it? We generally just ride to school these days. Neither of us wants to get there too soon. The restaurant, if one can call it that, was really a hole in the wall. Well, more like a hole in the street. It's so un-restaurant like that I've never noticed it before. And, it turns out that I've driven by it enough this past year that I can recite the street names from I-44 to HWY 9 from memory. Being as I didn't see it, we had to circle the block and try again. The riders from OKC pull into the parking lot shortly after us, and we embark into the simple, shady, tinted window building where the locals are mingling at the water hole. If there's one thing I would have never, ever, ever expected to see in this itty-bitty little diner, it would be exactly what we saw; wait staff taking orders on Ipads. Or e-readers. Or tablet computers. Which they were, I do not know. Beyond my technology level so such information/product classification is typically ignored.

After the slowest person finished her meal we were able to leave. As I was settling my check I was still trying to figure out where to stuff the rest of my french fries. If there's one thing I'm probably known for amongst those who ride with me, it's probably that I like to slam on my brakes to stop for a picture session. That's right: no warning stopping. Leaving those behind me confused, frustrated, and zooming by Blueberry because their reaction just isn't quite like mine and their mind reading abilities suck ( offense, guys...). And, so we came to stop in the small town of Alex, OK. It always amazes me how a town so tiny can still have a flower shop. It may have nothing else (except for 5 million churches and a volunteer fire department), but it has a flower shop. Do the men of small towns piss off their significant others on such a regular basis? It would appears so. 

It's a little known fact about Pauls (grr!) Valley: It's the center of the universe. Or so its residents claim as witnessed by the plaque at the train station. Thank you, Mr. Clavin (think Cheers, y'all). If it weren't for plaques in odd places, I wouldn't know half the stuff I know. If there's one thing I like about Pauls...Valley, it's the fact that the downtown is still alive and thriving. I think if I'd been motivated to, I could have even tracked down a good cup of coffee. Seeing as I was already on a caffeine buzz, it probably wouldn't have been the best idea. I did however admire my favorite Maxwell ad for a bit. After an hour of ambling about the train station, and seeing half the crew asleep on the sidewalk, we split and went our separate ways.

My hope was to somehow make it to Davis. It wasn't some unreasonable hope; I had a pretty good idea of where to go and which towns we'd pass through. It wasn't until we made it to a junction which looked pretty legitimate that I became a little confused. I've seen less legitimate junctions which were the right road to take. So this serious junction seemed to say "I'm it. Take me. I'll get you there." But, where was that one town we were supposed to disturb the Sunday peace at? I guess it wouldn't be the first time I made it to a junction without seeing the towns that were supposedly on the way. After all, it is Oklahoma. If you blink at the wrong moment you can miss many a town.

After a couple of miles I had the feeling I had been fooled by a serious-looking junction with misleading signs and that we were actually on our way to Elmore City. Now the proud home of Footloose (the original movie with Kevin Bacon). It was just a few years ago that the town appeared like a ghost town. Maybe that's what happens when you ban fun; Karma comes back and makes your town ghost-like. However, they now have a big banner stating that they are in fact home of Footloose (can one really be proud of that?) and mentioning something about a Footloose festival in April. I wonder if they reenact the movie. Guess I'll have to wait until 2014 to find out. I don't know if I'll be able to take the suspense of waiting so long.

It's a little known fact (a true one this time. Sorry, Cliffy) that Elmore City was once called Rock Creek (yet they didn't like rock later on...) and was settled around the 1880s. Unfortunately, that and the movie are about the most interesting things that have happened to Elmore City. Please do correct me if I'm wrong. No complaints from this rider since I was surprised to find a high-octane fuel in Elmore City...with a pump accepting credit cards. So maybe there are other unexpected surprises to be found in E.C. Soooooo who's gonna go check out the Footloose festival? You know you want to!

Detours really are awesome. Especially when you have a full tank of fuel and no concerns about time. Those two factors really contribute to detour enjoyment. Coasting around the many lakes in the Duncan area on the way home, I found someone after my own heart who had made an awesome trinket gate. I do believe that unexpected u-turn was worth it.

Picture album will be posted on Facebook soon.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Improv at the Hookah bar

It was another lovely Sunday afternoon. A Sunday afternoon which was made for lounging in the sun with a mason jar full of ice tea and a good book. At least that's what I was thinking as I was power scrubbing on my hands and knees. Who talked me into this rip off? What kind of sales pitch was so powerful as to get me to trade in my tea, book, and helmet in order to spend my time on hands and knees chasing evil dirt spots across the floor with a mop? My memory fails me. I guess it doesn't really matter which lies the pitch held since that Sunday is long gone. 

As I was scrubbing though, I received an offer to represent Ahava belly dance troupe at the local Hookah cafe. Hookah in Lawton? That's mighty progressive for these parts. It would be just me since other people seem to have lives on Memorial Day weekend. That's cool, I'm just over here scrubbing floors. I start rallying the troops via social networks to come support their crazy belly dancing friend (some may deny a relationship). The question of music had to be addressed. I would be in charge. Ohhh yeah! A CD? A thumb drive? How many songs should I take? A CD would require burning songs and the actual CD. That's beyond my simple computing abilities. My thumb drive is currently AWOL so that left the option of dragging along the laptop. Ah, my poor, sick laptop. Besides the fact that its dependency on electricity is unhealthy, and it can't go a millisecond without juice before turning off, it's making noises on par with screaming banshees. If that weren't enough, the screen is also decorated by six...or ten lines. I mean, screen dividers. But, like a true zombie, my laptop just keeps going and going and, wait that was a battery, wasn't it? Batteries die whereas my laptop keeps living the zombie life. I'm probably to blame. I mean, a laptop can only handle so much abuse. Two coffee spillages, one water flood swishing through the keyboard's streets, 9 crashes (and counting), it was only a matter of time until it turned over to the dark side.

After retiring my mop for the day, and getting my costume on, I stepped outside into the humid heat of Oklahoma. I don't really know what's been going on with this odd weather, but me thinks this humidity is not for me. Instead of dancing outside where there's always hope for a nice humid breeze, a tent had been set up decorated with veils and hookah pipes. My support team was early. Well, they were actually on time, but if I had been the support team I would have been late which makes them early. As I'm breaking out in sweat digging out my abused laptop, I really began to wish I weren't the only belly dancer dancing. Barbara Eden must have heard me because another dancer appeared right at that moment. Boy, was I relieved. With the sticky sauna effect Oklahoma has going on, I think I would have collapsed in the middle of the tent in the hazy smoke of various tobacco flavors had I danced those 3.5 hours by myself. I did, however, have the first half an hour all to my solo-self. Note to future self: 3 minutes of tent dancing in 98% humidity in 95 degrees is enough to shed 5lbs of water so bring extra H2O.
Picture by local photographer, Mrs. Evelyne Walls.

Improvisation belly dance gigs are the best. It's all about the music and the moment. There are no moves that "go together" or were put together by someone else. It's all about me. And, I like that. A lot. Plus, you can't mess up. It's dummy proof. And, I like that a lot, too. The songs I have are normal length 5-6 minutes. They're not unusually long (13 minutes), but if you're not used to dancing that long it can be a little challenging to keep improvising or keep going. The other dancer just looked at me and asked if the song would ever end. Then the thought came to her that all my songs may be the original length. Yup. No break for you. 

Picture by local photographer, Mrs. Evelyne Walls

Had the pleasure of meeting an interesting group of guys who were enjoying the hookah cafe. They'd been given a doumbek to enjoy for the duration of their stay by an employee. I've never been given a doumbek to play with at any establishment. It might have something to do with the fact that my eyelash batting looks a little like "the look" so feared in Home Improvement. These guys travel with guitars, apparently, and before the evening was over there was in improvised jam session with a singer, doumbek, beer cup drums, and all. That made all the sweat from dancing in the hot, breeze-less tent worth it. How many people get to be part of such randomness? It was definitely an evening to remember and it all started with the scrubbing of floors.
This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another wonderful weekend gone by

Ah, April is passing me by way too fast. In between colds, paper stress, and odd weather, April hasn't seen a lot of riding. The weather gods were on my side a couple of weekends ago as I was able to ride over to Lake Lugert...or Lake Altus as I tend to call it. Yes, I will rename things, places, and people. I was also able to bless the Wichita Mountains with my presence. If that's not the recipe for an awesome weekend, then I don't know what is. 

On Saturday, a rider from OKC was planning on coming down to ride through the Wichita Mountains before heading to the Quartz Mountains. Perfect opportunity, I thought, to get my newbie rider, who bought the Harley a little while ago, an opportunity to feel what it really means to ride. This ties in with my strong belief that anything under 50 miles is not a ride. Granted, lately my rides are in the 50-70 mile range. Somewhat depressing, I agree. The meetup time was flexible and the location was set for Mt. Scott. My friend got off to a little later start in OKC. I found it a little tricky trying to figure out when to leave or tell the Lawton rider to meet-up since I didn't really know a time. When in doubt, just bombard; I played massive text message notification specialist keeping the Lawton rider up to date. After which I was told I did a better job on status update than Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Not sure if that was a compliment... When in doubt, always accept such comments as compliments. 

The weather report stated something about temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s. I don't know why I'm still persuaded by such lies; nevertheless, I wore light layers and my summer Icon jacket with the lining. I did regret this choice once I realized that even lower 70s was not going to happen. I left a little earlier so I could continue my boycott of a specific gas station. Lawton rider pulled in to the parking lot shortly after I did. Sometimes life just works out that way when one doesn't stress over things. As we chatted and got ready to leave, the OKC Buell cruises by us. Perfect, I'm not going to be late for one. I figured we'd meet in the parking lot on Mount Scott, which is why I was surprised to find OKC digging through his millions of saddlebags right at the base and in a turn. After the surprise diminished and bugged-out eye to brake-hand reaction was implemented, full brakes were applied...and all went well. I do have a way with brakes.

To make the weather situation a tad bit worse, the wind picked up. I don't know what happened to my layering skills, but they seem to have done gone and left. OKC had his breakfast sitting on top of Mount Scott in good company might I add. I thought of doing the same; however, that seemed like a lot of unnecessary extra work. Laziness, eh? From Mount Scott we made out way to Roosevelt, OK (see Cold Springs...sort of). We took a short break to fuel up and have some coffee. Meanwhile the battery of the Buell was being sucked dry, lawnmowers were driven to the gas station to be fueled, and an Indian (the country) bus with tourists pulled in. All in a short  of time in a small Oklahoma town. I never expect small towns with nothing (no Main Street, or town square) to be so full of interesting things.Who would have thunk that one could hear four languages (German, Indian, English, and Oklahoman) in such a God forsaken town? Ah, to be proven wrong on a frequent basis...

Yup, all the juice was gone. There was none left to be had. How a battery can be so sick of life (or us), I do not know. How to rectify the situation? Brainstorming time. The guys thought while I watched. My forecast for thinking was mostly cloudy with 5% of brainstorming success, so I let it be. Two solutions presented themselves. We could try push starting the Buell or we could jump-start the Buell. I certainly didn't have any cables, and OKC with all his saddlebags, backpacks, and tank-packs didn't have any either. I guess he's not Mary Poppins after all. That was quite a shock to find out; I might need therapy. 

Push starting it was! Lawton and I watched once as OKC tried it himself. Maybe that was a little cruel (there's that hindsight again), but it was worth the amusement. We then decided to help. I didn't bother taking off any gear because I thought the benefit of the doubt might play in my favor. In all my blueness (blue helmet, blue jacket, blue jeans) and pink laces, OKC and I pushed and chased after the Buell in the gas station parking lot. We ran from one end to the other with little success and an out-of-breath blogger. As I was gasping for air, we opted to try once more. We pulled the Buell back to the other end of the parking lot for another try. OKC sitting on his dead steed, and Lawton and I fully clad in armor began the journey to the other end. Lawton has way longer legs than I do, and it was like an ant trying to keep up with a giant while trying to hold on to the Buell to avoid a face-pavement boxing match. My dragging along behind the machine probably didn't help. Then again, my deadweight dragging along couldn't have been worse than the saddlebags...the saddlebags! We should have unloaded the pack mule! I would have been a good sport and offered to try once more (that must be the stubbornness people keep referring to...), but the others saw no use. 

Plan B. It's always good to have back-up plans. Since none of us actually had jumper cables, we began asking everyone who came to the gas station for a set. It's either very shocking how no one carries a set of jumper cables (in a farm town, really?) or how unwilling small town folks are to help. Which was it? I don't know. It looked like more brainstorming was needed. I sat this one out, too. Turns out physical exertion decreases brainstorming success, so I stuck to watching all the pretty cars drive by. The guys went into the gas station and asked the clerk if she happened to have any jumper cables. They were back out so fast that I didn't need to ask what happened. She did, however, mention that we could buy a set. After 10 minutes of contemplating and not wanting to buy, our German Lawton rider disappeared back into the gas station. Five minutes later, the clerk came out of the glassy doors where she probably amusingly watched us desperately run from one end of the parking lot to the other closely followed by a grinning German. I don't know how he did it nor do I think I want to know (ignorance is bliss), but he managed to charm the clerk to check in her car to see if she did have her set of jumper cables with her. Something she hadn't been willing to do 5 minutes earlier... How d...Nope, don't wanna know. I have no idea how he did it, but can I get me some of that? As our luck would have it, she didn't have any jumper cables. Charmer that he is, he bought the jumper cables, we jumped the Buell off of Blueberry, and then he returned the cables. Those Germans do have some skills and Roosevelt was left with another unique impression (German charm) for the books.

We cruised through Blair on our way to the Quartz Mountains which is where we went our separate ways. Lawton and I checked out the beach and the resort. I was ecstatic to find a marble in the sand among the millions of rocks, bottle caps, and weird things close to the water. Since water levels have receded so much and with the thought 'who plays marbles these days?,' I've convinced myself that the marble dates back to the range of 1900s-1950s. The fact that the marble also looks much like the marbles we found on the farm dating from that time, only seals the deal. What does it mean when you find your marbles instead of losing them?

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

And there went March pt II

If there's one thing I love, it's picking random places to go check out. Sure, I've been to a lot of the surrounding places so often they could be called Cheers and I could be called Norm(!), but I still enjoy every sip of adventure just as Norm enjoyed every sip of beer. If there's another thing I love, it's getting people to want to go explore with me. 

An afternoon in Nowhere

As luck would have it (what's with this lady streak Luck is on?), I had managed enticing a couple of people to go exploring. Because I was the only motorcyclist and the weather was pretty sucky, Blueberry had to stay home. I offered to drive, and off we eventually went. The idea was to make it up to Hinton, OK, but we were short on time and took one too many detours.

We coasted through Apache and went up to Fort Cobb where we spotted a massive coyote. I say we, even though it was I who spotted the coyote, because it's somewhat bad to portray myself as always looking around when I should be watching the road...even if it may or may not be true. In Fort Cobb we stopped by the World War II memorial tree. Of which I have no picture. It was a pretty small tree planted next to the Fort Cobb history lesson plaque. Thank God for full braking power otherwise we might have missed it and needed to make a u-turn. I was somewhat surprised to see a small independent grocery store still thriving in Fort Cobb. Since we we really were short on time, there was no opportunity to check out the small tavern either. Next time. We stopped in Nowhere on our way to the Lake. As I was paying for my artificial flavoring and sugar loaded snack, I asked the proprietor of the store about Nowhere. Nowhere was established by a man from Los Angeles who brought his wife to Oklahoma. She must have been pretty shocked by the change in scenery and was mad at her husband for bringing her to the middle of nowhere. The middle of Nowhere might as well have an official name. The proprietor was very kind and gave each of us a "I've been to Nowhere, OK" bumper sticker. Once again, I did not purchase a shirt. However, one of my partners in crime did, so I lived vicariously through him on that purchase. Also, I think the population decreased by 2. I thought last time the Nowhere sign had said Pop. 5... That keeps up, we'll have a ghost town on our hands.

After checking out the lake and polishing off my 100 grams of sugar snack, I thought we might still have a chance to make it up to Binger, the childhood home of baseball MVP Johnny Bench. As we coasted up the road towards Albert, OK, (population maybe Nowhere x 2), a gigantic roadrunner ran across the road. I didn't hear a beep-beep, but that could have been from the sugar high. Of course, brakes were applied and I doubled back on the double so I could try to coax the bird back out of the trees, but it was long gone. After turning back around, we decided that Albert would be it for us. Have a letter to mail? Have no fear, Albert's post office is here. Yup, the great city of Albert has a small post office, its own zip code, a volunteer fire department, and a house or two next to the Future Farmers of America sign.I f that's the future of farmers in America, I think I'll stick with what I've got.

It's against my innate philosophy to take the same way back. Needless to say, we were back a lot later than planned and other plans had to be altered. Not that they were my plans- so it really didn't matter.

Museums, Norwegians, and Vegans
Weather wasn't an excuse for not riding today, but I still had two non-riders with me, and I don't have an active sticker on my bike to get on Fort Sill although that shouldn't matter anymore. This was the first time I strolled through the museums on base. They have an impressive set-up of all sorts of museums. If you actually plan on reading all the signs, I'd allot a day for this activity. We browsed through the Field Artillery Museum, the cannon walk, the Buffalo Soldier exhibit, and the Native American exhibit in an hour or three. The last Fort Sill stop was Geronimo's grave. Geronimo's skull is one of ten famous body parts which have been stolen. Whether or nor Yale's Skull and Bones society is actually in the possession of Geronimo's skull has never been proven even though a lawsuits still arise. Can't give something back if no one has proven you've stolen it. The skull was alledged to be stolen by the Yale's secret society in 1918 from the Fort Sill location. We could have car pooled, but for some reason we didn't. The boys had the map, so I just followed them. That was a mistake. We got pretty lost, and it certainly wasn't a 6 mile drive like it should have been. I think that's all I'll say about that. There were many offerings left at Geronimo's grave. I wonder if someone cleans up the perishables on a regular basis. People leave all sorts of things: money, tobacco, service pins, Native American jewelry, key chains, little figurines. The graveyard is one of the nicer ones in the area tucked away on Fort Sill.

We dropped off a car, and continued on our way. I should probably point out that Hinton was, once again, our final destination. We checked out the cobblestone church in Fletcher, drove through Cyril, and stopped in Cement. In Cement, we talked to the owner of the variety store gave some information about the Jesse James Museum. The museum's still open, but by appointment only. Who wants to make an appointment with me? The variety store is also the town library and accountant. Is that a one-stop shop or what? Not only can I buy a wedding-like dress, but I can get my farm taxes done while picking out some books to read. I was also corrected on the pronunciation of Keechi Hills. My memory fails me, but it's either Catch-I or Keech-I. The Keechi Hills are also home to a hill referred to as Saddle Mountain where local legend claims Jesse James may have buried some treasure. There are supposed to be carvings on the east side of this mountain which may date back to Jesse James' time. Who knows. The property housing this mountain was recently for sale for mere $ live in Cement?!? Not that it's nice or anything, but gee-whiz! 

We drove down some of the roads until we came to Lake Burtschi. Found a lot of bottles, but no messages. Of course, I left all my post-it notes at home. I explained our travel options to my companions. We could go to Norge, where the Norwegians live, or we could take the highway and get to Chickasha a little faster. Somewhere in the process of explaining ideas, they got misinterpreted  in translation, and I was told that it was cool that there was a place where just vegans lived, but it wasn't necessary to check it. Now I'm not sure if it was my German, my weird accent, or the driver was acting like most do:not listening to a word I was saying, so we opted against going where the vegans live. By the time we reached Chickasha, it was getting late which was going to make us late for our dinner invitations. We were slightly more late than fashionable, and Hinton was not graced with our presence yet again. I learned something new that day, when going into a liquor store, passports do not count as forms of identification. Could've just been that when you're from Mississippi, you don't know what a passport is. I'll have to ask my family...

Last but not least, I find it amazing that March had so many memorable moments after the vicious attack school had in store for me this semester. March held nothing but ugly assignments, from intense exams to three 10-15 page papers. It's a miracle I still have my wits strung together. The Paper Rebellion of Spring 2013 was brutal, and brain cells lost in the battle will be remembered fondly.

And there went March pt1

Goodbye, March!

It's been ages since I've updated, I know, but [insert lame excuse here.] Actually, I have been staying pretty busy, and you can read all about it. Aren't you excited? To give you a taste of the delicatessen to follow, here's a slight preview of March: little red mite invasion on Quetone Point (those little buggers almost won), drooling over custom choppers, finding Nowhere (hard, since a lot of Oklahoma is nowhere), almost went to where the vegans live, and since you are reading this, I survived the paper rebellion of Spring 2013. Yup, it's been an interesting month with some awesome weather and fun adventures.

It's only fair to start at the beginning. After putting all bets on awesome weather over an upcoming weekend, I motivated a small group of brave souls to go hiking. Now, I hate gambling because Luck is never a lady for me; therefore, I had some concerns that the weather would suck. Luck must be toying with my emotions; it was a gorgeous Saturday morning. Blueberry and I pulled out the light summer Icon jacket, packed some water and were on our way to the curves of Meers. What a gorgeous morning! It was a fun, not too challenging hike. Probably the easiest Route anyone will go on with me. We started out at Parallel Forest where the trees are parallel; A place which is haunted by rumors of Satanic worshipers. Even without these legends floating around in my mind, the place still creeps me out. At least, I wouldn't want to be there at night to be run over by a buffalo ghost.What's worse, if that did happen, who would believe me? Yeah, that's what I thought.

We slowly but surely made our way over to Mount Scott. In the process, we found a lot of neat stuff and lost two hikers who have probably labeled me as crazy (not the first time and certainly not the last time). We saw a rock duck, a rock snail, an owl in a rock (owl shape that is), we found a nice rack (not mine), and found some neat places to explore even though we didn't make it as far as I had hoped. Somewhere along the way as I low-crawled through some trees, I picked up a couple of travelers. Millions, to be exact. I had been attacked by millions of miniscule little bugs. Chiggers? I don't know, but those little devils sure did like to bite. Unfortunately for me, I was the only one on the defensive. My hiking partners were not attacked. Is that one-sided or what? Talk about sexism. Okay, it could be that I was the only one who crawled through that one section of trees, but the others went through trees, too. Usually, bugs do not affect me, but when they're tiny, I'm way out numbered, and they bite then I have an issue with bugs. After a quick striptease (where's music and a tip jar when you need it?), I shook out all my clothes.Happy with the results of having made it into the hundreds on the mite count. Having a hundred little bugs is better than a million. I was itching all over. Once we maneuvered our way around an observant longhorn on our way back to the vehicles, we took our sunburned selves to Stone Turtle Ranch to enjoy some coffee and cake on the farm in the amazing weather. Itching is contagious, and some of the others began to look for little red bugs. If only I knew then that I would have the last laugh it may have made the itching more bearable. 

The next week... Still sunburned...

My enthusiasm for bikes tends to rub off on people. I'm so obsessed with motorcycles that if a person hangs out with me long enough, he or she will be browsing Craigslist in no time. I'll have just about anyone considering the idea of buying a bike. Of course, my motorcycle charm does not hold for mothers. Otherwise, I'd have been able to get mine on at least a scooter. Still working on that one. My mother's a tough nut to crack. Then again, it might be best if she didn't ride anything. I think I'd be worried to death every time she left the house.

One of the regular hikers has taken it upon himself to get a bike. I was invited to go browse local bike stores. I haven't turned down a chance to drool over bikes yet and I didn't intend on starting that day. I got the last laugh when I was informed that my friend's office was invaded during the week by the same little pests who had so unfairly targeted only me on the hike. He made it sound like he had not believed my plight with the bugs as though I had cried wolf. Thus, I had no pity for his mite infestation.

 Most of you know I'm strictly a sportbike kind of girl. You couldn't drag me onto a choppers are a little different. As we ambled through a custom bike shop, I seriously considered switching over to choppers. A chopper would be pretty nice. However, I might have issues getting around a corner because I do love to lean. I can't really see myself on a all.

It's kind of amusing to note the differences between sales personnel at different shops. From "please leave your email address and number" requests, what are you doing here looks, "if you need anything let me know", to "would you like a beer?", we heard it all. Kind of sad when your pay is based on a quota and you need names and numbers to prove you were working. I really liked the family business atmosphere at Journey Custom Cycles in Duncan. I found it a bit disturbing that the mechanics at one of the other independent shops were consuming beer while working on motorcycles. Missing screws? No problem! Now I do love beer, but drinking while working on vehicles being sold is a no-no in my book. At the pushy shop, I was also called crazy for starting out on a 600cc bike. I wonder if they call guys who start out on a 600cc crazy. Probably not. As a matter of fact, while I was in there they were making a sale to a newbie rider. To him they also recommended a 1000cc bike. Who you calling crazy, yo? Found it unprofessional that our presence was not even acknowledged by the guys sitting in Yamaha. Not even a "Hey. How's it going?" Just an evil look that we wandered in a few minutes to closing. I'd say closing was the reason, but every time I've been in there, I'm never greeted - just stared at. Guess, quotas aren't an issue for them. Don't have any complaints about Yamaha's service department; they've always been very friendly and helpful. From one extreme of almost pushy and desperate (no pay for no sales) to another extreme of who cares about you(pay with no sales). Guess that fancy MBA is starting to pay off; I notice a lot of things when it comes to how a business is run. 

It was a successful outing. A little Harley Davidson was bought, a new rider was awfully happy, and I got to go on a small roadtrip on someon
e else's dime.

Pictures can be found on WGR Facebook page. Look for part II!