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!