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 (...no 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.