Another weekend has drifted into the rearview, but not just any other weekend, no. This was a weekend to remember forever, one of the best weekends in almost thirty five years of weekends. In spite of an ominous precursor when the usual suspects of drama and discontent rose their ugly head, we put our nagging disappointment aside rather than mope, changed our plan completely, and it all turned out fantastic.
After two days of exploring we brought a remarkably full Sunday to a close, dropping my bike off and riding together into the twilight dusk to wrap the evening with a game of pool. I then remembered why I love riding with Josh on his bike sometimes just as much as on my own bike, leaning back and staring up at the deepening blue arching over us, eclipsing the dark peach tones of the western sky, a single cold white shimmer due north of the horizon line, Venus, being beautiful as always. Sirius would shine there in the pitch black by the time we headed back home, and I was relaxed and Highwayman was stuck in my head.
We’d been up early wrapping up a handful of chores quickly in the dawn so as to spend the full day playing sun worshipping lizards on the bikes, stopping only for lunch and a quick set of photos. The air was clear and warm, the verdant fields bright and fresh, and the crisp white sun shone remarkably bright, heralding spring. We toyed with new paths, finding a few favorites, some with gently rolling hills and wide open pastoral views, others sweeping curve after curve under arching trees, and even finding out some we thought went through became dirt and rough and were perhaps ill advised (one chain knocked loose later…). With each mile, an idea that was birthed on last Sunday’s new to us gorgeous stretch of highway solidified and grew. You’ll notice a new category in the title bar, The Road Less Traveled, a category solely intended as a collection of back highways perfect for riding. Consider it a sort of guide to options away from the main drags, a category for those stretches of road that stand out for their curves, or their skill requirements, or their rolling miles, or their views, or simply a myriad of worthwhile things to see and do. Frequently I’m asked how I find the things I do or about my distain for the boredom of riding on main roads and turnpikes, so it was only logical that eventually an entire portion of Dharma Anchor would become dedicated to sharing a smattering of favorite alternate route back roads new and old.
To open the new category, it seems appropriate that the first road listed should be one in the state this blog is written from and one I’ve become known for my abundant knowledge of: Route 66, these days the ultimate byway. Although she’s a mere glimmer of how she used to shine, there are many of us out there doing what we can to aid in her preservation and rebuilding. In spite of her long stretches of dead or disappeared sections, she has plenty of miles left, some hidden and some very visible, and all along those stretches are businesses still bustling as well as businesses waiting for loving hearted investors. However, although she runs mostly intact across the length of Oklahoma, whole sections still very much trafficked highway as you can see in various past entries under the Route 66 category, that does not mean some sections are not the worst for wear or decommissioned completely. Thus for the purposes of this category and riders seeking a pleasant run, the best remaining section of her length for riding runs from Sapulpa (to the west of Tulsa) through to Arcadia (just east of Edmond and Oklahoma City). Throughout that stretch she winds and curves and is the ultimate lazy Sunday ride with plenty to see, small town charm oozing from nearly every burg, and minimal traffic if any most days. From Tulsa east, 66 is a good ride, but a bit rougher, through Edmond and Oklahoma City she is a main vein packed with traffic, and to the west of El Reno (west of OKC) she becomes remarkably rough, hard to find at times, disappears in a couple of places, and has been decommissioned through a long stretch. But the eighty mile run from Sapulpa to Arcadia is so beautiful, it ranks high on my list of favorite rides in Oklahoma and is easily one of the best stretches of the Mother Road left in the U.S. for you to see when out adventuring.
Each of the pictures below links to a blog entry of things to do and see along that stretch of 66: