En route to Tulsa

May 17-19, 2006

I needed a break, so I took off for Tulsa. It was hot when I started in the early morning darkness, and it got hotter by the hour across Kingman and Gallup and Albuquerque. Gas and go at every stop. Finally, at 800 miles, in Santa Rosa, New Mexico I had enough, and I pulled off for the night. I checked in and hit the sheets and didn’t wake up until 7 the next morning.

Refreshed and fed, I loaded the bike and found the nail in my flat rear tire. I could have plugged it, but I don’t like riding on two wheels with a plugged tire, especially at interstate speeds and in this heat. I checked locally, but there were no independents here. The closest dealer was in Santa Fe. I’ve never been to Santa Fe, but courtesy of Road America and $19.95 a year, I have now. Motorcycle towing packages are sweet, and this was the second time that I’d used mine.

I was back on the road by six in the evening, but only made it as far as Tucumcari. Tucumcari Tonight, as the road signs have said for decades. I didn’t care. It was bedtime for Bonzo one more time. I don’t like riding at night any more. Reaction time and eyesight diminish with age, and slowing down would only allow me to see the blur that I hit in the darkness. I think I’m smarter than that now.

The next day I steamrollered through Texas past the western hemisphere’s second largest cross, a religious monstrosity outside of Groom. It even has a memorial to every fetus ever aborted. Sweet. The cross in Effingham, IL is eight feet larger. So much for “everything is bigger” in Texas.

At the Oklahoma border I stopped for a water break. Things were getting a lot greener compared to the ride across the brown desert of the Texas panhandle. The humidity was going up too, and I wasn’t used to that any more.

The TA on the west end of OKC featured Popeye’s chicken and biscuits, so I had to stop there. There’s nothing like a little of Popeye’s best – naked, of course – to excite flagging spirits on the road.

By losing a day I was missing out on a lot of Route 66 riding, so in Stroud I pulled off to meet up with Coaster, a friend, and went to the Rock Café for lemonade and fried green tomatoes. The Rock Café has been remodeled to appear more like it did when Route 66 was in its heyday, and it looks really good. There’s a small store beside it, with slim pickings for souvenir hunters. Dawn, the owner, was there. Dawn is caricatured as one of the cars in Disney’s “Cars”, which is coming out in June.

Another hour and I was in Tulsa, visiting Coaster and wifey.

Leave a Reply