Monday was a beautiful 70 degrees, sunny with a little breeze. So I enjoyed the only way I know how, I loaded up my bike and headed to the woods.
To say we had an unusual day just barely grazes the top of it. Our ride started off with riding across a closed iron truss bridge (it is really in better shape than several we have been across that are still open), next we hit some some prime single track trail. After a few miles of trail we dump back out on a dirt road and ride over to, what is known as the main intersection. We were meeting Darel there at noon. Our timing was nearly perfect, we had just taken our helmets off and we heard a bike coming up the hill, sure enough it was Darel. SInce we were going to include a good bit of asphalt today, Darel and Randall rode their XR 650L's since their KTM's aren't tagged. We head out and ride through Haw Creek and cross a highway to hit some trail. A good steep climb and we pop out on asphalt ... onto Talimena Drive. We rode about 10 miles of it stopping at a couple of scenic overlooks along the way.
We come up on a rough looking jeep trail and drop off of the mountain leaving the asphalt behind us. It soon turns a little better and about 4 to 5 miles down this road come up on a white van parked on the side of the road. At first, I was thinking someone was planting a cash crop down here in the woods (miles from anything), but as I got closer, I could see people in front of the van. As we get up to the van, it reads Oklahoma State Department Of Corrections. We are riding just a few feet from inmates on a work program. Man, don't you know they would love to knock us in the head, take our bikes and make their getaway. lol I still felt uneasy until we were a few hundred yards up the road from them. A couple of miles on down, Darel locks up his rear brake and turns into a Private Property - Keep Out drive. We ride up to the coolest little cabin and he tells us this is his cousins place. We looked around a little, no one was home.
We head back out and this is when I have a run in with a suicidal squirrel. He waited on the side of the road and just as I get within a few feet of him, he bolts across the road in front of me. I narrowly missed turning the fury little critter into a greasy spot on the road. It seems like a dumb game, but then, how exciting can it be to be a squirrel? We head on not knowing what to expect next. We weren't disappointed. We came across a "horse bar" named Harry's Bar. It was miles from civilization, but on a, evidently big time, horse trail out in the woods. Randall looks at me and says, "Don't you know we could get some stories out of there". Soon we come back out to asphalt and light the bikes up. We ride next to a bluff overlook and stop to get a picture or two. We are looking down on Big Creek Spillway. We stop for a quick bite to eat and gas the bikes up, then we head back toward home, stopping at the Peter Conser House for a brief history lesson. The stable was my favorite part.
By now we are all dragging and even one of the healthy riders is hurting from the ride. We take the most direct route back which means trail. It was washed out, rough and rutted from all of the winter ice, snow and rain. Trees were down across the trail and we stopped several times clearing the trail enough to make it rideable. By the time I finally got back to the truck, both my RA and OA were screaming at me, but I had rode 177 miles. Today my right hand and both wrists hurt ... ah the effects of a fun day on RA. But once again, I did not let RA beat me yesterday.
I know it sounds a little crazy, but I couldn't have sit down at the computer and thought all of this stuff up!