Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bicycling from Catoosa OK to Vinita OK April 14-16

April 14, 15....We settled in for a 'weather break' at the Hard Rock Casino parking lot, and did some free, dry camping. The high temperature on the 14th was about 45 degrees, and the wind was whipping, as usual, and I had zero desire to pedal into those conditions. I am a wimp in my old age, but I justified it by going out and doing some errands and shopping in the Tulsa area. We found a Bass Pro Shop and we both bought shoes, since ours are over two years old and we've put a few steps on them. We hit a mall for a few things, and just tried to stay warm.
On the 15th, Pam woke up with a severe back spasm that started the day before at the mall, so we spent the day at St. Francis Hospital Emergency Room in Tulsa, and she got to try some good drugs to help it relax. The drugs were semi successful, but she has to take it easy for a few days (as she is driving!!). During the evening, I hopped into the Jeep, and rode five miles to the Tulsa Port Catoosa. I was amazed to find out that it is the nation's furthest inland port for ocean going vessels. Duluth, Minnesota is about the same distance inland. It was a dead end in an industrial  park, and the channel was deep, but not nearly as wide as I expected to see.
Tulsa Port of  Catoosa, the most inland ocean bound port in the USA

April 15 - Spent 5 hours in the ER with Pam in a world of hurt with lower back spasms.
They tried to get the spasms under control with IV Valium and morphine.  During this picture, the pain wasn't too bad!

April16.....52.72 miles in 4:04....After a quiet day yesterday, the winds kicked up pretty good today, but they were out of the south, and I was headed northeast. That means that they were more help than hindrance, and they were blowing in some warmer temperatures. It got up to about 65, and the winds only smacked me around on the few sections of Historic Rt. 66 where I was headed due east. 
Historic US 66 was actually labeled as OK 66, and I picked it up right out of the casino parking lot. There were a few landmarks that I've seen in books on US 66 in Catoosa, namely the blue whale that was built into a lake, and acted as a swimming spot, and the Arrowhead Trading Post building. Neither landmark still serves the purpose that it did back in their heyday. As I rode along, there were several spots where the road was being widened into a four lane, but there were still some spots where I could ride on the original concrete, narrower, winding US66. There were several bridges in a park in Catoosa that did not go across any stream, but were just sitting in the grass, so I figure they are salvaging them for historical purposes. There were also some buildings in the small towns that I could tell with reasonable certainty that they were from the bygone glory days. When I came across country with my Dad and Grandma Rose in 1963, I could have very well ridden on the same sections of 66 that I went out of my way to ride in the small towns of Foyil and Chelsea. In Foyil, I rode the old stretch for about a mile, and found a statue of a hometown boy who won the transcontinental foot race in 1928. My bike was proud to pose with his statue, as that was a great accomplishment. The town of Chelsea has an entire downtown section of old buildings, and was the sight of Oklahoma's first oil well. I also rode through the bigger town of Claremore, which held the Will Rogers Museum, so I took a detour to get a picture of that. 
The first half of my ride, as I left the Tulsa area, was pretty populated, with lots of homes and ranches, and once again, it looks like I'm riding through Ohio. The second half of the ride was more 'high grass' country, with lots of cattle, horse ranches, and grazing land. Pam found a Walmart in the town of Vinita,  so that was base for the night. Bad weather is on the horizon again, so we will see how much I ride tomorrow. Forecast: headwind and afternoon rain.

Bike playing the guitar at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa

The Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tulsa

This is how hard the wind was blowing at the fountain!  The water was supposed to go straight up!!

The famous Blue Whale Swimming Hole on Route 66

Arrowhead trading post building

No water under these bridges!!

Another preserved Route 66 bridge

A headless Will Rogers in Claremore, OK - sorry Will!

The Will Rogers museum

Close-up of the museum

Bikes new hero, Andy Payne the transcontinental runner

And he didn't do it in Nikes!

Chelsea, OK's claim to fame

OK scenery, soon to change

Bike signing the autograph wall on Route 66!!!

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