Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sand Springs, across Tulsa, to Catoosa April 13

April 13.....28.44 miles in2:43...All the stars aligned and I got to ride through Tulsa on a Sunday morning, just like I wanted to. I went from the western most suburbs to the eastern most suburbs, and got to cruise around town, with a minimum of traffic. I have mentioned before that Oklahoma is probably the least biker friendly state I have been in, with the least biker tolerant and educated drivers. Montana had that award before, but at least in Montana, cities like Missoula were uber bike friendly. In Oklahoma, even college towns like Stillwater, and Tulsa, the 43rd biggest metro in the USA have just taken baby steps in bicycle friendliness. The roads here just do not have shoulders for the most part. When they do have shoulders they come and go in such random fashion that you do not know what to expect. In Montana, the drivers just blew my doors off. Here, they treat me like a little green man, meaning they just have no idea what to do. Some blow by me, but more just stop until I'm completely gone, or will not pass me, even when it's safe. I have seen so few bikers and bike shops here that I just don't think bikers enter into their conscienceness until it is thrust upon them ( by me). They must have spent their childhoods riding ATVs and roping wooden bulls, not learning how to ride a bike. ( that's an editorial opinion.)
That being said, when I left the Osage Casino, and went down into Sand Springs, the first thing I did was get on a great multipurpose trail, the Katy Trail, for six miles. The wind was BLOWING, but I expected that, with the weather forecasting tornado watches later in the day. It was sprinkling when I got up, but had cleared off for the most part, so I wasn't expecting the thunder and lightning bolt I got when I was on the trail. A few sprinkles happened, and then it really did clear off. Sun came out and all, but the wind kept wailing, even though I think the city buildings and hills broke it up some. It wasn't terrible. The trail took me right towards the downtown that I could see, because of the multitude of tall buildings. These were the tallest buildings I've seen since San Diego, for sure. 
As I got closer to town, the trail and the underpasses became littered with homeless people and their shopping carts, blanket tents, litter, and the accompanying aroma of urine. The homes had windows, mostly, but there was junk in every yard. The businesses were old, beat up warehouses, and I wasn't very impressed. 
The trail emptied me out right into an old business district, and the vagrants that were just getting up and moving were the only people I saw. At one point, I just made a quick right and headed for the dead center of town, because there was no traffic. I would have never done this on a weekday, but this is why I like to cross through big towns on Sunday morning. The downtown area was very nice and clean, and even had a fountain in the middle of a traffic circle, which I liked. There were a ton of churches, and I even saw a procession going on around a block, because it's Palm Sunday. I buzzed around downtown for a while, then shot out on the east side of the tall buildings.
The east side of town was much nicer in the area I passed. Nice homes, new streets, and lots of street construction fulfilling the 'promised progress' according to the signs. I soon tripped upon the University of Tulsa, and toured the campus, unencumbered by traffic, or even people. The university is beautiful, with most of its campus housing and schools looking pretty new. There were wide open green spaces, and even a small fraternity row that was closed to vehicle traffic. The Pike House ( my frat at WVU), was gorgeous, but not a creature was stirring. I checked out the track, the football stadium, which was smallish, and even saw a varsity women's softball game being played. Then it was off to the east, with more nice roads, one brand new road, with a bike lane!, and nice homes.
I headed northeast and as I got further from town, I was near the airport, and some industrial parks. There was lots of road improvements going on, but zero bike lanes. Overall, it was very fortuitous that the weather held up, and that I was there on a Sunday morning, because it could have been ugly on a weekday.
I got to the Cherokee Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at about one o'clock, and Pam had already set up for another night or two of free dry camping. We were still ahead of the predicted bad weather, but phones, NOAA weather radios, weather channels, and everyone else was warning us of impending doom later in the evening as we strolled the casino looking at the amazing amount of rock and roll memorabilia that they had hanging on the walls. The place is huge, and they have a huge concert venue with big names coming in the next month like Chicago, Diana Ross, and the Band Perry. The names that have performed in the past were a who's who in concert talent. 
The thin strip of bad weather finally came through about 5:45, after the casino security came to us and told us to take cover. We has about .1-.2 inches of rain, and some pea sized hail, and then it was gone. We had dinner at the buffet, and settled in as the winds turned out of the north, and the cold front proceeded to pour in, which will keep us parked here tomorrow, because the temps are supposed to fall through the day, into the twenties tomorrow night.

An example of the springs that supply water to Sandy Springs

The Katy Bike Trail in west Tulsa

Another view of the trail

Some views of downtown Tulsa

Hey!  Wheeling!  That's Mike's hometown

The University of Tulsa

Main campus

Tulsa's track

And football stadium

Bike posing with a famous Tulsa athlete

Pike house at Tulsa

The sign for our campground! HA HA!  Seriously, they are very RV friendly - free fresh water and a dumping station!

The bad weather is rolling in....

Looking scary, especially when there's a tornado watch!!!

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