Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stillwater OK to Sand Springs (east of Tulsa ) April 12

66.69 miles in 6:03....With forecasts for real warm temperatures and increasing winds, I headed east on OK 51. We were camped about five miles east of Stillwater, and I rode through town, and then, all the way to Tulsa on OK 51. Conditions on the road were much improved over Thursday's ride into Stillwater, where truck traffic was nerve wracking and there were no shoulders. Being Saturday, the truck traffic, and traffic in general was much reduced. Also, there was a shoulder the entire way to Tulsa. It was dirty and beat up in places, but mostly, it was in better shape than the road itself.
This area is known as 'Green Country', because of the crops that I described on Thursday, and also because we are no longer in the desert, or on the high plains where it is always dry, but we are transitioning to the Ozark Mountain area. There are trees everywhere, there are multitudes of small streams with water in them, and I crossed the Cimarron River again, and it had quite a bit more water in it than the last time I crossed it in Texas. I also saw the area referred to as Oklahoma high grass country, and that is what I looked at today.
As I left the Stillwater area, the hills rolled significantly all the way to Tulsa. I ended up climbing over 2500 ft, but I descended over 2500 ft also. The landscape was tall dry, brown, grass for the most part. Hence, high grass country. Some of the grass was trying to turn green, but it's just been too dry around here. Drought conditions have been present almost everywhere we've been on this trip, except for the Pacific Northwest. Some people, however, had their mowers out and were giving their lawns a first cutting for the year. OK 51 winds it's way through three Indian Reservations, even though I did not see the term 'reservation' used here, like other places. It was the Pawnee Nation, the Creek Nation, and the Osage Nation that I traveled through. Our night was spent at a casino on the Osage Nation, very near Tulsa. There was not much farming, and there really weren't many cattle out there either. There were lots of ranches and family spreads, and you could not tell the Native American residences from any other, like on other reservations, where I could definitely tell where the natives lived. 
About halfway between Stillwater, and Tulsa, I passed through the only town on the trip. It was Yale, OK, and it was the home of Jim Thorpe, worlds greatest athlete of some fame from the 1910's. I stopped at his home, which was a museum, but didn't go in. 
As I got closer to Tulsa, I crossed over Keystone Lake, created by a dam, and it was plenty full of water, which has not been the case in most places we've been to out west. That was also the spot where the wind was strongest. I was being hit by winds all day, from my right side, that were supposed to be 20-30 mph, but they were tempered by the hills and trees. When I was riding across Keystone Lake, my helmet would have blown off if it wasn't locked on. That's the first time that's happened.
When I made it to the casino, I grabbed a quick shower, went to a Palm Sunday mass, and then Pam and I spent a little time and a little money at the casino, where we are dry camping.


Just a little scenery

Jim Thorpe's house in Yale, OK - even though he ended up in Pennsylvania!!

Our son did the same events in college as Jim Thorpe!

Entering another Indian Nation

View of the Arkansas River

Another view

Keystone Lake

The Flying G Ranch

Haven't seen ghost bikes in a long time - these are near Tulsa

The Arkansas River shows the state of the drought

Passing through Tulsa Mike spotted the BMX Gold Cup races.  Our son used to ride BMX too!





And another Indian Nation!  The Osage owned the casino that we camped at.

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