Bartlesville, OK to Alva, OK – 222.0 miles
We got a great start this morning rolling out of town with full bellies and full Camelbacks. It was a nice cool start, but we knew that wasn’t going to last. Mother Nature is a tease.
The trail started with long roads that wound through the prairie. Very few crop farms occupied the land and instead acres of waist tall grasses stretched on as far as the eye could see. Hayfields and ranches were still the main human impact on the scenery along with scattered oil rigs. I think we passed one other vehicle in the first four hours on our path and saw only a handful of houses.
We stopped for lunch in Newkirk and found a barbecue spot that was packed with locals. We grabbed a seat and I ate an amazing beef brisket sandwich. After the last bite was gone the waitress asked if we wanted complimentary homemade ice cream and cake. It was the second best thing I put in my mouth all day.
As the day wore on, the temps climbed with the sun. The cattle soaked in water wherever they could find it and packed themselves like sardines in the limited shade. I was starting to get jealous of the cesspools they lounged in, but on second thought decided the facial I’d relieve wouldn’t be spa quality.
The easy curves of the road disappeared and became straight lines for what seemed like an eternity. At one point, we didn’t turn our handlebars for 30 miles. Somewhere along the way we came upon a wind farm with windmills that towered over the landscape. They seemed to be the only things that benefited from the 98 degree wind.
The heat became intense and it felt like we were in a convection oven roasting alive. We drained our Camelbacks with many miles left to our destination. Keeping focused on the sand and dirt road became increasingly difficult as each of us nearly turfed it several times. The tires did stay firmly on the ground and we rolled toward our climate controlled oasis.
We finally arrived in Alva and immediately found some shade and a cold Gatorade. The selection of other cold beverages of the non-hydrating kind was limited, but at that point I would have gone for a Zima and a jolly rancher. We made sure to fully hydrate and ordered a pizza to go for dinner.
Today’s lesson: The sun is hot.