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Old 12-14-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
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Oklahoma Adventure Trail

Back in May I found myself with a 2002 BMW F650GS that had been (mostly) converted to a Dakar by a prior owner. Cropear is to blame for this. This is the first motorcycle I'd ridden since I was 13 or so, 25 years ago.
The months go by and I put a few thousand miles on it, riding to work and covering most of SW Oklahoma on day trips, but had not done any multi-day trips. Cropear and I had been talking about doing a longer trip and out of the blue I saw this thread by OKlr. This is a big loop that encompasses most (sorry Panhandle) of the different areas of Oklahoma called the Oklahoma Adventure Trail. Yeah baby, this was what we needed.

OKlr designed this route mainly by looking at computer images and paper county maps. My hat's off to him because, whether he picked the best route an area had to offer or not, the tracks were good and very little rerouting was needed.

I had a solid week that I could take off, but needed to be back Tuesday for my daughter's school Christmas play. Cropear had to be back Sunday so he could work Monday. The weather looked great...until Sunday at least. We had no idea how much of the OAT we could do, but figured we'd give it a shot.

Our plan was to do the OAT counterclockwise, riding through South Central & Southeast Oklahoma first. Neither of us had spent much time in SE OK and we didn't know how long it'd take to ride through it, so we wanted to be sure and knock it out. We also assumed that the prevailing winds in December would be out of the north. The hills and trees of SE Oklahoma would help shield us from some of it, and we could take advantage of it heading south through the vast opens of western Oklahoma. Due to the time of the year and last minute planning we ruled out trying to camp anywhere and planned to stay in motels.

Our goals were to just get out and have a good time, try to do as much of the route as we could following it as closely as possible and get some real on the ground info for OKlr. We also wanted to avoid being stuck on a trail or backroad after dark.

-I have 6 months or so riding experience and would be on the above described 2002 GS/Dakar bastard with a new battery and new T63s. I've done a lot of dirt, gravel & pavement riding in that time, but very little true off-road stuff.
My technical expertise is not worth mentioning; I've no experience with a GPS and have the MotionX app on my phone that I really don't know how to use.

-Cropear's ridden off and on over the years and is a technical guru, so he'll be handy to have around, but he has no multi-day trip experience either. He'd be riding his fairly new to him 2003 Dakar with a worn TKC 80 rear.

-I'd been stashing my tool kit in a Wolfman Rolie dry bag attached in front of my bash plate. I was curious how it would hold up.

-We'd be using the Sena MH-5 for communication, music, etc. We've used them for a couple of months but never for something like this.

-GPS?? Hmmmm.

-We took some decent pictures, but not many of them.

Here's the entire route: (the red lines indicate a difference in our trail and OKlr's mapped route)
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
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OAT Day 1

Day 1, Wednesday, 12/5/12
Wichita Mts to Madill (160 miles)

I left home Wednesday morning and headed NE to hook up with the OAT in the Wichita Mts. at the intersection of Hwys 115 & 49. I did not ride up Mt. Scott then, but headed up to Meers and followed the route to Davis. I'd written the route down on a notepad I kept in the map pocket of my tank bag and was going to depend on Cropear to route us from there. I got there quite a bit earlier than expected and talked to Cropear, who had just gotten off work and was headed down to Davis. I thought we could reach Madill by dark, so I went ahead and pulled up the route on Google Earth and jotted notes down again so we'd be ready to go when he got there. He made it and we took off down the trail, making it well before dark but not wanting to try to go any further without a clear route.

While having a beer in the room that night and discussing the next day, we realized that we had not communicated well about how we were going to follow the route. To cut a long story short, we had no GPS, 2 iPhones with the route on Google Earth only and no way to mount the iPhones anyway. Another beer quickly followed. As I began the long process of making paper notes again, Cropear became silent and started working on his laptop; I knew what this meant and stopped my note taking. A short time later I had the route loaded onto my phone using the MotionX app. I could put it in the map pocket of my tank bag just like I did my notes and we could follow the route that way. Not the best situation but it'd have to work.

Things of note:
-The roads on this section were mostly some kind of asphalt, with the rest being gravel. Easy stuff.

-Best stretch was between Davis and Hwy 177. Lots of scenery and twisty roads.

-The OAT route we finally got loaded into usable form turned out to be an earlier version from October. Our mistake. Some of the changes would come into play later on.

No map or pics of this route
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:23 AM   #3
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OAT Day 2

Day 2, Thursday, 12/6/12
Madill to Valliant (190 miles)

We stayed up too late the night before, excited about the trip and finally figuring out a way to follow the route, so Cropear and I left Madill Thursday morning after a later start than we'd planned. I quickly found out that due to my iPhone laying under the plastic of my map pocket and rubbing against it that the map was not moving along with the blue arrow that was us. The blue arrow'd move on off the screen leaving me looking at a map of where we'd been. That wasn't very handy. I figured out that with some luck and holding my tongue just right I could manually move the map with my finger, even with gloves on....most of the time. That was a real joy, but I got used to it.

We enjoyed the ride through Denison since I'd never been through the downtown before, but it could be skipped if you already had or were in a hurry.

We missed the turn to the little bridge across the Red east of Denison (at Cottonwood Bluff??) and as we were turning around Cropear was stopped by a local and asked if we were lost.

Around midday, we stopped for a break in Albany and, when we headed out again, my bike was making a funny noise. After WAY too long, we figured out my chain was telling me to clean it. So I took the brush to it, sprayed a little lube and we're good to go. Lots of time eaten up, though.

We made it to Valliant at dark and got a room at the motel. We should have made more miles on this leg, but a late start and long stop hurt us. We didn't know it at the time but we'd found what would be a rare treasure: a decent motel next to a good Mexican restaurant across the street from a convenience/liquor store.

Things of note:
-The roads through this area, other than Texas which were all paved, were a good mix of gravel, asphalt and dirt, other than the road I'll mention next. Pretty easy riding.

-The north section of CR N4110, south of Soper, is not a maintained road. The road begins fine but ends. There is an obvious ATV track that continued north, so we followed it to stay on the trail. The only other option was to backtrack south a couple of miles and reroute from there. It started out OK and got rougher, with lots of brush and washes to cross, but it was dry and we made it. Locals have placed logs and such in the worst spots, but if it were wet it would have been gnarly. Cropear led, thankfully. I haven't tested my offroad skills on the 650 much, and I made it fine, but I couldn't have taken a bigger bike through it.
This unmaintained section was about a mile long. At the north end, 4110 stops and the road/trail head back east on maintained road again.

-We got off trail and detoured into Soper for gas, then backtracked and got back on the trail.

-We did a minor unintentional reroute in Hugo at the Mt. Olivet cemetery. We only found one entrance/exit, the main gate on the west side. The trail appears to show another on the south or east side, I can't recall which, but it was gated.

-The trail south of Fort Towson that follows the Kiamichi is gated on the west end at the highway. It was getting late in the day so we didn't scout out another route but took the blacktop up to Hwy 70 and then east into Valliant.

The route from Texas to Valliant is the lower left part of this map:

Cropear after we crossed Lake Texoma:

The little bridge from Texas back into Oklahoma at Carpenters Bluff:

Typical roads:

The Masonic Lodge in Albany, where I figured out my chain was dirtier than hell and needed attention:

The north end of CR4110 south of Soper:

The motel in Valliant:
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:36 AM   #4
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OAT Day 3

Day 3, Friday, 12/7/12
Valliant to Heavener (220 miles)

We got a better start this morning and headed east in mild temps, fog and drizzle. The route began heading north on gravel at Eagletown and we rolled on, running into a couple locked gates that Cropear routed us around. We were now on the east side of Broken Bow lake and this SW Oklahoma boy really felt like he was now in SE Oklahoma. I'm sure there was great scenery but the fog kept us from seeing it, but it was still very nice. We saw one local in a pickup who gave us some advice and a couple of timber trucks & pickups but that was it.

We kept on towards Honobia and hit another locked gate, which made us have to reroute back to the highway up to south of Clayton. Here again our old version of the trail failed us, since the route it showed there was impassable due to a wash/drainage ditch. There was another trail we could have taken and we did for a ways, but the day was getting shorter and we had no idea where it might end up. It was a fun, sweaty ride up to that point, though. We didn't know about the reroute north to the Clayton Trail, so we turned back and hit the highway again to Muse, where we hooked up with the route again. From there we headed north back into the Ouachita Nat'l Forest south of the Talimena Drive on a rocky one-lane road. Good stuff. We then hit the Drive itself (Hwy 1) for a few miles, which was just awesome, before heading back north into the woods again. This is the point on the trip that I realized Cropear had better suspension than I did.

We came out of the mountains, hit Hwy 59 about dark and decided to head up into Heavener and spend the night rather than follow the mapped route around to the south and east.

Things of note:
-We obviously did lots of highway but the rest of the roads were wide gravel timber roads and rocky one-laners through the Winding Stairs. Those were fun.

-This was my favorite leg so far, locked gates and highway miles notwithstanding.

-While stopped for lunch & gas midday at a quickstop on Hwy 259 I saw a couple of other ADV-looking types ride by. These were the only other dual sport bikes I saw on the trip.

-I don't know what I expected from deep SE Oklahoma, but the only local we encountered in the backwoods pulled over to let us ride by then stopped to give us help when we were obviously not sure where we were going. He did have a rifle in the seat and was probably road hunting, but being from rural Oklahoma I was accustomed to that. Hell, I've driven many a mile with a rifle on the seat myself. To be sure, there were several houses we passed that I would not have wanted to visit, but overall we got no bad vibes.
Sorry for any preconceived notions, SE Okies.

Low water crossing north of Eagletown. This would be different when wet:

Waiting on Cropear to hurry the hell up:

Typical road through the timber country:

This dog wanted away from the convenience store where we stopped, but he was left behind:

The area south of Clayton, looking for the K Trail:

The Winding Stairs:

kiltedcrawford screwed with this post 12-14-2012 at 11:50 AM
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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Very nice. I will be following along.

Just a thought. I think the route needs an addendum to include an optional route through the panhandle.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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OAT Day 4

Day 4, Saturday, 12/8/12
Heavener to Adair/Vinita (250 miles)

The night before, we got off trail and came into Heavener on Hwy 59 at dark. The trail, when it hits 59, actually goes back south, then east to make a loop into Heavener from the southeast. We made a mutual decision to press on to the north and skip that part of the route, so I can't comment on it. We also skipped the runestone; no time for sightseeing.

So, we hit the trail headed in a northerly direction. We passed through Gans, home of Big Country Bryant Reeves, but didn't see him. Continuing on good dirt/gravel roads we passed through a small community in the middle of absolute nowhere. I didn't think much about it but Cropear did and once he got home he did a little research. Now, I'm only going to point this out for informational purposes, but apparently this was Elohim City, which, fairly or unfairly, was believed to have ties to Timothy McVeigh and radical white supremacists, etc. It's located just north of the southern border of Adair County and a couple of miles west of Arkansas (neither of which we knew at the time).
We only saw a couple of dogs and rode on through.

This is the road that takes you into Arkansas so we continued on, crossed into Arkansas and back out into NE Oklahoma where we continued along the trail, except for a shot east on old 412 to Twin Oaks for gas. This was Cropear's last day riding with me so he wanted to press on and try to make it to Adair before we stopped for the night. We do, and I'm really glad we did. Lots more beautiful scenery, but different than we'd been seeing. Our map routed us right down on the Illinois for a while, which was very nice.

We got up around Adair and got off the mapped route to head into town from the south to scout for lodging. There was none to be had close by so we continued off route up Hwy 69, past Big Cabin and into Vinita, where we went into town to buy beer and inquire about motels. I also needed to find a liquor store because this ain't my first rodeo and tomorrow was Sunday. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of medicinal bourbon, just in case. We found the liquor and headed back south of town to a motel that was recommended. I'm not sure I would have, though.

We knew a cold front was coming in the next day so we checked and re-checked the weather. Since I knew Cropear was headed back home the next morning I also checked and re-checked my gear, route and where I was headed since he wouldn't be around to bail me out. A peaceful night was spent.

Things to note:
-I think it was all highway riding in Arkansas. Someone with some knowledge of the area might be able to find a better route around here. The rest was good gravel/dirt road, rocky in places, but nothing technical.

-We got off the route at old Hwy 412 to go east in search of gas, which we found in Twin Oaks, then doublebacked to the trail and headed north.

-I understand the route north of here, where we followed the Illinois, has been rerouted. I don't know if it'd be better or not but the route we took was one of the better parts of the trip. We hit a pegs deep low water crossing and scared a couple of horses, a donkey and a jackass. Fun.

-We got a good start this morning and didn't waste too much time with unnecessary stops or rerouting. This was the most miles we'd logged in a day and I don't think we could have wrung out many more.

Map of the southern part of the route:

Map of the northern part:

Cropear and me at a bridge NE of Tahlequah:

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Old 12-14-2012, 11:55 AM   #7
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Day 5, Sunday, 12/9/12
Vinita/Adair to Perry (275 miles)

The day had come. Cropear, my long-time friend and mentor in many things, had to head home. Hoser.

I was now solo, about as far from my home as you could get in Oklahoma, with 6 1/2 months riding experience, a cold front on the way and the north and west parts of the state to cover. The good news was that my bike was running great and I had a pretty good handle on using MotionX (still manually moving the map though). Perry was my goal. I didn't know exactly how far it was but knew it was going to be a long trip that would end cold.

We bundled up for the expected weather and I put on my heated jacket & glove liners for the first time this trip, then hit the road. We both took Route 66, which he followed on south to home and I took to where it met the trail and headed west and north on route again.
It was still fairly mild, temperature wise, with a little mist and drizzle. I made good time on good dirt & gravel to the area west of Dewey, where the trail heads back south towards Bartlesville. Starting the new track south I went through an open gate with no trespassing signs, rode by an empty house and crossed a bridge and found myself in someone's backyard. Not knowing the area and the people, and not wanting to get shot or held up by a locked gate further down the trail with a norther coming in, I rerouted to the north and took the next road east and into Dewey for gas. The cold front was coming in now and the wind was getting up, but I got to go south for a while, which made me happy. I headed down Hwy 75 and cut over on 123 through Bartlesville, where I got on Hwy 60 and rode west a few miles before hooking up with the trail again and heading south.

I headed through Osage County which is apparently mostly tribal lands. I didn't see many people and made good time down to Frog Rock, which I'd never heard of before this trip. I stopped and took the obligatory pic (it's green now). Then it was time to head west. There was some riding along the Cimarron, which was cool, and I passed the Graffiti Wall, which I didn't add to.

I'd gone to college (pretty unsuccessfully) at OSU so I was soon back into some country I remember from years ago.
It was getting pretty cold now and after passing Perkins and heading back north I turned on the heat. Nice.

I hadn't done very well nutrition-wise today and had put a lot of miles on, so I was beat when I got up to Lake McMurtry. It was not a busy place. I took a quick stop there for a pee and a protein bar and checked the map to reassure myself that Perry was just up the road. I'm not sure if I followed the mapped trail or not, but after leaving McMurtry I headed straight north to Hwy 64, then west into Perry, which thankfully was still there. I found a motel with fast food and a quick-stop nearby, parked the bike and called it a day.

I put 275 miles in today, and felt it. I gorged on Holstein beef at Braums, had some medicinal bourbon and slept well.

Things to note:
-Again, roads on this leg were a patchwork of asphalt, dirt & gravel. All were pretty good. There was a sandy road here and there but nothing to trouble you.

-Somewhere between Route 66 and Hwy 60 to the northwest, a few miles after the start of the trip, I turned west and crossed a cattle guard onto an unmaintained ranch road. This went on for a mile, I'd guess, and was fine. There was a muddy low spot to cross and it would have been a bitch if it were real wet or had been raining. I crossed another cattle guard and was back on country roads. There were no gates, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

-The route at the northern point in Nowata county, where it joins up with Hwy 10, has you taking a minor road a short distance west to 10. This road is closed. You need to continue north to 10, then go back west.

-There is a section of road several miles long in either Nowata or Washington County, that runs east/west through rolling tallgrass prairie and is absolutely gorgeous and remote. It being Sunday (or maybe it could have been any other day, too), I didn't see a soul for miles, which at the time I though was pretty cool.

-The roads in Osage were wide, with fairly new gravel. Cropear mentioned that it was going to be a new oil & gas area and it sure looks like it. It may get busier over the next few months.

-I think the route from Hwy 60 west of Bartlesville to Frog Rock has been rerouted. I have no idea if this is good or bad.

-Southwest of Stillwater, where the trail turns north, I ran into a gate or closed road after a couple of miles. So I rerouted back east a mile, rode north a mile, then back west a mile to the trail. Judging from the signs on the north side of this section, this appears to be the Stillwater Cycle Park or something.

-Also, at a mile south of Hwy 51, there was no road heading west, so I continued north to 51, rode a mile west and got on the trail again where it heads north to Lake McMurtry.

Frog Rock:
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:00 PM   #8
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Day 6, Monday, 12/10/12
Perry to Elk City (264 miles)

I woke early, nervous and excited to go. I thought I was about 350 miles from home (wrong) but didn't think I could do it in a day without ending the trip well after dark (right). I decided I needed to make it farther than Woodward and, since there's nothing between there and Elk City, then Elk City should be the goal.

I waited for daylight, then headed out to walk to the quick-stop down the road for some coffee, protein bars & snuff. It was cold. Real cold, with a 20 mph north wind. On the way, I checked my bike and with a bad feeling, tried to start it, which doesn't happen. I was prepared for this so I walked on down to the store, got my stuff, and headed back to the room to think about things. About sunrise I noticed that my bike was well back in the shade of the motel, so I rolled it out into the sun and decided to hang around the room another hour until 9:00 AM or so, then give it another shot.
This idea actually worked.

It's 18 now, plus the north wind. I've ridden in my gear down into the 30s, but never for an extended time, so I have no idea how this is going to go. I needed gas, but didn't want to stop again so I decided to fill up in Kremlin if I didn't freeze.
The trail doesn't actually go through Perry, so I saddled up and headed north on Hwy 77 to rejoin it and head west. So far, so good.

It's really wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, thanks to the heated jacket & glove liners, and I put some miles behind me and got off the trail to head into Kremlin for gas and a needed break. Here was where I met the only guy who asked me a question about the bike I was riding. He asked a few good questions since he was looking at buying a dual sport and we visited a bit. The sun was out and it had warmed up into the 20s, so all was well.

I loaded up again and headed for the Great Salt Plains. Following the route on the south boundary of the park, I ran into a sandy two rut farm road that looked like it ended in the brush. I rerouted and followed the main road south, then west and back north onto the trail to the park. No time for crystal digging though (it was closed anyway), a quick break later and I was gone again, this time to catch Hwy 64 west for awhile. Thankfully it had warmed more and I was feeling more optimistic about my chances for the day.

The highway.....I rode it on through the wind and truck traffic through Alva, then south past Freedom and Alabaster State Park towards Mooreland. I liked going south. I'd gotten in the zone and halfway between Alabaster SP & Mooreland I remembered that the trail got off the highway at some point and went west for a bit before heading back south. Well hell. Finally looking at my map I realize that was around Alabaster. One of the easier decisions I made was to continue on the highway to Mooreland and not waste time trying to route my way west to the trail.

I pick up the trail again west of Mooreland and started heading south, south, beautiful south for a long ways. More great country and scenery all the way into Elk City, where I found a motel on the east edge of town, park my bike where it will get sun as soon as it comes up the next morning.

I was very happy since I made my goal again and know I'll be home tomorrow. Plus, it'll be warmer.

Things to note:

-I diverged from the route at Perry and Kremlin because I needed to. Somewhere west of Kremlin I ran into a mile of road where they were dumping and spreading new gravel, so I just went north a mile and then continued on east. I don't think the route through this area is all that important. I may have run into a closed road, too, but rerouting is easy out here.

-As mentioned above, I did a reroute on the south boundary of the Great Salt Plains park.

-Roadwise, the northwest area, other than the highway, is mostly dirt & gravel. The dirt is a little sandier than in the eastern part of the state but I wouldn't call it sandy. There are definitely areas where you want to keep an eye on the part of the road you're riding on, though.

-The trail that heads into Camargo from the north was a good area. Red dirt & rocks, some elevation changes and, as always, good scenery.

-South of Camargo, the trail heads off the highway east after crossing the Canadian River. This road is closed, and you need to continue south on the highway another mile before heading back east. Follow this a mile+, then head south on the next county road and you're on the trail again.

-Several places in this section go through open range areas and you cross cattle guards. It's all public, but watch for cows, you can't trust them.

-The trail north of Elk City is a new blacktop, but it's a good ride. I think finding a "rough" road in the area that leads anywhere would be tough. The oil & gas infrastructure is impressive.

-The road the trail follows that runs south into I40 east of Elk City dead ends at 40. On my map this road is N2030. I was staying just west of there so the next day I routed west and south through the edge of town a mile, then headed back east to catch it again a mile south of 40.

Sunning at the motel in Perry, waiting to warm up:

Great Salt Plains:

Beautiful country north of Camargo:
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:03 PM   #9
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Day 7, Tuesday, 12/11/12
Elk City to Wichita Mts (110 miles)

I'm up early again and pretty pumped up. Since I know I'll have to wait a bit for the sun to warm things up, I enjoy the shitty eggs at the motel and chill out until 8:45. This time, the bike starts up on the second try and I'm off, headed south to areas close to home that I'd ridden before.

A short time later I turn off Highway 6, following the trail east to a crossing on the North Fork of the Red River. I was born, raised and live on the main Red River south of here. I've run cattle and hunted on it for 30+ years, so I'm familiar with sand. I'm a pretty good sand driver, even in a diesel pickup, but, unfortunately, haven't ridden in it much. The road to the crossing was a little sandy, but not troublesome for anyone with sense and a little experience. However, there was nothing in the world that could have made me try to ride across that crossing by myself. It was bone dry, and the river banks were cut to allow you to get down in the river bed easier, but the banks were still steep and very sandy, and the crossing itself was deep sugar sand. I'm sure the ADV gods were laughing at me, but I stopped long enough to snap a few pics, mounted up and rerouted to the south, where I caught the highway and crossed via bridge.

After the bridge, I rejoined the trail and headed southeast on North Shore Rd., then continued on east through the Quartz Mt. area and the little foothills that surround it. Maybe I'm biased, but I think this area from the Quartz Mts. to the Wichita Mts. is some of the more ruggedly beautiful country in the state.

Northwest of Roosevelt, I followed the trail along the first irrigation ditch, which was easy, but fun and a nice change. Just down the road the trail routes back onto the ditch, but, after a brief scout of it, I kept heading east, rejoined the trail, and headed east some more, through Cooperton and the north boundary of the Wichitas. I'd never actually taken this road so I was glad I got the chance to do it. This is where I saw my first and only traces of snow; I found out later my timing couldn't have been better.

A few minutes later I'm past Meers and at the intersection of Hwys 115 & 49, where I first got on the trail. There was no time to get sentimental, though, since the trail leads up to Mt. Scott and I hadn't done that yet.

I'd planned to finish here and it worked out perfectly. It was midday, there were 3 empty cars parked up there, the sun was out and the wind wasn't too bad...for Mt. Scott. I took a few pics but didn't have a beer to shower my bike with as Cropear had suggested. So, with the bike and I both beerless, I headed home.

Things to note:
-The non-asphalt roads down here are wonderful, at least for sightseeing and making good time. Most, particularly west of 183, are just dirt, but a good dirt that when dry can really be ridden at good speeds. They're also pretty straight, except when they skirt a hill or mountain, so there's not a lot of twists & turns compared to SE Oklahoma. Routing or re-routing down here is pretty easy since the flat areas are really flat and you can see what's around you for a few miles.

-That North Fork crossing is no joke. I didn't like the trail I skipped on the south edge of Great Salt Plains, but I'd have taken it if I needed to. This was different. I'd love to see some experienced rider do it and learn a few things.

-The second irrigation ditch that the trail takes is ridable, I'm sure. But it was very grown up, didn't look fun, and at the end you've got to head back north anyway, before you go east. I'd route around it, like I did.

-As I said, I think this country is awesome in it's own way. The contrast between the flat farmland and ancient, rugged mountains is amazing to me. Other than the river crossing and that second ditch I don't think I'd necessarily change a thing. There's other good rides in the area, but not one that I can say is definitely better.

-The Meers Store is closed Tuesdays and usually busier than hell the other days, even at times when you think it wouldn't be. It's damn good, but be prepared to wait. In a line that stretches out the door sometimes.

The North Fork Crossing:

End of the line, Mt. Scott:
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:05 PM   #10
kiltedcrawford OP
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Oddometer: 122

I believe that we were the first to ride a fairly close version of OKIr's route and I hope our feedback, and some additional information from local riders and other riders who've ridden a lot in these areas, will help to make a fixed OAT.

I've written this report geared towards newer riders like me, hoping maybe they'll learn from our mistakes and giving them confidence that if kiltedcrawford can do it, they can too. So, I hope the old vets out there forgive me for stating in many places what is very obvious to them.

Not that we did this solely to help out OKlr and our fellow riders. I can't speak for Cropear, but this week taught me a lot of new things and helped reassure me that I was doing at least a few things right already. In the grand scheme of things this trip was minor, but it became pretty important to me to finish and I was more emotional about it than I would have ever dreamed. I didn't cry, though. This was my first "big" trip and at this stage in my career it's a pretty good milestone.

I flat out couldn't have made this trip without Cropear, even though he couldn't make the whole trip. His support, encouragement and knowledge were essential.
And again, I bow to OKlr not only for the idea of an Oklahoma Adventure Trail, but for planning a pretty damn good route from his desk.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't give a loud shout out to all the ADVers who've been there and done that again and again and who have written ride reports and shared stories about other trips.

-Doing the route counter-clockwise was a good idea. The winds never really turned out to be a factor, but knocking out SE Oklahoma first, where you just can't move as fast, worked out well. That time was easily made up in western Oklahoma. Also, SE Oklahoma apparently got a little snow while I was in dry western Oklahoma. That would have hurt.

-Southeast and Northeast Oklahoma was damp with fog, drizzle or light rain most of the trip, but there was never any heavy rain and the roads were never very wet, which was good. It never slowed us any.

-As far as my bike went, I learned to clean & lube the chain every day on these trips. The tool kit held up fine and I lost my possum scraper without incident somewhere between Kremlin & Jet, which I understand is probably for the best. Parking it in the sun on cold mornings is a good idea, too.

-The Senas worked great. We charged them every night and had no issues.

-Obviously, we screwed up not communicating better on how we'd follow the route, and were only able to do it thanks to Cropear's expertise. Writing the next day's route out after the end of a long day would have been a killer.
I liked the MotionX and just need a better mount for my phone. Some day I'll step up to a dedicated GPS, but baby steps first.

-I have no idea when the best time of year to do this route would be. Road-wise, we picked a perfect time, since everything was basically dry. But we only had sunlight from 7:30 to 5:30, which meant we had to maximize each day.
This is also a good time of year due to the fact that not many people are doing things outdoors. Deer gun season is over, and most cyclists, runners, hikers, atv riders, etc. just aren't out right now. On the backroads we didn't run into anybody, which was great.
Summer would maximize the length of your riding days, but lots of areas require slow going, so it wouldn't be for everyone due to the heat. Camping would be a great option then, but you'd encounter lots of other folks.

-Mileage wise, not counting travel to and from home to the OAT, I/we did 1469 miles on the route in 6 1/2 days, for 226 miles/day.
Roughly 650 miles were in northern and western OK with a 260 mile/day average; 820 were in southern and eastern OK for 205 miles/day.
Obviously, looking back, we could have put a few more miles behind us each day, but not many, I think, for US this time of year.

-Our decision to skip the loop south of Heavener was a good one, as was mine to continue on the highway from Alabaster SP to Mooreland. Now it gives us an excuse for at least 2 more trips to different areas of OK.

-We brought no camping gear, since we stayed in motels, but if I did it again I'd pack a warm sleeping bag, just in case. We had to plan very carefully each afternoon to make sure we'd be around some town with a motel at dark. Since we weren't sure what the route would be like after that decision, or what might happen on the trail, having an emergency backup, just in case, would have been smart.

-At the end of each day, we should have gassed up the bikes before settling in for the night. Since we didn't want to start out each morning, then quickly stop again for gas, this led to us having to find gas during the day at inopportune times.

Home at last, in one piece.......

....minus a possum scraper:

kiltedcrawford screwed with this post 12-14-2012 at 01:23 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Oddometer: 567
Originally Posted by Dirt2007 View Post
Very nice. I will be following along.

Just a thought. I think the route needs an addendum to include an optional route through the panhandle.

Every day is a new adventure!
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:21 PM   #12
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Ponca City Oklahoma
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Great ride report!
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:52 PM   #13
Shawnee Bill
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Oddometer: 2,161
Great report! Thanks!

Gives me some things to look forward to. I was not really to enthused about riding the western section of the trail but after reading this I now am ready to go west.

The SE sections are going to take some scouting to get a permanent ridable route but I'm sure we can do it.

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:09 PM   #14
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Lone Rabbit, Oklahoma
Oddometer: 799
Good, helpful stuff. Thanks for posting it. I'll be trying it too, first chance that the weather permits post holidays.
"I can't think of nothing better than riding a fine horse through new country. It's what I was meant for,,,,,", Gus, Lonesome Dove
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:45 PM   #15
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: West Central Indiana
Oddometer: 159
This is one of my all-time favorite reports!

I lived in the OKC area for 10 years during two separate tours at Tinker Air Force Base. My wife is from there, we visit often, and I traveled a LOT going deer and bird hunting and fishing when I lived there.

Oklahoma may not be California, Alaska, or Texas but it also is NOT the "featureless" state people think it is if all the do is pass through on the interstate.

While Oklahoma is a very diverse state in terms of terrain and climate (oh that weather!) there is not much more than a jot or tittle difference in the niceness of the people there. They are ALL very nice - or they were to me when I lived there.

Yep, "You're doin' fine Oklahoma!, Oklahoma, OK !

GREAT report and great memories from those pics!
I think I am gonna have to come next spring and ride that.
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