The Roxy Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by zekester63, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Here are a list of shortcuts to each of my short ride reports in this thread.


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    With a few exceptions, I've been mostly lurking here for a while now, enjoying the ride reports of many a rider as well as gleaning a lot of technical expertise from others. What a great site this is! I must admit though, that the reports of the TAT have captured my interest the most, and even more so when someone is riding a WRR/X. A buddy (okraider81) and I have agreed that we want to do part of the TAT in the future, but first things first - transitioning from primarily single track on dirt bikes to dual sport bikes, and everything that goes along with adventure riding. We understand that the TAT is not to be underestimated, so there's a lot of planning and preparation that is required before setting out on trips like that.


    It's been a fairly short transition from dirt only to dual sport riding. Both of us have owned street bikes in the past, so that aspect of it wasn't an issue. Okraider81 decided he wanted to keep his capable DRZ400 (aka QEII) and just try to make it street legal. He succeeded with that relatively painlessly. I sold my KX250F and replaced it with Roxy, my 2008 Yamaha WR250X, that came shod with R wheels with knobbies, but also included the original X wheels. The X wheels (now) have 80/20 tires on them, as most of the riding in this area doesn't require much more than that. My R wheels have a fairly new set of 606s on them, but I save those for when I know we'll be riding more aggressively or the terrain just demands more. We still love the dirt, so we still occasionally trailer the bikes somewhere to ride.


    Here's Roxy in both flavors:

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    Roxy came with most of the typical mods for the WRR/X; AIS removed, EXUP removed, opened airbox, FI programmer, skid plate, rear rack, etc. I have, however, had quite a lot of fun doing additional things though, such as adding a 12V and USB outlets up front for my GPS and iPhone, adding a set of Hotgrips (that I found in the Flea market here on Advrider), Flatland radiator guard, Scotts Stabilizer, tool/fuel tube, and several other odds & ends.
    #1
  2. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    So, I’'ve been really wanting to go on some dual sport rides this spring. Long stints of slab on Roxy just aren'’t terribly appealing to me, so I’'ve been looking for just about anything around this area with some dirt roads and varied terrain. Okraider81 and I were planning another ride this past weekend, but that was postponed, so I decided I’d find somewhere else I could ride instead. In the approximately 7 months I'’ve owned Roxy, other than some local commuting, I’'ve only had the opportunity so far to go on a couple of nice day trips (one can be found here) and several shorter rides (30-50 miles) around the Tulsa area, so I'’ve been itching to get in another decent dual sport ride.


    I started with Google maps and began mapping a route that looked somewhat interesting. My initial goal was to find as many dirt roads as I could, and then see if there was anything noteworthy to see along the way. I sure wish Google Maps had a feature to show unpaved roads! Anyway, I found a few bridges in the general area I was looking at that might be worth checking out, and also thought a loop around Okmulgee Lake would be nice and give me a halfway point to grab a snack and relax a few minutes. My route back would be more of the same, as long as I didn'’t follow the same route I just rode.


    After I had the route drawn in Google Maps, I imported it into Basecamp to do the final tweaks (and create the file for my Garmin). The last step in my process is exporting it into Google Earth to basically “fly” the route, looking for gates or other things that I may need to change. One thing I have discovered is that “roads” that are depicted (and even labeled) in Google Maps/Earth, are not necessarily even roads at all. They may have been at some time, but often are nothing but worn down paths, usually inside fences or private property. Many of these roads in Oklahoma lead to oil & gas wells as well, and usually are gated.


    Anyway, I started this thread as a ride report, so let’s get on with my ride!
    #2
  3. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Here's what my route looks like:

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    And my trip stats:

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    Before the ride, shiny and clean, while it lasts:

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    I had to run into town to fill the tank before heading out. Even running premium “real” gas, it's fun filling the tank for $10, knowing how far it's going to take me and the enjoyment I'll get out of it. And for the observant ones noting the amount of gas I got, I have an IMS 3.1 gallon tank.

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    The first bridge I wanted to see was on a road that was closed. Well, I figured I'd see how “closed” it was before just skipping over it. With the recent rains and not running my R wheels with 606s, I was a little hesitant getting too far off the gravel to get around the road block, but I managed to squeeze right through the middle, no problem.

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    Made it to the bridge without any issues Pretty cool!

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    There were mounds of dirt on both ends, but no big deal to ride over.

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    Got a kick out of this:

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    From there it was miles and miles of nice, gravel roads like this. As you can see above from my Garmin stats, I was able to average around 30mph, but most of the time I felt comfortable going 35-40 on the gravel:

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    I got to one section that I was a little skeptical about when reviewing it on Google Earth. I couldn't tell if it was gated or not, so I took a chance to see. I was real glad I found it. It started like this:

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    But quickly started deteriorating:

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    I've ridden quite a bit of single/double track in the past, so it wasn't unfamiliar territory. The recent rains made a few sections pretty questionable without my 606s though. In fact at one point I almost got stuck, but just kept pressing on until I made it through. I didn't think to grab a shot of that section as I was just glad I made it through without having to get all muddy and push her out...

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    At the end of that section of road, I turned back and saw this sign. It was obviously very old, and from the looks of it, the gate hadn't been closed in a long time. Oh well, there wasn't anything indicating it was private on the other end so I didn't feel too bad about it. This section was one of the highlights of the ride.

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    More awesome roads:

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    I saw quite a few bridges on gravel roads that looked like this:

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    I'm glad the signs were there...wouldn't have wanted to get too close to the edge of this one!!!

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    Enroute to my next waypoint I came to this intersection: :)

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    I kept my camera in the outer pocket of my Wolfman Enduro tank bag, and that worked great. In the past I used my phone, but with it mounted in the case on the bars, it was a pain to take out and put back in every time I stopped.

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    This bridge was kinda cool. I'm not really “into” bridges, but it did give my ride a purpose of sorts, and gave me something to do and an occasional break.

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    We've had a lot of rain the past couple of weeks, with a real gulley washer this past week. There were obvious signs of that here. If I had been a day or two earlier, I doubt I could have made it through this section. In fact all day I saw signs of recent flooding.

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    Oh good, another bridge. I've always liked one lane bridges for some odd reason.

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    Notice all the debris:

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    A little asphalt and then I get to the next bridge. Some of these didn't really have a place to pull over, but there was very little traffic on these rural roads, so I wasn't too concerned just parking right along the side.

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    Lots of muddy water in this river. I guess it's the Deep Fork River, which, according to Wikipedia, is an Oklahoma tributary of the North Canadian River.

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    I saw several signs/entrances to the Okmulgee Wildlife Management Area. Supposedly it contains the largest known tracts of old growth Post Oak/Blackjack oaks found anywhere. Also, according to the website, “Many of the area's post oaks are likely over 350 years old, making them some of the oldest trees found East of the Rocky Mountains in North America.” That's kinda cool.
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    More miles of this (and the upcoming hill was surprisingly steep!).
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    Had some nice twisties as I approached the Okmulgee Lake area:
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    The lake's spillway was a popular place. Several cars were stopped to take pics and quite a few kids were down playing in the water below:
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    Arrived at the state park:
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    Oh yeah.... unfortunately the speed limit was only 25mph, and “enforced by radar”. Didn't want to take any chances either since there are usually park rangers and such in places like this:
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    Water level looked pretty high:
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    Then break time:
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    Not much, but it hit the spot after a couple hours of riding:
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    Here's my navigation setup. Garmin 62s in a RAM mount and iPhone 5 (running the Trapster app), both plugged into power outlets that I installed.
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    Just a few miles after Okmulgee Lake State Park is Dripping Springs State Park. I didn't go into the park though since my route had me going west between Okmulgee Lake and the Salt Creek Reservoir just to the south, and I really didn't have time for the additional miles.
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    So, quite a few miles into my return route, I was planning to go see an old mission, called “Nuyaka Mission”. It was kind of in the middle of nowhere, on gravel roads, which was perfect for my trip!
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    No such luck... gate locked:
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    I had another waypoint for a bridge on the same road up ahead, but just passed a sign stating that the road was closed. Hmm. I figured I would at least take a few pics and check it out.
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    Notice all the water from the flooding. A nice couple were sitting on the bridge fishing. He said they had been there all day and hadn't caught a thing. I asked if it was possible to get through up ahead, and he thought so.
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    So I tried, and of course made it over the obstacles. The other end was similarly blocked, but easy enough to ride around.
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    I never realized how many abandoned homes there were in rural Oklahoma. I had already seen quite a few that day, so I decided to just take a picture of one. I didn't go look inside though -- even out in the middle of nowhere it kinda creeped me out:
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    Saw this interesting place. Looks like there were 2 homes, with similarly shaped buildings, greenhouse, etc.
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    This wasn't too far from home, and I'd never seen nor heard about it in the past. Very cool, but I'm not sure why they are building a castle in Keifer, OK. To each his own I guess. And I bet if they have kids, that they love it and have a lot of friends!
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    #3
  4. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    So now I can’t wait until my next ride. Okraider81 and I are planning to go on an overnighter to Natural Falls and explore the area between there and Tahlequah. Camping from a bike is another aspect of this new type of riding that we’re looking forward to. I’m sure one of us will post a RR.

    Happy riding!
    #4
  5. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,709
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Zekester,
    Thanks for the RR, looks like a fun day. I've been on a few of those roads but I think missed the good ones.

    Keep it up. you've only just begun. Lota good rides around the Tulsa area.

    Nice bike!


    .
    #5
  6. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
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    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Thanks Bill! :thumb
    #6
  7. Newner

    Newner Buffering

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,915
    Location:
    Bixby, OK
    Good stuff, Thanks for sharing!
    #7
  8. OKlr

    OKlr 25mph gate inpector

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    Ponca City Oklahoma
    danget, can't see the pics on my work computer......will return later.
    #8
  9. okraider81

    okraider81 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma Area
    Bout time you got that Yamaha dirty!
    #9
  10. airdale7

    airdale7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    570
    Location:
    Tahlequah, Oklahoma
    Nice report zek. That old mission 'Nuyaka' was used in the Okie Tag thread back in December. The gate was locked so I asked the farmer next door and he thought it would be ok to go in.
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    There are more pics on twowheelsthreeamericas.com. Just scroll back to December.
    The old bridge was open then. Must be closed just because of the flooding.

    I like your pics of the old bridges. There cool.
    Happy trails....
    #10
  11. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Thanks for the pic airdale! I wasn't really sure what there was to see at the mission, and didn't even think to ask the neighbors about going in!

    I've seen that Okie Tag thread before, and it looks like a lot of fun. I need to follow that a little closer I think!

    And nice job on twowheelsthreeamericas.com. Okraider81 and I were planning to do the ride from Natural Falls to Tahlequah soon, but now we're not sure how the water crossing near Natural Falls would be. Any ideas? My guess would be that we'd have to find a way around it.

    Thanks!
    #11
  12. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    Coweta, Ok
    Thanks for the ride report. I enjoyed it.
    #12
  13. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Stay tuned for the report of my latest ride!
    #13
  14. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
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    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Natural Falls Ride - 4/26/13 - 4/27/13
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    A while back I found out about a DS ride not far from home that sounded like fun. It basically starts from Natural Falls State Park and ends in Tahlequah, OK, with a majority of the roads being unpaved and quite scenic, following parts of the Illinois River. Fellow inmate airdale7 is very familiar with this area and provided some helpful input, which I am thankful to him for. So Okraider81 and I started planning the ride. The state park is nearly 100 miles from home though, and we’ll have a little less than that on our way home, so that has to be taken into consideration. We wanted to camp at the state park and get an early start. I had also spent some time looking at Google and Google Earth for other areas that we might be able to explore as well. It looks like our ride was going to be around 300 miles.

    There were a few things we needed to do before we left though. Neither of us had done an overnighter like this on our bikes, so a little more thought had to be put into what we needed to bring, how to pack and load it onto our bikes, etc. We had new equipment that needed to be tested too, such as my new camp stove (works as expected, taking ~3 minutes to boil 2 cups of water).

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    With all the rain we’ve had recently, I was a little concerned about running dual sport tires on some of the areas we would be riding. I figured most of the roads would be maintained, so those weren’t a real concern, but I also had plans to explore some of the area in and around Cherokee State Game Refuge, and it’s possible some of those roads could be pretty sketchy. So I put Roxy back in “R” mode. Fortunately it’s a fairly simple procedure, even with swapping out the front brake caliper.

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    I also wanted to do my final packing and make a test run to satisfy myself that I had all my gear sufficiently tied down (gotta love Rok Straps!). So I got her all loaded up and tied down and ran into town to fill up so I wouldn’t have to on my way out of town. Everything seemed fine.

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    Oh, and last but definitely not least, I got some ADV stickers finally, so a couple for Roxy and one for my helmet :thumb

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    #14
  15. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    So our plan was to leave on Friday. Come Friday it was raining. Lots of rain, steady rain....all day. The forecast for the rest of the day wasn’t great either - with 90% chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the night. We had already postponed the trip once, so when it came time for us to make the go/no-go call, we figured that a little cool weather (50s) and rain shouldn’t keep us from an adventure! After all, we got into this for the adventure of it and we can’t always wait for perfect circumstances or we might not ever get anywhere! And besides, with the forecast being sunny and nice for Saturday, that would make up for it! Or so we thought!

    Here’s a map of our planned ride, with some optional/alternate routes to explore along the way:

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    All packed and ready to go:

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    #15
  16. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    The local radar showed rain right over my area, but it was moving through. Okraider81 ensured me that once that blew through, we'd have nicer weather on our ride out to Natural Falls. So I left home about 3:30 on Friday, and just as I was getting ready to leave it started sprinkling again. We met at our designated meeting place in Catoosa, and it continued to rain. It sprinkled on us most of the way there. This really wasn't too bad since we both have pretty good gear, but it isn't the most fun way to start a ride in my opinion, especially when you're going to be camping.

    I had managed to find some nice unpaved roads to ride once we got past Locust Grove. Most of them were great riding (that's okraider81 there in the hi-viz jacket):

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    Oops, this doesn't look very promising.

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    And don't ask me how I know that the water on the right side of this little "wall" is about 2½' deep. We weren't going to cross here, and there were enough obstacles on the sides that we weren't going around either.

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    Looking away from the damaged water crossing (note Roxy is facing the other direction...) after realizing that we aren't trials riders with the balance that might be required to cross on that narrow wall.

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    We stopped for gas at Flint Creek, which was only a couple miles from Natural Falls.

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    We made it!

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    The nice lady in the window proceeded to inform us that her husband told her that they were expecting ~3-4 inches of rain overnight! I *think* something got lost in the translation somewhere, and in reality it was ¾!, not 3-4! At any rate, we were here and not going to let a little rain turn us back.

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    #16
  17. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    We found a nice, big, cedar tree to camp under, thinking this might protect us somewhat from the rain. It did, but the dripping also made us think it was raining much longer than it really was.

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    By the time we set up camp, we were getting hungry. Well, okraider81 is ALWAYS hungry! So we both made our dinners - I had beef stroganoff and okraider81 had his red beans and rice. And yes, I'm real glad I had my own tent!

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    I had planned a ride for some exploring from Natural Falls, but as it turned out, we started losing good light and the rain wasn't exactly inviting either.

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    Afterwards we made ourselves something hot to drink to warm up a little and decided to just call it an evening.

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    #17
  18. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    It stormed pretty good during the night, but one thing I’ve learned about camping, is that I have to bring earplugs to get any sleep. I heard a few cracks during the night, but other than the general lack of comfort being on the ground, I slept through the night just fine. Okraider was up by 6, showered, made breakfast and coffee and back in his tent before I even began to stir around 7:30. Generally I’m awake an hour earlier, so I was pretty surprised to see the time. It was raining though, so we really didn’t get into any hurry to pack up camp in the rain. Fortunately it stopped and we packed up and were ready for some more adventure!

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    These hooks (which I suppose are lantern hangers, but I also hang trash on them), were handy for hanging our jackets.

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    Okraider81’s DRZ, aka QEII, ready for more action:

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    So we set out on our day’s journey, looking forward to what might be in store for us. Just a couple miles from Natural Falls is a water crossing. I’ve seen in other RRs that this is usually easy enough to cross, but to expect it to be at least a boot wetter. So I had my doubts after all the rain we’ve had recently that we’d be able to cross it. On our way there we came to this section. It ended up being about 1’ deep in the middle, so we crossed without issue. Okraider81 took the lead as I was getting my camera out, just in case I could capture an unforgettable shot (don’t worry, okraider81 has a couple of me from previous off road adventures).

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    We get to the river. I could hear it before we even turned the last corner, which wasn’t very promising. A reroute, that I did already have planned, was about 20 miles extra, but it wasn’t going to pose any problems with gas, as we were only looking at maybe 80 possible miles, if we were able to explore a couple places I wanted to along the way.

    Illinois River crossing. Obviously we opted for the reroute!

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    okraider81 evaluating the river:

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    This is what most of the roads were like in this area. Not too bad.

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    Although I didn’t stop to take any pictures along the reroute, and no offense to anyone that lives along that way, but I could have sworn I heard dueling banjos a couple of times! I grew up in a small town in NW Arkansas with 863 people, so I know what living out in the “sticks” means. But I’d never seen the likes of this before. To be honest I was probably too scared to stop for pictures! Just kidding. It was VERY rural though, and I actually enjoy seeing areas I would generally never have any reason to see otherwise.

    This is probably a well known float site for some, but I’d never heard of this place before:

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    It took us around 45 minutes to get to other side of the river, 100 yards from where we were.

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    I don’t think anything would be crossing this river today. The white caps were enough to scare me off.

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    We enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way from there. Some portions were paved, but the majority of it was unpaved.

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    #18
  19. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Near Chewey, OK there were detour signs, and that was the direction we needed to go. For a moment I debated following the detour signs, but fortunately I decided to just press on until we actually got to the place we might need to turn around. Luckily we needed to turn off right before the spot the road was out (actually I think they are rebuilding a bridge), so we turned and went along our merry way.

    We were in real low land now, so I wondered if we would have any problems passing. Didn’t appear so though.

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    There wasn’t even any water in this crossing, but there were obvious signs of recent activity.

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    More scenic roads:

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    Here I’m not sure if okraider81 was wiping the sweat from his brow, or saying “whew” to himself for barely missing me as I pull an emergency stop to take pictures.

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    Combs bridge. We saw a Vstrom and KLR cross the bridge and pass by while we were stopped, but they pressed on without stopping. Maybe it’s because we were on “dirt bikes”. :D

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    Bathtub Falls. Very interesting rock formations.

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    Pumpkin Hollow. I have no clue what this place is.

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    #19
  20. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    We made it to Tahlequah, so time to fill up.

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    B & J’s Restaurant in Tahlequah makes a MEAN Reuben sandwich. Right up there with the best I’ve ever had.

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    While eating we planned the next leg of our adventure. There were many possibilities, most of which were unknown because of inadequate maps or ability to see clear enough on Google Earth to determine whether roads were gated or not. Airdale7 had given me a tip on where to go, so we had that as our primary plan, with a little side exploring along the way.
    #20