Our friend Bill Wilson started sending out invites to a few of us that have done self-contained bike tours (SCTs) in the past for a tour over Memorial Day weekend. Those are always fun as you can leave from your doorstep & ride back to your home while getting to explore some of the local lakes. Kurt already had plans for a guy’s Katy Trail tour that weekend so I decided to go. My friend, Pam Frank, had never done an SCT but was training for our Katy Trail tour in June, so decided she would go too! The original plan was to head to the Shawnee Reservoir for the first night, then on to Chandler Lake for a second night, but tornadoes earlier that week to the Shawnee Reservoir necessitated a reroute to Bell Cow Lake in Chandler for Day 1, then on to Guthrie Lake for Day 2.
The main group was to meet up at the Bass Pro in OKC & ride east to meet up with Pam & I who would ride from my house to meet them in Jones. We got there about 9am & expected them shortly after, but began wondering about them when they didn’t arrive for another hour. We found out that Judy had gotten a flat on one of her Burley tires which had delayed them. As they had ridden about 18 miles by that point, they were ready for a rest & snack before heading out. The group consisted of me & Pam, Bill Wilson, Judy Brookover, Moni Bieser, April McDaniels (the veteran SCTer / aka Amber – the first time SCTer), Tim & Stacy McKinney (with Duncan the wonder dog in tow), Mike Wilp, and Jon Chisum (who would meet up with us that evening in camp).
Bill & April had stopped to get tator tots at Sonic before heading a few yards down the road to the c-store where we awaited them. As Bill sat happily eating a burger & tots on the picnic bench, Duncan spied his meal longingly as he yelped & sniffed, wanting to try a few bites himself. Bill tossed him a bite of the burger which he devoured in one gulp, then tossed him a tator tot, which he proceeded to spit out. Tim tried to give it to him again, but again he spit it out. At that point Tim tossed it back to Bill who plopped it in his own mouth – yikes! Or did he? We didn’t find out til the next day that he harbored a clean tot in the hand that he caught the “Duncan” tot in, and tossed the good one in his mouth then threw the Duncan tot behind him. An optical illusion that caused Pam & I to squirm & squeal!
Our group headed onward & upward over Hogback hill & on through Luther to Hwy 66, then north on Hwy 177, then on to Bell Cow Lake where we arrived around 2pm to camp for the night. Moni & Mike rode on into Chandler before reaching camp, so that they could buy supplies for dinner. After reaching camp Pam reminded us that we could call Jon if we needed him to bring us anything on his way there. He had ridden Tour de Meers that morning. We asked her if she would see if he would bring us some beer. When she called he was still on his way home from the ride so wouldn’t be to Chandler til around 5:30 or 6, but Pam placed our order & told him we’d see him later. Stacy & I decided that we could ride into town & be back way before he could get there, so off we rode to get some beer & snacks for the group. It ended up being a 10 mile ride over hill after hill with a pannier full of heavy beer, ice, chips & cookies, but the group was appreciative when we got back, so it was worth all the effort & additional sweat, I suppose!
The next day we cooked breakfasts of oatmeal, then pressed on to Guthrie. As we passed through the town of Carney we witnessed some of the devastation caused by the tornadoes earlier in the week. We headed west on Hwy 105, which was a nice roller coaster of a ride if you enjoy lots & lots of hills. We stopped briefly at Tim & Stacy’s log cabin house on the outskirts of Guthrie for a potty break before continuing on. We were never so happy to see the big “B” (Braum’s) sign from the distance as we approached Guthrie. The topic of discussion for the last several miles had been the juicy burgers that we would be devouring once there. April/Amber missed lunch with us as her dad (Darrell) stopped just short of Guthrie to pick her up for some festivities that afternoon as they celebrated family birthdays.
We stopped at the Walmart to gather items to cook that night in camp, which was to include the big makeshift “Chopped Champion” contest between me & Tim with April being our judge. I’d gotten a little insider information that April liked her food hot & spicy, so made sure to get a nice Serrano pepper to add to the cuisine I’d be making. As Tim stood guard over the bikes, I was able to see what he sent Stacy in to get in the store for his secret ingredients – let’s just say I don’t think I had anything to worry about, Mr. “Mac-N-Cheese” boy! Tim’s philosophy: Just add bacon to anything & you have a gourmet meal. Well, we ended up not having the cook-off when Stacy suggested we call Pizza Hut & have them deliver to the lake. Sounded like an awesome idea to us. April added some beer & birthday leftover yummies & a good time was had by all (lucky for Tim)! Stacy, Judy & Bill added enough comedy to keep us in stitches the whole weekend!
That night was a fitful night for sleep as some of the local juveniles though it would be fun at around 4am to run through camp yelling obscenities to wake up the weary bicyclists. That was followed about 30 minutes later with a honking drive-thru while more obscenities were yelled from the window. Then just about the time you were to drift off into REM, Duncan somehow maneuvered opening Tim & Stacy’s tent to get out & bark at a local cat that was ambling through camp. You had to laugh as you heard Tim yelling at Duncan to shut up & get back in the tent.
Our final day including riding home into a strong headwind with gusts around 35 mph. We realized quickly that drafting off of someone hauling a trailer proves pretty fruitless, so for the most part everyone had to suffer for themselves. We all split to go our separate directions as we got to Edmond. By the time Pam & I reached home we had a wonderful 9mph average for the 28 mile ride from Guthrie – don’t ya just love a strong headwind! Being the kind & caring tour director that he is, Bill made sure to follow up with each of us to make sure we had made it home safely. Thanks Bill & all for a memorable Memorial Day Weekend Ride!
*Thanks to Moni for a few of the pics*