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Monday, August 1 2005

Mile 7136 Traveled today 401

We arrived in Enid, OK a little after 4 PM CDT. We left at about 7:30 MDT. Saw a couple of herds of antelope, one was quite large. There was a solitary male close to the road posing for pictures, but he started to walk away and graze as we stopped, so the pictures aren't as good as they might have been. The terrain has radically changed from mountains and canyons to high plains. Still see a gulch and a mesa once in a while, but mostly just flat, arid land.

We followed 64 for a while and then veered off on 419, heading towards Tulsa. We were entertained for a while by a Pawnee dusting crops. It doesn't take a lot to be entertained when the road as straight as an arrow and if it weren't for the cattle and horses, I'd think we were all alone.

The western half of this trip today was really out in the boonies. Once in a very great while we would go through a town, or what used to be a town, now dried up but not quite blown away yet.

Our butts got very tired today. Sue suggested it was worse today for her because she got a lot of exercise in the mountains with the sharp turns eliciting pucker factors of greater than 9. I guess that exercises the right muscles to avoid TB (tired butt).

I fear the rest of the trip across Oklahoma will be almost as exciting as today. However I did see a roadrunner today. The first of the trip. Sue missed it however. Sue said she either saw an elk or a deer with the biggest antlers she's ever seen. I missed that one.

Another Comfort Inn where the wireless network doesn't work. I don't think I'm getting a signal, but the front desk assures me it's working. They pointed to a system in the corner of the lobby that was working just fine. I pointed out that it was plugged into the wall (wired ethernet connection). The lady at the front desk didn't understand a word of what I was saying but she was real nice. She gave me the phone number of the support staff, but I know how those things work.
"Hello, what version of Windows' are you running?".
Me:"I'm running Linux"
They: "I'm sorry but our systems don't work with anything other than Windows" Or "Linux, what is that?"
Me: " Gee that's funny, I've been staying in Choice Hotels (parent of Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, etc) for most of this trip and except for Sacramento my Linux laptop has connected just fine".
They: "I don't know how to help you, sorry".
And on it goes.

The temperature when we arrived was an even 100 degrees. The outdoor pool water was cool and perfect for draining the day's heat. All the adults were crowded into the 3.5 foot end of the pool because all the brats were cannonballing into the deep end. I swam into the deep end and dared one of them to jump. They went off to pursue less dangerous activities and I got to swim in deep water. Wasn't that mean of me?

Per usual the winds were on our nose until later in the day and they shifted to the south. By then we had 15-18 mph winds and it was sometimes a bit uncomfortable.

Road conditions. Here is a report on the worst roads we have encountered.

Number 1:
A stretch of 64 West of Taos where they have the road torn up for many miles and the only surface is a temporary one that has been beaten into ripples, ruts, swells, holes and swaybacks by the heavy equipment that shares the surface with the unfortunate few driving that section of the road.

Number 2:
Sections of I-80 east of Sacramento that look like they've been there since the Ike started the interstate system. It looks like cement that has lost its surface.

Number 3:
Most of the roads in OK. It started out quite nice. As we left New Mexico on 64 and entered OK, the surface became quite smooth. I though we'd hit the jackpot. Nope, a few miles later the road became 20' sections of pavement with seams that felt like they were about 6 inches high. KaTHUMP, bounce, bounce, KaTHUMP, bounce, bounce all the way across the state so far. At least once a minute the seams were so rough that the front forks bottomed out, which is pretty hard to do with progressive shocks.

I'll upload Buffalo and Antelope picture when we get to a decent internet connection.

The pictures from now on will be on