So if you haven’t heard about the project (or event) called “3o Days Of Biking“, you really ought to check it out, (even though it started April 1, there is always next year) and in this post I will tell you why. Now, you don’t have to listen to me (most people don’t, so that is all okay), but if you read this post, you will see a little bit of what I saw yesterday when going on a nice leisurely ride to Blackwell Oklahoma.
Let me say, what brought me to write this post was that my wonderful wife had asked me to check in with her every 30 minutes while I am out on my ride. Now, she just wants me to be safe, it isn’t that she is checking up on me, but I have found it more fun to take photos and send them through messaging so she can also share the ride with me. She is not an avid bicyclist, but does like to see the world, and we both enjoy one another’s travels, so I will lead you on the same trip that I shared with my wife on April 3rd 2017.
As you can see, the world was a bit overcast, and it had finished raining. It was coolish, but not real bad, so I made my way out of Ponca City and the first place I checked in was at Hubbard Road and US 177. I pick up things all along the way, and oddly enough I found one of the rods out of a gun cleaning set here along the edge of the road. Of course, I picked it up, have no earthly idea why, but I will no doubt give it to someone I work with, a lot of them are gun enthusiasts.
While the climb on the highway for the bridge is a bit steep, it is really nice on the north side, for the coasting down is nice and smooth, and fast. Of course, I was traveling on a Surly Pugsly (fat tire bike) which is not really something people ride on road trips, but who said I was a conventional type of guy? And of course, going up the ramp to the bridge, I found a nice blue strap tie down, the second or third one I have found this year.
Generally I see the seagulls in Ponca City residing in the parking lot where the University Center is located, but for some reason they seem to have been congregating in the field between the aforementioned bridge and the turnoff to Kildare/Blackwell. I realize that my picture taking leaves a lot to be desired, but there are probably about 60-70 seagulls out in the field. At the top of the hill is also a very nice rock that is in the ditch, which I hope to see about getting one of these days, but fear I might need to be sure to eat my “Wheaties” to man-handle it into the back of the pickup truck!
A lot of accidents have happened here at this intersection, so it pays to be very, very cautious, be it on bike or in a car, when passing through this area. There are numerous rock trucks that pass through this intersection, not to mention cattle trucks (you know them by the aroma that trails), and a lot of farmers with cattle/horse trailers come through this intersection. They try to pay attention, but I suppose it is sometimes hard to judge traffic speeds, that is my claim and I am sticking to it! I turned west here and headed down State Highway 11 to Blackwell (Doolin Avenue).
Bois D’ Arc Creek (around here it is pronounced ‘Bodock’, maybe all over the world too, not sure), which is running pretty full for the creek. It generally has some water in it, and flows some except in the Summer, but it flows all along the west side of Ponca City as well, and when I was a kid we use to go fishing in the creek. Don’t remember if we caught much more than crawdads, but I remember fishing there, including getting pushed into the creek by a bully and me getting in trouble for beating the bully bloody…. oh well, such is life as a child….
Duck creek never was much of a creek, but it still ranks on the map of creeks in the area. It has some water in it, but never too much, and dries up pretty much totally in the Summer.
Like I said, my photography really is poor, and then too, the overcast day did not help, but if you look really, really closely you can see the power windmills far off in the distance. Nice pond too, and all along the road are many, many cows, which I laughed at for they seemed to be very skittish when I spoke to them, asking them how their day was going. I marked it off to just being unfriendly cows, sort of like the people in town, they are afraid of strangers (or strange people)….
I don’t know the people out in the country but found it interesting that there are two underground houses along the same plot of land, complete with a small pond. I figure (although possibly incorrectly) that it is mom and dad, and kids…. made sense in my thinking, whether it is correct or not. Of course, I speculate about a lot of things when out roaming around and having time to think, and prefer to think what I am guessing is close to being right. Of course, I will probably never know, but they are my own thoughts, and it really doesn’t matter. And as you can possibly tell, the sky is beginning to clear up and the world is getting much brighter outside!
The Chikaskia River runs along the east side of Blackwell, and it has flooded the town many times. The Chikaskia flows to the south and about 10 miles further south it flows into the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River. But Blackwell is nice little town, and there are numerous things here, a lot of antique stores, like most of the towns, they seem to have sprouted lately, and there is a very good place to eat downtown on the South end called “Bob’s Grill”. Going in there is like walking into a restaurant of the 1960’s, and the food is very good and home style cooking. I had the hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, and of course, had to have a piece of Sour Cream Raisin Pie! MMMM, most excellent! On the way out of town, I realized that I really had not drank enough water and was getting dehydrated, so I stopped at a quick shop and bought two bottles of water, drank one quickly, and refilled my water bottle that was empty, and figured that I should be working harder at drinking more water during these rides.
Don’t confuse US 177 and US 77 highways or you will end up someplace you really don’t want to be, or maybe you will end up learning something, either way, it can be confusing. About 10 miles to the south of this intersection, US 77 heads off to the east, and US 177 comes back and attaches itself to head off to the south. Yes, I know, it is confusing, but hey, I have dealt with it all my life and it seems a bit normal now. I have ran into other highways that do the same thing, not quite as confusing, but still, about the same. But anyway, this is Hubbard Road once again, and it is where I turned off to head back East towards Ponca City.
The old Chikaskia is running full, but it isn’t too full yet. Just down the way about 10 miles or so it will dump into the Salt Fork (of the Arkansas) and then into the Arkansas River on it’s way to Tulsa and Keystone Lake. Years and years ago, my father took me fishing where the Chikaskia and the Salt Fork meet, he had a key that let him into he field where we would go fish, and use to catch some pretty good catfish. I don’t think that farmer allows that anymore, but it was nice memories of those days long ago.
I had fought the wind (Oklahoma stealth hills) on the way to Blackwell, with the wind out of the NNW, so now it was nice to be able to ride with the wind. It was a lot faster riding back to the house than heading to Blackwell, averaging about 6-7 mph on the way to Blackwell, and averaging about 11-12 mph on the road back. Oklahoma wind is just one of those things that you get used to trying to work out with a ride. That is why I rode to Blackwell, for I could fight the wind on the ride there, then have a nice leisurely ride back home. I am not totally stupid, although there are indications that I may be a bit insane, but no verdict as of yet!
Like I have stated earlier, my photography is poor, but regardless, there were two turkeys under the trees. (If you click on the picture it will get larger and you can see the turkeys better) The male was all puffed up trying to impress the female, and it was quite enjoyable of a sight. There are so many things we miss when whizzing by in a car, and life is about too short to be missing all those things.
This barn has been around for years and years. I don’t know if the owners have repainted it ever over the years, but even when I was young (and I am 59 now), this barn has sported the “Jesus is Lord” sign on it’s side. I believe it is part of the Goodson Ranch, however I could be wrong too, but none the less, it is a very noticeable landmark on Hubbard Road between Blackwell and Ponca City.
You come up to a ‘Y’ in the road, or a turn off, or ‘T’ or whatever you want to call it, but this house is something that you look for when traveling down Hubbard road if you want to take the road that will head off to the south to hit Highland Avenue that goes into Ponca City. When I was a kid, Hubbard Road was paved to the west from this road on to US 77, but to the east it was dirt. In the 1960’s it was called the ‘Blackwell Shortcut’. However, no a days people just go north of Ponca City and travel down Hubbard Road to get to Blackwell, but a few still use the old shortcut route too, but not many. But there is a wide spot with the turnoff here and you can stop to check things on your vehicle if needed. When I came up to the turnoff there was two cars there, one with a man and one with a woman, and they quickly took off when I pulled up, so I figure they must have finished repairing their cars and were ready to go….
Just down the road on the west side of the the street is this old farm house that has the whole side covered with ivy. I don’t know how many times I have travelled down that road in a vehicle over the years, but never noticed this farm house. That is sad, and I imagine many others pass it as well, and never give it a thought.
As I travelled the road I noticed something skittering across the road. As I got closer I saw it was a baby turtle, in fact it looked to be a baby loggerhead turtle. I would have never noticed it and possibly would have shortened it’s life if I was traveling by vehicle, so it was nice to see more bits and pieces of nature along the way.
Intersection where I turned off tot he east to go back home. A nice and paved road, and as you can tell, it has become such a very nice day for the ride. One thing that I found interesting too was the amount of bullfrogs that were in the ditches which still were sitting with rainwater (lots of it too) and all of the sounds that they were making as I rode by. One place in particular was so loud that it almost drowned out all the other sounds (like the hum of my knobby tires on the pavement) and it was actually so very nice and enjoyable to hear.
Overall the ride was 39.9 miles, and took me about 4-5 hours. Like I said, I am not fast at riding and actually count myself as a member of the Slow Bicycle Movement. I would much rather stop and pick up things I find along the route, see things that I have not noticed before, take photos to share with my wife and others, and just enjoy being out in the world and not having to race around to be someplace else. I believe that the whole world would benefit from taking the slow route from time to time, and just not be in such a big rush. Stop, smell the roses, and enjoy life!