In the parking lot "That your scooter?""Yes sir", "Where you going?""Back to Florida""You rode that all the way from Florida""Yes sir, I rode it from Florida to California and I am headed home""You road that to California...Mable, Mable come here!! He road that all the way to California from Florida, can you believe that." Etc, Etc. It is always fun to see the expressions on their faces.
I had almost booked a truck last night to take Scoot and me home, but could not hit the "done" button. I am glad I did not as once we were on the road I knew we had to ride home. And, it was warm.
We headed out of Blackwell on OK11 and turned on OK 177. The scenery changed for a little while with trees and scattered houses, but pretty soon went back to open rolling plains with almost no houses in sight. It was a beautiful day and we were glad to be back on the road again. Scoot was in great shape, (except one problem we will discuss later) and he was roaring along at 50 to 55 mph with no problem.
Barnsdale, OK on OK 60. Downtown was closed off for a big holiday celebration called Big Heart day. I parked Scoot and walked around for awhile. All kinds of things where planned, parades, contestants and old cars. I had seen a lot of turtles crossing the road and I could not figure out why. Now I know. They were trying to get to town for the "turtle races". There were boxes and buckets of turtles everywhere. I hung around waiting for the races as they were first up. But as happens in many small town events, time is not important. After waiting for 30 minutes and hearing them announce "turtle races in one minute" with no action about 10 times, I decided to head on down the road.
I rolled into Tulsa on OK11 and went to find the H&P Drilling Company world headquarters. They have employed my good friend Gary Parkin in Ecuador for over 20 years. I wanted to find Mr. H or Mr. P and tell them what a great employee he was. Oddly enough, they were not there on a holiday weekend. I must say, that for a large oil field company, their headquarters building was quite bland. The building is not even named after them.
Having accomplished this task, I was after for the "Gucci Coffee" and the "crackberry" said it was just down the street and off we went. I was surprised to find a fine street market starting right at the Cuba Coffee House. Got a coffee and strolled the street. Several nice conversations, especially with the owner of the most interesting tattoos I have seen in a while. He was a Harley guy, of course, and the owner of a wiener dog. We talked about getting blown around on the road and I took a few pictures. Sadly only the tattoos turned out.
Now the rest of the Scoot story. I had heard a rattling noise the last day we were on the road. I looked and moved parts, but discovered nothing. Today, on my preflight, I found an exhaust bolt missing and that was what was rattling. Easy fix, just get another bolt. So, off I went, on down the same street as H&P and Cuba Coffee to Tulsa Scooters. They looked at and but did not have a bolt to fit, but sent me to Lowes where I acquired the bolt but it did not fit and I went back to Tulsa Scooters.
Let me say here, that this is another one of the great finds and example of how everyone has tried to help me on this trip. They rolled Scoot right in the shop and discovered that the threads where stripped on both bolts due to unknown reasons. So, they pulled the exhaust, tapped the holes and reinstalled everything, for the embarrassing price of $15. But, it did not end there. The owner, Dave Wycoff, was there and we sat and talked for awhile. He was in the same location as me in Vietnam. When I told them I had spent a month there last year he was very interested as he had, like me, always wanted to go back. Other scooter people came and went and we all chatted. They sold a brand new Buddy while I was there. I got ready to go and he insisted I have lunch with him and the rest of his staff. We sat around a table in the showroom and ate pizza. When I got ready to go, they started laying on the gifts...tshirts, tire gauges, decal's and more. What another great group of people. Sadly, Dave does not ride as much as he used to. He and his wife were on separate scooters, stopped at an intersection, when a kid came up from behind, crossed about 3 lanes illegally and hit them both. They never saw the guy. He was hurt pretty bad, but his wife walked away almost "unscathed". I don't consider a concussion and a broke foot "unscathed". Every one there, Chad who fixed Scoot, Ray who helped, and Jonathon the salesman/pizza delivery guy are great people. Thank you all!!
Navigating out of Tulsa was easy. Go on down the same street a few blocks and turn right and just keep going and it turns into US64. That was the easy part. The hard part was there is a gaggle of lights and they are all timed that you must stop for everyone of them no matter what speed you drive at. Eventually, we where out in the country again. It was totally different than the west side of Tulsa. The west was rolling plains and on this side was rolling wooded hills and farms. We crossed the Arkansas river, the Arkansas Navigational waterway and the Illinois River.
I pulled into Sallisaw about 5 PM. I probably could have made it to Ft Smith, Arkansas, but I had rode far enough the cold monkey still on my back. The lady at the front desk was very nice. She gave me a room and then Chad walked in. He already had a room, but his buddy was coming so the desk clerk took my key and gave it to him and gave me his key. In the parking lot Chad gave me a greatly appreciated cold beer for the deal. He is actually from near where this trip started in California, but travels all over the U.S. installing telephone equipment. He had just came from St. Louis and was looking at a little ranch here to buy.
ps: the editor is off for the holidays. please forgive my errors
View Larger Map