Day 48: (36 miles) Started our morning with a pop, pop tarts that is, and we were soon packed up and on the road. Lots of exploring to do today and the first stop was Pop’s Soda Shop four miles away. We both picked out ‘pops’ of our pleasing from the 100+ options available at this quirky attraction. Chris picked a highly caffeinated Cherry Pop (to make up for his lack of coffee this morning) and Shayna picked a ‘Round Barn Root Beer’ which would be our next stop. We arrived at the round barn and learned all about it’s history. Most notably that it was built in 1898, and built round in hopes that tornados would blow past instead of through it. As we were standing there getting our learn on, reading all of the information posted throughout, we were greeted by an older gentleman who apologized for missing our entrance. He eagerly offered to share his stories with us, and seeing the hope in his eyes that we would indulge him the opportunity we of course said yes. His name was Mr. Sam. He told us primarily about the barns restoration by a group of local farmers, how its original intent was to store loose hay before bailing was used, and that dances were once held in the loft. We also learned that Mr. Sam just celebrated his 90th birthday a few weeks ago, that he has outlived two wives and is engaged again, and that he still dances every Friday night. He showed us a picture of his first car- a Model-T Ford, as well as an authentic two-seater horse drawn carriage that he personally restored to full working condition after it had sat for years burring under a pile of hay. Although his stores were endless, after sharing a dance with Shayna in the upstairs of the barn, we parted ways and headed for a spot along our route Mr. Sam suggested we check out. It was only a few miles down the road, and actually on Mr. Sam’s personal property. Sitting only about four feet from the side of the road was an early 20th century filling statin (gas station) that he continually maintains to share with passerby’s. With it, the story of the stations early owners and how they were persuaded by a mysterious man from out of town to take up counterfeiting money until they were discovered, jailed, and/or killed. After reading this little gem of local history we had a quick lunch and were back on the road. On our way through Chandler we tried to stop at an old Armory turned route 66 museum, but unfortunately it is closed on Mondays, so we completed the last couple miles to our campsite at Oak Glen RV Park. We pitched our tent, utilized their microwave for dinner, showered, and crawled into our sleeping bags.
The Round Barn
Day 49: (54 miles) We woke up early, packed up and scarfed down a granola bar to tie us over. Our hearts and bellies were set on The Rock Café in Stroud, OK for breakfast. We arrived around 9:00 am, just as some police officers were leaving. On their way out, one man recommended the western omelet. The rock café is fittingly named for the impressively crafted walls of local rock that create a pattern resembling a giraffe. Originally built in 1936, it is a historic site; however, they nearly lost this designation when the establishment almost burned to the ground in 2008. All that remained were the solid rock walls and the grill names Betsy. Thankfully, the people came together to save this local favorite and Route 66 icon. It was rebuilt in 2009 and was able to keep it historic title. Fire scorched shelves from the original café hang on the new walls. The café is owned and operated by Dawn Welch, the inspiration for “Sally” in the Disney-Pixar Movie “Cars”. She stopped in while we were there eating breakfast. Although she seemed too busy to interrupt, it was neat to see her. The food was amazing. The western omelet hit the spot and the hash browns were crispy and soft all in the same bite. This may be in-part attributed to their not so secret original Wolfe grill Betsy. The same grill that opened the restaurant in the 1930s and survived the fire in 2008 continues to pump out amazing eats. Just as we were reluctantly leaving, another cyclist was coming in for breakfast. His name was Dave and he is from New Zealand. We chatted a bit and shared our maps with him after learning he had been having to research routes online each day. We traded contact info and hit the road. Oklahoma, fortunately had less rolling hills to offer today, than pervious days. We continued to pass farmlands, and muddied water. We even saw a llama. Not too far into our route we saw another cyclist- this time on a recumbent bike. He was fixing a flat and we offered some assistance but he had it under control. He was pedaling to Connecticut for his college reunion- at the end of May- an ambitious and impressive goal. We all hoped the weather would be on his side as he had already lost time because of it. We too had been having to plan around the weather which resulted in us getting a hotel in Sapulpa to avoid the lightening and thunder storms. We stayed safe, dry, and warm for the night.
Day 50: (17.5 miles) After Googling whether or not it was safe to bike in thunder and lightening storms, and finding the overwhelmingly “NO! not safe, get off your bike and assume the ‘lightening position’” answers, we realized today would be a short day to Tulsa because we only had a window from 10:30am-2:00pm without storms. We were very fortunate that a warmshowers.org host agreed to have us even with such short notice. We headed to Tulsa and no sooner did we pull out of the parking lot did it start raining. The temperature had also shifted dramatically from the prior days 90 degree temps. We were so focused on looking for storms we forgot to look at the temps so we were both under dressed for the 40 degree wet winds. Even though we couldn’t feel our feet, we managed to pedal to Tulsa. The first 30 minutes or so in the city offered a variety of scents, none of them good. And some of the least optimal road conditions we have seen in a city. We found our way to a Starbucks where we regained feeling in our hands and feet and enjoyed lunch. We purposely chose one close to our hosts and headed their direction after. Robyn we would meet later as she had to work on campus, but Mike and their 3 dogs, Sammy, Sandie, and Mya were there to welcome us upon arrival. Since Chris had gotten a flat about a mile before we made it to Starbucks, we didn’t linger long at our hosts before heading to Tom’s Bicycle shop to restock bike tubes. There we found exactly what we needed (2 tubes and a pair of gloves to replace Chris’ lost pair) and as we were checking out, the employee inquired about our trip. Upon learning about our journey, he gifted us two patch kits. Thanking him immensely, we headed across the street to check out Kilkenny’s Irish Pub where we enjoyed a couple of drinks before heading back to our hosts house. This time we got to meet Robyn. She was fun to talk to and shared many stores of past guests and her experience with warmshowers. It was a pleasant conversation, one that only ended due to our growing hunger. To satisfy the growling stomachs we headed to the Lone Wolf- which specializes in Banh Mi and KimChi Fries (Vietnamese dishes). We shared a pulled pork Banh Mi and Fried Chicken Kimchi fries. Both delicious, a bit spicy, but with a unique and enjoyable blend of flavors. After dinner we headed back to settle in for the night. Robyn and Mike have chickens, and an abundance of eggs, so Robyn prepared some hard boiled eggs for us for the road which we were very grateful for. After Shayna got a 15-minute massage in the massage chair (AMAZING) we slept tight in our comfy murphy beds!