Start: Woodward, OK
Finish: Watonga, OK
Weather: 100 degrees, sunny
Bike Time: 7 hours
Distance to date: 834
This was the most uneventful day of the trip; riding from early morning to early afternoon through the landscape of a Hollywood Western with a mid-morning break for barbeque and a cinnamon bun at the My Way Café in Seiling. The first half of the ride was glorious, the second half scorching hot. Every few miles I took a short water break under the scant shade of a roadside tree and coasted on those rare occasions when a cloud threw the blacktop into shade. Being Sunday morning, I had long stretches without vehicles, just my own quiet on the road. As I travelled south and more trees appeared the cicadas nesting in them chirped along the breeze.
At one point I stopped at the crest of a rise and looked back towards Woodward. To my surprise, the wind turbines I passed yesterday were still in full view across the horizon – over 50 miles away!
I arrived in Watonga by two, a dusty oil town without so much as a motel with a pool or Internet access. But my room at the
Watonga Inn was quiet and cool, so I took comfort in that. Outside my room is a pair of giant azaleas where more cicadas chant. First one, then another, building to a shrill cacophony.
It is deafening. Until, without notice or reason, they fall silent together. The silence rings louder than the noise, until they start up again.
A few people have asked what I carry. My organization is simple; I travel lighter than any other touring cyclist I have
met. I have the two smallest waterproof Arkel saddlebags (aka panniers), which clip on to the heavy rack attached to my rear wheel.
I hang my ‘dry’ pannier on the chain side of the bike. It includes my netbook and mouse and all my clothes – one pair of microfiber pants, one pair of microfiber shorts, one black nylon t-shirt, one Columbia sunshade collar shirt, two pairs of rinsable underwear, and five pair of cycling socks. I wear my cycling shorts, bright yellow shirt and NewBalance 835’s when I ride, but picked up two additional cycling shirts and a Courage Classic T-shirt in Denver, which I don’t need but carry anyway. At the top of the pannier, easily accessible, I keep my baseball hat and rain poncho.
My ‘wet’ pannier hangs on the dismount side of my bike, where I can get at it during the day. This includes four zip lock bags –
one each for toiletries/first aid, snacks, maps, and bike repair items such as tubes, lights, chain lube, patch kit, universal allen wrench, saddle soap and rag. I also keep two one-liter water
bottles in this pannier plus my book and camera and phone chargers. I keep my sunscreen and my active state map in the open pocket of this pannier.
The back of every cycling shirt has three pockets. I keep my wallet, camera, phone, bike lock key, and lip gloss in those
pockets. I have two more one liter water bottles mounted on my bike, as well as my lock, tire pump, and odometer.
That is all there is to it.