Day 1804 Wednesday 23rd September
Koa RV Park outside Sallisaw gave us good internet, a grassy pitch and a pool where we tested our air beds for leaks. The newer one had a crack by the valve which RTV saw rectified. The older one bought down under was porous and beyond repair.
We learnt that Sequoyah’s cabin was not far. He was the guy that gave the Cherokee their written language.
Day 1805 Thursday 24th September
Leaving a very pleasant quick stop, at the advise of Kevin the park owner we aimed for a visited to Sequoyah’s cabin and Tahlequah Cherokee Indian Museum of living history. There we read of ‘The Trail of Tears’, where the white man had up-routed the indigenous people from Virginia and walked them to Oklahoma. Leaving with no preparation and splitting up families. Many died on the way.
Stopping off to wash Diane’s bike free of dust and grass after her front flat tyre, there we talked for quarter of an hour with a local guy called Eric. He seemed really blown over by our trip and wished he could take off as well. Work and real life often stops that, funny eh? As he had to leave we took pictures of us all and he headed off to work. Pausing and turning back he handed me a folded bill. I looked at it and once again was humbled at the spontaneous generosity of the folks here. After Bill in Houston this was our second gift of cash in our trip. As I have wrote many folks in our last five years of travelling have been more than generous with gifts of hospitality and time.
Made our first free camp at Holbert city park, since…. Chile?
Day 1806 Friday 25th September
Not wanting to disturb the locals, who were blissfully unaware, (so we thought), we packed at daybreak and headed to the gas station where we had a pint of coffee and checked the bikes over. Putting some much needed air into the now thinning tyres, not too bad though at twenty two thousand clicks. Over our coffee we chewed the phat with a couple of local old boys dressed as they should be, dungarees and checked shirts!
After we said our goodbyes we headed out to visit the Oklahoma City cowboy museum, that thankfully paid homage to the pain and suffering inflicted on the indigenous population, but no apology…
El Reno out of town camp ground was our stop for the night, we wanted go further to a State National park but it was a little too far, night fall was a few hours away.
Getting our riding gear and ourselves cold washed felt good after our unwashed night out.
Day 1807 Saturday 26th September
Finding Route sixty six was easy, soon we were bouncing our way on the old concrete road, passing old red roofed barns and houses. The speed limit said seventy m.p.h, we managed an happy average of forty five or so. The surface was very poor in places. However it was great to be on the ‘mother road’. At the next intersection there was no indication of which way too go, so just heading west was a safe bet. Soon the old road reappeared, this time running parallel with the interstate highway. I watched as we made very slow progress in comparison and not gaining any more interesting scenery, so we got back on the highway and saw perhaps a little more of the landscape as it was that much higher.
Clinton was the home to possibly one of many route sixty six museums, where a very informative hour and a half was spent reading on the rise of the nations first paved road.
Back in Texas, now in the far north, much cooler, we found a great camp by a lake where a fire ring made for a camp with a difference.
Never having seen an armadillo in the flesh before I was somewhat shocked by the amount of the poor beasts we saw mashed on the highway, in the tens, not just a few…..
Day 1808 Sunday 27th September
Having moved so far west without a time change now meant it did not get fully light till seven am. So by half past we were riding out with a low sun and a chilly twelve degrees.
The highway passed north of Hereford, only fifty clicks south, so diversion was made. On the out skirts of town the air smelt heavily of cow poo as there were many stockyards beside nearby.
The rail ran parallel to the road, we caught up with a double stacked container freight train. It was of comparable length to the trains in Australia, or even longer. Maybe three km in length. As we drew alongside of the locomotive the driver waved to us from the open window, very reminiscent of a similar event in Namibia.
Town was very quiet, the streets only had a few vehicles in them while the many church parking lots were full, not only passenger cars, work trucks and motorcycles to.
Stopping for a coffee at a roadhouse a middle aged guy took great interest in our trip, and talked with us for fifteen minutes or so, while his teenage daughter looked very board and embarrassed while her dad spoke with enthusiasm to us about his town and sights to see.
Heading back to the highway we passed many huge stockyards full of beef, each of them must have been one hundred acres. A few large grain silos and small lakes situated at random aside the familiar brown and white faced cows.