Soggy Day with a Little Sunshine in the Middle

Anyone who has spent any time in the mountains understands that there is always a possibility of morning fog. After yesterday’s rains, I should have suspected that a foggy start would be waiting this morning. I really underestimated how much fog can feel like rain. It was a wet ride again until about noon today.

I assume that the Ozark Mountains are still there. I know that the road curved, twisted, gained and lost elevation, and there might have been vehicles going the opposite direction. The visibility at times was bad. Other times it was almost zero. I never did see any mountains to speak of. I should have been wearing the rubber suit again but I really didn’t believe that I would be wet.

The first hour was a little touch and go so when the Silver Dollar Restaurant appeared we thought breakfast could help the situation. Wrong. The food was so-so. The bacon had been fried on the same grill that is used to make the Greek meat for the gyros that are served at the restaurant. How can you mess up bacon? Then the topper was that the crane machine in the lobby was really bad. The only way to get something out of that machine would have been to stab it with one of the fingers of claw and the reward fell off over the prize chute. Ugh!

Breakfast at least gave the weather a chance to clear up. The weather ignored the clearing opportunity as you can see.

At least we could see across the parking lot.

A stop at the next Wally World let us grab the few items that we had been missing (camera, stuff to clean the trike with). I forgot to mention earlier that I had neglected to haul the phone charging cords upstairs at the hotel last night. I thought things would be ok. Another lesson learned. The solution appeared to be to use the “power port” (cigarette lighter plug) on the bike to charge both phones. Let me tell you, I have a lot of things running off of the accessory port on the bike but I never imagined I could pop a 20 amp fuse. That fuse takes out my driving lights, my video camera, my air-inflatable seat, and in this case the phone charger. I was able to replace the fuse at the next gas stop. Unplugging the phone charger cured the bike problem but not the near dead phone. Maybe I have too many gadgets. I’ll try to do better (or not).

About 1:30 PM the fog lifted but the very dense cloud cover wouldn’t give us a break. These same clouds have been following us for two days. You think they would give up. Around 3:00 we finally saw a little sunshine just as we were hitting Afton, Oklahoma. This town sits right on Route 66. A few years ago, the street rod crew took a drive on Route 66 and this was our turn around point. We got this far then headed home. Now the new experiences on the mother road will start.

I remembered one spot in Afton. At the time it was called Afton Station and had a few old cars plus Route 66 memorabilia on display. The building is still there, painted just as I remembered it but is now empty. That is pretty much the story of this old highway. Good intentions and clever displays have been passed over by the need to get somewhere quick on the interstate.

From Afton, it was a short jaunt to the nights destination – Vinita, Oklahoma. Once again there was rain in the area and I was running slightly over the speed limit trying to beat the wetness to our hotel. We just made it. We noticed a large crowd gathering at the facility across the street. The friendly hotel desk clerk informed us that it was the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo and tonight was the finals.

How could we pass up that opportunity? With a light drizzle falling, we walked across the street, paid our admission, and found seats on concrete bleachers. I knew I couldn’t sit on a concrete bleacher for very long. It did help that just as the opening ceremonies were about to start, the sun broke through the clouds.

It took almost 90 minutes before I exceeded my pain threshold for sitting. The arena was not well lit but we could see the standing water on the opposite side of the ring. The grounds were really muddy and we made a mess of our motorcycle boots by walking around the outside of the arena because somebody had to have a t-shirt (OK, it was me).

The trike has held up to all the abuse we could hand it in the 750 miles we’ve traveled. Tomorrow the rest of Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle await. We may need to install the air conditioner on the trike.

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