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Friday, 24 June 2011

Day 46 - Tube Delivery

Todays mileage: 61
Total mileage: 2,286
End point: Tulsa, OK

Sleeping last night was difficult, the heat was kicking in and the predicted thunder storm passed about 5 miles north. I'm now thinking there must be some sort of camping fan available - can I really port a fan about? Stranger things have happened.

I made a reasonable early start and had to weave through some back roads before I could get back onto highway 51. Through this maze I went passed what I think was cow competition for children; lots of cows and lots of children! On the opposite side of the road was an advert to promote animal reproduction: 'Emryos, Semen and Training'. Now I get the first two, but what the hell does training mean? Teaching your animals, to, welll you know what. Really?

I got back on highway 51 heading due east to Tulsa, this was my only road for the day. Going down the second hill of about 20, I had a thought that I might be in a little trouble if I got a flat, as these thoughts ran through my mind I looked down to see a back flat - grrhh. I was pretty sure I had two spare tubes; the first tube the valve had come away from the main part, the second tube just didn't exist and is a mythical part of my imagination. I attempted an interesting repair job using sellotape (scotch), which in case you are interested lasts for about 3 to 4 minutes! I sat on the side of the road having a think. Getting my phone out I hoped I could find a bike shop in Stillwater, 5 miles back down the road. Cooper's cycle centre turned out to be a lifesaver and delivered 3 brand new tubes to me by the side of the road. During this time I had at least 2 people pull over and ask if I was alright, many thanks to the kind people of Oklahoma.

Today I have had to stop in gas stations numerous times to keep my liquids coming in. The first gas station had a bit of a tense atmosphere. Two men walking around with what looked like 1970 calculators attached to their belts bashing in numbers. They then proceeded to attach these to very modern computers and analyse the results. From what I could make out the store was under going a stock count from head office and the manger was very concerned about the reconciliation, it appeared hundreds of dollars of stock was missing. I would have loved to have got a photo of the old school counting device, but this certainly was not the time or the place. In the second gas station an old woman sat opposite me and starting pouring over the local crime magazine. This magazine is entirely dedicated to people who have either been arrested, convicted or are wanted - page after page of mugshots. She gave me a running commentary on the more unusual cases, and I managed to get a laugh when I pointed out all the men on the sex offenders page had moustaches. Some good stereotyping there for you.

Jason and Marc had told me this road was up and down, and up and down, and blah blah... Certainly a good work out, with a south wind not afecting me too much. I would be very interested to know the total altitude gain and loss over the 60 miles from Stillwater to Tulsa (Mr.Palmer can you assist with the statistics?) The temperature today has been hovering around a 100f and this leads me onto 'fahrenheit singing'. Both James Blunt and Cheryl Cole have been singing in fahrenheit, now james blunt I will let go as he takes on the american market, but we all know there is no way in hell Cheryl Cole could handle 2 temperature measurement systems, I doubt she can barely manage one! One other bug bear of today has been 'mileage slippage'; this is an entirely new phrase which I have invented and results when the distance marker plus my trip computer does not maintain a consistent number. I can accept the odd one or even two miles - today I had 4 miles of slippage, which when you consider that 4 miles might be 15 to 20 minutes triding can be quite annoying. I'm guessing different counties are using different points.

As I rolled into Tulsa I saw a memorial I hadn't seen before. I've seen lots of crosses, signs and flowers, but sadly to the left of me I saw two white bikes. Common in London and other major cities, but the first of my trip. I am a little confused by them, I want to know if these cyclist died here on bikes, or if they had a car crash and just happened to be enthusiastic cyclists. The reason being this looked a very safe piece of road, extremely wide divided highway with a massive shoulder. I'll see what I can find out.

I'm now in tulsa in my most luxuroius hotel to date. I have been using priceline name your own price. I named $40 a night and some how ended up with the Downtown Hyatt which is super luxurious - I could have course ended up with anything, but I would have been happy as long as it had air conditioning. I am a bit concerned at continuing to camp and even ride in these temperatures. I'm having a rest day tomorrow as I am being a slacker and am trying to slow down to ensure I meet up with the guys in Little Rock, I am ahead of schedule ;)

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