As I left the motel this morning, I was not optimistic. I expected the same troublesome, nerve-wracking, road I encountered yesterday. Sadly, this was the case.
I spied a kid on a bike wandering between store and church parking lots and occasional sidewalks, so I did the same for a couple of miles. Then even these pathways disappeared.
For 9 miles I maneuvered my kart back and forth between the road and the grass, constantly looking for oncoming vehicles. I can assure you that this process is quite stressful and exhausting.
Then I crossed into Nowata County and a beautiful new road with wide shoulders appeared before me! Like most humans, I convince myself that such things will last “forever.”
Forever ended about seven miles later, and I was back to the “nothing shoulder” with even more truck traffic coming my way. I did the best I could on the 2-inch shoulder, skirting the white line, when I saw flashing lights ahead.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer was polite, friendly, concerned, and inquisitive. He expressed regret that the shoulder was not adequate, blah, blah. Then he pretty much ordered me to only walk on the grass, not the road.
I assured him I would comply 100%, and headed off into the weed and trash-strewn grass along the side of the highway. For about three minutes.
There’s no way anyone could manage to push a kart any distance through the grass all weeds and up and down the embankments, all the while avoiding the drainage ditches and other obstacles. I got back on the highway and didn’t care whether the Oklahoma Highway Patrol came back and arrested me or not. (I am reminded of the O. Henry story, The Cop and the Anthem, where Soapy, the protagonist, attempts in vain to be arrested so he can spend the winter in the shelter of the local jail.)
I slowly labored on as I’d done before, knowing I needed help getting away from this stretch of highway. Google Maps indicated much better roads going east from Vinita, the next town on the map. Otherwise, it would be 28 miles walking on Hwy 60 with no shoulder to walk on.
When I arrived in Nowata (population 3,731) and checked in at the Rudd Motel, I spoke with Daniel, the manager about my dilemma. (It turned out he’s also a musician; thank you, God.)
“Do you know someone with a truck or SUV who could drive me to Vinita tomorrow?” To my relief, Daniel agreed to drive me out of town in the morning.
You can consider this ride a direct safety-related order from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. I do.
18 miles today.
@ Nowata, Oklahoma