Well my planned trip to the mountains didn’t quite work out as I planned, but I did have fun none the less. Here’s what happened…

On Tuesday evening I drove out to Newcastle (my hometown where my parents and two of my 4 little brothers live — they are 6 year old twins and two of the coolest little guys in the world). Since the little guys had never camped out before, I went ahead and pitched my tent in the back yard so they could get the chance to sleep out in a tent, then in the morning I took them both bike riding which they really enjoyed.

The next day I set off driving to the farm (my grandparent’s old place that my Mom inherited near what was once the community of Pine Ridge in Caddo County, which is west of Anadarko and south of Fort Cobb) from which I planned to depart my bicycle for the Wichita Mountains.

I stopped in Chickasha for lunch at J.&W. grill for one of the best burger & fries in Oklahoma.

After that I rolled on down the highway but a few miles past Verden I started having car problems. To make a really long story short, I was able to drive the car back to Verden and then called for AAA. Their wrecker towed me back to Newcastle to my favorite mechanic (for what turned out to be a clogged fuel filter, thankfully a very cheap fix). The mechanic wasn’t able to work on it though that day, so I went and got my bicycle and headed instead east to Norman. The bike ride south on US 62 and east on HW 9 was pretty carefree (except for those monster hills on HW 9), but when I got to the massive casino from hell at Goldsby (I swear, the Chickasaws are turning the exploitation of the poor into an art form. Between that new mega-casino and the Newcastle casino at I-44 and US 62, they are totally ruining the community I grew up in.), the traffic situation turned pretty hairy with the super-narrow bridge across I-35 and then even worse trying to cross over the South Canadian River on I-35 itself. I think this quite literally may be the worst designed bridge I’ve ever seen. (ODOT should be ashamed of itself for making a bridge that is nearly impossible for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross) But thankfully I didn’t die crossing the bridge and I made it into Norman.

Once in Norman I worked my way over to Texadelphia at Lindsay & Berry (an old favorite I knew from Austin that now has a Norman location — their only non-texas location). I had a Shiner Bock, chips and queso, and cheese steak sandwich (as usual their queso was extraordinary but their cheesesteak was rather ordinary).

After dinner I continued by bike through the OU campus area and then on Alameda St. east out of Norman and to the North Sentinel camping area at Lake Thunderbird. The ride on Alameda would have been fine in the daylight but at night it was a bit unnerving as it was very dark and there was no shoulders once you got out of town. But anyway I did make it to the lake and then found a park ranger who pointed me to where tent camping was at. (as it turned out, I was the ONLY person in the whole campground who was there) So I set up my tent and then enjoyed the rest of my evening there at the lake. – To be continued. . .