Travel to Oklahoma

Well, That’s Very British

At the end of Day 20, I had completed 1853.5 miles or to anyone else a really, really long way. The John O’Groats to Land’s End challenge in 2015 seemed like a very long time ago, and the failures that accompanied that challenge were being put to bed. I had doubled the distance of that challenge and I wasn’t finished yet.

In the animated children’s film Cars’, they describe how the interstate cuts through the heart of the country, ploughing a line of destruction across America. The businesses and people are left by the wayside, forgotten about because like with anything nowadays we want something faster. The old highway dips and corkscrews across the country, it meanders with the land and rivers, romantically flowing its way through small towns and villages. There are so many of the towns and villages boarded up, closed down and moved on. We stopped on Day 20 at an old petrol station; we took a picture in the pouring rain. A beautiful old fuel pump, the inside of the shop still decorated with Route 66 memorabilia. What made this particularly sad was that the interstate was just a matter of yards away but no slip road had been created to get to this village. In order to get there, you would have to come off of the interstate a few miles away. You have to accept that no-one would do this ordinarily. The business had no chance.

Kerry and I ran most of the morning, the weather was very British – it was raining from the moment we set off and then continually for the next 12 hours. To pass the time, I would ofen count different things on the road; sometimes it might be people, cars, cows or even houses, on this day we counted dead frogs, they were everywhere. It seemed we were running on a burial ground for the brave little amphibians that had dared to try to cross the highway. More than likely, they died of shock at the fact that there was even a car on these desolate and isolated roads. Once again weeds had begun to spring up through the gaps in the tarmac, I’m sure it won’t be long before the road in this area is gone forever and the only option available to people is the interstate.

Travel to Oklahoma Photo Gallery

Kerry and I at one of the many abandoned fuel pumps on Route 66.

I plundered on through the day, avoiding the large floods where I could but, in the end, I was soddened and soaked to the bone. Helen joined me again for a little run and as she did a procession of Harley Davidsons came passed us, waving and beeping as they followed the mother road, a brilliant and quite surreal sight. No people had passed us for hours, but as the rain leaked off of the end of my nose, I stood, shorts on and wearing a now see-through formerly white t-shirt, as over 50 motorcycles passed, each one a different wave, nod or beep – it was brilliant.

As you travel further west the local people seem to make more of a big deal of Route 66, there is more signage, more touristy stuff for people to look at and a lot more things to do. We passed through Hydro, Weatherford and Clinton – all of which have museums and monuments dedicated to Route 66. It’s a big deal to so many people in these smaller towns, it’s their life and their business. I don’t work for the American Tourist Board but I implore you, I urge you to get off your bike, get out of your car and go and see these people. They are fantastic, amazing and brilliantly resilient people, who want nothing more than to welcome you into their homes and into their businesses.

Finishing Day 20 concluded two full days of running, I was now faced with two days of cycling and 300 miles to catch me back up. The previous couple of days had been more pleasant with regards to temperature and so some sleep was had, it had been desperately needed.

I lay on the seat in the RV drifting in and out of consciousness as we whizzed back to Oklahoma City and the airport to pick Darren up. It had been two weeks since we had had another person on the RV; we were all in need of some new conversation. I imagine all Darren wanted to do was sleep; instead we ambushed him and hammered him with 70 different conversations at once.

I love to watch people at the airport, there is never any hate, it is probably some of the purest emotion you will see. We walked towards the gate and as we did we saw Darren. Helen’s walk went from a steady controlled pace to a full scale sprint, she leapt at Darren. Smiles and kisses covered their faces, true love.

The RV now with a team of 5, headed back to where we had finished in Clinton. We parked at the side of the railway, a thoroughly underwhelming location for Darren’s first night on the RV Dogs barked, trains rolled passed and what we now believe to be gun shots continued into the night. The sleep we all needed was once again hard to come by.

Leave a Reply

− six = one