Monday, September 25, 2006

Day 15 McAlester, OK-->Paul's Valley, OK

Departure: 7:32 a.m.

Arrival: 3:05 p.m.
100.4 miles
2746’ climbing
Departure Temp: 54
Arrival Temp: 68

Once again the weather gods smiled upon us. Blue skies, some sun and a lot of cloud cover. We seem to be traveling in this protected pocket of fair weather while the wily weather of the transitional season swirls around us.

That we were moving out of the southwest was oh, so apparent by the increasingly frequent deciduous trees and the prominent increase in roadkills. Today was won the frequency prize: lots of armadillos, an antelope, a jackrabbit, a turtle, raccoons, many possums both adult and babies. There were some live sitings, too--the scissor-tailed fly catchers (birds) were plentiful the last few days.

That we were still in a staunch Republican territory was also oh, so apparent by the signage along the road, e.g. “President Bush is a Christian; follow my commander.” And the house trailer across the street from the President Bush sign with a Confederate flag hanging in the window.

A show of delightful hospitality was the owner of a John Deere tractor repair shop who learned we would be traveling by his shop, which was positioned exactly at our 1st rest stop of the day. He came in especially to open his shop so we could use his restroom facilities.

At one point, about mile 62, we joined the RAAM 2001 route. That was cool.

We went through lots of little towns today: Stratford, Center, Pickett, Ada, Homer, Allen, Calvin, Stuart, Arpelar, and finally McAlestar.

Tomorrow is the dreaded day—111 miles with 10,000’ of climbing in 50 miles. The motel van will not travel the canyon, nor do trucks. Too steep. 13%-15% grade for 50 miles. I guess you could say I’m a wh00se (sp?). I’m going off SAG and taking a flat route around the canyon. Why blow out my knees and compromise immune system for a few hills. Makes sense to me.

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