For many of us, this was a first for packing/unpacking a bike. We were still feeling a little green. I have to say that I learned a lot in a single trip. What to pack and where to pack it became the question of the weekend. When you throw a gear bag into a truck and it meets you at the camp site, there is no penalty for packing the kitchen sink. When its on your bike (or in your trailer), you have to decide how badly you ‘need’ that sink. You have to make choices. Study the weather, the ride map, ride food needed, all the details. It becomes more about what you can make it without.
Saturday was miles, smiles, and dive bars. A cloudy and cool start. Cool for most of the morning in fact. Barely cresting 70. Great temperatures for riding! We started out with Doubleshot coffee, rolled westward nice and slow, then began our ascent out of Sand Springs into the hills of Osage County. This is where the fun begins. This is where the gravel begins. Off the main roads with one, maybe two cars every 20 miles, and a tractor for good measure. We pressed on northward, taking in the views and the conversation. It really turned out to be a relaxing day on the bike with no set agenda, and plenty of stops.
We rolled into Barnsdall for lunch (a coke and a payday) at the local grocery store. More time to just mingle and shoot the breeze with good people. Andy gets a call from Jess that he has found Jr’s Saloon. “What? We are on our way.” I hear Andy say into the phone. Half a block later we are lined up at the bar ordering domestic longnecks, and shooting pool, all while two ladies smoke through a pack of cigarettes and continue asking us questions about our ride. We play a few rounds (winner stays), and finally fall victim to Cailean’s cue skills. It was a good stop.
We roll into Osage Hills State Park about 4pm. Set up camp, get out of our chamois, and relax. It was about time for dinner. People were deciding where to set up their camps, what to unpack, and getting cleaned up.
Sleep is good. Cold temps and poor planning can rob you of sleep. I think a lot of people did ok, but 45-50f is just enough to keep you tossing and turning all night. Back to bringing the kitchen sink…..I packed it, and slept like a baby. Doubleshot hooked us up again the second morning with hot coffee and some stellar baked goods (breakfast burritos, donuts, pumpkin bread). Tony and Jeremy were up early stoking the fire, and we all slowly warmed up with the sun rising in the meadow.
The second day was the hardest. More miles, heavy gravel in some spots (more flat tires), and a stout head wind. The riders fragmented and groups began to form. We pressed on. Many people had to overcome some serious mental hurdles to get back into town. Some people had to bail and find other routes home. All in all it was a tough weekend. A fun weekend. A lot of views and laughs. Then just like that we were back in town. Unloading, eating, remembering! What a great time. Next year we want you to join us! Take the step, open the gate (to cheesy?) and challenge yourself. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!