Adventure Is Where You Find It
With the dogwoods barking, crocuses croaking and spring in the air, I felt it was high time to hit the road to someplace a little different from the usual club rides. Like William Least-Heat-Moon searching for towns with strange names in Blue Highways, I set out to visit some of Oklahoma's strangely named towns. My ride started on Sunday morning from the donut shop in Tecumseh in Pottawatomie County and headed for Romulus, supposedly raised by a she-wolf and after killing his twin bother Remus, he became the namesake and first king of Rome. With a population of 92, it doesn't look so royal anymore.
From there I pedaled to beautiful downtown St. Louis. The closest thing to an arch there is the canopy over the driveway of a closed Texaco station. Nothing open; no one in sight; all 109 residents were either still asleep, in church or perhaps asleep in church. My next landmark was Remus, which boasts of having twice the population of his murderous sibling. An old man was petting a dog on the porch of the dilapidated grocery store. He said it wasn't open but he could go around back and get the lady who ran it if I needed something. I didn't want to deprive a dog of its pleasure so I rode out of town.
My next stop was the metropolis of Bowlegs with nearly 500 people. The service station/convenience store/hardware store/cafe was serving a greasy breakfast for $2.99 but since my donut was still laying heavily on my stomach, I settled for a cup of coffee and backtracked to my planned lunch stop in the big city of Maud, built on oil and named after the founder's sister-in-law. There's an old joke here in Oklahoma that goes; Gene Autry would have to go through Bowlegs to get to Maud. Actually the way the three towns are situated, it would be the other way around but that would ruin the joke, besides it's hard enough to find anything funny in Oklahoma.
I had just ordered lunch when church turned out and all 1444 residents of Maud arrived at the 30-seat restaurant at the same time. The place became a sea of men carrying bibles, dated suits, wives trying to corral rambunctious snot-nose kids and two frantic waitresses taking orders five at a time.
Since there were three empty chairs at my table and so many people waiting, I invited a couple to sit with me. Turned out he worked at the NAPA store and his wife was a teacher. Nice couple but I think they felt a bit self-conscious sitting with a guy wearing lycra shorts on Sunday. The way I was dressed must have seemed sacrilegious or something because they kept plaintively looking around in a vain hope that someone else would offer them seats at their table. They had the look of a deer caught in the headlights of a Mack truck. I finished my lunch just as their food arrived so I guess they were able to eat in relative peace.
Back through Hotulka Harjo, a town with a name longer than its main street. Forty-two miles of great spring riding and it started to rain just as I was loading my bike. Life can't get much better than that and adventure is where you find it.
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