Very long and eventful day. I’m pretty knackered so I’m not sure how much I can record. Jeff and I are just back from Gilmore’s Pub, an amazing bar in El Reno Oklahoma. The food was delicious, the service excellent and the hospitality heart warming.
Things started innocently enough this morning. We had breakfast at an amazing place called Susan’s in Springdale. Sausage and cheese omelet, grits, biscuit and gravy and coffee. Waitresses happy, flirtatious (Bless their hearts!) and considerate. After a great meal we were ready for the road.
Before leaving, we asked for a few directions and unfortunately the fatal words were uttered: “You can’t miss it”. As far as I am concerned that’s the kiss of death when it comes to getting directions. I have a decent chance of finding anywhere until those words are uttered. Even a blind hog can find an acorn every once in a while. Remembering these curse words though I double checked our map: Highway 412 to Tulsa and then left when we got to 193, then right on 11th Street. Can’t miss it. We headed out. Decent enough road to start with but then we had to pay a toll for the privilege of driving on a bumpy, line riddled turnpike. Mostly flat countryside, but there were occasional green fields full of peach colored flowers that made me think of the concept of grace.
“Left on 193” I repeated it like a mantra as I took the lead. Okay, maybe I went into one of these fugue states Jeff accuses me of but I never saw 193. We were probably 10 miles past Tulsa before Jeff signaled to me and we exited. We had decided to ride this trip without using GPS and so we are left with memorizing routes or checking our maps when we stop. It’s a little awkward unfolding a map while you’re riding. We figured that if we went back an exit turned right, headed south, we would pick up the road we were looking forward, America’s Mother’s Day road, Route 66, an incredibly historical and important early route across North America. Amazingly ,we found the road and stopped at a gas station. Jeff traveled Route 66 as a child so it was one of those trips down memory lane for him. Enjoyable as it was he was starting to worry about time and the distance we needed to travel. I was instead in one of these Zen frames of mind where I was happy with whatever was happening; just enjoying the moment. After we filled up at a gas station we agreed that if we got separated we’d just meet at the junction of Highway 81 and Route 66 in El Reno. That way if I wanted to ride 66 and he wanted to stick more with the interstate then we’d be free to chose our routes. I took off.
I did well for quite a few miles and I need to write at some point about the fascinating things I saw on this stretch of Route 66. But when I got into Oklahoma City I got lost, but not badly. Long story, but what I liked about it was that I didn’t stress out or worry but instead just enjoyed the ride. Maybe the wrong places you get to are the right places and you don’t know it. By the time I reached our rendezvous point Jeff was already there having taken the interstate instead of the blue highways. Can’t fault him for that though because somehow his rear shock absorber had blown and every time his bike hit a bump he bounced up and down like a fiddler’s elbow.
We had to quickly reconnoiter. Jeff couldn’t drive far without bouncing like a yo yo. A Super 8 motel was within sight and a Harley Dealership was about 13 miles back towards Oklahoma City. Looks like we were going to spend the night in El Reno. We got a room, a really nice one, and Jeff took a nap. Meanwhile, I Skyped with my daughter Hannah in LA. (Only 6 days til I see her and Saturday Bill!)
I found a pub/ restaurant called Gilmore’s and it had the logo of a leprechaun and boasted about making the best steaks in town. We headed out there. I knew it was our kind of place when Jeff and I parked neatly on the road out in front while another Harley rode up onto the sidewalk and parked outside the pub.
Our experience there was amazing, the steaks great and the friendliness of Tex and Harley Rose (Photo coming!) was unparallelled in my experience. I’ll try and write about it tomorrow. Should have some downtime as Jeff’s bike is getting fixed.
I know Jeff’s worried about the bike. I would be too. Worried it’ll hold us up; make it harder to rendezvous with our buddy Kevin in Sedona in a few days. I’m sure I must be an exasperating travel companion because I just see everything happening for a reason. I trust it all. No sense worrying about the past or the future. Be here now. Just go with the flow. Don’t push the river; it flows by itself. We’re all exactly where we need to be right now.
Bless his heart; and his bike.