"Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain."

- Rodgers & Hammerstein, Oklahoma

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Austin, TX to Sulphur, OK:  7th Street East to I-35 North, past Temple, Waco, Fort Worth, Denton, Ardmore, to US-77 North through Davis to SR-7 East to Sulphur. (MAP)

THE DETAILS:
Iíve been getting a little too used to the luxury of The Driskill, and I donít check out till 11 AM.  Itís not that I donít want to get moving, but this place is really nice, and Iím starting to get a little attached.  Paying the bill helps set me straight.  It is definitely time to go.

My ride today takes me straight north along the interstate, getting me to Oklahoma as quickly as I can.  Without the camping gear on the back seat the bike is quicker than usual.  In fact, itís downright nimble and feels very light.  I sent the gear back home, as itís almost November and the only place left I had thought of camping, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will probably be freezing by the time I get there.

The miles today just roll on and on, with little to remember along the way.  But the weather gives me something to think about.  Threatening skies surround me and I prepare for rain with each click of the odometer.  But magically, the rain somehow avoids me.  I ride through sections where the road is still damp from a passing shower, but I just missed it.  Somebody up there still likes me.  I wonder how much longer this can last.  Riding for 42 days without getting rained on has to be some kind of record.

I had hoped to get to Chickasaw National Recreation Area, just off the highway in Sulphur, before they closed for the day.  Iíd like to get the stamp and Iíve been racing to get there while someone will still be around.  Iím guessing the headquarters are open till 5:00 PM.  But when I roll up at 4:50 the place is closed.  Damn It!  They closed 20 minutes ago, and Iíve got no choice but to skip the stamp or call it a day.  It will be dark soon anyway, so I drive back through town to the only decent motel around and get a room.  The Super 8 is okay, but compared to The Driskill itís a homeless shelter.  My sleeping arrangements have taken a giant leap downward.  The town is a bit of a culture shock as well, compared to last night in Austin.  Itís Halloween, but there are more ghosts around than trick-or-treaters.  This place is dead.

THE DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 329.9
Total Miles: 22,781
Time on Motorcycle: 4 Hours 30 Minutes
Average Speed: 73.3 MPH
States Visited today: 2 (TX, OK)
Total States Visited: 34
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 0
NPS Stamp Totals: 169 Stamps, 30 States
Weather: Really mean looking clouds that didnít live up to their looks.
Amount spent on gas so far: $797.71

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
ďIn Case Of Fire: 1.Open Window, 2. Push Out Screen, 3.Exit Through WindowĒ Ė Enormous sign on the back of door, Room 119, Super 8 Motel, Sulphur, Oklahoma.

RANDOM PASSINGS:
Just how much did that room at the Driskill cost me?  Well it certainly was much more than I have budgeted for my nightly expense.  I estimated I would spend about $50 per night on lodging, but often I hope to bring that number closer to $30.  I dream about finding a quiet, clean motel room, with parking right in front of the room, for $30 a night.  But more often than not, that isnít the case.  Some nights Iíve just been tired and settled on the first decent place I could find, and thatís cost me.  But after a hard day of riding and stamp hunting, I donít want to spend another hour looking for a place to spend the night.  Itís just not worth it.

But the Driskill was another matter.  I knew Iíd be in Austin for two days.  And I knew Iíd need a well-deserved rest.  So if there was ever a time to splurge, this was it.  And Iím glad I did.  It was worth every penny of the $185 per night, not including taxes.

The Super 8 in Sulphur tonight?  Well that only cost me $40. And I could have gone even cheaper, but I draw the line at motels where the amount of broken dishwashers in the parking lot outnumbers the amount of working automobiles.  Is an uncomfortable night, in a scary looking motel really worth saving 15 bucks?  My answer will always be no.

 


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