Iron Butt Rally Checkpoint 1 – Tulsa
June 21, 2023
I was still a bit jet-lagged from our Europe trip, but still managed to climb onto the moto for a quick run up to Tulsa for Checkpoint 1 of the Iron Butt Rally. It would not be much of a visit with my long-distance friends, but would still be fun to see them come in after their third day on the road since the start in Pittsburgh.
The riders were converging onto Tulsa from all over the US. I kept a watch on them in Jason’s Spotwalla website.
I devised a new cold water system that I strapped onto the seat of the V-Strom. It worked great! But not long after I passed into Oklahoma, I saw a storm approaching quickly from the northwest. I don’t think I would need all of that cool water! About the same time, I received a call from my Hotel in Tulsa and was told my reservation was canceled due to a lack of power. I did not tie the power outage to a storm, but thought it might be rolling blackouts due to heat.
It was obvious that this storm was going to be nasty. My best move was to ride diagonal straight into Tulsa instead of north into Drumright as per my original route. But the further north I rode, the closer the quickly-moving storm was. The next plan was to take shelter in Stroud and let the storm pass over me.
I settled in and chatted with a lady who was trying to console her new puppy while the lightning and thunder was making a tremendous spectacle. The rain eventually waned, and I prepared to continue my journey.
About the time I was ready to ride, along comes Johnny Poff, who asked a few questions about my moto. Turns out he is a previous motorcycle drag racer and had the very first KZ900 drag bike that was delivered to him straight from Kawasaki in Japan. After he was done racing the bike, Kawasaki contacted him to purchase back the bike for historical purposes. He said he put his daughter through college with the proceeds from that sale!
Heading north out of Stroud, the weather was getting better. I was still chasing the back side of the storm as I stopped for a couple of AULDR bonus photos. Making my way into Tulsa, I realized why there were power issues. A storm on Saturday had torn much of the city up with 100 mph winds. Trees were down everywhere and navigating intersections without signal lights was a real challenge.
Thank goodness the IBR host hotel had power restored in the morning and the air conditioning was operational for the tired riders that would arrive soon. I gave Chris Hopper one of my new stickers to pay him back for the one he gave me recently in College Station. Jim Orr was preparing to receive the riders and check odometers as they arrived.
Tobie Stevens snapped many photos of the tired riders. His photos are awesome! One of my favorite photos of myself is one he shot as I arrived at the start of the Into the Unknown 36-hour rally in Big Sky, MT.
I would have liked to stay later, but due to the power outages, I had to make overnight arrangements about 90 miles away from Tulsa. I packed up my stuff and rode off the the southeast in the nice evening air. The Mexican food was tasty and I slept well in Sallisaw.
June 22, 2023
The ride this morning was a relatively short 300 miles back home. I got out of bed late still being a bit jet-lagged. The two riders next to me were packing up their Harleys.
Bob and Keith have been on the road since June 1 riding all over the American West. They on their way home to North Carolina. Funny the night before they joked with me about not waking them up at 3 AM with that thing I was riding…
I worked my South towards the hills in eastern Oklahoma. I stopped for fuel and a breakfast burrito on the Chickasaw Reservation. A pair of riders pulled around by my bike while I was chowing down. Dan and Bob are from Arizona and are eight days into a month-long journey riding around the Appalachians. They were complaining about the heat in Texas… Yeah,,, that dry heat thing in the desert is real. Add humidity to the mix, and it does indeed become unbearable! They don’t have a real plan for their ride and will figure it out as they go. Nice.
I pulled under a shade tree in Heavener to do a quick post about these riders, and up pulls Mark. He’s a retired IT professional who rides an Indian. He now works for the railroad and was waiting on a train to arrive to transport the crew somewhere in town. It’s always interesting traveling via moto. Conversations are easy to start with others about where we are from and where we are going.
I picked up some ears of sweet corn from Webbers Falls to take home to Debbie.
There were a few AULDR points available on the very twisty Mountain Pass Scenic Byway and on south in Hochatown. Life is good, even on a very short trip!