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THE TRUE STORY OF THE OKLAHOMA FREEWHEEL 2011

   Written by a 13 year old Llama Lover


       For those who only know me as the 2nd stoker or one of the girls on the quad, my name is Courtney, Certified Llama Lover, The Genius and the one who does all of the pedaling.  I'm only kidding about the last one; everyone does their fair share.  Welcome to the TRUE story of the Oklahoma Freewheel 2011.  This is what I saw and experienced during the Freewheel.  Have fun and enjoy. :)

In one part of the story, I mention being followed around by a news guy from Tulsa.  Here's the link to the NBC Action News story.  We only have a minute or so but it also shows the different stories he collected and put together from the Freewheel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGREAwHmYuI

 

Saturday June 11 Day 0

Texas State Line to Durant

20 miles

6/11/2011 Sat Distance 20.4 Average 17.1 Ride Time 1:11 Max Speed 37.6

    The Oklahoma Freewheel has begun!  We arrived at the University where the registration was and checked in before heading to our motel.  We grabbed our gear and drove the 20 miles to the Texas border.  The bridge we were riding over after we reached the border was really neat.  It was an old bridge, so old in fact that the railings were missing on part of it and it was only one lane.  The bridge was converted from railroad use sometime after it was built in 1910.  Below was a somewhat dried out river with the water about waist high, even in what should have been deeper water.  The people down there were waving and goofing around on 4-wheelers.  My mom got a couple of really good pictures of us coming off of the bridge.  

The bridge as viewed above my dad's head.

This is the river the bridge went over.  See the people playing?

We are coming off the bridge in this shot.

Just riding down the road

Not even a 1/2 mile later, we ran into trouble.  Some red pick-up truck drove head-on at us, causing us to bail out into the gravel off the road.  I still have no idea what the heck they were thinking.  There were some other cars on the road that passed too close but I hope it was only the Durant area, not the entire state of Oklahoma.  We rode back to the Days Inn where we went swimming.  The pool floor was very slick and went from 2 feet to 9 feet in a fairly small pool.  We swam around awhile before getting dinner at the Mexican restaurant next to the motel.  The menu said something like, "Please give us ample time to prepare your food right."  The food was okay but having that on their menu made it so much funnier.  After dinner, we sat outside watching some people swim while we talked.  Tomorrow's day one and I'm ready.

Swimming!

TA-DA!

 

 

Sunday June 12 Day 1

Durant to Coalgate

62.45 miles

6/12/2011 Sun Distance 66.8 Average 16.5 Ride Time 4:07 Max Speed 36.7

Today we ate breakfast at the motel.  Yup, pretty exciting.  Afterwards, Dad and I went to drop off the luggage at the truck.  We asked about BOB (our trailer) being on the truck and the lady told us it was okay.  If the people organizing the ride have a problem with it, I don't know what they'll do because its already on the ride.  We left the motel and not far down the road, in the middle of a residential area, we were barked at and chased by a pit bull/mutt/dog/thing.  Not a great way to start your day.  

Our first stop was at a gas station after passing a cop and he soon came up to us and started talking.  He was really nice and after chatting for awhile, Natalie and I got Jr. State Patrol sticker badges.  Walking outside again, I noticed a red pick-up truck with a decal that said "Redneck" on it.  Then I saw his dog.  It fit the description perfectly.  

Hanging out before we get on the bike.  
GIRL POWER!

The start of our day.  Adios, Madre!

See what I mean?  This dog is totally redneck material.

We stopped later on thinking a store was open but it wasn't.  However, it did have a cooler with ice outside so we got some to cool off.  Starting up again, there was a SAG 1/4 up the road.  When we got into town, (after a lot of hills) we got Subway sandwiches.  The lady making the sandwiches ran out of avocado so she had the other lady go get some.  Only one problem, it was frozen.  Dad suggested putting it in the microwave to warm it up.  The lady looked around a little and then shoved it in the microwave.  Guess who got warm avocado on their sandwiches?

 

Natalie's way to cool down.

Yes, indeed Daddy, you won the Hot Stuff Award presented by the pizza company in the background.

Riding up to the school, we found all of our luggage except for BOB.  Not a good sign.  We asked around about it and finally someone said it might be over at the registration truck/trailer.  Sure enough BOB was there, propped up against the side of the building in all of his glory.  We loaded up our backpacks and headed over to the Hi Way Inn Express motel.  Somehow we ended up on the second floor and had to put the bike in the office.  When we walked up to the room, the A/C was off and it was probably 2,000 degrees inside.  With the A/C cranked as high as it would go, we started to clean up and relax.  Julie and I did laundry for today and because it was 2 million degrees outside, it dried pretty fast.

For dinner we ate at a quick shop that had BBQ.  Sounds good right?  The only catch, their ham was just deli ham.  And I was looking forward to bar-b-que!  We got ice cream after dinner and walked around the campground.  Go drumsticks!  Getting back to the motel, I worked on the Crazy Day outfits.  

 

Monday June 13 Day 2

Coalgate to Wewoka

60.08  miles

6/13/2011 Mon Distance 65.8 Average 16.2 Ride Time 4:28 Max Speed 39.4

 Today is CRAZY DAY!  As if clip-clopping shoes and spandex weren't enough, riders dressed up in things that made people do a double take.  And the heat was crazy too.  Three words that describe this ride are as follows, and I quote, hot, Hotter, HOTTEST.  The average temperature for Oklahoma this time of year is the high 80's at most where as today it was over the high 90's.  For breakfast we ate at the quick shop where I had my un-BBQ sandwich from the previous night.  Biscuits and gravy with eggs were my choice.  We rode all the way to the second SAG (go us!) and got off to refill on water.  There I was told by Grapeman (this guy really painted himself a blue/purple color) that we were doing really well.  I thanked him and then drank a bunch of water.  

 

Getting started!

Hot, tired, and fried.  
Here we're trying to cool off.

Getting going from another SAG stop.

I'm sure you're also wondering what we did for crazy day?  Had Mohawks tied to our helmets of course!  We rode into the designated lunch town where we got some quick shop food (I am living on this stuff).  Along the road a ways, we saw a not so lean, shirtless, kilt wearing dude.  It was scary and cool all at the same time.  Rock on weird kilt dude, rock on.

We stopped at another rest stop down the road where, just before we arrived, saw some riders swimming in the lake.  Those people were smart.  I should have been one of them.  We refilled our bottles again and ate one of those delicious, fattening, tasty oatmeal cream pie things.  Man, those were good.

When we got to Wewoka, we found BOB was no where in sight.  I asked about it at the registration desk where this guy told me, in a very controlling voice, "You'll have to wait.  The director needs to see you."  For some reason he emphasized director.  Dad came over and saw the trailer.  He picked it up and the dude in my face got literally in Dad's face.  I'm talking 4 inches or less here.  The director came over so it was basically a 2 on 1 discussion, I wasn't included.  BOB couldn't go on the truck because of bare metal liability, thus sending BOB to the very front of the truck for the rest of the week.  

After that ordeal, we went to the New Life Church where we could stay in air conditioning for $5 a person.  We got our own little room and then went back over to the luggage truck to get some more things.  We found that we had left the sheet at home and went to Dollar General to find one.  We also got a 2 liter Coke for $1.25.

We stopped at a museum on the way back that was about the Seminole Indian nation and the town of Wewoka.  There were also things on the wars fought throughout history.

We ate the dinner at the church and then Dad and I went to drop BOB off at the truck.  When we got back, we found 2 guys in the same room with their air mattresses up against the opposite wall.  They kept to themselves.  I worked on our Flag Day outfits tonight as well.

This is how Natalie decided to work
 on her journal.

I'm working on my regular journal, 
trying to be as normal as possible.

Julie's working on her notes for 
her mileage log.

Posing for the camera?  Absolutely.

Julie also likes to make us smile.

So does Dad, in case you haven't noticed.

 

 

Tuesday June 14 Day 3

Wewoka to Checotah

77.11 miles

6/14/2011 Tue Distance 78.1 Average 17.4 Ride Time 4:29 Max Speed 45.9

What a better way to start Flag Day than to get up at 5:30 in the morning?  I was actually woken up earlier by our roommates' alarms.  We ate breakfast before Julie and I rode in the shuttle van to drop off the luggage.  Dad and Natalie would meet us there.  We were interviewed by some dude with a Tulsa news station.  He said he'd catch us later when we left but with the speeds we were going, it was going to be a challenge.

Getting ready for another day on the saddle.

About 8 or so miles into the ride, Dad and I realized we didn't refill our bottles.  We made an Indy 500 pit stop and hopped back on the bike to continue our ride.  At the intersection after the SAG, we passed some dude weaving around in the middle of the road on the right shoulder (well over 3 feet from him) and he said something along the lines of, "Thanks for letting me know guys."  He is what I would call porky and then tried to catch up to us.  Remember I said tried.

We stopped at a gas station to get some food in us later on and just as we were leaving, News Dude came up and said he was going to "slam" a Redbull and then catch us later.  He should have had a 4 pack.  We bombed down some good hills and on one really long uphill, we passed the red Santana triplet.  Before we got into the lunch town, we saw a total of 2 llamas.

For lunch we were going to eat Subway but they had a line out the front door so we ate at Sonic.  A grilled chicken sandwich later, we were on the road again, this time being filmed.  The Freewheel documentary also filmed us.  We soon saw 3 more llamas.

We stayed at an America's Best Value.  The lady in the front was not trying to be accommodating to us and we had the second floor room, again.  We ate at a Mexican restaurant by the motel and then went back over to the campground and saw the footage of what would be on the news. Turns out, they also meant tonight's news, 6 p.m.

Here we are leaving from our first official stop.

This is at another stop, after munching on ice cream.

 

Wednesday June 15 Day 4

Checotah to Bristow

74.09 miles

6/15/2011 Wed Distance 83.7 Average 16.4 Ride Time 4:40 Max Speed 37.6

Team day is today and if they had a contest, I bet we would win.  Today was another hot one.  After gathering our things, Julie and I went down to get the continental breakfast offered by the motel.  We saw a waffle maker and then tried to make some.  The waffle stuck.  In our defense, the waffle maker instructions never said anything about using cooking oil.  After taking the time to scrape off our broken up waffle off the maker, the lady at the front desk said remember to use the cooking oil.  We dropped off our things at the truck and from there stopped at a convenience store about 25 miles out.  After riding a little further, we caught on to a racer pace line.  Something always seems to click in everyone's heads about not letting tandems, quads, etc. on their pace line.  Why I don't know.  We were rocking and rolling with those guys but as big and bad as they tried to make themselves, some weren't all that strong.  We rode to the front of the pace line on an uphill.  Some would say this is an impossible feat for a quad to go up a hill as long as that at over 25 miles an hour.  I however say it's definitely possible, so take that nonbelievers, because if I said it, it is true.  We stopped at a SAG along the road and found they had pickles.  Big pickles.  Huge, delicious, sour, pickles.  Am I getting my point across?  For those who don't understand... YUMMMMMMMMM!  We rode down the llama-less road and stopped again where we ate Doritos and drank green tea, PowerAde, and Amp.  After that we thought we were home free, pretty much.  Were we wrong?  Oh, yes.  There were many big hills for a finish.  NOT cool whoever designed that road.  Your life mission is to torment dying quad people at the end of a 75 mile day, isn't it?

Julie and I were hungry again so we stopped at another Subway for "lunch".  We then got our bags and headed to our motel.  After cleaning up we wanted to go swimming and to the Speedwheel crit race.  We also needed some food.  Mexican was the first choice.  We checked out two different restaurants across the street from each other and ended up with the first one.  I got a virgin piņa colada.  A very large one I might add.  'Twas very good.

Mexican food and friends.  Nothing better.

Waiting for food can be really fun!

Here we are watching the Speedwheel.

We went over by the pool and the race to find it was closed for a private party.  Who would reserve a private party on the day a big cycling tour would come, I don't know.  They said the pool would reopen for an hour between 8-9 p.m. They were still going to charge to get in.  

The race was really neat.  We watched the finish of the 3 and 4 cat and the beginning of the Masters.  After we left, we went to drop off the extra weight that the pack had.  Finally, it was time to get some beauty sleep.



Natalie Johnson, 11 (from left), her sister Courtney Johnson, 13, family friend Julie Reed and father, Mark Johnson, of Shawnee arrive Wednesday on a quad bike at Bristow High School.  JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World

Yeah, you could say we were dead tired.

 

Thursday June 16 Day 5

Bristow to Pawnee

86.09 miles

6/16/2011 Thur Distance 87.3 Average 17.6 Ride Time 4:59 Max Speed 41

This morning I woke up to the sound of a phone alarm and thunder.  It just happened to be that we dropped off our rain gear at the truck last night.  Due to the morning storms, I got to sleep in an extra hour!  We loaded up our things and dropped them off at the truck.  With the high winds in the early morning hours (early by my standard anyway) a few port-a-potties were tipped over.  All I can say, I wouldn't want to be the person cleaning that up.  

The tipped over port-a-potties.

Dark sky and smiling faces?

After taking care of dropping our stuff off, we had empty stomachs to attend to.  We had sausage burritos at McDonald's.  Realizing we were heading into the storm, we expected the worst, but the worst did not happen.  We turned on the way out of town, bypassing the storm, leaving us dry.

Farther up the road I saw a llama.  I was very happy but I didn't get a picture. :(  Better luck next time but the llama was cool.

Up the road a ways we saw some chalk markings that said something like " Glass 1/4 mile.  Carry your bike."  The people with the SAG vehicles were hollering at everyone to carry their bikes as they came up.  Most of those people also expected us to carry our quad.  ARE YOU NUTS PEOPLE?  We braved through it and stopped afterwards, wiped off the tires, borrowed a pump to fill the tires (could not find one that morning before leaving), and continued on our way.  If I knew how many others were going to have flats, I would have started counting.

Before we stopped around 30 miles into our ride to refuel at a gas station, we saw someone's yard with cool toy things.  I'm talking aliens complete with their UFO and toy cars around their yard.  

Food wise, I definitely had my chocolate fix for the day; two Grandma's chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk.  Yummy?  I think so.

Awesome aliens and space shuttle.

Leaving the gas station.

When we were leaving, the south wind picked up.  That was a good thing because we were going north for the rest of the ride but 8 miles or so.  We stopped only two times after the initial stop.  Somewhere along the line, we had to stop for about a minute at a bridge that was being fixed, leaving only one lane open.  We also had some guy come up on our wheel about 2 or 3 miles before we were going to stop.  He hollered out "ON YOUR WHEEL" and stayed there.  When we pulled off at the convince store, he continued on his way without a thank you.  Some people have no manners.

The first thing we did when we got into town was get our spot at the church.  We ended up in the rafters on the third floor in a small room.  After securing our spot, we went to get our stuff from the truck and went to take a shower.  Some people were asking whether we made it in or not.  What did they think?   That we SAGed in or something?  Yes people we made it in.  In fact when we got our things, there was only a couple of bags gone from the pile.  Did we win?  Oh yes we did.

Being eaten by a bear?

Oh-mi-gosh! HELP ME!

Someone likes pizza...

We ate Subway (again) and then went back over to the church.  I played Dad at pool and lost but Natalie won when she played him so I won to...I think...maybe?...I guess not. Darn.  We went and tracked down the dude with the news station and got a copy of the video clip of us (see link at top).  We asked a couple of locals about where to eat and they said a steak place was really good. We went over there to find it was PACKED.  I'm talking out of the door and a really LONG waiting list.  So alternative plan B.  We ate at Simple Simon's Pizza that has very good BBQ pizza.

Walking over to the pizza place, we saw a black bear in front of a bank.  Lets just say, we had some fun. 

Finishing eating, we went back to the church to go to sleep.  One thing we did not count on was the snoring rattling the rafters coming from the far balcony across the church.

 

 

Friday June 17 Day 6

Pawnee to Tonkawa

55.12 miles

6/17/2011 Fri Distance 69.0 Average 16.0 Ride Time 3:56 Max Speed 37.4

Today I woke up on the floor...again.  After we got our things thrown on the trailer that would in turn take our luggage to the truck, we ate the oatmeal the church offered.  It was really good.  After finding the route markers, we started a small stretch of tailwind that didn't last long.  Just outside of town, we saw a dog following the riders in their days journey.  After getting most of the way up the hill, it turned around and headed back to its home.  We then had a vicious-fight-to-stay-up-right-crosswind.  We rode a total of 15 miles on that stretch.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  We rode a total of 15 grueling miles on that never ending stretch.  After turning and receiving a strong tailwind, we stopped 5 miles later to refuel.  Riding towards Ponca we saw a lot of UPS trucks starting their routes and ended up having a very detailed conversation about what it's like to work for UPS.  When we reached Ponca we rode through the town and asked some guys working at an auto repair shop if there was any other food besides the last gas station for lunch.  He said there was a Mexican restaurant down the road a ways but we didn't know if it was on our route.  Our solution?  Fine dining at the Valero across the street, on the sidewalk, in the sun.   Riding out of town we were discussing how you can always seem to find "First Baptist" churches but never a "Second Baptist" church.  Just then we rode by The Second Baptist Church.

Eating breakfast before heading out.

Getting going.

Ponca City had lots of murals.  This one has some old cars in it.

This mural was about the Wild West.

We turned again after getting back on the bike and rode with a very strong crosswind into town to find our luggage.  We got what we needed and then realized our motel was 4 miles or so out of town.  NOT COOL!  Dad and I went to a "lodge" (it was basically just a small motel) down the street to see if they had any vacancy.  The lady told me they didn't rent rooms for one night only and closed the door in my face.

We rode the grueling 4 miles to the motel where we had to put down a mattress the motel offered, due to there being only one bed.  Dad and I walked to the gas station across the street and loaded up on snacks.  After we munched and fell asleep for an hour, we went back to the college where everyone was staying and ate the dinner offered.  It was really good and I ate a lot of ice cream.  Delicious?  You betcha'!  

We sat and watched part of the video that the ride was selling for about $35 and considered buying it.  The band Mid Life Crisis played for a couple of hours while we danced and sang along.  At one point there was a conga line going and we joined in.

When we rode back to the motel, it was almost 10 pm.  I fell asleep pretty quickly.

Hanging out while listening to the band.

Natalie and I are playing a game called Ninja.  For more information, ask just about anyone at my school.

Finishing our Can-Can dance.

Dad and Julie.

Mid Life Crisis.

Dancing!

Let's get this party STARTED!

 

Saturday June 18 Day 7

Tonkawa to Caldwell, KS

41.40 miles

6/18/2011 Sat Distance 45.4 Average 15.7 Ride Time 2:55 Max Speed 33.0

Today is the last day!!!  We got up kind of late and found someone to carry our luggage for us.  I love you people with the green/black Suburban!  We ate at a cafe in a quick shop on the way out.  They had good food but the service was a little slow, landing us starting a little later than we wanted.  The cafe also had a couple of neat pictures and a Felix wall clock.  Natalie is now obsessed with trying to find one for her room.

Felix the Cat, in clock form.

Rocky on a tandem with a moose.

We had a crosswind and a strong one at that.  Finally we reached the first SAG town with a convenience store.  The CO-OP we went to didn't have much of a selection so we went to a Valero down the road.  But the CO-OP did have a cool sign taped to their door.

The wind started to help a little more as we angled some and before we knew it, we were at the Kansas state line.  We rode into Caldwell and found that my mom wasn't there.  We called her after buying some waters and a Coke and found out that she was late because of my dog.  Way to go Cutter, way to go.  We got our 'end of the ride' packets, took a shower and decided to get the video that the ride was selling.  Natalie was going to get a prize that some people were throwing into the crowd but a teenage boy snatched it in front of her face.

On the drive back home, I listened to the band 'My Chemical Romance'.  I listened mainly to their new album, until we found a Mexican restaurant to eat at.  This was no surprise to me.

This is the sign outside the quickshop.

Along the road, we saw an antique fire truck.

KANSAS STATE LINE!

Relaxing after a long week.

Julie hanging out.

 

Another adventure comes to a close and maybe a new one will start next year.  Until then, I'm the llama lover, signing off.

 

 

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