After scarfing down a minimal serving of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and unhealthy-but-good white toast I was ready for the day’s challenges.
During the past couple of days it grew hotter and I began to wonder why I was so reluctant to try out my new anti-hydration vest aka “Evaporative Cooling Sport Vest”. I got the “Deluxe” version which means it has a mandarin type collar while the regular model has none. I’d actually read quite a bit about them and figuring it would be good to have in the hot climates I ordered one from TechNiche International.
Sometimes I buy stuff and then never use it, usually because it was a spur of the moment thing. Like fishing lures for instance, how many of those do you have squirreled away in a dark place. Eh? Then there are those items that once received begin to look a bit too weird and I get cold feet when it comes to actually using them. Like that foil hat I’ve been saving to contact the Mother Ship with, I figured it would be just the ticket in Roswell but everyone on the streets had one and I don’t like to look like the rest of the herd.
But I digress, today was different, I was either going to give the damn vest a try or leave it in the closet for the housekeepers to claim. It’s a simple device really, it works on the same principal as a swamp cooler; you soak it in water for a couple of minutes, then squeeze out the excess water and put it on over a T-shirt. The manufacturer recommends wearing another long-sleeved T-shirt on top of the vest which I did and you know what? The damn thing works!
They claimed it would keep you cool for around two hours and then you could revitalize it by adding more water. I found their time estimate was pretty close so I ducked into a DQ restroom and gave it another soaking. I was sorta glad no one came in while I was doing this as I don’t like to talk to strangers in men’s rooms, especially if I’m doing something really weird.
Anyway that’s my riding gear testimonial for today, I can say I recommend it and for around $30 you’ll be able to keep your cool.
I left the Sherman Inn much as I had arrived, wearing ear plugs and smiling at the receptionist lady who insisted on yakking at me when I turned in my door card. I pointed at my helmet and said “Ear plugs” and she immediately switched into the same mode as the guy at the gas station yesterday. I wonder if they’re related?
My morning portion of the ride took me eastward along highway 82 which for the most part was boring as heck. Traffic was light so it was easy to ride fast but I prefer to have stuff to look at. At least there were occasional historic markers to stop at; had it not been for those I’d probably have dozed off.
One thing that caught my eye and caused me to do a U-turn was an outfit selling concrete storm shelters. For all the world they reminded me of bomb shelters from the 50’s. I guess if you live in tornado prone areas it would make sense to have one. It might even serve as a guest bedroom. Or wait, how about a Mother-in-law room? They come with a really strong looking steel door... Man, I think I could sell those things…
And across the road was a great old house
hiding in the trees. Way out in the sticks too.
Moving along I soon came to a Historic marker for the Smiley-Woodfin Native Prairie Grassland. Apparently this is the largest remaining native grassland left unmolested in Texas. It’s really pretty to see and I’m glad the owners chose to preserve it and not plow it up to plant a cash crop.
The next interesting thing I U-turned for was a huge collection of farm tractors, all nicely lined up and all having the same degree of advancing rust. Either that or the owner managed to locate the world’s largest supply of rust-colored paint and go at it with a vengeance.
As I was approaching the fence to get a better photo shot I noticed a bunch of goats lounging around under a tree. Naturally the moment I aimed my camera in their direction they decided it looked too much like a .270 and proceeded to stage left out of there. You ever try to coax goats? What do you say to them? “Nice goat?” “Pretty goat wanna cookie?”
INCOMING! We're outta here
After I used up all my goat gathering charm I returned to the highway and soon came to the outskirts of Paris where Campbell Soup has a huge operation. If I could collect a nickel for every cup of their tomato soup I’ve consumed I could probably retire all over. I stopped long enough for a photo of their monster sign and then realized no one in the entire world would ever look at it including me so that was the end of that. A camera with 4 gigs of memory in the hands of someone like myself is a dangerous tool indeed, people could die from overexposure to boring pictures.
The Oklahoma state line was just a short distance up the road and after crossing over I realized immediately their priorities do not focus on highway maintenance. It was a toss-up whether my butt or guts would fall off first.
With Broken Bow not too far off I decided when I got there to continue north on highway 259 towards Poteau. The highway is designated on the map as being a scenic route and showed lots of turns, just made for mad heat-crazed bikers. It turned out to be a good choice; the ride to Poteau through the Ouachita National Forest was nice although not overloaded with historic stuff to see.
I stopped to read about Smithville where on a single slab of marble the OK Historical Society people had recorded every event that had ever happened in that area from the beginning of recorded history.
After that it was onto the Three Sticks National Monument, another eye catching creation perched on top of a grassy man-made knoll. For what purpose I could not tell for certain and from the looks of the vandalism it seems the local kids are equally perplexed. Maybe it was getting late in the day or wait, maybe it was the heat and humidity? Yeah, that’s what it was, my swamp-cooler vest had dried out and I was getting delirious.
What exactly were they trying to say?
At least the view was excellent.
It was time to move along; locate a place to bed down and maybe have a basic meal. Garmin and company continued to direct me along to the county seat town of Poteau where they recommended the Days Inn for the first and the China Taste Super Buffet for the latter. Both great choices although after my visit to the all-you-can-eat Chinese place they may rethink their pricing structure, at least for old folks.
Now how much would you pay?
My room is pretty luxurious compared to the ones I’ve been frequenting of late, all the lights work and there’s even Kleenex in the bathroom. All pretty high on the hog as the locals might say. Indeed.
Yawn...and it's still daylight...zzzzzz