Raindrops Keep Falling...
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Raindrops Keep Falling...
Today was almost too exciting….  We started the day in Clinton, Oklahoma, with the promise of thunderstorms all around us.  At our usual start time of 6:00 am, we loaded the bike.  The minute we had all our gear on the bike, the downpour began.  We quickly pulled everything off Harley, ate our free breakfast, and took a nap.
At 8:00 am, we tried again.  Running between the raindrops, we did some sightseeing along Route 66.  (We saw Lucille’s restored gas station, which is featured in many of the Route 66 guides.)  With the rain still holding off, we decided to make a run for Oklahoma City and beyond.  We did pretty well, too, encountering rain outside OKC (as the locals call it).
Harley performed amazingly, although he choked a bit when the water hit his engine.  We had to stop and find shelter several times to dry him off.  Despite a few missed exits, we were doing fine until we took the Interstate 44 exit toward Tulsa.  How were we supposed to know it was a 45-mile toll road with no exits and no shelter.  As soon as we entered this road of no return, the rain came down in earnest.  With visibility almost nil, no shoulder to speak of, and no overpasses to hide under – and having to run about 75 mph to keep out of the way of the big rigs – we were barely treading water….  Finally, at about mile 25, there was an exit for Wellston.  We took it, scrounged up quarters for the tollbooth, and began looking for shelter.
Driving through the tiny town of Wellston, the perfect shelter loomed ahead of us – a self-service car wash!  Who would be using it in the rain?  We drove in, shook the rain off our helmets, and dried Harley’s engine once more.  Now what?
There actually was someone in the next wash bay, a local rinsing mud off his truck.  We asked him if there was a motel nearby, and he informed us that Wellston was so small it had none.  He gave us directions to Chandler, eight miles away, where he said there was one motel and a diner.  We thanked him, and went on our way.  (On our way into town, we passed a vintage Phillips 66 station, which is being restored.)
The historic Lincoln Motel, which we found without too much trouble, was right on Route 66.  In a real estate ad, it would probably be described as “quaint” or “charming,” both of which would be true – but not the whole story.  This establishment has been here on the Mother Road since the days of the early “tourist camps,” and it hasn’t been updated since – except for the mini refrigerator and microwave.  
[Note – the motel office SAYS they have internet access, but it’s down today because of the weather.  We will post this tomorrow, I hope.]
We checked in, got hot showers, found dry clothes, and went to lunch at the Steer Inn Family Restaurant next door.  The waitress informed us how to find the local coin laundry, and we packed up our soaked clothes and headed out.  After a few false starts and more friendly directions, we found the place (pawn shop, gun store, and laundry combined) and spent half an hour drying our wardrobe.
Tomorrow is another day, and I hope we can make more than 20 miles between the raindrops!