I know this post is a little behind the times, as I left Tulsa 7 days ago, so, thanks for your patience. I really enjoyed my brief visit there-it was the most fun I’ve actually had all trip. And that’s hard to put up against New Orleans. Of course, New Orleans is a seductive, warm town where the music and conversation flow easily. But, it was a very solemn time. I did a lot of exploring and visiting organizations that opened my eyes to Katrina’s devastation. In Tulsa, I unwound, had some fun and was treated really properly by my hosts.
I arrived into Tulsa a bit wind fatigued. The summer winds blow South in the Plains and that particular day where gusting around 20 mph. I was heavily blown while heading West on US-64 and leaning most of my body weight to the left of the bike.
As of the day I decided to make this trip, the longest distance I had scooted was 30 miles. I started “training,” by riding my Metropolitan to Richmond, about 60 miles each way. I did that trip 3 times, once driving my Buddy back. As far as traveling, in general, I am a road veteran! I have been cross country seven times, by cage, so I know the “road rules.” However, I am learning about scooting now and all the variables involved. The odometer reads 4,600-and I’ve come through most elements. Needless to say, my fear of lightening has almost dissipated. Nothing confronts that fear like being stuck in the Plains during a massive mid afternoon storm. No where to run baby, just keep on scooting. Just drop the speed a bit until something unfamiliar becomes familiar.
The wind was frightening at first, but I adjusted-literally, I moved some stuff around to make the bike handle better. I am a little girl on a mainly plastic bike, so wind factors in heavily to my overall speed. The thing is, this is the course that made the most sense- Gusts or No Gusts- I scoot on. If you are coming these routes by scooter, I do suggest making adjustments in your planning. Winds can blow through the Plains at 80 mph sometimes. Get that wind at your back to conserve gas and energy!
Since fatigue had tapped my reserves, I took a few minutes to recollect before contacting the Tulsa Scooter family-David, Carol, Sacha and Peter. After consuming some granola and espresso, and rapping with a local barista, ( who donated $10) I put in the call. David Wycoff, the father of the family, scooted out to my location to bring me into town. I thought that was a classy, polite move and so was everything else that followed.
Cold showers are quintessential for survival in the hot weather, so after a shower revival and quick tasty dinner we all donned our helmets and went scooting around Tulsa. The Wycoffs’ own and run Tulsa Scooters. Awhile back, David revived scooter interest in town and steadily the shop built up quite a community. We swung by the local indie theater in town, which was showing Twin Peaks episodes (how cool is that?) to pick up Sacha. That evening the five of us took a nice tour of Tulsa. The air was still heavy and warm, but it was enjoyable to set aside the heavy gear and see the town all lit up. Even though I didn’t get many photos, I was able to plot some rides for the next day. We cruised to through many neighborhoods, over to the “Center of The Universe,” and Cains-a famous music venue. Later, after David and his wife headed home, me, Peter and Sacha hit her favorite watering hole in town-the Cellar Dweller. While I felt just barely alive, it was great to sit in the hip little basement bar and enjoy the banter of others. Sacha left to take care of her two beautiful children and Peter eventually led me back over to his parents house where I would sleep the next two nights. Thankfully they offered up their house as a B&B-especially great since the PGA was in town and room prices were probably ridiculous-and without the character this one had. The house was tucked away in a great neighborhood where everyone had green lawns and pretty flowers.
After a great rest and morning chat with Carol, I headed over to the shop for Audrey’s check-up. I spent the next three hours at Tulsa Scooters marveling over their collection of Scoot magazines, bike displays, and family rapport. Sacha’s two girls were also around, so the shop had loud laid back family feel, much needed after a few solitary weeks on the bike. I really appreciate their willingness to help me out with anything the bike needed, and for throwing in some cool memorabilia to boot. The mechanics, Ray and Brad, treated Audrey to an oil change, sparkle shine cleaning and they spliced the wiring to make my “dummy,” turn signals work-now I am much more visible on the road.
The architecture in Tulsa had really caught my eye and so I cruised aimlessly about after having the bike fixed up. Tulsa has a centennial time capsule, which I LOVE, so I enthusiastically went over to inspect its contents. Disappointingly, they included a car-and a Plymouth at that. When its opened in 2050, it will be interesting to see the technology comparison. Earlier that day, Carol had spoken to me about mediation, and I reminded myself how nice it is to just sit peacefully. So, there, in Centennial Park, in some sparse shade, I meditated. There was a farmers market happening on the outskirts of the park and some families strolling about the fountains-it all made for a relaxing hour. It was something I needed desperately, to leave the scooter and laptop aside and force myself to just be still.
Carrying on with my exploring I wound up sneaking into a graveyard for a photo opportunity. I rolled under the gate to snap the picture of a white skyscraper in the distance, framing the tombstones. Tulsa was a photogenic city, very Art Deco from the big oil money in the 20’s. It was also very clean and even the new developments had good construction-I saw few condos or vinyl siding when I was there. The business district was worth some shots too. Its apparent that Tulsa is an affluent city, but many people were very friendly and there was lot of culture. It’s also an oasis for coffee snobs like myself. Almost every shop I went to had a Marzocco espresso machine and quality, locally roasted beans. They also rocked the rosettas and latte design-a first in my time on the road. I dropped off some postcards and chatted with the barista at the Coffeehouse on Cherry Street. Overall, this would be my favorite shop-brew strong and savory, ambience perfect and staff friendly.
What next? An early evening ride with local scooters.
About 12 people were at the shop when I returned. So far, that evenings ride was the largest formation I’ve ridden in. Really exciting on that note, and there were lots of good looking bikes, good attitudes. and very good scenery.
After riding for an hour we stopped for dinner and David was very generous to treat me to a tasty Boca Burger. The remaining ten of us chatted for awhile and then Peter,Emily and myself headed over to McNellies Irish Pub-one of Peter’s favorite places. The pub offered 70+beers on tap and variety of 100+bottles-as well as good ambiance. There’s a game room in the back with foozball, pool and darts. A really talented band of various local musicians was jamming-all for no cover charge. The talk was flowing between the three of us and it was nice to get to know Emily and Peter a little better. I’m really glad he suggested McNellies.
That being a pretty complete day, they dropped me off and I packed up the gear for an early Friday morning start. Well, at least I tried.
By 9am I was up and ready for coffee with David. Him and Carol thought I needed to try out the Doubleshot Coffee shop. Which, indeed, had high test coffee. The owner/barista was offended by my request for 2 shots of espresso in a cup of coffee. He refused. I found this amusing-I don’t mind coffee snobs. David is a very interesting man to listen to-I wish there had been more time to hear his stories. After caffenation we cruised to the shop for goodbyes.
Right down the street from Tulsa Scooters was a little head shop that sold stickers. I picked up a couple to remember Tulsa and interviewed the store manager. She offered me a nice Peace pin and some beautiful green adventurine stones for the journey. I loved that the place was called OZ- appropriate for my jaunt up to Kansas. Chelle was another of many kind Tulsans. She was actually the only interview I did the whole time. There were a lot of post cards given out-so hopefully people will write there comments on the Wall of Beliefs. But the Tulsans gave me what I needed most right then-laughter, company, lounging and music.What’s Peace without those things? Many thanks to you all!