After the previous day’s timing debacle, we were on duty for a 7.30am departure. So, in a chilly hotel carpark (sorry, parking lot!), there we were, ready for the off. Tom Browne (my roommate) and I decided after discussion that we wouldn’t rob a towel from the hotel room to dry our bikes – we’d make do instead with the one that Sean Tynan, a teammate, had robbed the previous morning!

Sean polishing his bike - with THAT towel!

Sean polishing his bike - with THAT towel!

Our run of 340 miles took us first through more grain country, with farms big enough to have their own rail spur! A great harvest this year, according to locals we met in a gas station – so good that apparently much of it will be left to spoil in the fields to protect prices.

The cold quickly gave way to heat – off with the windstopper and silk inner gloves, and open some of the vents – and on with the sunscreen. We’re lucky Nivea sponsors all the bikers with sunscreen – we’re using so much already and we haven’t yet got to the really hot parts.

Great roads today – long stretches of Route 66 cutting through flat countryside – a 27-mile straight stretch once!

From Missouri farmland across the state line into Kansas, for a dog-leg 20 miles or so. Not the Kansas of popular legend, a lush and fruitful land, but impoverished and abandoned mining towns instead. In Galena, where we stopped to have our photos taken sitting on a bike (Sean’s, as it happens), we met Melba, who, with her three female partners, had started 4 Women on Route 66, a gas station cum general store, with plans for a flea market and other attractions across the road. We wished her well and set off for Oklahoma.

On Route 66 in Kansas

On Route 66 in Kansas

4 Women on Route 66, Galena TX - the photographer is Paul Redmond

4 Women on Route 66, Galena KS - the photographer is Paul Redmond

Once prairie, that fact is still evident in the state – broad, gently rolling countryside, grassed and wooded – you can almost see the buffalo moving across the plain. Great road on Route 66, because it is here that the idea for Route 66 began, with the aim of bringing the bourgeoning tourist traffic to Oklahoma. So, although Route 66 begins in Chicago, it’s heart is in Oklahoma.

Mindful of the previous day, we made good time and had covered 200 miles by 2pm – so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the restaurant attached to the Harley-Davidson shop in Tulsa.

(from left) Declan (back), Gerry (middle), Sean (front), Nobby, myself and tom
Lunch at the 5 & Diner, Tulsa OK: (from left) Declan (back), Gerry (middle), Sean (front), Nobby, myself and Tom

Great meal, lots of photos from obliging waitresses, some shopping but more mooching – and now it was 4pm with still 120+ miles to go. This time, we stuck to Route 66 proper, since the roads were so good but we still found ourselves killing time over coffee about 40 miles out of Oklahoma City at 6pm, waiting for the sun to set sufficiently to allow us to ride in without being blinded.

Waiting for the sun to go down, outside Oklahoma City, with some of the support team

Waiting for the sun to go down, outside Oklahoma City, with some of the support team

Good intentions, but due to roadworks that upset road captain Gerry Barry’s GPS navigation, it was gone 8pm before we found our hotel.

Absolutely bushed, a quick meal – not even bothering to shower – and to bed (or, in my case, to blog).
Tomorow’s another (300 mile) day – to Amarillo, Texas, singing all way!!

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