I am on the verge of throwing my bike away and just walking to Chicago. It broke again. I replaced another wheel. This new wheel has double-walled rims and some other stuff that should make it more durable. The guy at the bike shop said a bunch of stuff I didn’t understand so I just smiled and nodded my head. It’s really not that important nor interesting. The ride to Norman isn’t important but at the very least it was interesting.
We were picked up by what I imagine is the state of Oklahoma’s only Wicca. We don’t have a lot of Wicca in Arizona, but I read the Prisoner of Azkaban around eight times so I felt like I had a pretty strong grasp about what this witch was all about. She said she didn’t perform any curses or spells (of course we asked). Instead, she mostly just worshipped the elements through various Wicca rituals. I am sure you can imagine our disappointment in being picked up by a witch who doesn’t put curses on people, doesn’t cast spells and wasn’t cruising around on a Nimbus 2000. Witches prefer Ford F-150s apparently.
We got my bike repaired and checked out the University of Oklahoma’s campus after we got into Norman. Max received a great deal of strange looks because of the tank top he was sporting. They like their sleeves here in Norman. If you aren’t wearing a collared shirt, khaki shorts and Sperry’s then you stand out. They have a whole different breed of bro here, to say the least.
After cruising around, we stopped off at a local bar to grab a beer and mingle with the Okies. We weren’t very impressed with our beers which tasted watered down. We soon found out from a man who was sitting nearby that this was because of the 3-2 law in Oklahoma. Essentially, you can’t brew beer that is above 3.2 % ABV (because of the Bible Belt people according to the most interesting man in the world), hence the watery taste. Your chances of being picked up by a witch in Oklahoma are higher than finding a good beer in this state. These are the important things that we learn on a day to day basis.
Yesterday was pretty interesting. We left Norman in the morning and thanked the couple that let us stay with them. They were great people who fed us and also passed our story along to the editor of the Norman paper. We spoke to one of the writers who wrote up a story and now we are the equivalent to Bob Stoops as far as fame goes here in Oklahoma. We headed towards Oklahoma City to check out the national memorial (and also tried to see if Kevin Durant wanted to hang out with us). If you are ever in Oklahoma City, go see it. It is very well done. I remembered I had fireworks in my backpack when we were about halfway through the museum. I don’t know how security would have felt about that had they found out…but they didn’t.
Let me preface the next couple of paragraphs by saying that I never claimed I was intelligent. We are trying to make it to Fayetteville by Saturday. The Razorbacks play Texas A&M at home then. Max and I went to ASU and have regrettably never experienced a strong football culture. In order to get to Fayetteville however, we have to cover a certain amount of miles each day. Because we spent a good amount of time at the memorial, we got a late start. We realized we might not be able to make it to our destination in time so we had some decisions to make. Either we stop and risk not making it to Fayetteville or we ride in the dark to Chandler, Oklahoma so we can cover the amount of miles needed. Johnny Football caused us to pick the latter.
I got my first bike when I was around six. It was Christmas Day, the bike was red, had training wheels and had the pad wrapped around the top bar in case I fell off the seat and landed on it. On the stem, in very clear letters, was a warning that said, “DO NOT RIDE BICYCLE AT NIGHT.” Every bicycle I have ever owned since that one has had that warning or some variation of it. Despite the considerable amount of exposure I have had to the message, I have a history of ignoring the warning. This has led to me being pulled over in only my boxers at three in the morning because I had no light on my bike and various adventures in which my friends and I rode our bikes to Mill Avenue. No need to wonder why I was never able to pick up girls at the bars (as if they would be thrilled at the idea of jumping on my handlebars so I could bike them back to my place). The point is, I have had my fair share of experience riding a bicycle at night.
Even with my experience, I was scared as hell last night. We were on Route 66 which is a two-lane highway with no shoulder. We had lights, reflectors and blinkers yet, every time I heard a car coming my thoughts went something like this: please don’t run me over, please don’t run me over, please don’t run me over, please don’t run me over…Whew, survived another one! We passed a casino on our ride at which point Max and I thought, “Great. Drunk people driving on the roads where we are riding in the dark.” Sure enough, a man soon stopped and yelled at us from the opposite side of the road (in a car driving drunk) asking us to stop. We kept going until we realized he was turning around in his car to come speak with us. In his drunken stupor he managed to successfully perform a 17-point turn in order to switch directions. He pulled up beside us to flamboyantly ask if we wanted a ride and if we wanted to stay at his place in Stroud. We kindly declined and he thankfully drove off. Had we taken the man up on his offer, I have no doubt that he would be wearing Max and I’s skin right now dancing like Buffalo Bill.
Our next Okie encounter occurred at a gas station where we stopped for a break. The best way to describe this man is as a right-wing extremist. The kind of person who would stockpile guns in his basement then lead a militia against Obama for taking away his freedom. He asked us what we were doing and was quick to ask why we were going to Chicago since it is a “wicked city where they worship that criminal Al Capone.” We didn’t really get a chance to counter his statement as he started going off on a rant about how if you take away guns from the good guys then only the bad guys will have guns. So when they murder your family, it is your fault for not being able to protect them. After trying multiple times to leave the conversation and get back on the road we finally began to roll our bikes away when he asked, “You boys vote for Oh-bama?” We told him the truth as Max voted for Jill Stein and I voted for Gary Johnson (I think this confused him because I doubt this man knew what a third-party-candidate was). This was acceptable to him as he said, “Alright then you boys can leave here alive. I’ll check the papers the next couple of days to see if you got ran over or not, HOHOHOHOHO!”
We made it to Chandler, Oklahoma around 10 PM. Went to McDonalds to consume around 3,000 calories each then passed out. I feel like we escaped death too many times last night so I can only expect that some Final Destination-like events are soon to come our way. We are still alive for now though. To Tulsa we go.
“If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911 then push hard and fast on the center of their chest.”
- The American Heart Association Science Advisory Committee