Almost mid-December and the temperature is unseasonably warm today at around 63°F (17C) so I couldn’t resist taking one of my long rides. Oddly, our new location makes it actually longer getting to Draper Lake. The approach used to be 7 miles (11.2 km) but now it’s 9 (14.4 km). And these days that one hilliest section of Draper Lake Drive is also badly chewed up and rough, so I skipped it today.
The first image above is the new bike path extension along Sooner Road. This portion runs from I-40 (Tinker Diagonal section) down to SE 29th. As you can see, it’s hardly finished as I’m standing on the dirt between the end of the path and the street. Far in the background you can just make out the interstate highway crossing over Sooner Road. This is looking north; Sooner Road is on the right and a huge open field is on the left. That has been a hay field since I can remember, way back in the 1970s when Sooner Road was just two lanes wide. Once I got across SE 29th, of course, I was on the one of the oldest sections of the county’s bike trails network where it parallels the west side of Tinker AFB. As with previous rides along here, it was just a straight shot down to SE 59th, east to Air Depot Boulevard and south to a much newer bike trail running along I-240 to Draper Lake Drive.
Heading counter-clockwise around the lake today, I stopped to check on the construction project down on the SW corner of the lake near the dam. I encountered only one other cyclist who overtook me on the dam. We chattered a bit, and then he pulled away on his fancy racing bike. I stayed on the main route heading north where it merges with Post Road, avoiding the trashed out section so I could go home a different way.
Despite the warmth, you would expect everything to be dried and brown. So it was. Compare this shot (on the left) of the giant Black-eyed Susans along Post Road I took back in August. This is the same spot today. They’ll be back.
A little farther north, just passed SE 59th stands this ancient store-front building (below right). It was once a predecessor to today’s convenience stores. For some period of time between the construction of Draper Lake and sometime in the 1980s the store closed and now the whole thing sits abandoned. There are a couple of ancient mobile homes on the same property, off-camera to the left. The old porch was once all glassed in, but about half of the windows are broken out. The porch is crowded with broken down store fixtures: freezers, display cases, etc.
I stayed on Post Road all the way back up to Reno Avenue, then turned and headed back west toward home. At the Midwest City Library, I stopped to eat my packed lunch. Sitting on the curb across the parking lot farthest from the library, the central Midwest City fire station was at my back. They have a mock facility for smoke training, several stories tall. As I ate, one of Tinker’s AWACS craft came in for a landing. The image isn’t that good, in part because, at this point, the thing was crossing the field of view very quickly. I used to live in an apartment building just a hundred yards east of where I sat, and it’s just over a mile north off the end of the runway. With a busy flight path, you can imagine what it was like with frequent thundering and turbine screaming. The annual Tinker airshow was actually painful with the fighter jets practicing at low altitude.
It was just another 1.5 miles home to our current apartment, blissfully quiet by comparison.