While the temperatures are still unseasonably warm, heading out in a headwind at 40°F (4C) was a bit frosty. It’s an old Army thing to wear what you’ll wish you had on later when the temperatures peak against your activities. I miscalculated to the warm side, but it was still a bit rough starting off. Today I headed north on Air Depot Boulevard. I didn’t want to face the heavy traffic on NE 23rd, but Air Depot doesn’t go north of that because of Mount Trashmore, so I headed west on NE 10th. That meant dropping down a bit into the river bottom as I approached Sooner Road. Off to my right a train was just starting to move a bit on the track that crosses almost at the intersection, and is notorious for blocking traffic. I got across the tracks with time to spare, but it would catch me later.
So it was still a cool ride northward on Sooner, through the zigzag over the North Canadian River, and up the bank on the far side. The peak of this climb up Sooner Road is just beyond NE 50th. It’s also the point that divides two watersheds: the North Canadian and the Deep Fork. Knowing this helps you orient on what the expect from the terrain. Why do different watersheds have such differences? Because the differences were there first, and that’s what caused the water courses to diverge in the first place. In this case, it meant no more wide flat valleys, but some nice brutal hills. So after the divide was a fast run down into a creek valley and a brutal climb up to NE 63rd.
Turning left on 63rd took me through more brutal hills. Atop one of them is this aging structure, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. Nice native stonework on the outside, this is actually an expansion on the original little wooden church house that’s been there quite some years. The plaque here on the left tells you some of the history. It also tells you about something many Baptists consider a serious idolatrous compromise. You have to understand Baptist politics and history, but if you don’t grasp that Freemasons are first and foremost about political influence, you really need to pay attention to something besides propaganda. Millennials and those younger will likely not grasp why this is such a big deal, but I’ll tell you a lot of Baptists would see that and turn to leave immediately for fear God would strike them dead — or something like that.
Just a little farther was something less controversial, I hope. On your right, this was once a really lovely house. Looks like a tree fell on the back half, but I’m pretty sure that was long after it was abandoned. This is on the north side of the street and I am standing on the bank of the Deep Fork itself, a very steep and fast ride downhill. The river is pretty trashed up at this point, as the area has seen human activity from early statehood times. Just over the river is the flagship Braum’s Dairy Store and main offices on the left, and on the right is a large construction firm that obscures the once-famous Expressway Airpark.
Under I-35 and up a hill that has dramatically changed recently — the county plunked a massive hideous “campus” of welfare offices there — I prepared to cut back under the NE Expressway at ML King Boulevard. Yeah, Remington Park off to the left on the other side of the Deep Fork and some other landmarks around this hilly area with lots of bluffs. Drivers were decent with me as I negotiated the multiple turn lanes to get back on NW 63rd. This used to be such a lovely natural area when I was a lot younger. Grand Boulevard was my next goal, which means running down behind the bluff and under NE Expressway again. To emphasize my point about spoiling nature, I stopped on the other side of the highway, climbed up to the guardrail and took this shot of the backside of the Cowboy Hall of Fame. This is the western edge of what becomes a steep bluff, and what you see here is mostly native.
Worse, the Cowboy Hall of Fame is not worth your time. It wasn’t too bad up through the turn of the Millennium, but operational control changed hands and the same corruption that characterizes everything else around here took over. It’s not half so interesting as it was before, yet the entry fee is astronomical. I’m sure every state and state capital has their own special flavor of corruption, but there was a time you could still find some good stuff around the state, even here in OKC. Those days are gone. The political leadership envies the really famous places and locals are the last people considered. Most of the people who live within walking distance of these attractions can’t afford to get in the door.
Anyway, this put me at the head of the Katy Trail, about which I’ve written enough already. However, today I stopped and was able to capture the spillway from the lake that snuggles up against our OKC Zoo and Science Museum (no longer really worth it, either). If you view this odd-shaped spillway straight on, it’s visually disturbing. A couple of previous attempts at photography were just too weird, but this time I believe I got it. That’s zoo stuff in the background.
I made a fast ride in the light traffic conditions and cut back east on NE 4th toward home. Remember that train? The cars had been pushed downtrack toward the city past a switch, then pulled back up the other track crossing Sooner Road where the auto dealers’ railhead stands east side in a former hay field. As I whizzed along NE 4th, I just missed passing in front as the engines reversed. The thing was just barely moving in this picture where I turn right to cross the tracks. I was left to watch for some 5-10 minutes right near the future proposed Midwest City rail terminal. It was short ride after that back east on Reno to the apartment.
Yep, I was now wearing just a bit much as the thermometer hovered around 48#176;F (9C).