Cycling: River-Grand Loop

01BricktnCanalNo mud today! I’m trying to get used to riding longer distances on pavement again; as previously noted, Jeanette does things different from the Edgewood. Today’s route was the River Trail (north bank) to Grand Boulevard Trail. That meant heading west on NE 4th to Bricktown. Our first shot is the southern end of the Bricktown Canal.Canal-RiverDrop It’s totally artificial, and quite some ways above the level of the river. Where to two come close, it’s quite a drop from the canal dock to the boat dock. This second shot was my attempt to show the switchback sidewalk between them. (Jeanette will get her kickstand next week.)

02LandRunMemThis multi-piece life-sized bronze memorial to the Land Run looks like it runs across the canal. I’ve noticed you’ll never see monuments to the Land Run alongside any monuments to the Native Americans whose land was stolen to make the Land Run possible. US history is shot through with treaties between the federal government and various tribes, all of which were promptly broken (by the US government) in various ways. We owe them, but you’ll never get anyone to take that seriously.

03RockClimbGymOn a lighter note, this old grain elevator was converted to a rock-climbing gym. Most of the action is inside, but you can just make out a couple of climbing tracks running up the outside of the structure. All of these first few photos were fairly close together.04RiverTrailBTwnEntr I made a game of rolling down the switchback, then cruised under the Interstate, a rather long and very dark passage out to the Chesapeake Boathouse dock area. The image on the left here is looking back toward that tunnel from the bridge over that artificial cove where the riverboat rides dock and the bike trail ends.

05FrmrRailBridgeAll along the River Trail I greeted the trees close to the path. It’s pretty curvy and hilly for a ways until you get past Walker Avenue heading westbound. I decided to take a quick look at this former rail bridge. While there’s evidence of motor vehicle traffic, I’ve read somewhere the Parks Department plans to turn it into a bike bridge, but not before they do a ton of expensive refurbishing.06OldHouses The ride was largely uneventful until I remembered that I wanted to get a look at the vestigial rump of a very old neighborhood left standing between the river and the rerouted I-35 near May Avenue. I pasted these two shots together. In previous decades these houses were part of a community that flooded way too often before the authorities raised low dikes along the banks of the river.

07WaterTruckAs I was working my way back down to the river trail, I came too close to a pair of Canadian geese with their goslings. The gander flew up at me, but I pushed against his breast and he nearly flopped on the ground, deciding it was better to flee than try again. Just a short time later I spotted this paddle-wheeler heading downriver, likely from the work they had been doing upriver at the Meridian Avenue bridge. He was still not quite as far down as Dell Campus; by the time I got to the end of the north bank trail and crossed the bridge, I had time to come back and catch up with him from behind on the south bank trail before I turned off to head south. That rig works the same as a truck, with a flat bottom and dirt scraper on the front.

08ParkwaySo the connecting route from Dell runs about a mile south and up hill to a park and that steep, humpy bridge over I-44. That drops down into another park and the start of the Grand Boulevard Trail. This next shot shows the original meaning of “parkway” — a green strip down the middle with one-way streets on either side. This is what the southern loop of Grand Boulevard looks like for several miles, running right where SW/SE 36th would be.

09Townley1I was all the way around to the end of the Grand Boulevard Trail when I remembered that it ends right near the old Townley Dairy. At one time, this area was all dairy farm. I can recall even into my adulthood that I could call and get Townley to deliver to my residence twice weekly.10Townley2 But the big conglomerate Farm Fresh wanted this market, so they bought out Townley, then fired the owner, Guy Townley, and closed the place down sometime around 1993. On the other hand, Guy was third generation and had been accused of running the place into the ground already. Someone has been using it for parking and storage, but a couple of arson fires and at least one tornado have made a mess of the building.11Townley3 The place is huge and I rode around to get different angles. Still, the place is up for sale and includes about six acres of pasture. You can learn more about it on the Abandoned OK site.

12TownleyHouseJust a little ways down toward Reno on the same street is what I have been told is the old Townley home. Other business have moved into the facilities on this end of the street. The old dairy plant was hardly the whole operation; it was spread for a couple of blocks. There was also a bunch of crackerbox houses for employees lined up along this and another street parallel, one named Townley and other Eckroat. Eckroat’s name has been moved over to a turf seed company, but they used to do animal feed and related stuff. They still have a ranch that I pass often when riding north on Midwest Boulevard; the ranch at Britton Road sells the one-ton hay rolls.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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