Actually, today’s ride was a little nostalgia, a major miracle, along with a whole lot of frustration. The nostalgia was seeing the old milk bottle atop the tiny triangular building (even has a Wikipedia entry). I seem to recall it once advertised for Townley’s dairy, that burned out husk I visited on one occasion. However, Braum’s Dairy Stores has their HQ just a few miles from this little piece of OKC history. On the left is some personal history; we lived in that house back around 1962. I burned down the garage out back the one time I played hooky from school. It’s a silly tale of two stupid boys playing with fire, quite literally, and it spread from burning little pieces of string to a full conflagration.
The miracle is that, as I rode north on Classen Boulevard and approached the street on which that house sits, I was forced to make a quick left turn across three lanes of traffic or wait quite a few minutes for the next break. I had planned to jump the low curb on the center meridian, but I hit it at the wrong angle. So my tire squibbed and rolled along the edge of the curb as I prepared to crash. At the last instant, it jumped the curb and I was suddenly on the grass as a car whizzed by. So instead of bashing to ground, I got a shock to my wrists from the sudden jolt. Whew! I was really not liking the idea of risking the camera in a fanny pack on my right hip.
I was hoping to get a few pictures of what was once Belle Isle Lake. This old aerial shot is from the east back in the 1930s, and someone took the time to add labels approximating current landmarks. Today the lake is mostly filled in and the massive power plant is gone. On the left is a shot of what’s left, behind a huge shopping plaza.
It struck me that since this lake is on the Deep Fork River course through northern OKC, maybe I could get a few shots of the river eastbound. Keep in mind that upstream is nothing but solid concrete culvert, all the way back up to its source. On the right here is the shot I took of the source back in February — that storm drain on the right. It runs for several miles through suburban and urban development before it hits the flood control basin that was once Belle Isle Lake. But just across the street from that remnant, it was all fenced in with another slender remnant of Belle Isle Lake, and totally occluded by thick trees. And for all my efforts wandering around parking lots and back streets, I could never get close enough to see anything natural.
At one point I road about a half-mile alongside some railroad tracks, and for all my effort I got a dismal shot of what was once Canyon Park (image left). All the freeway construction cut off the access, so the city Parks and Recreation Department don’t maintain it any more. But I kept riding and poking around a lot of dead ends and found myself atop a massive earth berm on what was once an exit ramp. Below is where Topping Park used to be, sort of a gateway to Canyon Park (image right), with the canyon in the background hidden in the trees. I suppose the only way I could have gotten to it at all was to ride on the freeway — not illegal, but risky due to heavy high-speed traffic.
Several times I caught glimpses of steep canyon walls over the next few miles east, but the view was always blocked by heavy foliage or fences. As you can imagine, I got quite a workout that way. I spotted this old garage converted into some other kind of business atop one of the many very high ridges I climbed on NW 50th. Eventually I worked my way back to the Katy Bike Trail and headed home.
I decided to stop taking the beta-blocker, so today was a test ride. The stuff was making me fatigued, dozing off several times daily, and I gained weight keeping the same diet that once lost me a few pounds. And then I find out it’s no longer recommended therapy for tachycardia, so when the prescription ran out, I just set aside the last few pills for emergencies. I found I was already stronger, consistently riding in a higher gear all the way today. I got within a couple of miles from home and finally had to stop to catch my breath, but I’m feeling a lot better.