October 2, 2005

Start: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Woodward, Oklahoma
Miles: 214 miles
Route taken: Route 51 west to Highway 270 north, exit at Woodward.


        The road was not going to be kind to me today, I knew that before I even started up the motorcycle. It was going to be hot, windy and dusty and it was difficult to find any enthusiasm in riding.

        In addition it was Sunday, the traditional day of rest. If I was home I would be sitting on the beach, or at Harry’s Grill eating breakfast, plowing through the thick L.A. Times. I might end the day by laying on the couch watching football.

        So the trepidation was there and it was well past 11 a.m. before I got on Libertad. I got on the freeway to get out of town and pulled off two exits later to get some breakfast. I languished over the newspaper longer than I would and slowly sipped my diet coke.

        It was noon now and hotter than when I started. The motivation was not there, but stubborn will got me on the bike.

        After getting out of Tulsa the next large town was Stillwater and it would be the only highlight until I reached Woodward.

        Stillwater is a large town by Oklahoma standards and the home of Oklahoma State University. The town has a Midwestern feel to it and there are guys walking around in cowboy hats.

        I stopped and got some gas and was talking to someone about the university and she was saying that it was important to the community. The students that are here are all pretty good she said.

        The were no visible signs of any students when I drove through and I assumed they were all studying, though it was early afternoon on a Sunday so they might all have hangovers.

        I was about thirty miles outside of Stillwater and felt a pinch under my right arm. I thought it was a thorn that had gotten in my shirt and was jabbing at me.

        I rubbed it a bit and then the pinch was on my right side. I felt my side and felt the bump: WASP!

                                                    My unwelcomed passenger

        I pulled over as quickly as I could and jumped off the bike. I ripped off my denim vest and then untucked my t-shirt. The wasp fell to the crowd, still very much alive, but a bit disoriented. He moved around in circles on the ground, unable to fly and I sat on the side of the road watching him try and regain his equilibrium.

        My second brush with nature was much more enjoyable. I was riding and saw movement up ahead. At first I thought it was an armadillo, but as I got closer saw it was a box turtle. It was one of several I noticed, some of which were crushed on the side of the road.

It was getting late and I was still at least 100 miles outside of Woodward. The sun was starting to decline and I knew I had about three hours of daylight remaining.

        I got on the bike and jumped on the throttle. The only stops I would make would be for gas until I reached my destination.

        As I was rolling through the town of Seiling I pulled up to a stoplight and noticed a group of people protesting. They were dressed in church clothes and were holding signs in favoring of banning abortion.

        It was mostly women and young girls with the signs, most of which weaved God and anti-abortion statements. There was one person holding a sign that disturbed me. It was a young boy. He couldn’t have been more than 10 or 11 years old.

        He held the sign and waved at cars and yelled excitedly when someone would honk their car horn. For him it was an afternoon directed by his mother and he was just enjoying being outside.

That kid didn’t know what abortion was and if he did, there is a bigger issue.

Regardless of your opinion on this issue, one thing that should be agreeable to both sides is the shameless use of children to sway people to your point.

        The rest of the drive I thought about that child and how he probably won’t have a childhood. I hope that isn’t the case, but I feel like the innocence for him was gone long before he stood on the street corner.