We drove past the “Road Closed” sign for our first ascent of the day, knowing there isn’t much that can stop us from getting through. As I climbed the bumpy hill I felt a pop behind my left leg and the unweildy bike came to a halt. I knew instantly my chain had popped off. We noticed it stretching and adjusted it the day before to tighten the slack, but it was no match for the rocky terrain.

I hopped off the bike in the hot sun and de-geared. I was already on the ground when Han came back, noticing I wasn’t behind him anymore. He got the tools out of his bag and joined me. As I muscled the chain back on to the sprockets and made sure the slack was even, he loosened the rear axel nut and we had it back in position and were ready to go.

We noticed the bumpiness also shook my rack free from its clamp but as we were fussing with it we heard a truck driving up the closed road so we hopped on our bikes and raced up the hill to avoid a ticket and sighed relief when we passed the back of the second road closed sign. We laughed at the exhileration from our minor rebellion.

An interesting start to a day full of amazing riding. We made it to the Oklahoma border and were awe struck by the beauty as we clocked the miles. White sandy gravel, separated by green grass medians, made for fast, comfortable riding, which gave us the opportunity to really take in the scenery. The trees on the roadside created a canopy and I was lost in the serenity of it. I got a familiar feeling as we rode, like I had read its description, or saw it in a childhood movie. The beauty was unexpected and the river that followed us made it perfect.

It was one of my favorite days. Eastern Oklahoma felt so magical, lost in the forest on the charming lanes. I had perpetual de ja vu as we meandered to Tahlequah, the way you feel when you drive through your hometown after being gone for a while. A familiar feeling full of memories, except I had no memories to recall, until now.



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