Has anyone here ridden across Oklahoma from Boise City to Fort Smith, Arkansas?
I started daydreaming this morning while riding and pondered this ride (Actually from Branson, Colorado to Russellville, Arkansas) next spring. I would guess the route might go east on U.S. 160 to Springfield, then south on U.S. 287 to Boise City, then east to Woodward, southeast to Seiling then east to Stillwater or south a bit farther and go to Guthrie, then work across to south of Tulsa and toward Muskogee, then Fort Smith. I would then stay south of I-40 on something like Arkansas 22 to Russellville and then terminate the ride at Petit Jean State Park.
Any advice as far as finding the best route? I know from my house to Stillwater or Guthrie, I would have very little traffic to deal with except for the stretch from Springfield to Boise City. East of Stillwater traffic picks up, but with good route selection, might be able to lessen the impact. I also know I would have a 4000 foot elevation drop from my house to Woodward, then it would flatten out a bit more.
Pondering this trip in late March, early April (spring break) so I know it could be a windy ride (hopefully mostly tailwinds across the Panhandle.
I am starting to do the research on racks and panniers and camping gear. Any advice on good resources for that?
I've biked across northern Oklahoma - very nice. GREAT tailwinds!
As you get into central Okla you have more population to deal with and more traffic.
#1 - Diagonal roads are VERY rare on the Great Plains and usually have lots of traffic.
#2. - US 287 is very busy with lots of trucks
#3. - Okla 3 gets busy fast as you head east.
#4. - The stretch in northeast Okla is problematic - Tulsa/Muskogee,
PLUS all the reservoirs which concentrate traffic.
For some reason people seem to stay in-state more than crossing borders.
Thus, roads right on the border in many states have low traffic.
US 160/US 166 has very low traffic across southern Kansas.
US 64/Okla 11 has a bit more, but is still fine.
If you stayed further north you could cut down thru Fayetteville and come out of the Ozarks either at Ozone or Moccasin.
Have you considered NM 456 to Black Mesa, OK?
80% paved, the rest very hard packed when I rode it. Sweet!
J - thanks for the insight. I had considered riding down the Dry Cimmaron - NM 456 to Kenton and Boise City. The 16 miles of gravel sort of put me off of riding a skinny but it is almost all downhill. I live only about 9 miles of that route.
I hadn't thought of staying on 160 across KS and then dropping down somewhere east of Branson, MS and into Arkansas then down to around Eureka Springs, Mountain Home and down to Russellville or Morrilton.
BTW - I mentioned the idea to my wife and she looked sorta like this ----->
A freind and I road From Boulder Co. To Austin Tx a couple of years ago,287 is busy but it has fat,wide sholders (12 foot with rumble strips) all the way from Denver to Ft Worth. there is about 4 foot of pavement from the rumble strip to the edge,we had no problem at all
Bosie City has a nice Bike Freindly Truck stop right in town,Hot showers,let us sleep in the T.V. room as it was raining,Good People!!
I have never gone past Supulpa but I can give advice on Stillwater to Supulpa. Which I think is close to 80 miles so that might be a full day right there.
But I would leave Stillwater on 51. The first 5 miles you are on a two lane road with a small shoulder but after that it opens up and you have a huge shoulder to ride on. Its very safe with gas stations every 10 miles or so. Its scenary is OK, there are plenty of hills to keep you working.
Going through Yale is a nice little break for small town liv'n. I think its about 20 miles past yale and you can go South on 99. It goes through Oiltown which is really small. Its another nice little break with friendly people. When I get to Oiltown I usually take side roads all the way to supulpa. It is harder riding but the scenary is better. There is close to no traffic but you have to be able to go atleast 5 miles on dirt roads. If you googlemap it you can pick out a route. Anybody in that area is more than happy to help you.
Ofcourse going through guthrie you would get to go through drummwright, which would be ok. You really cant go wrong in this part of the state. People are more than helpfull, make sure to tell them how far you are riding because they will be amazingly impressed!
For route finding in Oklahoma, I sugest two things. First is TopoUSA software from Delorme. TopoUSA will do road routing based on your criteria so you can create routes that avoid high traffic roads. TopoUSA also as topographic data so it will calculate your elevation profile and you can see where the big climbs are and possibly route around them if you like.
Second is the map book, "The Roads of Oklahoma". I use the Texas version of this book and it's invaluable for determining which county roads are paved and which are not.
With these two products, you should be able to create a good route anywhere in Oklahoma without having to take highways everywhere.