It was Paul's birthday, and a cause for a celebration. We had an unusual plan… ride our bikes all day… what would anyone rather do for their 23rd birthday? A short cruise into Ashdown for breakfast would have us prepared to enter a new state. I got a stack of pancakes that could double for a seat cushion. I know I have mentioned the fluffiness before, but these topped all others. People really know how to flip some flapjacks down here.
We weren't feeling the southern hospitality at this particular diner, however. We were getting looks without the warm greetings and general interest we were so accustomed to. We would unfairly hold it against Arkansas for the remainder of the trip. Life's tough.
Right before we crossed the border we got off the bikes and took some pictures of the bales of hay that were massive and were everywhere. We figured when in Rome… Strolling into Tom, Oklahoma, we were a bit disappointed to not see a "Welcome to Oklahoma" sign.
When we stoppedat a gas station in town we heard the words I have been waiting to hear verbatim… "Ya'll ain't from around here, are ya?". How could she tell? She was a nice woman who pulled a map out of her glove compartment and gave it to us. Quite nice. Inside the store we spoke to the owners for a while. They told us about a group of people who set the Guinness record for traveling the fastest through each state in the continental U.S., ending in Tom Oklahoma of all places. The record setters ended up at their store. Cool.
Idabel was our next destination, it was the county seat so their would surely be something to eat. The entire downtown was littered with insurance, and computer stores. The very few food places had already closed at 2:00 on a weekday. Odd. As the next stop would be another 40 miles or so, we needed something. We went to a gas station and got 4 giant Snicker. The attendant there told us that there was a hotel with a diner in it down the road. However, it opened at 6:00 and it was only about 3:00. We had also only covered about 65 miles, and a stop there would be our shortest day yet.
After some deliberating, we decided to do it. After all, it was Paul's birthday, and he decided the thought of a real meal sounded good enough to wait for. They had a pool, and a bar, so the kid would be able to have a drink on his birthday. Nifty.
We went for a refreshing swim, and relaxed until dinner. Dinner wasn't bad, nothing to write home about… (but apparently something to write publicly about) but not bad. The bar was our next stop. The kid had to have at least one drink for his birthday celebration. Having never celebrated his birthday with Paul, I imagined this would be his most thrilling yet.
The bar was sort of a weird scene. There were a few locals there, a pretty unhappy looking bunch all of which were smoking. They smoke in bars I guess pretty much everywhere but Connecticut. Neither Paul or I are much fans for that, so it was a little off-putting. They did have a jukebox at the bar, and not surprisingly it was about 96% country. After scanning all of the songs we did come across one talented artist by the name of Curtis Jackson. Some of you may know him as 50 cent (he's sort of from my hometown… no big deal… I've been to his house). I don't recall the exact song, but I had double dared Paul (which is borderline irresistible) to put on the 50 cent song to see how it went over. I envisioned it ending up with us getting kicked out, but it would never come to fruition as Paul (and I) lacked the gaul.
After our one beer we decided we had had enough and went back to the motel to get some sleep. Well fed, and an easy day of riding we relaxed for a few and called it a night.
Life was good.