Tour de Trees, which is held at Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma, is usually the last organized ride of the year, the last of the really great weather and the last hurrah before mounting the bike on the trainer. In past years it has been marked by fantastic fall weather, beautiful fall foliage and superb riding conditions on bucolic roads with almost no traffic. Like the Spring Fling Thing, this is a very laid back ride with no registration forms, no ride fees, no T-shirts, no escorts, no planned rest stops, no sag wagons and no official ride leader. You simply pick up your map and find a group that rides at a speed comfortable for you and enjoy the beautiful foliage. This ride is open to anyone who wishes to join, not just OBS members. We do promise that if you have a problem so serious that you cannot work your own way out of the situation, someone will come after you. The announced starting time for Saturday is a fairly late 9:00AM to give people time to drive there on the day of the ride. If you arrive after the main bunch has left, maps will be stashed in some conspicuous location and unless you are several hours late, you will probably catch up with slower riders along the way. More than half the route uses rural roads with only local traffic. The more traveled roads, Highway 9 and 69, both have wide shoulders. Sunday’s start time is usually a bit earlier since all participants are already in camp. The time will be announced during the Saturday night pot luck.
The “official” starting point both days is the Dogwood Campground. The Saturday route is a 66-mile ride around the lake with a 55- mile shortcut for those who want to shorten the distance a bit. Since about 2010, another route that goes to Checotah and back (42 mi–not the same as the Sunday route) has been developed and there are usually quite a few riders who take that option. Other than that, it’s an out to someplace and return. The only ways across Lake Eufaula are the bridge on Highway 69 and the dam. Fortunately, there is seemingly no end to the number of parks, service stations, bars, restaurants and convenience stores along the route. It’s claimed that the only reason why some people bring a bicycle is to ride from one place to eat to the next. There are huge cinnamon rolls at Porum Landing, Italian food just south of the dam, fast food (burgers, etc.) at Enterprise, catfish at Highway 9 Landing and ice cream at Braum’s in Eufaula, just to name a few.
The location of the Saturday night potluck/picnic/cookout thing is in the Dogwood Campground. It has both RV and tent camping and showers. You can bring your own individual food or simply something to go on the table and be shared. Many bring a dish from home, while others pick up something in Eufaula. There has always been more food than needed and no one is ever turned away simply because they failed to bring something. Don’t forget to bring something to dish up your food and bring your own plates and eating utensils.
The Sunday morning breakfast ride will most likely go to whatever restaurant we can find open in Checota. Of late, there has been quite a turnover in restaurants and changes in who does and doesn’t serve Sunday breakfast. Round-trip distance is about 27 miles.
While this rides happens only once a year, Lake Eufaula is an ideal place to spend a weekend, no matter what time of year. Between Memorial and Labor Days, the area will be crushed with boaters, fishermen and campers but even then, it makes for some good cycling.
John Wente–Home 405-354-2301 Work 405-954-4581 firstname.lastname@example.org