“We’re taking the bypass,” a wise James Pratt belts out from aboard his faded yellow Suzuki DR-Z400. “I’m out of gas and there is no way these guys will get those pigs through the woods in this muck.”
The “woods” we are about to enter are a segment of the Cross Timbers region of Oklahoma, a band of tangled, stunted deciduous trees and briars, many older than our United States. In the early 1830s, author Washington Irving called this nearly impenetrable region “forests of cast iron.”
Play–Doh for Grown Ups
After a weak attempt to negotiate the soggy trail, my Beta 525 RS sits facing the group, mud oozing through every opening like a Play-Doh Fun Factory. I just poured the contents of one of my two spare fuel bottles into James’ extended-range tank. He skipped the last gas stop holding out for ethanol-free fuel and has hopefully learned his lesson. Even ethanol burns better than air.
The sun is about to set, and we don’t know how bad it will get if we continue into these woods. The “trail” is blocked with downed trees and underbrush, and the mud has no bottom. I give in and we turn towards Hugo, 12 miles north by road. Oklahoma is experiencing an unusually cool and wet July and, except for the mud, it is perfect weather for an adventure ride. Brad, Josh, and Paul are riding new generation Kawasaki KLR 650s. Larry is on a Suzuki DR 650. I have to agree that pushing heavy dual sports into these woods under these conditions could spell a long night among the mosquitoes and poison ivy, and there is no dry place to pitch a tent.