Wrapping up in Shattuck

I would have really liked to find the old family farmland and walk around on it — or at least known which parcel of land the farm used to be on, even if there was a warehouse or an industrial crop circle built over it now. But with only a few photos from 1981, the name “Pony Creek”, and an old topographical map, I couldn’t solve the mystery.

An old topographical map showing Pony Creek near Shattuck

My conversations with locals didn’t scare up any new information. My father and I poked gamely around in satellite view, trying to reconstruct the route he remembered driving out of Shattuck to get there, but he’d made the journey only once, 40 years ago. Nick and I would have to be satisfied with a general impression of the area.

This country has many layers.

And an amazing impression it was. The late autumn colors and the layered flatness of the terrain were very unlike our California home, and the wide open sky above that terrain seemed to command our attention in a way that the skies back home rarely did. Everything up there was bigger: Massive clouds, sprawling sunsets, driving winds, fat raindrops. And we were at the mercy of that sky. Whatever it brought, fair or foul – or maybe even apocalyptic – there was no place to hide from it.

Birds on the move.

In fact, even with headwinds punishing us for several days of the trip, we’d been pretty fortunate. We could have had to pedal through lashing rain, or hide indoors while lightning blasted around us and the highways flooded. The one time the wind really picked up to something nasty and was hurling debris, we happened to be riding in exactly the same direction and were swept along, more than doubling our speed for the entire day.

All we had in Shattuck was a little wind and a sprinkle of rain, and otherwise the days were clear and crisp. I even got to work outdoors!

Usually I wear a much bigger hat for working outdoors!

Lounging in the sun, in the otherwise empty motel parking lot, getting some work done.

Our plan was to spend a final day here, then cycle east to Woodward and hunker down for a few days until a U-Haul truck became available. Then we would throw in the bikes and zip down to Fort Worth, poke around there for a day, and then the trip would be officially over with the loading of Nick on the train back to Los Angeles. Originally I thought we would be able to get to Fort Worth entirely by pedaling, but work hours and extra rest days compelled a change. We got to Shattuck; that was the main thing!

One more day of crossing this amazing terrain by bike. Time to make the most of it.

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