Arkansas Motorcycle Trip Part 6

This is it. Its Monday and our last day of motorcycle madness. I’m getting used to the lifestyle but my reality tells me that there are more important things than the road for me today. Two kids and a wife await my return. They will never fully understand how this trip has changed me, but I will never fully understand how they missed me [I hope]. With the excitement of the last day, Hiatt and I wake up at 5:30 am to make sure that we get in our motorcycle riding and get home at a fair time to the kids. The hotel we’re staying at doesn’t have breakfast included. In fact, this is the first that had an actual key to the door. With a quick look to ensure that we have everything, we lock and close the door with the key sitting on a table next to the bed. There is palpable anxiety between both of us to get moving and experience this day. The feeling is like an hourglass weighing down on us to be home before the sand runs out.

Gas station breakfast is what we decided on. I was starving, but Hiatt wasn’t as hungry and wanted to get moving and on the road. So we ended up at a gas station. After much deliberation, we purchased 2 chocolate milks, 2 Gatorade, and a six pack of donnetts. I wanted to get two, but Hiatt said that he only wanted 2. I figured I could get by on 4 of them until we had lunch. It wasn’t like we were exerting a serious amount of physical work and I don’t exactly need the calories, but I did appreciate them.  So we walk out of the gas station and Hiatt calls his wife to say good morning and reassure her that we did actually plan on coming home instead of riding forever. While Hiatt was on the phone, he had one of those deep conversations with Colleen that caused him to pace back and forth. He kept coming back and taking donuts from the package. These type of conversations need to play out, so I gave Hiatt all the space he needed. By the time it was all wrapped up, he managed to eat 2 extra donuts, leaving me with only 2, and him eating my 4. This is exactly the opposite of what I expected and wanted to happen. I resigned to the fact that i was fat and could deal until lunch.


The Peel Ferry route would be the last of our trip. Being at Yellville placed us right at the start of the really fun parts. Within about an hour’s ride, we made it to Bull Shoals Dam.  We enjoyed the over the dam and stopped nearby to walk back over and check it out properly. We were amazed by the construction and size of it. Riding by in a car or motorcycle doesn’t really do it justice. Walking across and looking over the edge brings to life the sheer size. Then with the tripod in place, we got a photo of us with the rain that was coming for us!

After going over the dam, I finally stopped after several raindrops and put on my rain suit. Hiatt covered his tank bag and resigned to the fact that he would get wet. And with that, we were off to the Peel ferry. As luck would have it, the rain didn’t last that long. I ended up hot and sweaty with my older brother telling me about how if you prepare for rain, you’ll get it… Being a Boy Scout in my past, I preferred to be prepared than a wet rat. It worked for the start of the trip, but now, it made a bit of a fool out of me.

Dry and happy, we rolled up to the Peel ferry. This had to be the highlight of the trip for both of us. We rode the motorcycles right up on the ferry and hung out as it crossed the lake to the other side. As of the writing, the ferry is a “free” service provided by the Arkansas Highway department. We were all pictured out until we hit the ferry, then we took a ton of photos. Below is just a sample.



After crossing the ferry, I took the lead, heading to Forsythe, Missouri to think about lunch. Along the way, we speed like we were running from the cops! Per our rule, any time we got near a town, or the speed limit changed, we always went the limit inside of the city. This generally protected us from tickets, and made it safer for us and everybody around us. In one such setting where we were going quite slow [35 mph], we came across what appeared to be a school group picking up litter on the side of the highway. They were surprised to see traffic on the road, and Hiatt and I are a sight with our black face shields. With all of our safety equipment on, its impossible to tell who is on the motorcycle. The kids watched with great care and appeared to be exited as we passed, so I did what any maniac would do. I down shifted to second gear and ran it all the way out to red line and did the same with third gear. This placed me a bit over the posted limit and quite far away from the group where I coasted for Hiatt to catch up. He wasn’t far behind, but my actions did surprise him! Being the nice brother that he is, he did the same, once he realized what I was doing 🙂

The city of Forsythe is up on a hill overlooking the lake and it had a fantastic view. As we drove through, I looked for a restaurant with a view. It was to be our last meal together and I wanted to make it count. I started getting worried as the road came and went from the hillside. That was when an idea hit me. I saw a sign for a scenic overlook ahead. A Subway restaurant was between the sign and the pull out. It was time for a picnic.

We didn’t realize it was barely 10:00 am when we went into Subway. There were no crowds or lines, and the time explained it all. With only 2 of my 4 promised donuts, I was ready to eat! We each got a sandwich, chips and cookies. With our food packed, we went on to the overlook which didn’t disappoint. The view was exactly what we needed! A mostly quiet lunch with time to talk and relax. After sandwiches, I realized that we didn’t get our cookies. Hiatt was quick to volunteer to go back and pick them up. There were cute girls behind the counter and he wanted seconds 🙂 I was quick to let him grab the cookies. I had taken my helmet and gloves off so many times, that I didn’t want to think about it at that moment!


Our peaceful lunch ended and we rode out near Springfield for our last gas stop together. Hiatt and I filled up our tanks and said our last goodbye before we headed off. Of course we had about 10 more miles of the same road before we split off in our individual directions. At the last turn off, I raised my hand in respect and sadness as our trip together was over.

Just because our trip was over, I still had a 3 hour ride ahead of me to get home. I ended up taking three different rest stops on the way home. My butt and legs were quite sore from all of the riding of the trip, that I just could not take it. Of course, stopping is not without merits. I got to see an El Camino with a chicken on top, and talk to a truck driver about his fuel truck. While fueling, I saw that an exhaust bold was coming out of my bike. Ohh the work to be done.


Arkansas Motorcycle Trip Part 5

Sunday, and we are just starting to get into the riding groove. Its our third full day on the road and Hiatt and I are getting used to this life. The road waits, and all we have to do is wake up and eat breakfast. So we head down to breakfast for the second day in a row. We’re pros at this point getting at the food that we’re interested in. After a filling meal, we headed back to our room. That was when we saw some true Arkansas ingenuity. I have no words for this, so I’ll just show the photos.

 

We took Rockhouse road out to Berryville where we ended the previous night. This is a nice back road route that was lots of fun. A narrow two lane road encroached by trees. Those trees created eery early morning shadows! Hiatt was in the lead and took off like a rocket, occasionally slowing down to make sure I was still alive. I was uncomfortable with the texture of the road and the shadows to go too fast, so I took it relatively easy. At the end of this short diversion, we headed to the nearest gas station to fuel up and consider the rest of the day. At the gas station was a group of 4 riders doing the same thing as us. The license plates had them from Wisconsin, so they were on quite a journey!

We decided to re-run the 215 to Oark route because it was quite fun the previous day. This time, we would run it backwards and see it from the other direction. Its amazing to me how much faster things seem when you have already seen them before. This route passed by very fast. We were less worried about where we were going and discovering new things. Riding backwards on the route was like getting revenge to us. We focused on the turns that we didn’t take as well the previous day and not getting lost like yesterday.  We skipped the town of Oark and just made the turn to stay on the major path. If you’re wondering why we would re-ride the same route again, it may help to look at the pictures that follow. They best describe the roads we were on. The last photo of the group is Hiatt’s back tire. The dark spot is the portion of the tire he has been riding and shows just how far he has been leaning into the turns we have been riding! I would be lying if I said that I didn’t ride aggressive today either…


We stopped near the end of this route to have lunch at a Sonic. We just can’t seem to get enough being outside on this trip! Of course this is Mother’s Day (a made up holiday), so we called mom and both got to say hi to her. Then we proceeded to call our wives and wish them the same. Of course, we could each hear in our wife’s voice the need to have us home soon. We had been gone for a few days, one of them celebrating them. Of course, we can’t thank them each enough for allowing this trip!

At the end of the route, we were back in Eureka Springs. We had decided that we need to end up near Harrison, Arkansas at the end of the day to facilitate getting home earlier than planned on Monday. That would make the girls happy, and that is always a consideration for each of us! The plan was to head towards Harrison and run the Mountain View route from the pamphlet and be back in Harison that night. Of course, to get there, we could take the Rockhouse Road route again… So off to Rockhouse we went. I took the lead this time, but was a bit lethargic after lunch and road at a more civilized speed. My lack of speed turned out to be a blessing. Around a nearly blind left hand turn, there was a red truck that was backing out of a driveway that just seemed to be parked, blocking the road. As I slowed, it finally pulled back into the driveway and we passed without issue. Had the truck been there earlier in the morning, it could have been a much different story!

Not being that far from Harrison, we figured we would finish off the day with the Mountain view run and finish in Harrison where we started this adventure and get home to our girls early. We ran the route backwards from the directions on the map, but were getting good at it by now. The drive down US 65 South was long, straight and fairly boring. We had a near run in with a police officer for speeding in Harrison and decided we better take it easy on the larger highways. Going the speed limit after the last couple days was difficult, but we didn’t want to add any donations to local cities (tickets) to the expense of our trip. At this point, I was starting to get saddle sore from all of the riding we have done. I was ready to get off the bike and walk around. We came over the top of a hill and there was a very long downhill of at least a half mile. I was probably doing 5 – 10 over when I crested the hill with light traffic and let off the throttle. There at the bottom of the hill was a Highway Patrol officer waiting for people to speed down a hill. As we passed the bottom of the hill, eye contact was made, and he didn’t look to happy to see us pass. I watched in mirrors as we passed just waiting for him to come after. Once out of site, we may have speed up a bit just to add some distance. Then we found a place to pull off and rest.

There is nothing quite like canoe country. The rivers are peaceful and everyone seems happy. We stopped and walked down to the river to relax and stretch our legs. And *maybe* there may be girls where there are rivers and canoes…

Back on the road, we were rewarded with nice mountainesque views. At the far end of the route, Mountain View Arkansas, we turned up the scenic road to head back to Harrison. This road was secluded. So we may have speed up. Being that few cars were on it, I saw a couple of snakes on the road warming up before the evening. We made one more stop at a river to stretch our legs and had a treat. As we pulled in, the road was gravel and quickly went down into a large lot. I went first and had no trouble with the gravel. Once parked, we walked around and took pictures. Then we met and talked with Tabatha. She was a young cute girl looking for her grandmother who run a canoe outfitter on the river. It was a nice discussion that kept us off the bikes longer.



When we arrived in Yellville, Arkansas, it was getting dark fast and we were tired. So we found a hotel and decided to call it a night. This was the first no-name hotel, but it turned out to be just fine. Staying in Yellville positioned us to do part of another route from the trip and get home early to the girls on Monday night. Once settled, we went out for pizza. We sat outside and enjoyed the sunset and the 4 cars/trucks that we driving around town showing off.