Spontaneity Part one: As we sipped Starbucks coffee and ate chocolate filled crescents: "Where we going?" "I dunno, but lets go for a long ride this time." We headed out north on 75N and I missed our exit (traffic was just too heavy to get everyone over) so we had a mini-adventure getting back on track. Then we stopped at the Polaris dealer in McKinney to see if they had any KTM 950s for James to buy. The salesperson said, "we just don't have the market for them up here like they do in Lancaster." So we poked at a few 50cc bikes and went out to ride off to the twisties. Once we got on the bikes and before we could back out, this sales dude jumps on his KTM duke (in shorts, flip-flops and a t-shirt ((NO LIE)) and proceeds to do the most inept, labored parking lot wheelies in front of us. It was SO LAME I laughed out loud! On we went, west out of McKinney and north through Anna, Van Alstien and Whitewright. We went east out of Whitewright on that road the farmers warned us about. (The sport bikers said I looked goofy leaning the big pig into those turns). We consult the 176c and decide that Oklahoma is not that far away and at least we should go see it. Well, the bridge over the Red River where we crossed on 78 was a huge suspension affair very red with its own rust. It looked so big and the red color matched the red banks of the Red River. Under the river was a motorcycle off-road park. We need to go back there, it looks pretty fun! Once in this part of Oklahoma we endeavor to stay awake as the miles of road stretch to the horizon. We make it to Durant where the train is stopped on the tracks and someone in our party has an urgent appointment with the bodily function junction. The train backs up after five minutes waiting for one of the engineers to walk back to open a switch and hitch up another line of cars. We wait and debate the merits of following other cars crossing down the tracks. Good thing we waited because as soon as we started to move the train started forward again. We found a great Mexican restaurant in Durant and ate Fajitas, Tacos Al Carbon and lots of chips with salsa. Fueled in more ways than one we began our quest for the elusive twisties of South-Eastern Oklahoma. Off we went east on 70. Neat bridges. Not much LEO presence. Pretty straight. In fact, we tried a few roads that LOOKED crooked on the GPS but turned out to be just mild sweepers, like other roads we know. All of a sudden there was a sign on the side of the road that said "Welcome to the Natural State!". We stop in Wicks to ponder our situation. The other guys where discussing the merits of returning to Dallas to watch that new movie (Something about an underworld). We were so close to Mena, we all agreed after a short discussion to go up there and get hotel rooms. (We ALL got separate rooms). Someone got the romantic room with whirlpool bath. He also had a lot of Hardley riders around his room later that night. Said he got very little sleep...hmmmm. Well we got our rooms and got some information from the front desk about "The Lodge" up on the Talimena Scenic highway 88. It was close to sunset when we started up the 88 trail which leaves Mena and abruptly starts an uphill traverse. A very promising sign for our straight-line beleaguered minds. There were scenic outlooks every mile or less the scenery is that good. Luckily we bought a disposable camera. We stopped at the Grand vista outlook about 3/4 of the way to the Lodge where we ate dinner. The view from the Grand Vista outlook was phenomenal. Miles of space and valleys with a few lakes glistening in the light of the setting sun at dusk. Truly memorable. Dinner at the lodge was served at a slow pace. The food was average or maybe above but not by much. By the time we got back on the bikes it was very dark and kind of "chilly". I was thankful for heated seat and hand-grips of the big pig as all I had on was textile gear. On the way down the mountain, I switched on the LF140s to see the shadows they made of the other bikes in front of me and light their way forward. Man, these lights are great for night riding. By the time we made it back town, we hit the Wal-Mart and everyone bought the "Get-away" kit. A small pack of stuff, squeeze ketchup sized pouch of Colgate, a tooth brush that loses its bristles in your mouth, some deodorant, God Bless America sticker, choke rescue instructions (aforementioned toothbrush) and a comb. When we made it back to the hotel, everyone disappeared into their rooms saying very little and crashed for the night. Except maybe someone... I woke everyone up at 05:00, no wait, that's when I got up and washed everyone's bikes with hotel towels and drank my daily allowance of brown colored water. I woke everyone up at 08:00. We got outa town by about 9 with full tanks and a full days ride ahead. Across the Scenic Talimena back to Oklahoma and then south back to Texas. The road, 88 in Arkansas and 1 in Oklahoma is very nice and very little traffic. I saw no LEO presence there. I think we passed 3 cars in over 100 miles. That s good thing to because I laid the big pig over turning it around on a sloping part of the road. MAN that thing took ALL I HAD to walk it up my body off the ground. Got some more character on the bike now. All is well, just one loose nut tightened and we're back on the road, headed west. This road (88/1) is very nice. There are parts of it that wrap around the hills in front of you in such a way that you can see the route from a far distance. The roads are not as technical as the Texas Hill Country, but the scenery and climate makes this road worth the trip.