Tilting at Windmills Talimena Two-Step

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Animal Instinct, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    I got a text from my old friend, Joe, asking if we were still alive. I replied and asked when the annual Cedar Lake trip was?

    Oddly enough, he text back, "October 9."

    That gave me and LA a couple days to make arrangements for our pets, pack, and hit the road less traveled.

    Easy enough to do when you're both unemployed.

    "Sounds good, let's go." ~JDowns

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    We've been back in TX for a month now looking for jobs, trying not to reopen the veterinary clinic, unsuccessfully. We know what's on the horizon so why not take a ride?
    #1
  2. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Day 1 -- October 9, 2015
    298 miles, ~ 8 hrs.

    Kind of spur of the moment, we packed the bikes in the dreary weather. It looked like it could rain, and the forecasts supported that observation.

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    We rolled out around 10am. So did the wind.....

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    .....and about 30 minutes later, so did the rain. Fortunately LA flagged me down and demanded that the rain gear go on.

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    Really good thing. It rained off and on all the rest of the day, and the temperatures dropped. There's a couple of things I always wait too late to do....get the raingear on and pee, both of which wind up with getting wet if you catch my drift. These cows were amused while we suited up. They gave little heed to the rain.

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    We pressed on into the rain. About 10 miles from the OK border, Red started sputtering and acting like there was no gas left in the tank. Riding in the rain is not such a bad thing, but when you're on the first leg of a journey and the bike is lurching all over the place, and your wife is just a bit behind you on her little Sherpa -- well -- it gets your attention. We'd had a similar experience, once upon a time, when Red's battery cables were loose. A short. I unplugged the Garmin which let the cap close down on the 12V power outlet, and had no more problems for the rest of the trip, thank goodness.

    Crossing the Red River into OK.

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    #2
  3. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    Hey Scott, glad to see y'all back on the road again. Looking forward to the rest of the trip.
    #3
  4. bluestar

    bluestar the rain maker

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    Nice. Been missing your RR's. :thumb
    #4
  5. Bug Dr.

    Bug Dr. Extroverted Loner

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    Watching this one with interest. I just did the Talimena Drive last weekend before the leaf peepers clog it up. Went east to west the entire way without running up behind a vehicle (last Thursday morning).......a rare event.
    Mike
    #5
  6. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Hey David,

    I still can't believe we saw you guys in Lake City. Really enjoyed your RR.:clap
    #6
  7. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Glad to cross paths with you again here on ADV, bluestar.

    Thanks for looking in, boss.
    #7
  8. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Hey Mike,

    Man, that's great riding up there.

    We were doing our thing over the weekend, and it was still a rare instance when we hit any traffic. Lots and lots of folks on motorbikes though, enjoyed many a biker wave.

    I think the leaf peepers will arrive in a couple more weeks.

    Thanks for looking in.
    #8
  9. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    So, where were we...?

    Oh yeah, Day one, rain, wind, and trying to make it to Cedar Lake before nightfall and still be a married couple.:lol2

    What's this mean?

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    Oddly enough, right at the spot where we needed to head off east on a dirt road, we encountered this little trinkets and stuff shop.

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    Those aren't real windmills, but they still catch my eye.

    Then it's east. With a blistering north wind just a blastin' us. At least it wasn't freezing cold.

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    What's that steeple thingy?

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    Sasquatch investigates. :rofl

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    ...and finds

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    #9
  10. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Then we were back on the road....

    ...less traveled.

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    Trees started to appear more frequently.

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    We ran into rain several times and had to turn back to avoid the possibility of the shorting getting worse on Red so our course was quite different than I had planned. We just kind of angled ENE through the gloom as best we could.

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    Stopped here for a snack. An old gas station.

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    It looked like this neat old bridge might not be around much longer.

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    Had to go back for a pic of this nice old silo.

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    #10
  11. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    The landscape starts to roll a little bit, the trees, mostly oak, thicken.

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    What's this? Why, it's our first glimpse of blue sky all day long.

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    See the deer clearing the fence? Boy, they jump with such grace.

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    More rain, even as the skies begin to clear.

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    HISSING KITTY FACE ALERT!! Yikes! :yikes

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    When I see that, I have learned over the years to remain silent and speak only when spoken to, to reply calmly and preferrably in monosyllablic blurbs, with a smile on my face.

    Oh, and a sympathetic tone.

    Crossing the dam, the sky offered hope for a better weather day tomorrow.

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    We passed through Talihina, OK quickly, wanting to get to Cedar Lake before dark. I was thinking there would be a gas station on the way out of town.

    There wasn't.

    We turned around to go back to the convenience store that's about 3-4 miles back up the road. Yep. I'm accumulating brownie-points real quick like.

    Actually, turning back allowed me to spy this.

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    #11
  12. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Can you see how the anger Lois is emitting has caused that tree she's fuming under to turn colors?

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    I'm not real popular just now, but I squeeze in a few more pics.

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    We go back, get fuel and a couple of those pre-made turkey and cheese sandwiches in a triangular cellophane and plastic container for supper, and book it towards Cedar Lake.

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    We made it to camp right at sunset. Joe and his coworkers had a fine campfire going and the hot dogs were just coming off the grill.

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    #12
  13. OnTheWay

    OnTheWay Long timer

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    Superb pics and narration.Keep the nice pictures coming!
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  14. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Thanks, OnTheWay, for the kind words. We are grateful that you would look in from so far away.

    Stay tuned, Day 2 to follow soon.

    Cheers,

    Scott & Lois
    #14
  15. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Great pics and story Scott. Believe I've seen a similar "Hissing Kitty" face a time or two myself....Dave
    #15
  16. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Hey Dave,

    The "Hissing Kitty" face is much more welcome than the "fractious kitty" face, which is preferable to the "feral kitty" face. It's the "ATTACK KITTY" face that one must avoid at all costs.:jack
    #16
  17. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Day 2 -- October 10, 2015
    199 miles, ~ 8 hrs

    We slept fairly well on the thermarest mats in our little Eureka 2 man backpacking tent. As we were drinking our morning coffee, Joe comes over and tells us where the group is planning to ride today. It's colder than I was expecting, and I knew without asking that Lois was not wanting to ride in the cold.

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    A quick story about me and Joe.

    Back in the 70's, we lived about 3 houses down from one another. His house was on one street, mine on another, and we were connected by the alleyway. We rode bicycles together, built forts, hung out, rang doorbells and ran, did all the stuff that 10 yr old boys did in that era -- as long as we were home by dark.

    "It's 10 pm, do you know where your children are?" was what you heard before the Dallas news came on, and as long as you heard that you knew you'd made it home on time.

    Joe had this Honda Mini Trail that his folks would let him ride around in the alleys and I wanted one for myself so badly.....it's all I could talk about.

    Somehow, my dad brought a used Honda Trail 70 home one day, and changed my world forever.

    I was not allowed to ride in the alleys, but we had some property about 50 miles north of Dallas, and dad would load our bikes up in an old GMC pickup and turn us loose up there. Of course, we discovered the dirt roads and soon found ourselves exploring, going on adventures, riding until we were running on fumes but somehow always making it back to the little farm.

    My family eventually wound up moving to the farm and Joe and I lost contact.

    For more than 35 years.

    About 5 years ago, I listed a KLX 400 on Craigslist. I get a call from this dude that's all asking about sprockets. chains, and stuff. I answer as best I can. The conversation winds down and the dude says, my name is Joe (last name).....

    I'm like, "holy smokes."

    "This is Scott Parker."

    He's like, "holy guacamole."

    (or a least that's the cleaned up version of the conversation)

    It still gives me chillbumps and I have since learned to appreciate and respect the

    Karma of the Road Less Traveled.

    These guys have built a legacy of the annual Cedar Lake trip. Some of the guys have been coming up here for over 30 years, continuing the legacy from rides they made with their dads. Joe's almost a newcomer -- this being his 15th visit. This is my second trip over here on Red, the first was 3 years ago. I feel privileged and humbled to get to be a part of this annual pilgrimage, and appreciate the chance to get a glimpse into the camaraderie that goes along with working together for years on end.

    Anyhoooo,

    Since the group was ready to take off and we were just dawdling, we decided to meet back up at camp in the late afternoon.

    They took off for Queen Wilhelmina Lodge for breakfast and we continued to dawdle, waiting for it to warm up a little.

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    I check the oil level on Red.

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    We're good. Booger (and, BTW, Joe named the little Sherpa a few years ago) and Red are rearin' to go. Plan A is to ride the local forest roads all day.

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    So we hit the road right across from the turn in to Cedar Lake. By the way, neither one of us got a picture of Cedar Lake during our visit.

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    Which turns out to be a little loose for LA's taste. It's sandy with pebbles sprinkled on top and has recently seen the road maintainer. I'm not exactly feeling a lot of love for this surface either.
    #17
  18. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    It eventually delivered us onto the Talimena Scenic Drive and we headed east. Plan B evolves without discussion. A glance back, a finger pointed left and then right, a responding finger pointing left, and we're off.

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    We pulled off at most of the scenic overlooks. Our hands were freezing and I had a hard time with the camera but did my best.

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    We stopped for a minute to try to get the feeling to return to our fingers.

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    ...and before long, found ourselves in AR.

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    At the same Queen Wilhelmina Lodge where everyone was still eating breakfast. I failed to photograph the lodge, but it has been completely renovated and looks pristine. There's a hiking trail up there called, "Lover's Leap," and I wish we had taken time to check it out.

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    We shared one of the turkey and cheese sandwiches we bought yesterday evening, sat in the sun to warm up at a picnic table, waved at our peeps as they took off west after putting the hurt on the breakfast buffet, and then we took off east towards Mena, AR.

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    Our plan C was to head up to Magazine Mountain, the high point in AR. It didn't look all that far, and there are some great roads up that way according to a few RR's I'd studied in the days before we took off.

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    We just barely missed the fall colors -- they're probably in full swing as I type this.

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    #18
  19. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    We made it to Waldron, AR. and stopped for fuel. I studied the map and realized that there really wasn't enough time to fit it all in. About the time this revelation was sinking in, LA says, "my neck's starting to hurt, how much further?"

    I tell her there is no way we'll make it to Magazine Mountain and suggest a picnic somewhere on the Ouachita National Forest roads out by Winfield -- there's a big loop I spotted on the map we can try. Plan D is now in effect.

    We take off.

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    We ride for a long way. Rock road that narrows to two ruts. We turn back eventually and find a campground, but not wanting to pay the fees to enter, just look around and find a boat ramp. It's a fine place to have lunch and relax in the sun.

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    The other sandwich and some Sun Chips.

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    And turtles. LA loves turtles.

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    Then we take off, back to Cedar Lake.

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    #19
  20. Animal Instinct

    Animal Instinct Long timer

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    Backtracking is not such a bad thing as it gives you a chance to look at things you only got a glimpse of in the mirror or overlooked completely. It was a great ride.

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    And before you know it, we're back in OK.

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    We stop at a scenic overlook and snack on peanut butter rollups we made 2 nights ago....hey, those things last and, soggy or not, fill the void.

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    ....and then we head back towards camp.

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    We arrive and not a soul is there. Within 2 minutes, the group starts to roll in. They've been over 300 miles on their ride and have some very entertaining tales to tell. There are grandkids out here, no doubt the folks that will keep this legacy alive....but they've got more important stuff in mind.

    Smores.

    And the firewood to make it happen.

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    That thing will never catch. But they've got to learn, right? That kid hauled that thing uphill from who knows where....

    Joe's ZRX in the foreground. Fire in the background. Yep, to my astonishment the huge log caught fire and burned.

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    Joe, holding court.

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    It was another great day of riding. So good to be with this group this evening. Perfect spot to just BE and live in the present.

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    #20