I just got back form a little stroll through Arkansas & Missouri! Here's the report: Day One, December 28, 2008: I'm off! I was advised to wait day for bad weather in southern AR to clear. That gave me one more day to get the Pelican case mounted on the tank. I had been dreaming about this trip for a year, since I rode in Arkansas a year ago and actively planning and gathering new gear for weeks. Today's the day. It was a balmy 52f when I pulled out but quickly dropped to 46. I stopped to put on another layer. As I crossed into Louisiana I ran into some rain, just a bit. I made it to Allen & Cindy's ranch in Bismarck in time for dinner. Allen grilled some steaks that had belonged to his prize winning calf. mmmmmmmmm Day Two, December 29, 2008: A light freeze left a little frost on the ground at the ranch. Cindy made breakfast: eggs, yes, from their own chickens and bacon from one of their pigs. I'm thinkin' I could get used to this! Sorry, no pics of the pig or the bacon. I met Gravy, a rider on another forum from Little Rock at the corner store in Bismarck. He's ready to ride. Gravy introduced me to our first great road, AR27 in route to Mt. Magazine. The sky is clear and sunny. the temp is around 50f. Perfect! We continued north on 309 and had a quick lunch in Paris and then on to The Pig Trail, AR23. Sweet! We made it to Eureka Springs in time to get checked in before dark and set out in search of food. We found some absolutely luscious south of the border fare at the Santa Fe Cafe. Day Three, December 30, 2008: After hitting the continental breakfast pretty hard, hey it was free, we packed the bikes and goofed off a little in historic downtown Eureka Springs. Even though it is off season and many of the shops were closed, it's still an interesting place. Our next destination: the ferry at Bull Shoals. The view from the Lady Marion was spectacular! Who would have imagined such a gorgeous sunny 70 degree day December 30th in Northernmost Arkansas? We moved northward into Missouri and headed east on hwy 160 and crossed Bull Shoals again here. Yeah, I guess I have a thing for bridges. We re-entered Arkansas via hwy 5 and stopped for pizza in Mountain Home. On AR9 south of Allison we found ourselves stuck behind a couple of tanker trucks and with the sun in our eyes had to smell their smoking squealing brakes for miles on what would otherwise be a great mountain road ride. Fortunately that was about the only traffic we encountered. Here's Gravy on AR5 at Calico Rock with the White River in the background. Gravy and I had a great ride. Thanks again buddy! We parted ways at Chocktaw and I rode on to Petit Jean State Park to meet my daughter and her boyfriend and camp a night or two. i arrived a little after dark and set up the tent by the light of my HID high beam. I enjoyed a relaxing car ride back into Morrilton for dinner. I slept like a baby in my nylon shelter. Day Four, December 31, 2008: The new camping gear performed beautifully, The North Face 4 season tent, the new zero degree down bag, mat and ground cloth worked well together. I stayed toasty and comfortable all night. Thanks again to everyone here whose brain I picked. You guys gave a motorcycle camping noob some good advice. The cafe in the lodge has great food. We met there for breakfast and dinner. While the kids were out hiking around the park, I took a little ride up AR27. What a sweet road! THIS is the pic I was turning around to get when I dropped the bike. The rear spun just enough in the gravel. I stood there a minute trying to decide to give 'er a big heave or lay 'er down easy. No harm done, just a little bruised pride. Day Five, January 1, 2009 Happy New Year! It's 23f at 6:30am and I've been toasty all night! I camped two nights here with lows around 20 and I never felt it. Another delicious breakfast at the lodge. While I was breaking camp, I saw a rider on a yellow GS go by and I rode back to the lodge to look him up. It turned out to be "Arkzookey". Great to meet you Leo! Fantastic roads lay in store for me that afternoon: 7, 16 & 27! Boy do I love Arkansas back roads! : . . . . . . . . . . . . . decisions, decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I got a cheap room in Marshall for the night. I mean, so cheap I had to upgrade to one with a working light cheap. Day Six, January 2, 2009 I hit the road at dawn, north on 27. It was 27 degrees. AR341 aka Push Mountain Rd is a must ride! It has a fantastic view on both sides. I just had to head back to Norfork to get a shot of the railroad bridge there. Here's a shot of Tiger Bay from hwy 101. Then it was on to Rolla, MO for dinner with friends at AirForce's. Day Seven, January 3, 2009 I met Guzzi rider Paul and Sam “AirForce” at the Sawmill Cafe for their world famous breakfast buffet. Sam picked out some awesome twisty Missouri back roads and gave me quite a workout. Hwy 106 is one of the best! We stopped along the way to visit some nice sights too. Here's a shot of the Alley Spring Mill. The I-44 feeder east of Rolla is a section of the original route 66 and runs right in front of Sam's place. Today was an exhilarating 280 mile day. No traffic, a little drizzling rain and a high of 74f. That's right, 74 degrees in January in Missouri! Go figure! Day Eight, January 4, 2009 Oh yeah, it IS winter, isn't it. Overcast and 34f. I packed the bike and headed out. Here's the obligatory dirty ADV sticker shot complete with burned out tail light. Sam was a gracious host, thanks again for everything! As I rode west on I-44 toward Springfield the temperature quickly dropped to 27f. Once I made it south of Branson the sun shown through the clouds enough to raise the mercury to around 40. Here's more bridge porn on Hwy 86 at Table Rock Lake. I hit 23 (the top of the Pig Trail) and rode south to Eureka Springs but found most of the town closed on Sunday. I made it to Huntsville by dark and ordered myself . . . . . . . . . MORE MEXICAN FOOD!! HA HA HA Day Nine, January 5, 2009 Due to the freezing rain advisories in effect I decided to forgo the Pig Trail in favor of I-540 south in hopes of beating the weather. I noted ice and sleet along the side or the road and on rooftops. The roads and bridges were alright though. It started raining at Fort Smith and quickly started freezing on the front of the bike. After a few hours the temp dropped below the freezing mark. I intended to ride the Talimena but there was too much fog so I settled for a pic of the sign. I got a room in DeQueen to thaw out and spent a few hours drying out my gear with a hair dryer. I depleted what was left of my snack food supply and didn't leave the room until the next morning. Day Ten, January 6, 2009 The weather man says 38f, chance of rain 100%. I rode all the way home in a light but constant - incessant rain. My left glove developed a leak and lost heat. My boots started to leak too but the new heated insoles kept my wet feet warm. My time was up, I had to work the next day so I pressed on and made it home safely. What a ride! 2,453 miles! I had a blast! Here’s more pics! Enjoy!