The Re-Birth, Restoration, and Rejoice of Spring

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HPPants, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    298
    The Re-birth, Restoration, and Rejoice of Spring


    Spring Break this year was extra special. Since my return to motorcycling, I’ve taken a ride somewhere in the Spring every year. Except last year. 2020, which may be dubbed the Year Of The Crap, halted a lot of things, and it killed my motorcycling buzz proper. They say a pandemic comes only once in a lifetime, and that’s plenty enough for me. But as the new year brought new vaccines and greatly diminished infectiousness, it also brought excitement about returning to the way it was, or at least the new way it will be in a healthy world.


    So I started polling the troops from near and not so near early, hoping for a small gathering of buddies looking for adventure. It didn’t take long to put a posse together. Locally, my good riding friends Mike and Tom, with their Kawasaki Versys 1000 LTs, responded favorably at the idea of a ride. Farther away, my buddies Josh from southern Illinois, and Mark from southern Iowa, were equally stoked at the idea of getting together. I invited others to join, but it didn’t work out, although one other person did join us for one night. Five felt about right to me, so five we would be. I’ve ridden and camped with these gents many times, although not all together at once. That did not concern me. All of us have similar riding styles, similar interest, and I knew this would be a good mix for a trip.


    The destination was not firmed up until relatively close to the start of the trip. This was intentional. Where we ride is not nearly as important as it used to be. When you’ve got about a week to play, there are a few choices to pick from, equally good in their own rite. Weather has to be considered though, and considering a good forecast and with the Ozarks basically located in the middle of everyone’s home, Arkansas is where we decided to go.


    We chose Shady Oaks Campground just north of Jasper as our home away from home. We’ve camped there before and it’s a great location for riding the Ozarks. In this area, there aren’t many choices for moto-camping, unless you prefer primitive sites. Primitive sites are good for a couple of nights, but pushing it for a whole week, if you ask me.


    The weather was absolutely perfect for the entire trip. One two evenings, we got what amounted to about 10 minutes of sprinkles, hardly enough to wet the road. Otherwise, we were treated to overnight lows of 30-45, highs of 55-75, and TONS of severe clear sunshine. Terrific camping weather, for sure.


    The riding was terrific as we knew it would be. But we managed to mix in a lot more adventure than just ripping the twisties.


    And at least for your humble writer, I managed to get a lot more out of this trip than just adventure. It’s been a long year for Pants – between COVID, Hurricanes, Civil Unrest, and whatever else the real world threw at me, things have been restrictive in many ways. The passing of winter and the onset of Spring always reminds me of new beginnings. Brown turns to color in nature, and indeed, our imagination and attitude follows in kind. As critters of all kinds get more active, it is only natural for peeps to follow suit. Indeed, this Spring ride was extra special for me. Cognitively, after a year of death, destruction, and at some points, despair, I found myself with an opportunity for re-birth, restoration, and rejoice.


    An opportunity I captured in spades. I hope you enjoy the pics.


    Day 1: Lafayette, LA to Shady Oaks, approximately 520 miles.


    I packed the horse the evening before, got a good night’s sleep, and woke up 15 minutes before the alarm clock ready to rock. Mike and Tom agreed to meet at the gas station early. There’s plenty of time to get where we are going, but we might as well beat the workday traffic out of the city.


    On your marks, get set, …..


    [​IMG]


    I’ve ridden to Arkansas probably 25 different times. For me anyway, the best way is to make miles early on the fastest shortest path into southern Arkansas.


    [​IMG]


    She’s barely working in these cool morning temps.


    [​IMG]


    We crossed the border into Arkie late morning, and exited the 4 lane in Camden, just in time for lunch.


    [​IMG]


    According to our knowledgeable and friendly, yet toothless waitress, this is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the entire State. I’ve eaten here before and the food is just fine.


    After lunch, it’s Hwy 7 we seek, and we find it immediately. Any rider looking to run north/south through Arkansas need only find this lucky number on a State road sign. Immediately, the path starts getting curvy, and the air starts getting cleaner. We stopped at the Nimrod Dam to stretch our legs.


    I got a thing for bridges and this one is just fine and dandy.


    [​IMG]


    Mt. Nebo in the distance there is looking quite well today under those blue skies. The green rye grass blowing in the wind is pleasantly distracting me. I’ve got some cool tunes playing in my ear buds, and I can feel the real world fading fast in my mirrors.


    [​IMG]


    We ran through Russelville with no problems, and continued north into the Ozark mountains, stopping at the overlook south of Pelsor.



    [​IMG]


    We pull into Jasper no worse for the wear. It’s about 5:30 now, and with 500 miles beneath us, no one feels much like cooking. So we stop for dinner at this little café’.


    [​IMG]


    We’ve eaten here before and the food is good. I think everyone picked a wood fired pizza. My “supreme” was quite tasty.


    [​IMG]


    Disclaimer: In case you are new to a Pants ride report, let me orient you proper. In my 200,000 plus miles of motorcycling, when it comes to ride reports, it is my believe that people really only want to know two very important things: (1) where did you go?, and (2) what did you eat?. Now, in keeping with that theme, there is going to be food porn. Some may consider what I do on a tour to be “roughing it”, and in their own mind, they very well might be right. After all, roughing it is in the eye of the beholder. But one thing we should be able to agree on – we eat well on these trips. The food porn stands on its own merit.


    Now… where was I? Oh yeah, after dinner, we rode the last 10 miles up to the campground, stopping at the rather convenient liquor store right up the road. This one, brewed in Little Rock, was pretty good.


    [​IMG]


    We pitched our tents on the most level ground we could find, as the sun set on this gorgeous and awesome day. Mark arrived from Iowa after dark. Josh will be coming tomorrow.


    Mike’s wife, Ms. Pam, baked us some double chocolate brownies, and these made for a wonderful treat by the campfire.


    [​IMG]


    A great start to a great trip.


    Day 2: Riding and Hiking in the Ozark Mountains.


    I slept well in my tent, but unfortunately, my air mattress has developed a small leak. I woke up twice during the night on the ground. Oh well – can’t do anything about that.


    All things appear to be in order this morning at the camp.


    [​IMG]


    Think I’ll make myself a nice cup of Joe to get things going.


    [​IMG]


    A warm toasted bagel would be nice for breakfast too.


    [​IMG]


    We take our time and gear up for the day’s adventure. I can tell right out of the campground, it’s going to be a good one.


    [​IMG]


    Mark couldn’t agree more….


    [​IMG]


    We ran up and down and left and right through the good stuff. “Now be more specific!”, you might say. After all, the Ozarks are a big place. But truth is, it doesn’t matter. Once you get to the northwest corner of the State, ALL of the roads are terrific, and it really doesn’t matter which way you go. The chip seal pavement in Arkansas grips very well. The tree line is cut back at least 25 feet from the road, offering great visibility made even better by the leafless trees. This is a motorcyclist’s place – a rider’s place for sure.


    We find ourselves in the thriving metropolis of Deer, Arkansas, home of the Deer High School Antlers (no joke) about lunch time.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The food here is good, my swiss/mushroom burger was very tasty.


    [​IMG]


    After lunch, we were looking to stretch our legs out a bit, so we rode a short distance to this place.


    [​IMG]













    Mark wasn’t up for the walk, so he broke away and did some more riding.


    I’ve day hiked a good bit in Arkansas, but admittedly, never taken this trail before. We chose the King’s Bluff loop and right from the start, it’s a terrific walk.


    [​IMG]


    About a mile later, we get to the top of the waterfall, which is pumping very good today!


    [​IMG]


    Starting to see some big rocks too.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    This is good stuff, man.


    [​IMG]


    Tom has found a running creek.


    [​IMG]


    We wind our way down to the base of the waterfall.


    [​IMG]


    Mike’s warrior 2 pose was damm fine.


    [​IMG]


    We get to the base of the falls and immediately and instinctively, shoes must be removed.


    [​IMG]


    This is a BIG waterfall (110 feet, if I recall correctly), and we’ve got it all to ourselves.


    [​IMG]


    Sometimes I get stupid when I’m in my happy place, ya’ll.


    [​IMG]


    And sometimes, I get real.


    The reality at that moment is that everything is super fine in the sunshine. I think a man can learn a lot about himself at a waterfall. The white noise of the water is quite therapeutic. When you realize the volume of the water running before you, and the truly remarkable task that water has accomplished carving out the mountain rock over many millennia, it gets you to a fine place. It reminds you that time takes care of everything. Pandemics and hurricanes and other nuances of life come, and they go. But the water keeps running, relentlessly and without prejudice. It cleanses all in its path, and then it takes the impurities and sends it down the mountain. You just have to stop and sit long enough to understand it, accept it, and believe it. And when you do that, you REALLY do that, then the water can take your concerns with it too, and leave your soul clean and free.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The 3 of us separated a bit so that we could wander alone and enjoy the trail by ourselves. As I started heading more westerly back toward the bikes, the pedestal rocks started to appear quite majestically.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Throughout the Ozarks, at about this altitude, which I believe is roughly 1700 feet, this seam of limestone/sandstone is exposed. I really enjoyed exploring this area.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Who wouldn’t want to plop his fat arse on the top of these rocks, stare into the distance, and thank his lucky stars for the ability to do this?


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I caught up with Mike and we decided to walk the other loop, finding plenty of rocks over there too.


    [​IMG]













    Peace be with you, my brother. We are living right.


    [​IMG]


    We re-grouped with Tom at the bikes and headed back toward the campground. We stumbled upon Mark at the Liquor store. Seems he had a flat tire, so I patched it with a sticky string. As you can tell, he is really worried about it.


    [​IMG]


    The place next door (JJ’s Buffalo Bar and Grill) looked inviting, so we opted for outdoor seating just in time for happy hour.


    [​IMG]


    The chicken wings ain’t too shabby, ya’ll.


    [​IMG]


    After dinner, we rode 1 mile to the campground. Josh showed up just before dark. I don’t mind sharing that I was ecstatic to see him as it’s been way too long since we’ve shared memories together. We lit a decent fire and discussed the meaning of life. Of course, I was respectful and attentive. But between me and you, I know today’s meaning of life. Good roads, good trails, a good waterfall to take away my worries, terrific friends, and a decent beer to wash it all down. That was the meaning of life and today, I was living large.


    Tomorrow, we get to do it all over again.


    Day 3: Tell me about…. Missouri?


    A bit cooler than the night before, we woke up to the mid-30s. I put my ear plugs in because I’m next to Mark, and he snores louder than anyone I’ve ever met.


    Josh prefers hot tea to coffee, and I can accommodate that.


    [​IMG]


    We have breakfast and hot liquids and talk about choices for today. I suggest we run up to Missouri and see what that fuss is all about. I pull out the map and Mike starts plotting.


    [​IMG]


    Then we gear up and gas up.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We ride north to Bull Shoals and just miss the ferry. The wind coming over the lake is quite chilly.


    [​IMG]


    I’m just going with Mike’s plot.


    [​IMG]


    We get on the Peel Ferry and make the short run across to Missouri.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Highway 125 is totally awesome!!! A silky smooth road that twist and turns and runs up and down through the hills along Bull Shoals. It was literally like a 25-mile roller coaster. Josh and I took the lead and started ripping it. At one point, I downshifted to 3rd and let the red girl sing. I’d run her up to 7K approaching the curve, and then let off and let the engine braking pull me back to the apex. Then I’d give her the heat and do it again. And again and again and again….


    We got to this creek and I decided to stop and let the adrenaline wane while we waited for the others.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Hell yeah – this is good riding today!


    [​IMG]


    We grab a Subway in the town of Ozark, and then plot a ride west and south. Hwy 76, 160, and 90 were all very good roads – I highly recommend these for any rider.


    Late afternoon, we ended up in Jasper for dinner.


    [​IMG]


    Back at the camp, Josh took over fire duties, a job that he handled masterfully.


    [​IMG]


    Today was a riding day, and it was wonderful. I found uncharted water and uncharted land (to me). I shredded the tires with my buddy, whom I hadn’t seen in too long. I was in the zone and feeling it all day. The next time a non-rider ask me why I take the risk of a motorcycle, I’ll just think about today and then respond “you wouldn’t understand”.


    Today was a great day.
    #1
    EZMoney, Redfish Hunter and scootac like this.
  2. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    298
    Day 4: Carry me down the Buffalo River.


    Apparently, Josh is having mattress problems too, a minor inconvenience for the seasoned camper. None the less, I slept well and in usual fashion, awoken to the sound of the birds singing their songs of joy. Yesterday evening, we stopped at the grocery for supplies, including provisions to make my famous 3-ingredient Camp Eggs Breakfast.


    Step One: Brown the sausage.


    [​IMG]











    Josh picked up some thick slice bacon to go with our eggs.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Step 2: Add the eggs.


    [​IMG]


    Step 3: add the grated cheese (sorry, no picture of that)


    This morning, we will wrap that into a tortilla. Don’t forget the salsa!


    [​IMG]


    Not bad, if I don’t say.


    [​IMG]


    Today is gonna be awesome!! We are going to paddle the Buffalo River. I’ve done this before a few times in a canoe during the summers when the waster was low and slow. But never in the Spring. The rains have been consistent, as evident by water falling everywhere. Until yesterday, the river was at or above flood stage, so we bided our time and today, the conditions are just about perfect. It’s going to be sunny and relatively warm too, so today is the day.


    We gear up and ride to the outfitter in Ponca.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    Mike and I have a friend, Zach, that recently moved near here from North Carolina. Zach was supposed to be working, but we convinced him to join us and he met us at the outfitter with his truck and canoe. That proved to be quite useful. The outfitter was not providing shuttle service that day, but with Zach’s truck, they were willing to drive it down to the pull out location (Kyles Landing) and leave it there for us.


    So we pay the peeps and off we go to the put in landing.


    [​IMG]


    All experienced paddlers, Josh, Mike, and Tom rented “sit in” kayaks. Looking quite well, my friend!!


    [​IMG]


    Zach and his canoe were ready for some adventure!


    [​IMG]


    Since I’d never tried a kayak before, I opted for the more stable “sit on” model. Looking back, I probably should have chosen the sit in, as it would have been drier.


    Mark also opted for the sit on kayak. However, Mark, having never been on any boat before, was a bit nervous, and it showed. He may have even been a bit “shocked” (bad Pants).


    [​IMG]


    Everyone got in the boats and got situated, except Mark. Within feet of launching, Mark lost his balance and fell in the river. Mike and Josh helped escort him to the bank. He was wearing cotton clothing and soaked to the bone. He decided not to continue the trip and the outfitter brought him back to the store and refunded his money. I felt bad that his experience was so poor. I told him we would re-group this afternoon.


    And with that, we were off.


    [​IMG]


    I bought a new camera for this trip. This time, I chose the Fujifilm XP140. The lens is decent, but I chose this camera because it is waterproof and shockproof. It paid for itself on this day. I tethered it to my boat and got what I think are stupendous pictures.


    [​IMG]


    All told, we paddled 12 miles of the Buffalo River. The entire watershed is on Federally protected land, and it shows. We did not find one spec of trash all day. There were no buildings, camps, homes, stores, etc. to spoil any views.


    Just wonderful towering rocks above and below, all for us to enjoy on this Monday.


    [​IMG]


    I’m told what we went through was mostly class 1 and a few class 2 rapids. There were smooth sections in between rapids for us to enjoy. Josh, Mike, and Tom coached me on how to tackle the rapids, and I’m proud to report that I didn’t tip over all day. The sit on kayak was much wetter though, and water regularly splashed into the boat, a minor inconvenience.


    [​IMG]


    Mike and Tom were having big fun ripping around the eddies and surfing the larger waves. These two are experts!!


    [​IMG]


    Meanwhile, ole Zach is making this look effortless.


    [​IMG]


    We found a waterfall on the riverbank and stopped to stretch our legs and have a snack.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Then it was downstream for more fun.


    [​IMG]













    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We stopped at a popular spot called the Hemmed in Hollow and walked up the creek toward the falls.


    [​IMG]


    Nope – this ain’t the falls we are going to. This is just a teaser.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    At approximately 209 feet, this is the tallest waterfall between the 2 continental divides. If you look closely, you can see Josh exploring on the right side near the base.


    [​IMG]


    This definitely does not suck. The real world is so far away I can’t even think about it.


    [​IMG]


    We pulled out of the water late in the afternoon. Put on dry clothes back at the motorcycles, and ran back to the campground, where we found Mark. Turns out, he had a great day riding the motorcycle, and I was glad that he didn’t let the plunge this morning ruin his day. We ended up going to Harrison for pizza, and then back to the campground to wash a load of clothes and sit by the fire. A totally epic day that I will not soon forget.


    Day 5: Push Mountain and a Picnic.


    I’m in the groove now: vacation mode to the max. Things are just terrific and I’m taking it in as it comes. We get up in the morning, have coffee and breakfast, and then somebody says “what are we gonna do?” Today, my thoughts were Push Mountain. This is a great riding road with some nice sweepers and good grip. Every time I go to Arkansas, I try to find time to go to Push Mountain.


    Mike brought this really good book on Arkansas waterfalls, and I used it to search for something interesting on Push Mountain. Not surprisingly, there are many waterfalls on Push Mountain, and I picked an area to explore that I thought would be neat.


    And with that, off we go!!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We get to Push Mountain and it was sprinkling, so we didn’t “push it” too hard, pun intended. We had a little difficulty finding the place for the trailhead. It’s kind of desolate out here.


    [​IMG]


    Poolboy is hanging, ya’ll!!!


    [​IMG]


    Ah yes, there’s the trail head.


    [​IMG]


    Like everywhere else, the waterfall is pumping, and we walked all over it to check things out.


    [​IMG]



    This morning in Harrison, we stopped at the grocery and picked up some picnic supplies. Everyone is pitching in for the preparations.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Looking like a decent sandwich.


    [​IMG]










    If I’m lying, I’m dying…..


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Nice time walking on Push Mountain today.


    [​IMG]


    This is the essence of Motorcycle Touring to me. You can have the time of your life if you just do one simple thing: accept the fact that it is ALL good and the rest doesn’t matter. I cannot appreciate the benefit of over planning a trip. First, there are way too many unknowns to deal with ahead of time. Weather, physical health for the group, crowd avoidance, road closures/construction, and a myriad of other things can take your plans and toss them aside. The better choice for me is to free style it. Just decide at the last minute what you feel like, or what is best for the conditions, and go for it. There is no better way to free style than on the motorcycle. The journey is just as fun as the destination. And with that combination, you can’t lose.


    [​IMG]


    We returned to the bikes, and rode down the mountain toward Big Flat, AR. Then it was west on Hwy 14 toward Marshall.


    Hmmm… it must be mid-afternoon…..


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Look Ma, no hands!!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    All this week, we have been enjoying the Red Bud trees just popping with color. We were just a little too early for the Dogwoods, but we did see a few in bloom.


    [​IMG]


    A few of us stopped at the grocery in Jasper for some supplies. At the campground, I was happy to see my friend Gus. He just interviewed for a job (and got the job!!!) in a neighboring town just inside the Missouri border. He joined us for an evening. I hadn’t seen Gus in quite a few years, as he was living in Colorado.


    [​IMG]


    We decided to “cook” this evening at the camp. Steak salads. I got working on the veggies.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Vine ripe tomatoes in March – can’t beat it.


    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, Josh got a good fire going for the steaks.


    [​IMG]


    Now friends, let me give you a sound piece of advice. If you are inclined to have campfire steaks, and you are lucky enough to have Josh with you at that time, humbly step aside and let him do the grilling. Josh has cooked me quite a few campground steaks in my time, and I assure you, the man knows what he is doing. Just tell him how you like your steak, and get the hell out of the way.


    [​IMG]


    This is starting to look like something….


    [​IMG]


    Delicious!


    [​IMG]


    Mike and Tom each bought a nice bottle of wine. Of course, I had two holsters of shampoo with me, a mandatory moto-camping requisite. After dinner, we got some music going on the Bose Bluetooth speaker and had ourselves a fine time by the campfire.


    Life is good.
    #2
  3. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    298
    Day 6: Did somebody say spelunking?


    As usual, I woke up fairly early rested and refreshed. The clean mountain air suits me. I started rooting around Mark’s trailer and ice cooler for something to do for breakfast.


    Cheese quesadillas. That’ll work!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Mike, Josh, and I started kicking around the possibilities for the day. The radar is showing some very minor crap over us, but the forecast is saying that in a couple of hours, it’s going to pass. We gear up ready to ride, and just as we were getting ready to start the bikes, we heard something unusual striking surfaces:


    SLEET!!


    No joke, it was actually sleeting a few pellets. Obviously, we weren’t worried about it sticking, but just to be safe, we hung out at the rec center for the campground while the weather passed.


    Ping pong and pool, what’s your fancy?


    [​IMG]













    [​IMG]


    Chip shot, I probably missed it! Mike beat me like a drum!!


    [​IMG]


    As promised, the weather passed, and we geared up to ride to our next adventure.


    [​IMG]


    Lost Valley (just outside of Ponca, AR) is a cool place. A short easy trail to some nice waterfalls. Like everywhere else, the Red Buds are popping.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    This is the perfect time of year to visit Arkansas. The paddlers haven’t come out of the woodworks yet, and the summer campers are waiting for school to let out. The weather will be reasonable (for the most part). We really timed it well.


    [​IMG]


    Looks like Mark has found the first waterfall.


    [​IMG]


    We had fun climbing in the rocks near the fall.


    [​IMG]


    Why take the trail when we can jump rocks instead?


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The other waterfall is running pretty good.


    [​IMG]


    At the top of that fall is a cave.


    [​IMG]


    Did anyone say “spelunking”?


    [​IMG]


    A couple hundred feet inside the cave is a big room. I’ve been to it before and didn’t feel like getting too wet. But Josh, Tom, and Mike made it back there while Mark and I waited at the mouth of the cave.


    Then we started meandering our way back down the mountain.


    [​IMG]


    We got back to the bikes, and it’s time for more roller coaster!


    Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe!!!!


    [​IMG]


    What a nice day for a ride!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]














    We had lunch at the café in Kingston, and then took the Pig Trail (AR Hwy 23) south to our next stop. The twisties are in great shape, and the traffic is quite compliant.


    [​IMG]


    The Mulberry River is running good today, no surprise there.


    [​IMG]


    Midafternoon, just when my normal sweet tooth kicks in, we arrived.


    [​IMG]


    The Oark Café is as old as the hills and has served the locals and a lot of motorcyclist over the years. The food is good, and I really dig the atmosphere.


    [​IMG]


    But riders don’t come here for the atmosphere. They come here for ….. PIE!!


    I chose my usual blueberry a-la mode.


    [​IMG]


    Now Josh is on some kind of no carb diet shit, and to his credit, he has lost some weight and looks quite fit. I’ve been razzing him all week about it. This is no time to skimp on carbs, and I gently encouraged him to splurge a little.


    It worked – Cherry AND Pecan pie.


    [​IMG]


    It’s always a great treat at the Oark Café – a great ride to and from, and great eats while you are there.


    After pie, we mount up and take Hwy 123 north to Pelsor. Josh was leading and I was having fun following him. Following a good rider is a tricky situation. On the one hand, It’s great fun to watch the leader swing the bike to and fro, pick different lines, etc. But on the other hand, if you are watching another rider, you may not be watching the road and your own lines could be compromised. It takes a balance for sure.


    I’ve always loved the color on Mike’s Versys. He wasn’t crazy about it when he got it, but I think it’s grown on him, 50,000 miles later.


    [​IMG]


    In Pelsor, we turned left on Hwy 7, heading north toward the camp. Since everyone was still pretty full from the pie, we decided just to stop at the grocery in Jasper and get some Horse Divers to snack on at the camp.


    [​IMG]


    It’s been a terrific trip. Truly one for the memory book. My wife called and was getting nervous about a surprise birthday party she was planning for our daughter. I planned to go home the day after tomorrow, but I’ve had plenty of fun. If wifey needs some help, then hang on, my Dear – I’m on the way.


    Day 7: Shady Oaks to Lafayette, LA


    It got jacking cold last night. Bike thermometer says 28 and I believe it. I woke up at first light and packed up my gear inside of my tent just to start moving and warm up a little.


    We perused the leftovers for a breakfast idea, and grilled pineapple with our bagels was spot on.


    [​IMG]


    Then we loaded up the bikes. Mike is going to visit Zach for a night and go home tomorrow. The rest of us are heading to the barn today.


    So long and peace be with you, my friend. I will see you soon.


    [​IMG]


    So it’s just Tom and I for the ride home. We took the same route in reverse to get there. Tom is a retired Geologist and asked me if I knew of any rock shops we could stop at. No problem – I knew there were a couple in Jessieville.


    [​IMG]


    You talk about a kid in a candy store!!


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Stopped at this place just up the road for lunch.


    [​IMG]


    It was crowded with a lot of pickup trucks in the parking lot. I had high hopes.


    Meh…. The panini was just so so….


    [​IMG]


    We took a detour that I know of to avoid Hot Springs. The ride that way is much more pleasant.


    [​IMG]


    That color was gorgeous!


    [​IMG]


    As we go further south, the landscape changes a bit, and the road straightens a bit. But I was still enjoying myself.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]











    Just a few more sets of curves before we head for the border.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    The town of Camden has a few nice murals in the downtown area.


    [​IMG]


    That was the last picture I took. Back in Louisiana, we jumped on the 4-lane and lit the candles. I’d find a rabbit running about 85-90 and follow them with my radar detector on. There’s no problem with me enjoying the ride home, but when it’s over, it’s over.


    I got home right at dark, 2006 miles since my departure. My wife was eating dinner with our niece, making more party plans. But she returned shortly thereafter, and I was glad to see her and tell her about my great fun.


    The Spring season is a time for new birth. New greenery on the trees. New critters hatching and birthing. The warming atmosphere encourages us to get out and move, and that makes us feel better. This Spring feels particularly special to me. In a sense, the past year has been a relentless winter. We were shut in, and we were told to separate. I hope the worst of that is over. I’m equally hopeful that the restoration of the life that we knew before the winter is imminent. And I was ecstatic to rejoice in the new Spring with my buddies, enjoying the world, and our motorcycles.


    Stay thirsty, my friends….
    #3
    adixxon, EZMoney, bigjohnsd and 9 others like this.
  4. frizzen

    frizzen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    Hell Paso
    Beautiful pics. Not far from where I grew up in SE Kansas. The Buffalo River looks pretty much like it did 40 years ago when I floated it.
    #4
  5. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,300
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    Nicely Done!! Thanks!!
    #5
  6. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    13,552
    Location:
    Northcentral PA
    Really enjoyed your perspective of waterfalls and life!
    :thumb
    #6
  7. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21,781
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Absolutely fantastic on a Sunday morning with fresh snow after three weeks with bikes in traffic. It was like I was there with you fellas and could taste the food. :clap

    I agree on trip content photos. Ride, food, but I would add accommodations. I just love camp shots with the cooking over fire, the group task assignments. Some won’t like this but I almost never click on video. I frankly find them all much the same. Seen one, seen em all. That’s just me perhaps. :dunno:shog
    #7
    bigjohnsd and Redfish Hunter like this.
  8. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,920
    Location:
    Prairieville, Louisiana
    This RR was okay...could have been better with More Planning! A Well Planned Trip is a Great Trip!

    Now that we got that out of the way, Great Ride Report my friend. I appreciated the pics of Josh and Mark, I have not seen either of those guys in a long time. Hell, I haven't seen any of you guys in a long time.

    I would also like to compliment you and Josh on your choice of cutlery. A good knife is invaluable.

    Until I see you again, Ride Safe.
    #8
    bigjohnsd likes this.
  9. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,228
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Thanks for posting up your brilliant trip !
    Arkansas is On my List. !
    #9