The day had finally arrived. The planning was complete and Jamie and I were loading up and heading out to the Ozark Great Escape. The destination was Mountain Home Arkansas, right in the middle of the famed Ozarks. To say we were excited was a huge understatement.
We slabbed our way to the hotel as rain was in the forecast and getting caught in twisty roads during a hard rain storm is not my idea of fun. We road most of the way in cool, but dry weather. That ended on the last 30 miles of our trip. It rained buckets and it was a great test for our rain gear.
As we rolled into the hotel, we were greeted by a minimum of 30 motorcycles. There was another group from Michigan (MSTR) staying at the same hotel. It made us smile. More bikes equal more fun. Most of the attendees were going to ride up on Friday. We rode up early as some of our friends from the Dallas area came up so we could do a nice loop on Friday. It was great getting to spend some time with old and new friends. The weekend was setting up to be a great one.
Friday April 19th – Overcast skies, cool temps and Fantastic Roads.
We had a gathering time set for 8am. As we got the bikes ready, it was apparent that the temps were not as high as the weatherman had predicted. It was 46 when we headed out under overcast skies. The weather looked threatening, however we all headed out with our spirits high.
A short 30 minutes into our ride, we turned onto the famous push mountain road (PMR) or Arkansas 341 if you are keeping score at home. As always the road is a brilliant example of twist and turns, that warm the soul. That was a good thing as it was cold, with temps dropping into the low 40’s. After running PMR we were headed to Mountain View for breakfast, however much to our surprise, the old Cody’s in Fifty Six AR has been reopened and branded as Hunters. We made a quick U-turn and had breakfast there. We were not disappointed. Good food and warm coffee, what else could we have asked for?
After breakfast we took a nice 230 mile loop. The day warmed up a little, but we never saw rain. The traffic was light on all roads, so the riding was very enjoyable. We hit some Arkansas favorites like AR14, 74, 16, 123, 7. It still amazes me how good the riding is, in our great state. We are indeed spoiled when it comes to wonderful motorcycle roads.
We stopped for lunch in Jasper AR, at the Ozark Cafe. All of us were chatting about how we had missed the riding during the winter months and that this trip was a good way to kick off the riding season.
We got back to the hotel, to see many familiar smiling faces. After some quick catching up we all loaded up and headed out for a catfish dinner at Fred’s Fish House. The atmosphere was amazing, the views incredible and the food was pretty darn good as well. The only bummer was when we were checking out the owner seemed very testy with us and the staff. Maybe he was just having a bad day. We ended the day, making plans for the first official day of the Ozark Escape. We made plans to meet in the lobby at 8am, with kickstands up at 8:30. This would allow for the temps to warm up and the roads to be good and dry.
As Jamie and I were going over the days events, we both were smiling from ear to ear. This was day one and tomorrow was going to be another day of awesome riding.
Saturday April 20th – Great weather, Superb roads and Awesome friends!
The morning greeted us with a sunny warmth that had been missing from the previous day. The temp gauge on the Versys recorded 51° and it was not even 8AM. Today was the planned route with the MSTA gang that had been posted on the website. We had a group a little larger than I usually like, but it was going to be an easy pace for most of the ride. Some of the members decided to meet us at the breakfast location and this worked out well.
We all rolled out and took a nice leisurely ride through the Bull Shoals lake area. I had been in contact with Connie’s Cafe, so they knew our group was on the way. I loved the fact that they kept up with the group on social media and knew we were on the way.
Breakfast was great and we all had a wonderful time, getting to catch up with each other and to meet new friends is always a great way to start the day. The group seemed to all get along and the riding styles were all pretty close. It was fun meeting new people and for Jamie and I, we are always excited to meet new couples that ride.
Special shout out to Becky & Jeff from Louisiana. Not only are they a couple that ride, but they also ride a couple of Versys!
We all loaded up and headed down the road. We will be crossing Bull Shoals Lake using the services of the Peel ferry. It is a free service that shuttles cars across the lake into Missouri. It takes a lot of miles off the ride and gets us to the trophy road, that much quicker. The road I am speaking of is 125 in Missouri. Folks it is one of the best roads you will ever ride. Its beautiful sweeping turns that seem to last forever are a true test of any motorcycle enthusiast. The pavement is flawless, the banks are perfect, the rolling hills and awesome vistas make it hard to concentrate. With that being said, you better pay attention. The road is never straight for any amount of time. It is one of our favorite roads. It is a must ride.
We all enjoyed 125 and smiles were wide and plentiful. We made our way through the back roads of Missouri to our designated lunch stop. We were all ready for a break and the Rockbridge Trout & Game Ranch is a great place to catch your breath and stretch your legs. The food is good and the scenery is breathtaking. We enjoyed our time here, not getting in a rush as we all wanted to take in this wonderful day. It is days like this that seemed specifically designed for us “Biker” types.
The day ended with a spirited ride back to the hotel. Everyone took some time to relax and take in what the day had supplied for us. We all were a little saddened that the event would be ending soon and we would all be parting ways. The group all loaded up one more time this fine day as we all road down the rode to take part in our last meal as a group. It seems like all we do on these trips is eat. What’s better than riding fantastic roads with good friends and finishing up all breaking bread and reminiscing about the good and bad of the day? ,
Sunday April 21th – Easter Sunday, All good things come to an end!
The morning started off with all of us saying our goodbyes. The Texas group was up early and left the hotel by 7AM. The rest all took off at random times, after eating breakfast and getting some coffee. Jamie and I finished our trip riding with our good friends Bill & Gayla. Not a bad way to end any trip.
I still have to pinch myself to realize that I life in this area and we can do these roads almost anytime we want. If you have not ridden in this area, you must find a way to make it happen. Reach out to jamie and I as we would love to show you around. Until next time, ride safe and be kind!