Road trip

Ozark Escape April 18 – 21

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!

You can see all of the pictures from this event here.

Road trip

Colorado Ride Report – The last days!

June 17-18th – The Last Days
Evergreen Colorado – The HEAT of Texas (Not heart I meant HEAT)
All good things must come to an end.

It was hard getting moving this morning. the brisk 40 degree morning felt wonderful and we knew later in the day that we would be back in the HEAT of Texas. We finished our last minute packing, said goodbye to our most gracious of hosts and headed out of town.

Remember that drive I told you about a few days ago? Well today I got to do it in the daylight and it was much easier to do when you could see where all the ruts were. The girls drove down with Pete so if we dumped the bikes only our ego would get hurt. They took some pics of us on the way down.

The ride out of the Denver area was not bad at all. We made it out of town pretty quick. The further south we got the hotter it got. We were already missing the cooler temps. We slabbed it most of the way as we had to get 600+ miles back to Amarillo for the evening. It was not a bad ride until that last hour into Amarillo. Pete said his bike registered a 103 for a temp.. uuugh where are those 40’s when you need them? haha! We took a few pics but not many on this long, hot day. You can see them below.

We arrived at the hotel in Amarillo at the same time as a tour bus with a bunch of Aussies. It was awesome trying to understand what the hell they were saying. they were all friendly and loved seeing the bikes. They could not beleive that we were out in the heat. After a great meal at Arby’s we took a dip in the pool and called it a night. We were getting up early to beat the heat and try to get home before too late in the afternoon. I won’t go into much detail about the last day. IT WAS HOT about sums it up. We did the 287 shuffle back to 380 and then shot home. It was a great trip. The last day was tough, but it always is. I know we will have many memories that will be with us for years to come.

Got home with the odo reading 2828 miles for the trip. We did not even unpack the bike. We went inside took a shower, went and shared a small dinner and crashed.

Visions of Colorado in our dreams… you can count on that!

Road trip

Big Bend Ride Report Posted

Well it only took me a few days but I have the entire report posted. I know it is long but it was a wonderful trip and the pictures do not come close to showing actually how beautiful it was down there. (Remember to click on the pictures to see the full size version)

Here is the breakdown of the entire trip.

Tuesday April 8: Prep Day
Wednesday April 9: Off we go
Thursday April 10: Alpine here we come
Friday April 11: Big Bend – River Road WOW!!
Saturday April 12: McDonald Observatory – Ft. Davis
Sunday April 13: Long way home.

Picture Galleries.

My pictures
Rob’s Pictures
Vern’s Pictures
Jackie’s Pictures

Road trip

Cook Out Mena Arkansas Style !

A group of us got together and decided to run away from some of the Dallas heat and have a little camping trip to the Mena Arkansas area. We got three camping areas side by side so we would have plenty of room for cooking out, lounging around and telling stories. If you have never camped or stayed at the lodge, it is a treat. They have a good place to eat and the camp grounds are clean and the bathrooms are as good as they get in these type of places. You can read more about the lodge here: Queen Wilhemina Lodge

We had decided that we would have kick stands up at 7AM, so we could get on the road before it got really hot. We all met up at the Racetrac in Mckinney off 75. I rolled up at 10 minutes till 7 and there were a group of bikes already there. I noticed a Gold Connie like mine. We would be joined by Tom and Scott from the Houston area. They had seen the post on my web site and got a camp ground right next to ours. We had met Tom in the Hill country during a TCAT trip so it was a nice to see him again. His friend Scott tagged along, this was his first big road / camping trip. I do not think he will forget it anytime soon.

A nice group of machines.

Rob’s new BMW

The Houston guys had joined us.

We headed out on time and the group looked like this: Me (Kawasaki Concours), My brother Vern (Suzuki Wee-Strom), Rob S (BMW 1200 GT), Pete R (Honda ST 1300), Eric (Triumph Sprint), Dave E (Triumph Trophy) Paul (Triumph Bonneville), Tom (Kawasaki Concours) and Scott (BMW 1200CL) so we had a pretty good group of bikes. We had decided to slab it to Mena, get camp set up and then ride in the afternoon. We headed out on 75 and things were great, the weather overcast and cool. We were running along smoothly until we reached the area around Atoka Oklahoma. We stopped for fuel and some of the guys put on rain gear, it looked dark, but it also looked like it was clearing just down the road. This was not the case. (I did not put on gear, I had a fairing that would keep me dry.. yeah right!) This would be the last time any of us were dry the rest of the day. We left the gas station and then all hell broke loose. It started raining hard, then harder, then crazy hard. I had to pull over at a gas station as I could not see a thing and the road was also under construction so that did not help. I had left my rain suit in the garage and I remember telling myself to grab it on the way out. I was soaked.

It was raining very hard

My brother trying to figure out what part of his body is not wet.

Paul told us to pack rain gear.

Rob trying to find the DRY route to Mena..

Well there was a break in the action, so we decided to head out. We headed out to 43 to cut across to the skyway. We were rained on the entire time. It would slow down but it rained 95% of the time. We got to the Dam at Sardis and it had stopped raining. We took a break while people tried to collect their thoughts and drain the water from their boots and socks.

Eric drying out his socks.

That is a great picture of the weather that would catch us and make our ride the rest of the way to the Lodge terrible.

We took off from the dam and got stuck in hard rain again. We did this all the way to the lodge. The bad part was the Talemina Scenic Drive was under fog as well as all of the rain. That was not a fun ride as it gets twisty in parts and no one could see 10 feet in front of them. It was slow going until we reached the lodge.. FINALLY! I was freezing my ass off. We were all soaked and we just wanted to get out of the rain. We were inside the lodge and the people behind the desk must have felt sorry for us as they gave us towels and let us dry off in the lobby. Paul and Dave had a room so we all threw our stuff in their rooms and tried to dry off.

We finally got warm and dry and we decided that we needed to pitch camp and get things moving. It stayed dry the entire time we set up camp. We were all looking forward to an afternoon ride. It was only 2:30PM and there was plenty of light left. Well these plans never panned out. After we pitched camp the sky opened up again. We were all getting soaked again. Pete and Dave had brought some sun tents, we were all cuddled under the tent, drinking some beer and hanging out. It was then we realized that the tent had a few leaks. The wind picked up and we also noticed that the netting on the side of this tent just let the rain come in. so now we were huddled in the middle of the tent just trying to stay semi dry. It did not work. I do have to say that I have never laughed so hard in my life. We had a great time laughing and joking, making the best of a rainy situation.

The bikes getting washed.. again.

Pete trying his new “you can’t see me” outfit.

Dave’s wife Traci summed it up best ” You can’t make this shit up” We laughed our ass off.

Beer makes the rain go away… NOT!

It did clear up and we all headed down to the lodge for dinner. The over look at the lodge was beautiful. We just hoped that we had seen the last of the rain. Tomorrow would be a new day with roads to ride and friendships to build.

I will write more later this evening. If you want to see all of the pictures go here:
Picture Gallery – Mena Arkansas – June 06