Sunday, August 3, 2008

(Day 6) Late start, wet afternoon…

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
Day 6
Beebe, AR to Russellville, AR

The lady at Garmin had promised me the CD that I needed to fix my routes by noon today. I “slept in” to 8am, called the front desk when I was awake and learned that the CD had not arrived yet. So, I took my time getting breakfast at Waffle house, reorganizing my luggage, changing oil and adjusting some of my controls. One thing I wanted to do was move my handlebars forward to make standing up more comfortable. In the process, I found the 10mm socket that I couldn’t find before leaving:

LMAO, I drove all the way to Arkansas and this socket never fell off. I had already replaced my socket set with another 10mm socket, so now I had two. By the way, moving my handlebars forward allowed me to stand for longer periods of time, I’m glad I took the time to do this.

My cell phone indicates that I called Garmin at 9:49am to get a tracking number for the CD. A representative at Garmin says, “That CD is on backorder, it will be 2-3 weeks before it ships out”. I’m speechless.

I start packing up immediately and looked at the radar. Rain was going to be unavoidable. A late start and a wet ride, wonderful. 1st picture of the day:

And then we get into the good stuff, but rain was definitely on the horizon:

This is where I run into Bernie and LeJean, they were just simply “riding around”:

LeJean reminded me of Bill Clinton, maybe it’s an Arkansas thing? I asked them if it was going to rain (they were traveling away from the dark clouds, I was headed directly towards them), they both said very sarcastically and almost in unison, “Nahh, no way, it’s not going to rain…nope…lol”.

At this point, I put my camera, phone and wallet in ziploc bags and rode off into the wet stuff. And just as expected, the rain came. Nice and steady; great for the crops, but not so great to ride in. Soon afterwards, I see a man moving from his tractor shed near the road, to his ranch house further back. I see an open carport, so I press my luck and drive into the man’s driveway. He waves me in and I park under the carport. Meet Gene:

Gene, his wife and his mother were the nicest people I met throughout the entire trip. I’m pretty sure I could have stayed overnight and would have had dinner and breakfast. And, if time hadn’t been an issue, I may have let this happen. But, I decided just to wait for the rain to settle down a bit and head on.

I thought I would be able to take a few pictures through the ZipLoc bag, but they didn’t turn out too well:

The rain stopped for a bit and I stumbled upon some awesome cloud formations. But, unfortunately, my camera was unable to capture any of it. I’ll post it anyway, because it was one of my favorite sights:

I ate lunch here:

I was completely wet, and getting my “water proof” gloves off and on was a chore. I just took my time and enjoyed the rushing waters before the rain started to pick up and I moved on again:

Here was my first grand view of the Ozarks:

I looked for campsites all throughout the Ozark National Forest. I found a few places, but they were all unmarked. Not wanting to do any illegal camping, I searched my GPS for the nearest State Park which turned out to be on Lake Dardanelle, about 20 minutes south of the trail:

(Remember the bungee webbing hanging off the back of the bike)

As I was staking the tarp out, I got a little lazy and missed the stake with the rock I was using. However, my hand did not miss:

That first aid kit that had been “getting in the way” of all of my more important stuff previously, was now a very welcome site. With the cut being directly in the crease of my hand, it took a few extra days to heal.

One bad thing lead to another, about the time I took this picture of the park headquarters (Arkansas has some really nice State Park facilities):

… I felt a minor disruption somewhere in my drivetrain. It went away immediately, so I thought nothing more of it. More on that later…

I drove around Russellville for awhile and came across a Whatta-burger. I have heard great things about this place from a couple Texans, so I figure I’d give it a shot:

Let me tell ya, What A Burger!... no, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but still a pretty good burger. The milkshake was better.

But, it all had hit the spot. I was enjoying the town, making small talk with all the laid-back country folk and soaking in the beautiful weather. Then I find this in the parking lot as I was rolling the bike backwards:

In the brake caliper you’ll see what’s left of my bungee netting. Flippity-flopping, gee-digity, pooper-scooper. I got what I could out but decided to take it back to camp to get the rest out:

It turns out that park landscaping around my campsite was a great bike lift. I had to take the whole caliper off and remove the pads to get everything out. Minor inconvenience.

I was in the bivy before sunset. Tomorrow’s plan is to find a new bungee net and to simply make it to Alma, AR before heading into Oklahoma.

Total mileage: 1331
Daily mileage: 162
Wildlife observed: Deer, rabbits, birds
Favorite Sight: Ozark panoramic views
Favorite Scent: The ol’ sniffer just doesn’t work as well as it used to.
Favorite Sound: Older couple at Whatta-Burger: “Where are you traveling from?” “Charlotte, NC” “Oh my, where are you traveling to?” “I’m trying to make it to Oregon” “OH MY!”
Favorite Taste: Whatta-burger milkshake
Favorite Feel: Getting my wheel back on
Ailments: Small cut to hand, holding up well otherwise.

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