Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ozark Getaway Part Three

We did have so much fun around the Courthouse Square in Mt. View. I've mentioned the music. I haven't mentioned the food.

First though, you've got to drive/ride out to Fifty-Six for one of their hamburgers. Always. ALWAYS delicious. Oh. Fifty-Six is the name of the town.

While listening to the music on the Square, you must get a scoop of ice cream. I did. Three different days/times. Black walnut - in tribute to my dad. Chocolate. Then again, chocolate. I am assuming that the brand was Yarnell since that is an Arkansas brand, but I didn't ask. The chocolate was so creamy.

Changing subjects...have you seen the fabric sleeves that look as if you have a real tattooed sleeve? I have a t-shirt with tattooed sleeves. I put it on one morning. Sam said that when I got off the bike at the restaurant for breakfast that a man sitting in a rocker on the 'front porch' looked disgusted. And when we walked into the restaurant a few heads turned and gawked. (I loved it!) ...You can see similar sleeves here ...mine were actually attached to a short sleeve t-shirt.

So...we are at the Square that afternoon. Standing... since we don't carry folding chairs with us on the Harleys. This guy in front of me stands and moves his lawn chair out of the way so that two older ladies can maneuver around and out of the way (Sam and I are patiently waiting cause we are going to claim the rockers that they vacated.) This guy moves his chair back in place and proceeds to sit down. Unfortunately he has placed his very nice straw cowboy hat in his chair. I nearly panicked for him, saying "No! Your hat!" As I reach out and grabbed him. Well. Actually I grabbed his butt. ;o) Never pass an opportunity to grab a nice man's butt...or a man's nice butt...I always say. About the time I did it...I realized what I'd done. I said, "OH!" and jerked my hand back. Too late. His wife saw. And she laughed.

We sat down in the recently vacated rockers and laughed along with the couple. I have to say that the wife enjoyed it so much more than her husband. She said she really had a hard time keeping him in line and just wait until she got home to tell the grown kids. ;o)

Sam and I eventually walked across the Courthouse Square to eat Mexican food at El Tres Amigos. (Yes, I know enough Spanish to know that it should be Los Tres Amigos.) Remember, I have on the tattoo sleeve t-shirt. Two Hispanic young men, employees, made a beeline for me. When the first one got closer, he was still smiling, but his face fell a bit. He and his buddy wanted to check out my tattoos. That shirt is so much fun!

Saturday night we went to the White River Hoedown. We sat beside a couple from northern California. We talked and laughed before the show even started. He started it...he 'saved the seats for us and would've baked a cake but he didn't know how long it would take us to get there.' I replied that I'd bought the ice cream that afternoon but he never showed up so I had to eat it all. After bantering back and forth a bit I advised him not to get up and leave his cap/hat in the seat. He gave me a closer look then smiled. 'I saw you! You had on the t-shirt that looked like you had tattoos. You're the woman who grabbed that guy on the butt to keep him from sitting on his hat.'

Geesh. Can't do anything any more without somebody watching!

Ozark Getaway Part Two

Riding a motorcycle puts you up front and personal with everything around you. The heat. The cold. The wet. The steep, narrow, curving roadways. (Yep. Had to throw that in again.)

The aromas wafting from the roadsides can be so intoxicating...honeysuckle, ligustrum. Oh! One fence was just covered with an antique rose bush...and the bush was filled to almost solid white with blooms. It may have been a Lady Banks.

In addition to the sweet intoxicating scents from flowers, several hazards abound.

18-wheelers hauling cattle
Dairy farms
Chicken houses

Now, roadkill falls into two categories. Fresh or putrid. Ah, yes. There is a difference. As you approach and pass fresh roadkill, you detect a metallic coppery scent. Putrified...well, that needs no explanation.

I learned. When I saw something in the road, or a cattle truck headed my direction, or chicken houses in the pasture, I would take several deep breaths. Then hold my breath as I approached the offending object. As I passed it, I would slowly release my breathe. Worked most of the time to keep the lingering scent from hanging around.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ozark Getaway

On motorcycles. Yes. I rode my own this time. So proud of myself! Last year about this same time we got rained on going 'up.' This time rain wasn't predicted until Sunday...the day we planned to head home.

Texas roads are better (straighter and flatter)

Damnable grooves during an Arkansas road construction that went on ... like ... FOREVER it seemed. Try that on just 2 wheels! I dare ya! chatter...chatter...chatter

Repeat after me..."Never, ever. And I do mean NEVER attempt Hwy. 9 from Clinton AR to Mt. View AR. Never, ever, NEVER, EVER AGAIN!"

Have you ever in your entire life heard of a 15 mph curve? FIFTEEN MPH CURVE?! That's not a curve! That's a 45 degree or tighter TURN. Now listen up people. 15 MPH is NOT A CURVE!! I rest my case!

Do you know what is at the bottom of an "Oh, SHIT!" downhill 25 MPH curve? A BRIDGE! In the curve, aka turn! And they are also in just about every other 25-40-50 MPH downhill curve. A bridge! A narrow bridge at that!

Do you know what the double yellow stripes down the center of the road mean on those narrow pigtrail roads in Arkansas? NOTHING! NADA! ZILCH!! Which means you better stay on your side of the road because there's no guarantee that the car/pickup/18-wheeler that's coming atcha is gonna stay on his/her side of the road.

We hit the road between Clinton and Mt. View eight hours after we left the house. We stopped several times to walk around a bit, get a drink of water or a 'coke,' to eat lunch. So it wasn't all eight hours on the road, but it was still EIGHT HOURS...then get hit with those tight turns and curves. I was petrified! I took them at the recommended posted speed, but the locals in their cars/pickups didn't like it very much. TOUGH! I didn't want to get scraped off the pavement or untwirled from around a tree trunk. Eventually there was a straight (LOL) stretch of road where four or five cars and pickups could get around me...the last...a woman...laid on her car I could give a care! ;o) I didn't try to keep up with Sam and I didn't let the vehicles behind me 'push' me. I'm telling you! I could've crawled around some of those curves/turns faster on my hands and knees than I was riding around them!!

I talked to God. I told Him that I would not ride 'over my head' and He could take care of the rest. AMEN!!

Sam pulled over one time to let me catch up with him...I didn't stop...I just kept right on going. So, now I am in the lead. I had two or three more vehicles behind me when I noticed an 18-wheeler back there. Since I'm from a truck driving family...I didn't want him mad at me. Lo and behold! Thank you God! A convenience store! I whipped my turn signal on faster than you could blink and pulled into the lot...right in front of the pumps...hit the kill switch...put the kick stand off the bike and looked Sam square in the eyes when he stopped beside me. "I am NOT having fun!" I wanted to cry. This narrow, crooked, steep road was 38 miles of sheer white knuckle terror!

Sigh. I made it to the Red Bud Inn in Mt. View and parked my bike. I didn't move it until we got ready to leave...rode two-up with Sam the whole time we were there.

I love the winding narrow twisting roads when I ride with him. You know something? Hwy 9 north of Mt. View going to Melburne Arkansas (where NASCAR racer, Mike Martin, has a car dealership) is just as crooked as the southern part?! What WERE they thinking. started out as a game trail. The Indians walked along the trail turning it into a path that the first trappers followed. Somebody got the bright idea to go over the mountains in a wagon and they continued to follow the game trails or the path of 'least resistance' whenever they could. Then the Model T's followed behind the wagons. My question is when somebody finally went to college and got the 'engineer' diploma...couldn't they figure out a better way to build a road besides following a long ago game trail? HUH?! ;o)

Mt. View was so enjoyable! YOU've got to go there if you like music at all. Old-time music now! Mountain music, some country, some bluegrass...acoustic guitars, fiddles, mandolins, banjos, bass fiddles. You can find just about anything you like on the Courthouse Square. If you play, take your instrument, they will scoot over and let you pull up a chair!

Two groups worth mentioning:
The Turner Family from Mt. View. A wonderful gospel group. A dad, two grown daughters, and a young son. The youngest daughter caresses that banjo and can make the most beautiful music flow from it.

Cross Creek is from Paris Texas! They will be playing at the HWY 80 Mission in Longview TX June 6. (I think that's what we were told.) - Hmmm...can't find their MySpace page...But I did find a photo. The three women are sisters. The man with the fiddle is standing almost in front of his wife. ALRIGHT!!! Back to edit again. Finally found their MySpace page!

We went to the Cash's White River Hoedown Saturday. The show was good and hilarious at times! We laughed so hard during the comedy.

I asked Sam to ride out to Leslie...Yes, it's a town just like Shirley. BTW, those of you who don't know me personally...guess what my parents' names are? Leslie AND Shirley. ;o) Anywho...the road to Leslie was not as winding and treacherous. Same 38 miles but only the last two miles are tight curves. So, that's the direction we headed Sunday morning to go home. Only's raining. Not storming, but a steady rain. Yuck. We have all the appropriate riding gear so suited up and headed out at a nice leisurely pace.

We stopped at Clinton for fuel and breakfast. Waited and rested a bit then started out again. I didn't get antsy until Morrilton. Like...PULL OVER SAM! He's in front. I turned my blinker on in plenty of time for him to see...only he didn't. We get out of Morrilton and cross the Arkansas River bridge. It RAINING harder and the wind is gusting. And I'm on a bridge WAAAAYYYYY up in the air. I can barely see Sam for the rain. I WANT TO STOP NOW! Lo and behold. Thank you God! I see a convenience store. Deja vu' (more of them French words). ;o) I turn my blinker on and turn in. I watch as Sam continues down the road. I park and walk to the front and wait for the returning lone rider. When I see a bike, I wave, point to the side where I'm parked, and walk into the store...dripping water everywhere. Yep, it was Sam. We pulled off wet gear...and I do mean wet. My feet are sloshing my gloves are wet and yucky. I'm not cold though...ah...always a silver lining in the cloud.

Get something to drink. Go back out to the bike to get my paperback. Read until the rain slacks off...some...potty break...head back out yet again. When we got to Mt. Ida, somehow I'm in the lead again. LOL Sam's probably afraid I'll pull over without him knowing again. ;o) I pulled over and looked at him when he stopped. "I'm tired. Find out if there's a motel, a B&B or if someone will rent a bedroom or their camper for the night." We survey our surroundings and guess what I see? No...not a convenience store...a MOTEL!!! Mt. Ida Motel. Remember the first motels? Motor courts? That's what this was. Older than dirt! A bit run down. But clean and only $40. LOL

We slept late this morning. Although it wasn't raining, it was still dreary looking. Suited up. Again. Headed out. Again. Somewhere down the road we stopped for fuel. A car pulled up beside me. The window rolled down and I thought..."Ah-oh. Irate because I was going too slow to suit him." An older couple looked at me. "You were lucky back there. We've followed you since Mt. Ida. A deer ran out right behind you and in front of the car right in front of us. It slipped and scrambled around on the wet pavement. Got it's feet back under it, then headed back the way it came." I know I looked at him blank-faced. That's not what I was expecting to hear and it just didn't register. I didn't think to tell him about the promise I made to God about not riding over my head and He would handle the rest. Well...He did!

We ate lunch...headed out again. Had just a few sprinkles on us the other side of Dierks then the glorious blue sky started showing. We stopped at the next town and shucked the rain gear off and put on sunglasses. The rest of the ride home was sweet! We stopped in New Boston for David Beard's Catfish King...catfish of course.

So. There's the saga. Photos? Yes. I took my camera. No. I didn't take it out of the bag...not once! Like when was I going to have time? Going around those 15 mph TURNS? I'm truly surprised that I didn't get one single photo.

Hopefully this make up for the lack of photos and for this post being like the Energizer bunny...going on and on and on...