I tend to throw myself into things very quickly. I went from having no motorcycles to having 3 in the garage as well as full cold gear, summer gear, and full leathers in roughly 6 months. In that 6 months I also went to Deal’s gap and saw my first wreck happen in front of me as well as later on went on a 3 day overnighter into AR by myself. That’s kind of neither here nor there, nor the reason I’m banging this out but if you know me you know I’m flighty at best so eh just deal with it haha.
OK, so anyway, I have always taken motorcycles very seriously. Serious in a sense is that there is a very real possibility that you could die on any given time you take it out. Of course you’re not going out to die, but they are called accidents because you didn’t mean for them to happen. When I got into riding I came to terms with this in my head. I literally go on information crunches on hobbies. Always have. So I read books, watched videos, went to form clinics, and I still do. A buddy of mine one time told me “Quit thinking so hard about it and just ride” which I can do, but only when I’m actually in some serious twisty bits. In idle times I’m constantly thinking of form, lines, position, gear selection, suspension settings, tire pressures, and that’s just a small list I can come up with off the top of my head. Anyhow I overthink things a lot but that’s just me.
So riding. It’s amazing. Stellar. Spectacular. It’s something you can only get a feel for by doing it. No way to explain it. I love riding and I love to travel. It’s truly an amazing thing. One of the writers for cycle world I think put it also in to perspective in that he said (loosely quoted) that he had trouble identifying with people who weren’t used to constant states of mild panic. Which is pretty much motorcycles. A state in which mild panic to sever panic can strike in a millisecond. Ever crested a hill on a two lane back country road to see a 90 degree turn facing you with some guy mowing his lawn spitting it all out into the apex of the turn and very surreally and calmly think to yourself “I’m going to crash”? I have. Actually I made it through but whoa.
Moments of mild panic happen pretty much every ride. They are scary sometimes, as well as amazing at others. Scary when it’s something unexpected like sand or grass on the road. Amazing when all the reading and information crunching that you have done gets you through a tight spot. For someone who doesn’t know motorcycles and turning/riding I can explain briefly that EVERYTHING that your body thinks you should do to make a motorcycle do something is WRONG. If you want to turn left you turn the bars to the right and vice versa. If you’re going to fast in a corner HIT THE BRAKES is what your brain screams at you, but this is wrong, as soon as you’ve hit the brakes you’ve essentially decided that you’re going to crash. Same with in a corner standing the bike up because you’re going to fast, this also is just basically deciding to crash. There are other things as well but again you’d have to ride to know them. The amazing part of mild panic is when you’re in a corner and going what you think is too fast for your abilities and your brain is going TO FAST TO FAST HIT THE BRAKES STAND IT UP HIT THE BRAKES WE’RE GONNA DIE STOP STOP STOP and this is your primal brain telling you to do this, but the amazing part is where your thinking brain does the right thing, stays on the throttle, looks through the turn, and leans the bike further over and you make it through. Amazing.
Humans on the whole are herd animals. We congregate. This can be said for pretty much every hobby. Motorcycles included, it’s great to sit around and rap about a recent ride. Or even being on a group ride can be great because at the next break helmets come of and there’s instant chatter about whatever mild panic was experienced. “DUDEOGMYOUSEETHATSANDINTHECORNEROMGOGMGOGMG” “WHOAIKNOWIHITITANDSLIDETWOINCHESBOTHTIRESHWLIEADLA” “Hey guys you see that sand?” “YES!!”.
As well as just regular meet up to watch races and talk about motorcycles. Really as a motorcyclist of any class(cruiser, sport, standard, dirt) we rarely need a reason to sit around and talk about bikes. This also comes in handy because in our “herd” if you will, amazing amounts of help can be found. Bike breaks down, you post about it, you’ll have people you never even met that will come pick you up. Sitting on the side of the road motorcyclists passing by will stop to make sure you’re ok. Also you find yourself going out of your way to help others, I’ve stopped for more than a few broken down bikes in my truck, gotten them gas, let them use my cell, even helped them fix their bikes. It’s not a bad thing that you’re in such a herd, it’s a very good thing indeed.
As with anything though, the good and the great comes with the bad. Being a motorcyclist, you will lose friends. You will pull people out of the ditch. You will watch them get lifelighted. You will have the gut dropping experience of leading a ride and getting to a break stop and waiting, waiting, waiting… then having to gear back up and backtrack to where your buddy decided it would be a good place to toss his bike into a bunch of huge rocks. You’ll be in the herd and hear of others misfortunes as well. Depending on the seriousness of the crash it will be met with sorrow, remorse, humor, or a myriad of things that help us cope with the inevitable part of riding that someone, anyone, can crash at any given moment, bar none.
Breaking away from that depressing part let’s get back into some good parts. Travel. The open road. Motorcyclists love it for a reason. It’s amazing. All of it. From the roads that you ride, to the people you meet, to the experiences you have. It’s absolutely stellar and I can’t say how much I absolutely love it. It’s been said “Driving a car is like watching a movie. Riding a motorcycle is like being IN the movie” which is absolutely true. Being a motorcycle rider makes you an attraction. You are easily approachable (or at least I am) and people do approach you/talk to you. It’s great fun actually. You meet other motorcyclists, restaurant owners, various passsers by, general old dudes at gas stations, just an amazing amount of people both on and off the road that makes travel worth every bit of it.
Ever been sitting at a gas station looking over a map trying to figure out where in the hell you are while talking to one of the locals there drinking his coffee about various motorcycles and what he used to ride and various roads? I have. Was awesome. Also later that same night as it’s getting dark you pull into another small town store and inquire about a hotel and they call the neighbor up the road who owns some cabins which are normally two nights only but she talks to him and gets you in for a one night stay? That’s awesome too. Ever travel 13 hours to meet up with 7 other guys who ride motorcycles you have only talked to on the internet to stay a week and ride some of the best roads in the country? Well, I have and that was amazing and those dudes are still some of my best friends who I see at least once every 2 years or so.
All of it is amazing. Again it’s something that can’t be described unless you yourself have actually done it. Again, you’re in the movie. But with all movies you have the good with the bad. Come around a corner to see your bro face down in the street and his bike in a yard on fire? Done it. New guy on the 600f4i fixate on some sand and bin it? Waited on the truck with him. New 250 guy come into a decreasing radius and toss his bike into some barb wire? Came around the corner on that one to others braking right in front of me watching the spectacle almost hitting them. Having to back track to find your riding group to find a guy who tossed his bike and himself into a bunch of rocks? I watched lifelight fly him away. Come around the corner to a fire truck and cop in the road stopping you because there was a wreck a mile ahead in which the rider survived and the passenger died? I waited for the road to be cleared. That’s a few. There were more.
Finally. Ever pass a truck following your buddy to go through a turn and then on the next turn have something go wrong and him go off into the ditch flipping in front of the motorcycle then watching the bike basically explode on top of him? I have. I ran back to him to find him still breathing and the truck we just passed waiting on him as well. Talked to the sheriff after he was taken away by ambulance who said it didn’t look good. Found out later on that he had died en route to the hospital. Ever been the one to have to talk to the father, the long term girlfriend, and the mother about your buddy who just died all of them separately and try to recall absolutely every detail you can about those moments to give them as much closure as you can while they tear up and look to you for the only knowledge of what happened to their son/boyfriend in his last moments? I have.
That’s not the end of the story though. Terrible as it was, I still rode. “It’s not a sin to die doing what you love”, and I believe that whole heartedly. It’s not. If you love riding, ride. There is a possibility that you might die yes. But if you’re doing something you truly love, it’s not a terrible death. Like I’ve said, I’ve always taken motorcycles very serious as I feel one should. There have been more than a few times I’ve been on my bike and run through in my head what I’ve done so far and if I were to die that day would it be ok. Feeling the freedom of my bike and the magic of it, my answer was always “If I die doing this, yes, it’s fine”.
My fateful boggle comes later on. I think the wife and I had a spat the night before, nothing huge but enough to stress me out. I went out by myself and rode spavinaw and then went and visited where my buddy had crashed and ultimately died. I’m not sure if I repressed the feelings and they came surging forward or if it was the stress of the argument but after taking a break in Jay and heading back towards home I started having a panic attack. Luckily I have had one before so I knew what it was. For those who haven’t had one, imagine your heart racing, being lightheaded, feeling as if you’re two seconds away from passing out, you’re whole body basically telling you “YOU’RE DYING RIGHT NOW” in a myriad of ways from the before mentioned to stomach upset and a whole slew of things it will throw at you. Now imagine having all that happening and riding a motorcycle 75 miles. I haven’t been back out to Spavinaw since.
I think I’m done writing for tonight. I’m going to add pictures and will edit this bit out for a why I haven’t ridden thus far and if I think I’m done with street riding or not tomorrow. For street riding, I’m currently dealing with anxiety about having anxiety while out on a long ride. That’s basically what it boils down to. Anyhow, will go into it more tomorrow and add pictures. For tonight I’m spent.
Gary: I want to be on the road by 7:30.
Silver: 7:30!? Are you crazy!!!!!
But on the road at 7:15 we were. Heading to the Stillwater 500 trails for my first time out there. It had rained overnight so we weren’t sure how muddy everything was going to be but we were going anyway. Some texts with Noel and Cliff led to them skipping out as well. Noel to do yard work and Cliff to go fishing with a “Yeah, I’ll go fishing, don’t need any red mud today”. Also to add insult to injury Gary not only made me get up before the sun came up on a weekend but also made me listen to country music the whole way down there and most of the way back. ARG!
We were actually the first ones to arrive at Stillwater that morning. Pulled back into the back by the track and unloaded. It had rained overnight so it was muddy but wasn’t bad enough to not go ride. While we were gearing up Adam and Kelsey pulled up. Both KTM 2smoke riders so of course they were super super cool. Also nice small world we live in they both know Cliff which was pretty cool.
Adam and Kelsey.
After talking bike talk and trail talk for a while Gary and I head out and I’m on the Stillwater red mud for the first time. Now, my previous dealings
with mud haven’t turned out the best so I was riding like a Harley rider on a curvy road. REALLY REALLY SLOW. Also first time on the trail too so I had no idea what to expect. Blue trail was really fun and I bet it’s even better when it’s not muddy. My first biff and tumble came not from the mud but from a steep downhill that mid-way through had a 2 foot or so drop off. The drop off gonked out my right foot so it wasn’t over the brake anymore and I couldn’t slow down and then I met my other nemesis “the tree that likes to hit my left hand bar end” which sent me in a small tumble down the hill. Mud adds some serious pounds to your bike, but got it back up and started and caught back up to Gary who was waiting on me.
Now my second biff did come from the mud, but mostly my fault. Gary had stopped off to the right and I didn’t see him until I passed him, I had taken a different route to avoid a sizable water/mud hole and once I saw him I stopped. Instead of going back through the dry part I said “Eh, just go for it” and went through the mud hole I just avoided which I entered at an angle and it spun me one way and spun me the other and I ended up on the other side with the bike spun around and on its side and me on the ground with Gary going “Where’s the go pro when you need it?!”
After my tree biff and mud biff.
The gonky mud hole I spun out and went all whoops on.
We took a break at the mud hole for a bit and Adam cruised by us on his first loop as well. Back on trail we stopped a bit ahead and Gary showing me an exit point to get to the road in case I got lost or anything happened. I think we were on mile 4 or so by now. Kelsey shows up a bit later and we talk a bit about the mud/trail and whatnot, she asks us if we mind if she rides with us for a bit. Not a problem, and we all head out. When Gary takes off back on trail Kelsey motions me to go ahead of her, hahahahaha, noway and I shoo her on ahead. I’m slow and new and it’s MUD we’re riding on, I didn’t want to be slowing anyone up. I’m sure Gary was glad for the riding company as well seeing as how I was probably 50 yards behind them most of the way tip toeing through mud puddles and slick spots as if they were going to swallow me whole if I tried to apply any throttle through them. Well except I caught up to them for Gary’s biff off roughly a 3 foot drop, guess it was a good one. Of course I said “Where’s the go pro when you need it!” heh.
We finish our loop and I won because they took the rest of the blue trail and I took the road and got back to the trucks first SO I WIN OK. One of the funny moments was when talking with Adam and Kelsey she is thinking she’s probably going to move up to a 200 or 250 XC here soon. I tell her that’s she’s more than welcome to ride mine around for a bit and she advises “Well I don’t want to crash it” this was of course after I had informed them of my two meetings with the tree and the mud hole and Adam tells Kelsey “Go ahead, sounds like he’s already crashed it a few times today” which was true lol.
Kelsey rides it for a bit, likes it, I think I got a “Whoa that’s weird” about the rekluse clutch on it, which actually is kinda weird when you first ride around with it. After that Kelsey takes off on Adam’s 300 and tells Adam to catch up to her on her 150. Gary and I are geared back up and head out as well. This time instead of bombing down the 2 foot drop hill and smacking a tree I stop and assess the situation and find that on the right is a no 2 foot drop downhill and take that. Then I catch up to Gary, Adam, and Kelsey. Bummer though because I caught up to them because Adam’s bike died and wouldn’t start back up.
Where we ended up at.
Adams bike off to the right. Luckily we were right by the road and Gary helped Adam get the 150 through the riverbed leading to it and up the steep part so that he could get on the road and go get the truck. We hang out and chat a bit and Kelsey calls Adam and finds out he’s on his way back with the trailer. Kelsey grabs the 300 and starts pushing it through the ditch and Gary and I are following here. Haha this is where Gary goes “This is when we need the camera, 2 guys following the girl pushing the dirtbike through the creek. We help with the bike over a few logs and then up the hill to the road. Adam and Kelsey thank us for the help but really no big deal. 4 people pushing a bike out of the woods is much easier than 2, and it also builds rider karma hanging out to help other riders.
Gary and I hang out and snack for a bit as the rain gets worse.
We decide to head back and see how the trails are and if they’re too nasty then we’ll pack up and bail. Trails were extra mucked with the rain. Got to around the 3.5/4 mile mark and got to the road exit and headed back to the trucks.
When we get back to the truck we find that Adam has gotten the 300 back up and running and they are heading back out. Gary and I are pretty much done for the day and pack it up then head into Stillwater for Palaminos.
Quick picture before that though.
Good times! Now, like I said we went to a restaurant named Palamenos or however you spell it authentic Mexican. Pretty sure that this will become our ritual stop after riding Stillwater from now on. Food was AWESOME. Pictures? No I didn’t take any.
HAHA yeah right.
And finally, the end shot. Lots and lots of red mud. I think I washed about 20 pounds of it off into my front yard.
Was a really really fun day. Definitely want to go back, we’ll just let it dry up a bit though.
Like all trips really, the day before is spent rushing around doing stuff that you procrastinated on through the whole week. Packing, getting stuff ready to go, grabbing the trailer, all that fun stuff. No pictures of me triple checking to make sure I don’t forget something stupid like my jacket, which last year I forgot. We get everything packed and get on the road about 10pm.
First time to ever eat at a cracker barrel, it was uneventful. Although I did see the most perfect mullet I have ever seen ever, it was a thing of beauty. One of the things about the trip to the gap, the Cherahola skyway is totally insult to injury. Here you are, just having done roughly 12-14 hours worth of driving, now you have to drag a trailer through the skyway @ roughly 30-50 miles an hour. You’re almost there, but still so far away. Bryan and I stop before rolling the skyway at the best bbq place I’ve eaten at in TN/NC.
Bryan chowin down.
The ride up has some great views.
Hour 14, I’m burnt and my God this road is curvy.
We get to the house, unload and open a beer. There was talk of going to Atlanta tonight but there will be none of that shit. Doug and Jason show up later and we sit around rapping and drinking, we go out for a pizza later. Oh Saturday on the Skyway we hit a TN road block sobriety check point, and an NC road block where they were just checking for M’s and Insurance.
Nothing much of note on this day, drove the gap in the truck saw a bunch of TN police dudes, and went shopping to stock up foodz for the house.
Since it was labor day, we decided to get the hell out of TN/NC and run to GA. Blood Mt was where we were headed. Actually it’s an amazing road, was still pretty busy due to being labor day, but other then that it was beautiful. Thanks to Gary for a heads up about it. Although we did miss picture opps. With one “Young Lick Knob” and “Smack Ass Gap”. I’ll never forgive Doug for that. Anyhow, Harv’s bike was busted so he rode two up with Doug and took a bunch of pictures.
Harv hoppin on.
Jason and I getting geared up.
Going to SLAY THE DRAGON!!! I’m sure.
Blackaxis(Roger) too cool to look at the camera.
Bryan, Doug, and Harvey stopped, I’m up ahead going “What are you people doing??”
Bryan and I.
Jason and Roger.
This, is why you travel 14 hours just to ride.
Turners corner break.
Some Ferrari the other guys were shitting their pants over. I don’t know cars.
Harv and Roger.
Blurry, but you can sort of make out the line behind us. We had a cop right behind us and Bryan’s speedo is off, so we ended up doing 35 in a 45 for like 7 miles or something. I think we had a line of cars behind us about ¼ of a mile long. It was awesome.
More cop/line of cars. The few Harleys does not do it justice. I think I spent the last 2 miles laughing in my helmet about it.
Bryan and I, whoa hey, turns.
They have fishing up here to I guess.
Coopers creek. As we roll up and park there is an 07 Ninja zx6 and a 07CBR600RR. The store owner comes to the door and lets us know that we just parked next to a couple of hot chicks bikes. This of course sent Ravyn into playa playa mode as we met the owners daughters who rode said bikes. I think his game went something like “Yeah, I can wheelie, WHOOOOOO” but I’m not sure.
Group shot with the young lady that was victim to the gap casanova’s mac attack. Hey, she rides an 07 600RR though, so aside from the fact that she fell victim to Ravyns mac attack, at least in bikes she has good taste.
The “Oh shit!” corner. Basically Ravyn passes Doug, comes into a corner way to hot. This sets off a chain reaction of “oh shit!” from all of us. Doug goes in to hot and is dragging peg with Harv on the back. I go in a bit to hot and keep it going, Bryan comes in a bit to hot and blows the corner out to the middle of the other lane. Whoa.
Look through the turn.
Ahh good day riding, now for beerz n pool.
Working on Harv’s bike. Water in the gas tank.
For some reason they didn’t want Bryan and I smoking inside while there was gas cans and a gas tank open. Wimps.
Hahn radiator guards!
N8dog was a bit neurotic this year, pretty sure he was off his meds. Still a cool dog though.
Group hanging out.
Doug, Harvey, Jason, and Eric went to Ashville to sell a bike, Bryan and I stayed at the house to do various shit and decided to ride deals gap. Quick shot out there, up and down and back home. Nothing super notable, just a great road. Oh, but previously we saw a swing bridge, so while all the others were “OH LAFFO OKIE NEVER SEEN A BRIDGE” I decided I needed a picture with that swing bridge. Ok, well pictures and stuff….
Bryan at the new deals gap sign.
Silver at the new deals gap sign.
Deals gap? More like Deals Gut!! Version 2.0
At the top.
Bryan at the top.
Silver at the top.
SWING BRIDGE YAY!!!!!!
Hanging on the swing bridge.
We get up, hang out, eat breakfast and decide to roll the gap again. Before that a few run up the skyway a bit. This takes awhile when they said they would only be gone a bit. Bryan and I go look for em, and find them. Unscathed. This is the part where you ride the gap and go “Eh, rode it yesterday” and then pretty much scare the shit out of yourself most of the way up. I had more then a few corners that were “AHHHHHHH” pretty much most of the way through them. Once up at the top I told Bryan to go first because I was well on my way to putting the CBR in a bin. We ride back down and come back and meet up with another guy and his friend who want to go ride. Now, what was amazing about this guy is that everything was fag or faggot. Such as his “Faggot pipe” which was D&D, that he got with the bike when he bought it. Or his “Fag Bag” which was his tank bag that I guess everyone uses now. Oh and he was drunk. Good times. We end up riding with him and his buddy down 28 which was a really good road, and actually the “everything is a faggot” guy showed us a really good road after that as well. No pictures of riding really, except from killboy/us129photos websites, I’ll probably post those later. Lastly, if I start referring to everything as a fag, it’s all the other guys fault, because after that episode, everything was a faggot. Quote of the week “Fucking faggot tree” – Eric.
Rawr! Where are these people!
Doug coming back from skyway before we run gap.
Us at the top of the gap.
Picture day!!! Whooo!! Lot’s of pictures from today. Ton’s of good riding. Eric/Jason/Harv rode the gap again while Bryan, Doug and I stayed put. Later on we found a good corner on 28 and set up camp to take some pictures, we got some good shots I think.
Group shot at the sign.
Group at CRoT
Was thinking about putting up a TSR shirt, but one was already up there.
Bryan and I.
Jason Lollygaggin cross the street.
Silver, way to stick to the yellow line there fella
After pictures we ran up the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit. Got to check out some tunnels which was neat. This picture is called tunnel gut, sweet Christ it looks like I’m smuggling a helmet or something.
Then to celebrate our/my fatness, we ate at a “Big Boy” hell I had only seen these in movies, had to go there. After this on the way back the group was doing 55. I decided to hell with that, jacked it up to 70 and checked out for a bit. With a complementary fly by via Doug and Bryan. A bit later on down the road, yeah, whoops cop. I get pulled over and get let off with a warning. The group pulls in 5-10 minutes behind me thinking I was going to jail. Good times!
Later that night, we celebrated with fireworks, beer, and fires.
Lame, I know, but fun none the less.
Not really any pictures except from us129photos and killboy. Jason and Doug went out and hung out at the Blue Ridge, Eric went dirt riding with Dan, Bryan and I were going to go out 28 and go see this big ol 400 foot waterfall but the 28 bridge was closed. So we rolled the Gap again and started out on the foothills parkway where we found out Bryans bike was leaking. Was a good enough time to call it quits for the weekend, and we rolled back home and went and got some food. Later that night I took my bike up the cherahola for about 20 miles or so to trip to 9000 miles on the odometer.
Good times, great friends, an awesome week all around. Shout outs to ablank, Juan, and Dan who couldn’t make it this week, you guys were missed. Our last night there…
Arkansas ride around. I had planned for a 4 day trip that was going to span Beaver, AR Mt. View, AR Hot springs, AR and end back up in Tulsa. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, which in fact is the reason why I try to never really plan anything. The only thing I had really planned on this trip were the routes, which you’ll see, change of course. In part due to getting lost, and in part just because I felt like it.
Friday was hosed as I had to work. Sat, left about 10AM and set out altering the route to skip Beaver and head straight to Mt. View. Well, I didn’t make it to Mt. View. Sat route…
I got through Fayetteville about 12:00PM and decided to eat lunch. Want to know how to sell your bbq restaurant? Make sure that people can smell the bbq roughly a quarter of a mile away, I literally smelled this place before I even saw where it was at. Penguin Ed’s.
The way you have to order is to pick up the red phone and press a button. Then you sit there looking like an asshole for roughly 2 minutes waiting on them to pick up while thinking about how many germs was on this particular hand piece and if your ear is going to get all funked about or something.
End all be all the food was as good as it smelled ¼ mile away, I will go back to Penguin Ed’s for sure.
On the route, I changed it up a bit as technology failed me, all I had was my paper map and some pictures of google maps loaded up in my phone, well somehow my phone decided that those pictures didn’t need to be there and deleted the map pix. Ah well, reroute time and on the Rand McNally map, 74 rolls all the way to Mt. View, ok well then I’ll just stay on that. Way way out in the middle of no where, I saw a sign it was something about 11 miles steep and twisty trucks plz only go 10mph or something. Decided I definitely needed a picture of it and pulled off into a brake check point and turned around, after passing the sign I was going for another turn around and while going up hill a little to much clutch and not enough gas led to me killing it, then as I was going to put my foot down it gets stuck on the peg, by the time I got it off the peg I was at the point of no return and for the first time(probably not the last) I set my CBR down on it’s side. The following was damaged.
Well crap. Ok time for a break. Oh and I got the picture of the sign, but if you look in the first picture you’ll see a handy setup of a disposable camera on my tankbag held ever so securely, or not, the picture of the sign that made me drop my bike is on that camera, which is no longer, more about that later. Also when I say way way out in the middle of no where, I meant it, there was NO sound other then wind and birds. It was actually pretty amazing, just hanging out, taking a break and cussing about dropping the bike then realizing “Hey, what is that I’m hearing?” nothing, nothing is exactly what you’re hearing. No cars, no sirens, no people, nothing.
Onward and upward to Jasper, AR. En route was some excellent riding on 74 some long sweepers and my favorites some 20mph switchbacks. Arrived in Jasper and had some cruiser guys come up and tell me that if I was going down 7 there were cops everywhere and one showed me his ticket that he just got. 90 in a 65, got popped right after passing someone. Definite bummer, but thanks for the heads up, I’ll be heading out 74. We sit around and talk for awhile about different roads and whatnot, I maintain that it’s a beautiful thing that motorcyclists can pretty much come up to another motorcyclist that they don’t know and within minutes become buddies, discussing different routes, which roads are cool, which ones suck, it’s just natural, and it’s awesome.
Saying later to my cruiser buddies I head out 74 which has mellowed out a bit, I pass through Mt. Judea and see 123, I’ll catch you later Mr. 123 I’m going to Mt. View!!! 15 miles later, 74 turns into a dirt road. I check the map, wtf Mr. McNally??? Map didn’t show that crap. This is where things go a bit wonked, as I cruise back and hit up 123. The only thing I can really say about 123 is “Whoa”. I mean really, it’s just amazing and twisty and smooth and and and !!!!!!! I can’t really say enough about it. Probably my favorite stretch of road on this trip. While getting to the end of 123, my fuel gauge is flashing me and telling me that I’m about to run out of gas. I get on highway 7 and blaze about 3 miles to find a gas station that’s been closed for about 2 years. Damnit. The bicycle guys there tell me that back the way I came was another gas station about 5 miles.
Who-da-thought-it gift shop. All 87 octane all the time. I ended up getting some gas as well as getting some valuable information. Mt. View was dry county. Mt. Home was a wet county. They were both about the same distance. Decision time!! It was easy really, I wanted a beer. So that’s how the big ol loop occurred in the map above, picture of how I worked it out in my head.
I head back up 7, taking time to wave at one of the officers radaring and get to Harrison for a quick break. Apparently I was missing all the rain, there was rain to the south and rain and hail to the east which is where I was headed. I was behind it all though and road some wet roads and got sprinkled on a bit but missed the worst of it. 7 is pretty picturesque, I got some pretty damn good shots on the disposable. Oh and I suck at timer portraits with the digital.
At Harrison I decided to head to Summit or Yellville in which I ended up at some outdoor function thing they were having that night, I should have shot some pictures and probably did with the disposable, but mostly I was interested in setting up lodging. Found a good spot that was cheap clean and ended up having Dutch and Jay staying right next to me. 2 other motorcyclists from TX, Dutch on a VFR and Jay on a Bandit 1200. How cool is that, I say hi and unload my stuff as it was time to go get beer. Cortech tail bags, will they hold a case of beer and a bag of ice? Yes, yes they will.
The cashier was skeptical when I bought a case and bag of ice if it would fit or not, she was very helpful and advised that any that would not fit she would gladly take home with her. Much to her chagrin they all fit, I gave her a beer though anyway, just because.
Back to the motel for sitting around drinking beer and talking motorcycles roads and all that stuff. Again it’s great how you can just stop into a motel see some bikers and within minutes you’re talking as if you’re old friends. Which roads, previous trips, future trips, all that jazz. It was great. We sat around till about 10 or 11 then locked up the bikes and went to bed.
Day 1. 370+ miles, got lost, almost ran out of gas, dropped my bike, got sprinkled on, and road a ton of twisty roads. Good times!!!!
Motel with just blinds, no curtains to keep the sun from waking me up at 6am. Oof, I get up and check it out while grumbling and going back to bed, it’s still pretty bright and I end up saying ‘screw it’ and getting up and about at 7:30am. I am not well rested.
The back yard has a nice view for sure. Around 9:30 or so Dutch and Jay are up and we’re gearing up lubing the chain and fixing to head to breakfast. Today is their last day in AR and they are heading back. No pictures of breakfast, sorry but eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and toast would have to be pretty damn amazing for me to be arsed to take a picture of them. During breakfast we break out maps and talk roads, I tell them of 215 and 103, and they advise on some good roads up by Eureka that I haven’t been on. Pretty much maps all over the place with us all going “Yep been here, oh this is where it turns to dirt, oh yeah that one sucks, oh man that one is excellent”.
We finish up and say goodbye, I grab Dutch’s email and they head west, while I head east. I didn’t take any pictures of them, so like Boomhowers grandfather “the babbler” that I met in Salina, and the Drunk cowboy on a horse that I met on the turn pike, you’ll just have to decide for yourselves if they are real or not. Onward and upward, I decide to take today really mellow, no rush, just hanging out, I’m staying at the same motel tonight so I’m all good. For a bit I debated about heading somewhere else, but I decided that eh, the hotel is cheap, I’m already unpacked, and I’m in the middle of some kick ass roads, might as well hang out.
Today I’m down 14 and back up Push mountain road. The following map shows every where I went, but 14/push is the first part.
On my way out, I feel something bump against my leg. It was my disposable camera bailing out on me. Damnit!! I turn around and head back and don’t see it. Shit. I turn around again and ride on the shoulder, till I find the useless shell that used to be my handy dandy take a picture while riding disposable camera. It was trashed, film spilled out of it and cooking in the sun. I went ahead and saved the back of it. Just because.
14 is ok, bunch of long sweepers. Push mountain road is AMAZING. Ton’s of nice 20-30 mph cautionary turns just zig zaggin everywhere for miles!!! Needless to say my mind was blown. It was crazy awesome amazing. Then it turns into a little more mellow sweepers and crappy road surface, but before that right after going through a ton of great turns, there’s a huge hill that you come down. I put it in neutral, took my hands off the bars and just coasted down it, nothing but the wind in my earplugs and just bliss of having ridden a great road while coasting at 50mph. I really really liked push mountain road.
To many turns to actually think about taking pictures, today I just road. After Mt. Home I was heading back to the motel to take a nap. Hey I’m on vacation I can do whatever I want. Definitely stopping to eat first, found a nice little joint in Gassville, burger and fries it is!
After that naptime, then I was going to hit 125. I went to 125, just like it said on the map, and followed 125 hoping the ferry wasn’t closed and that I could ride 125 up into MO. I then somehow ended back up at a 412 junction. What the fuck. I make a mental note to send an email to Rand McNally about letting people make maps while drunk and high. Eh piss on it, not going to find the end of 125 today. So screw it. I went back to Gassville and headed up to Bull Shoals lake. Just putting around and taking in the scenery really. Bull Shoals is awesome and next time I come up hopefully I’ll be camping up here.
They also have the nicest visitor center I have ever been to.
Lmao old guy self portrait.
The damn dam.
White river was super cool too. Very mellow.
And whoa so clear. Next time I’m bringing my suit and snorkel/mask.
What’s this water bubbling up out of the ground stuff?? Very odd site to this Oklahoma guy.
28.9 MILLION GALLONS PER DAY?? WOW. I was very impressed.
I ate in Bull Shoals that evening, for some reason pork chops sounded like just the thing. Why do they always serve applesauce with pork chops? Eh, they were very good though.
Back at the motel, ready to call it a night. It’s much less busy tonight then it was last night. Pretty much just me, my bike, and my book. Very good times, nice day. Amazing roads, good nap, good eats.
Day 2, 180ish miles.
Well, if I had the money I would probably just ride around as much as I could all the time going everywhere, but I don’t and I have to get back and go back to work to pay the bills and all that good stuff. Time to go. The trips not over though, as when my wife asked me “So how many miles is it to get back?” I replied with “As many as I want it to be”.
Started out on main roads, but that was soon to be done with as the route off 65 to Fayetteville was twisty twisty. Also yesterday when I hit 6k on the odometer I was like whooo and punched it up to 120, as well as did my first intentional wheelie which was all of an inch high, but hey it was a milestone for me in any case. Brap brap
Also if you think the previous statements were hooliganism, today was all about breaking the law, OI! On my way down the more wide open sweeper part of 123 I passed a few cars on double yellows because they weren’t going near the pace I wanted to go. Finally I get around a truck that’s just trumbling along and come to Mt. Judea and get to 123, oh hey lets stop and take a picture of the sign and stuff. Then the truck I passed repasses me and turns down 123??? WHAT THE FUCK READ THE SIGN YOU SHITHEAD THE PART WHERE IT SAYS “NO THROUGH TRUCKS”!!! I took a break to let him get way way ahead.
123 again, is amazing. Super twisty and just all around great riding, very good pavement. The two top roads my whole time where 123 and Push mountain. Great stuff! Of course I was to busy riding to take any more pictures till I got further down 123. Looking back…
Road 123 pretty much till it ended. Some good sections, some ok sections, nothing as good as the part up by Mt. Judea. Had to superslab it a bit to get to Clarksville, lot’s of “villes” in this state. As you can tell, diet went out the window on this trip, I ate whatever I felt like.
From Clarksville I went up 103 a road I had been up before and enjoyed. Nice switchbacks and just good times. Coming around a switch back and oh shit…
Guess they’re getting ready to widen it. Hopefully repave as well, while not terrible it could use some tlc. I get through 103 and roll through Oark and head back out 215. Remember that solitude I was telling you about on 74? Well you can find it on 215 as well. Middle of no where AR…
It must be work on roads in the middle of AR day or something.
The guy with the chain saw was like “Can you do a wheelie??” I had to shake my head no as I can’t and I wouldn’t while rolling over the dirt of all those trees being drug off anyway. He says, well when you think you can make it go for it. I had to off road a bit over some dirt and was then stuck with this big thing dragging trees behind it, the guy saw me though and waved me through to which I busted out a HUGE wheelie. Oh wait no I didn’t I just passed him and waved.
Riding down 215 it gets super nice, nice wide sweepers with some tighter turns thrown into the mix. Last time I was through this road going the opposite direction and one turn is this super long right hander to a really tight left hander, I came into the left hander hot and was all “OH SHIT” but it was fun. The opposite way it’s a tight right hander to long left hand sweeper. Tight right was fun but not shitting my pants, then get all leaned over and blazing through the left hander and about ¾ of the way through it here comes big ol pardner in a truck. Now this wasn’t really that scary but as it was I was closer to the yellow then I needed to be and had to adjust my line mid turn cutting it closer to the white line and sqeebing between big ass truck on one side and HUGE rock wall on the other all at speed. Definitely came out of that one going “whew”.
By this point I was beat, tired, needed a break, had a coke in my tankbag that was probably hot. Then I turned onto 23. Wow. I had been down this part once before but behind a truck that was doing 30mph through the whole thing. All thoughts of taking a break flew the coop soon as I started hitting the twists. Ah it was awesome, just brapple appleing through 23, passing on double yellows when I had to and just generally haulin balls. Was fucking awesome. Took a break once I hit 16, good times!
Cruised 16 to Fayetteville, at which point I decided to take a gamble. It was time for tacos from some small Mexican joint. Taco hut or something. The gamble was if these taco’s were going to give me the blazing shits I was still 90 miles away from home and would be racing the shits home. Luckily, they were good and didn’t make a turd till today. Still at the time I was wondering, if these are like some taco shacks, I’m going to be racing the squirts home for about 60 miles or so. OI!
After eating and getting gas, and not developing gas from the Taco’s I made my way out 16 again and time for more hooligan antics. To the tune of a burst on a straight to 139 which is a new best for me, as well as passing on double yellow to the tune squeezing myself in between a car and a truck that were going to slow, then passing the truck on the next short straight to send myself blazing into a corner pretty damn hot, turn and burn through the corner going “AHHHHHHHHHHH” through it and pop out the other end to crank it up to about 120 or so till the next turn. I was just thinking “Man I hope that looked cool”.
Cruising through Siloam Springs I see a BMW dual sport on the side of the road, with… A trailer? I stopped off to meet V8 Turbo from the ADVrider.com boards and talk with him. His alternator fizzled on his 07 BMW right at the state line. I guess the BMW knew that OK only had straight roads and just didn’t want to go. Hope you got it fixed today Mark.
Then I got on the turnpike, yes the pike I was tired and didn’t want to do 2 lane roads so I could hit the 7ish or so turns on scenic 412. Cracked it up to 90 and just rolled home.
Fun times, met some great people, rode some great roads. Now to just figure out how I could do this full time all the time. It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to do it again.
Day 3: 309 miles.
Total driveway to driveway: 832.8
Sometimes ventures start with a picture. In this case it was a picture in a thread a friend(Gary) of mine and I have been watching on advrider.com, it’s mostly pictures of Arkansas and various things in Arkansas. In this picture was a general store in the town of Oark, AR, it was rumored to have good food and some great riding to get there and back. Thus on that picture and the good word of some internet people that have been there Gary and I decided to go see if the rumors were true.
Thus started the planning of “Oh hey, this Saturday what are we doing? Whoa yeah that store in AR? Ok sounds good. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN LEAVE AT 8 IN THE MORNING!? That sucks. Fine, 8 then, I’m pretty sure I don’t like you anymore”. Yeah I wasn’t totally pleased with the 8am meeting time. As Gary and our two others that joined us Sam and Jim found out, I tend to bitch a lot. Eh, it’s just what I do ya know.
Now I met this ride with a bit of morbidness in all actuality. I think that was due to Sam on Thursday talking about how our company would be hosed if we all wrecked and died this weekend(Sam, Gary, and I work together). Yeah thanks for the good thoughts Sam. As well as Gary deciding to scour the internet for wreck movies as well as stories of target fixation that same day and linking me to them. Needless to say for some reason I was starting out the ride in gloom and doom mode. Honestly.
8am, it’s early, I haven’t had any coffee. I roll into QT grab gas and cruise over to my friends, with Sam going “You’re late” I can’t recall exactly, but I’m sure that comment was met with more then a few comments that contained vulgar words, maybe even a vulgar expression or two. We gas up, rap a bit, and hit the road.
Meanwhile I’m in deep thought mostly about wrecking and dying or something. It was weird. The thing about it though was that I did not have that *gut* feeling that you get sometimes. I was just thinking about it. Probably to much, but alas, still it was running through my brain. Now the gut feeling is something that I try to adhere to as much as I can. If you get out on the road going for a ride and feel like you are out of place, or should not be on the road, or just have that gut feeling that you should not be riding at this time. GO HOME. Because you more then likely shouldn’t be riding. I have gone out on days sometimes that I get out on 244 and I’m heading out to go ride, but it just doesn’t feel right. I’m off, that *gut* feeling gets in the way. I turn around and head back to the house. Today wasn’t like that though, I was thinking about it all, but I didn’t have that feeling. Enough about that, I’ll abbreviate the ride some as the pictures I have are mostly Oark.
Stop 1: Quick pee break because we all drank water/coke or something at QT and didn’t pee before we left. Actually, we = Jim and myself.
Stop 2: We have done 51 and I have now seen the “trail of tears”, that’s a new one for me so chalk it up. I ask Gary if he doesn’t have enough HP to pass cars and not pack us up(bitching) as it seemed that in passing cars, which normally I hit 95/100 or so, he was passing and parking it. At this point, Jim has left his turn signal on for about 10 miles out of the 100 that we have ridden.
Stop 3: We get gas, we were going to a KTM shop that was in Fayetteville but we have passed through Fayetteville and are in another town. Route change and we’re running to 412 and down 23. 23, pig trail, another new one for me. Was very fun but didn’t get really twisty till we were almost to our turn off for Oark. Also it didn’t help that we had some guy in a pickup in front of us burning up his brakes trying to keep us from passing. The typical speed way up in the straights and toss out an anchor in the corners type guy.
Stop 4: 215. Wow. Very very smooth road. My pucker moment on this road was from a looooooooooooonnnnnnng right hand U sweeper that I accelerated out of to find a quick switchback into a TIGHT left hand turn. Little bit of brakes then you flop your bike on it’s side maintain throttle and “GOOD LORD THIS CORNER IS TIGHT” type moment. Was a great corner! Now we get some pictures from 215.
The bikes Sam/Jim.
The view from the top.
The turns to get where we were.
The crew +1 harley guy.
Sam is looking for bears or rattlesnakes I think.
Jim ready to go.
Quick Photo stop.
Where we were.
This particular road, fixing to be repaved by blacktop(that’s further on) turns to gravel for about 1500 feet or so. At this point in time(200miles) Jim has had his turn signal on for at least 40 of it.
It also has a one lane bridge that takes you from the dirt back to something kinda sorta resembling concrete or asphalt. It’s supposed to be widened soon.
Ahhhh, the Oark, AR general store/gas station/restaurant. Take it or leave it.
I have to say that Oark is an amazingly welcoming town, very small and very cool. I went outside after we ordered to smoke and there was some big red dog laying on the bench. I was “Hey, sup dog, gonna chill with you on the bench for a bit” I don’t think he cared. He bailed out a few seconds after I sat down patrolled the perimeter and came back for some petting to which I obliged. Good dog all around. Then as I was sitting a couple of locals came up and were asking about the bikes, which one was mine and whatnot. We rapped and I got information on the river as well as the various roads we were going to ride. Very cool dudes all around.
Ok, know you guys have been waiting for the food posts. My bacon cheeseburger and fries.
Gary’s catfish platter. I was plotting to steal a hushpuppie as they looked awesome, but forgot to.
The previous owner and the new owner came over to talk to us and give us information about the place. The Oark General store was built in 1870, it’s been around a hell of a long time. They have canoeing, camping, rentals, some air coaster thing that has a big fan and a parachute on it to which Sam was like “NOWAY” but I was more of a “That’s gotta be cool”. The school house for Oark is noted as the most isolated school in AR. Also they said the population is like.. I think they said 27?? Anyhow the ones that live across the river sometimes get flooded and blocked in, so the general store owners have to go out and tie their smokes to a rock and throw them across the flooding river. No I don’t think they were joking. The road is going to be repaved and the 1 lane bridge is going to be widened as well. Also we learned the local wave. To find out what it is, I guess you’re going to have to go there. We’re now in the know though.
Oark General store.
We were also told of this huge suspension bridge. I figured it would be super long or something. It wasn’t. I was unimpressed and I’m sure I bitched about it some.
On the way back, 103 has some crazy stupid 15mph cautionary switchbacks. I mean go to the apex put out your kickstand do the pick the bike up on the kick stand and turn it so you’re going the right way stuff.
2 parts, not going to put them together cuz I’m lazy.
After 103 it was I-40 superslab time. About 60 miles of this and back to rural roads that Gary knows as his dad has a place out here. Gary took us on some different back roads that ended up at this bridge. Which was right smack dab in the middle of no where.
That’s the last picture I have, camera ran out of memory. Anyhow the rest is pretty much here or there, 51/onto the BA and whatnot. I had a great time, and don’t fret, Gary and Sam also took pictures and will be posting them possibly tomorrow or Monday or something. Overall was a great ride. Roughly 12 hours on the road, we obviously weren’t in any hurry. Thanks Gary for the route and various excursions. Thanks Jim for coming and having your turn signal blinking(forgotten) more then I do because normally I’m the one doing that. Thanks Sam for rolling with us as well, always a good time Bro.
Parking at the general store.
Me but I don’t know what the fuck.
Yay! Suspension bridge!
I’m dicking with my camera, and Sam is a photo whore.
I have been watching the weather for the past month just waiting for a nice 70 degree day. Earlier this week was nice as well but my work week is normally busiest at the first of the week, so I stalled out for today. Woke up, drank coffee, took a shower, and rolled out. Pretty good flow of traffic, except for a merge right before 161st on I-44, that backed it up a bit. After that, smooth sailing, until scenic 412 that is.
The gateway to the twisties really. You’ll probably use this road if you’re going to AR or MO. Nice couple of turns before Locust Grove, then head up through Sallisaw to Spavinaw for some even better curves. Through “new road” to Jay, then on a long ride, probably up through 20 into MO to ride highway 90. Today there was a slight hickup in my smooth sailing. It’s called wide load.
Some huge railway system stuff or something. Took up most of both lanes and no traffic could go through.
Oh and bonus, while we were waiting another wide load rolled up. Good thing they didn’t meet in the middle, as I doubt either one of these guys would have been able to back up.
HERE SHE COMES BOYS!!! No rush though, still took like 5 minutes for it to even get to us.
How many axles does that thing need????? Also it backed up traffic something fierce.
OK, onward an upward through Locust grove and Sallisaw to Spavinaw. Roads right now in Spav are pretty clean. Lots of road kill out and about though, so definitely watch for that, as well as lots of tree damage, but most of that is off on the sides. Fun times.
It wouldn’t be an Oklahoma road sign if it didn’t have bullet holes. This is the famed Spavinaw horseshoe. A long right that is decreasing radius. Watch for it if you’re cruising through Spav and take this one kinda slow.
The Pit Stop. Now closed but used to be a nice little place to stop off for a break. I still want to find out if it’s for sale and open it up again.
Onward and upward. I didn’t get any shots of new road, not really anything on it but turns and chicken farms. Cruised through new road to Jay, decided to get some eats. I am normally of the mind to find someplace local and different. I missed out and went the wrong way. Finally after not seeing anything that looked good, I turned around and had a quick bite at Mcdonalds. Doh, rolled out and went up to get on highway 127 and just a half mile away there was a little bbq shack. I missed out.
Onward and upward, went to go check out highway 127. FYI it’s trashed.
Yay for twisties!!
WHOO HOOO, even tighter twisties, but in the middle of these twisties…
Whoa, something in the MIDDLE of the road. No fun.
Oh, a big pile of hay and shit in the road, this is always fun to exit a corner into.
Mind your entry speed. Oh and watch for rocks!
At the end of 127 the stop sign before new road is full of sand. I was doing the flintstone shuffle to get it stopped without locking anything up. I’m sure the guy in the car at the stop sign thought I was a freak! I ran new road, turned around, ran new road again, stopped in Jay at the gas station filled up and went BACK through new road and back through Spavinaw stopping in Salina. Good times but the traffic had definitely picked up from this morning. I went through this morning without having to pass any cars. The afternoon I passed a goldwing, and probably 4 cars or so.
I stopped in Salina for a coke and a brief break. If you have ever watched that show over the hill, the one with boomhower or whatever. I met his his grandfather in Salina. Was going to get a coke and the guy was “ble de me hoom sha hey what?” to which I replied “Yeup”. He wanted to shake my hand and show me his glasses as well. Good times. I pay for my coke head out the door. He comes out a bit later as I am smoking, goes at it again. “behend de da boop shmeee sorta n kinda well boop dat boop whoo” I mostly just nodded. Then 2 cop cars come flying through lights and sirens blazing. He advises me that there’s a fire. Sure enough a fire truck comes blazing through just a couple of minutes later. Good call dude.
I was headed home, but what the hell. Cop cars? Fire engines? Gotta be something cool. I gear up and roll back through Spavinaw but never find them nor see any smoke or actually anything cool really. Just turns. I round out the day at blue hole, and turn around and go back through Spav. Taking time to Rev it a bit at a Mom/Daughter who were waving at me. Roll back home, meet up with Sam_Rush and head to K&N. Total miles 239.
Oh and lastly, you can tell everyone is super pumped to get out and ride, as EVERYONE on a bike waved. Eh cept for one Harley guy and one Goldwing guy.