I’d decided it might be a more interesting ride if I avoided the Fort Smith area so I kept to the OK side and headed up route 59 through Stillwell.
Just a short distance out of town I encountered what looked like a minor competition going on between three churches. All were located within a block of one another and it appeared their marketing strategies were designed to more or less trump the next guy. In this case they were having at it via the old fashioned but probably still effective medium of reader board signs.
Further on I came upon an interesting road sign and was tempted to follow it. Turning onto “Greasy” I was disappointed to find it was no longer paved and taking the name of it to heart I returned to highway 59. You never know who might be lurking down that road...
I’d started the day’s ride with my now-familiar swamp cooler vest at full soak but the rapidly growing heat was evaporating the water quickly. It was also time to gas up so I stopped at a station and went to the rest room where I saturated the vest again. I also bought a bottle of water and when I returned outside I noticed Green Girl was now surrounded by a group of similar bikes. When I’d parked she’d been the only bike in the parking lot and now she was barely visible. There were a lot of women hanging around too, and although I looked hard I couldn’t see any of their guys. Yeeowww! Biker women! A whole flock of them and they had me surrounded!
Actually they were a great bunch of gals out for a group ride just for the weekend. According to one of them they all belong to the Sisters In Spirit, a group of women riders from Arkansas. We had fun kidding around and I was invited to ride along with them if I wanted. Too bad but they were going the opposite direction so I declined and headed back north on my way again.
The country side I was riding through was easy on the eyes and I enjoyed it very much. There were lots of nice homes and farms along the way and even the ones on a lower scale were well kept. It always amazes me how much effort is directed at keeping such enormous laws trimmed; it was the same last year when I rode through the mid-west.
The intense heat was being adequately managed by my swamp-cooler vest but my gloves were way too hot for comfort. I was wearing a pair of perforated leather summer gloves by Rev’It but they really weren’t up to the task so I stopped at the Rainbow Kawasaki dealership and voila, they had just what I wanted in stock. They’re made by First Gear out of all sorts of good things; goat leather and gel pads for protection, woven nylon for ventilation. As soon as I got back on the road I could feel the difference, no more hot hands for me!
There are an amazing number of tourist facilities along highway 62 between Garfield and Berryville, some specifically catering to bikers. I had it in the back of my mind to avoid tourist attractions as I don’t like paying double for the same bed that’s just a few miles further down the road.
Art...it's everywhere, even in Alpena
Imagine what it was like when it was new
Well, not exactly the sticker bushes maybe but it was enough of a drop off that I couldn’t get her back up on the road. I felt a bit like ‘brer rabbit as the more I fiddled with her the further down the slope I went. At least I hadn’t dropped her so that was good but riding her back up to the roadway was going to be difficult. I tried slow-walking her by feathering the clutch and throttle but her street tires refused to grab hold in the tall grass. I was just about to give her the gun and hope for enough momentum to carry me up the slope when a couple of kids stopped their car and offered to help.
I continued the ride down 7 until it occurred to me the motels might be filling up fast with all the bikers in the area. With that in mind I began to look for potential stopping places and much to my chagrin the nicer ones looked to be fully booked. The others I figured it best to pass on as I don't know if all my shots are current.
Then good old Garmin & Co came to my rescue and pointed me in the direction of the Russellville Motel 6 where I am currently ensconced. There’s a great hamburger joint just up the road called Butcher Boys so I had a tasty dinner of burger, fries, & diet cola.
Have you hugged your cow lately?
Butcher Boy's girls fixing my dinner
I wonder how loud the fire trucks would be if I…no, that’s not good thinking, I’ll just go to bed.