Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 26

Thread: Blitz to Branson Part I

  1. #1
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Thumbs up Blitz to Branson Part I

    Well, it's the day after returning home and I can say it was a real blast! I had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time for a variety of reasons- not only was it to be my first real mototrip in about 18 months, but it was also a shakedown cruise for touring with The BatBike and some newly-acquired riding gear, and I would also be meeting riding pals I had previously only known via internet.
    I was up very late Wednsday night due to a much longer than planned workday doing an electrical service on the bike, correcting (or so I thought) some wiring problems with the heated grips and installing a set of MotoLights. By the time I turned in it was 3.
    Up Thursday morning later than I would have preferred but it was all I could do to get what sleep I got. On the road around 10 or so, everything is going smoothly and I'm reveling in the freedom of the open road once again! So far so good.
    Once out of TexSux much of my journey was through Oklahoma. I have an odd love/hate relationship with this state. Mostly love though. I passed small towns, forests, plains, lakes, truck stops, airports, casinos (with 20-foot inflatable slot machines outside!) and even a winery. And yet the state still feels remote and empty.
    A right turn in Muskogee set me on an eastbound course and just as I suspected things were about to get interesting. I was on US 62 and this road would be a recurring theme over the weekend. Some parts were fairly plain while others were beautiful and nicely curvy. I stopped for fuel in the last town on OK's eastern fringes, oddly enough named Westville.
    Arkansas was next. I was in the northwestern corner and anybody who's ridden the Ozarks knows the reputation. But first I had to get through Fayetteville, or 'Fetvul,' as a southerner would say. This included a wrong turn (or lack of a correct turn I should say) and a boring run up I540 to Bentonville before returning to 62 for the remaining eastward stretch. This is where things got REALLY interesting!
    62 East of Rogers starts out boring but soon enough becomes a nice forested 2-lane snake that winds delightfully through hill and valley, and delivers many yellow signs with squiggly things and low numbers on them.
    I don't remember exactly where along 62 it was when I felt an overwhelming urge to drain my bladder. Keeping an eye out for a good place to pull over in this rural countryside for a bush to run behind, I spot an old abandoned farmhouse. I jump the fence and run behind it and feel the sweet relief. If you're wondering why I include this detail, it is because just as I feel most relieved I suddenly hear what sounds like a voice saying "oops!" just behind me, like somebody has come around a corner and caught my private moment. My heart skips a beat as I turn to see nobody there! Broad daylight and I'm having a possible encounter with the supernatural! I took a very nice picture of the house as I left. I haven't found any lurking apparitions in the picture- yet.
    The part between Garfield and Eureka Springs is probably the best part I rode, although along this part I fell in behind a couple on a Harley and a Japanese cruiser. It was all I could do to keep from eating the woman's rear tire as she slowed to a creep for the turns. I so wanted to pass but there was no place to do so. I resigned myself to taking it slow then (not that I wanted to carve a burning path, but I would have been more comfy just a tad quicker), and was rewarded by being able to spare a tiny bit more attention to the scenery.
    Eureka Springs was all I had heard it to be- beautiful and charming, and popular with motorcyclists. I noted how many places claimed Jacuzzi suites, and how many had vacancies. Good to know, in case Branson proves a bust- but why should it?
    More curves, more pretty country east of Eureka Springs. I know I'm most of the way there. I also wonder if my friends have arrived yet and if they're wondering where the hell I am, as the ride up is taking longer than anticipated. But soon I am turning north on US 65, the final stretch- 28 miles to go!
    The road into Branson passes through some dramatic cuts and outcrops that make me glad I took a few hours of geology in college. But I'm even more glad when I finally see the exit I want and turn off the highway. I take a moment to pull into a gas station and affix the cartoony stuffed-toy bat I brought to the back of The BatBike, so if all else fails trying to find each other, my friends will at least have no doubt where I parked- and hopefully get a good chuckle in the process!
    ***
    Finding Branson Towers was not difficult, if only because I knew to look under the rusting water tower. I pulled into the parking lot and up under the awning over the front door. I immediately spotted BoxerGrrlie and Hilda (her /6 for those who don't know). I pulled up and said hi, then parked. A quick slightly more formal introduction, then I checked in and found my room. Soon after that I met Bradford Benn and Tracy, who rode together with BoxerGrrlie. We went with the group of fellow early birds to the Thai dinner, which we all enjoyed and needed after so many good miles. The ride back to the hotel was enlivened by missing a turn which was referred to as a 'navigational gaff,' and the evening was topped off with more socialising.
    Friday was a beautiful if cloudy day, and we were up bright and early to grab a bite to eat then go ride. My three new riding buddies and I wasted no time getting underway. Bradford Benn had the GPS unit so he got appointed ride leader and he did a great job picking routes through the Missouri and Arkansas countryside. Our two Airheads and two Oilhead RT's traveled very harmoniously together as we took on the Ozarks.
    Our first stop was Eureka Springs, where our intention was merely a short break to take in the feel of the place. As we were about to leave the parking lot, a couple walked up and asked if whoever was on a certain bike was behind a couple on a pair of cruisers the day before while coming into town on 62. "Why, yes," I said, or something to that extent. They turned out to be a very nice couple and that made up for the slowness the day before. Once underway, Bradford led us on a loop of old historic 62 through town. That was a really terrific scenic cruise through the town and was quite fun, what with all the steep parts and tight turns. Only later did he tell us that it was unplanned- just a fluke of the GPS, which didn't really know we were in town or something like that. I know he's going to be writing a ride report too so maybe he can explain that better. Along this scenic detour we spotted the nice cruiser-couple again and exchanged a wave with them.

    Pictured below: the haunted farmhouse
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  2. #2
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Thumbs up Blitz to Branson Part II

    Next we went on to Vaughn AR, where BG wanted to pose for a picture with the sign for the town. We had great fun at that stop, at one point the other three of us being photographed by BG, our cameras all aimed back at her by us in our gear. Must've been a real sight for passers-by.
    Rain was threatening over the horizon, so we rode on for a lunch spot. Just Subway, nothing to write home about. But on the way out of the parking lot, I stalled my engine and found to my horror that the battery didn't seem to be sufficiently charged to restart. Bradford and Tracy had got on the road while BG and I waited for a break in traffic when it happened. So the two us pushed The BatBike up the hill that was right at hand, and we got the bike rolling good and fast down the hill for a successful rolling start. I thanked BG profusely and we rejoined the other two, who had by then noticed our absence and turned back.
    Later we stopped for fuel. I left the engine running while I fueled- something I usually *DON'T* do- out of fear that it would again be low of charge, as this time there was not hill. I stalled it again in this parking lot but it fired right up. But later when we missed a turn I had a repeat of the Subway incident, and with no hill here either. I'm sure we needed the exercise but another way of getting it would have been preferable.
    That night we drank more and hung out and then all retired for more blissful sleep.
    Saturday was rainy. A few folks set out early, braving the soft showers for a ride. But they all turned back within ten minutes. All but Bouncing Bob that is- he had an accident that I know very little about except that he lost traction taking a wet curve a little fast. He was not severely injured though and was back at the hotel later that day. His bike was another story. The K1200RS was very badly mangled, mostly up front, but the other end didn't escape harm either. It was a very sobering sight to see on the trailer. Bob would up getting a ride home with Helen Two Wheels. If anybody knows more about Bob's story and the follow-up to it, please report. I apologise for any details I got wrong too- it was all word of mouth.
    My gang of four borrowed a car and went shopping too- we bought swimsuits so we could spend the rainy day in the hotel's indoor pool and hot tub. And then we drank more.
    We had much fun at the wards dinner presentation that night. BG won the Biggest Instrument award for her zoom lens. No kidding. There was also a great part in the program where all the woman riders were honoured, since it is their year. So good to see so many female riders in attendance, and I hope their numbers continue to grow. Who says this mo'orsickle stuff is just a guy thing???
    Saturday Night's socialising was much fun, but also bittersweet because I knew the end was in sight. More revelry, and the gang of four had our own little cocktail party as we had every night, accompanied by a slideshow of what we'd shot that day.
    Sunday came all too early. The weather had improved locally, but rain was forecast for my route home. I also found my battery to be low again. I had bought some mini jumper cables from the Cycle Gadgets crew the previous day, so got them out and talked BG into taking the other end. Once started, it was time to go. Hugs and handshakes, and words that we four must ride again. Voni's hugs and waves to the departing riders were a very nice touch. She is one of the good ones. Be sure to meet her at a future rally if you haven't yet!
    On the way out I stopped at the same gas station at which I affixed the bat, this time for fuel. After fueling I found the battery had not charged. There was a hill just behind the gas station and I grunted The BatBike up it. Just after a successful roll-start, I see my three friends come to a stop across the street. Hey guys, what circuitous route were you taking to the highway? Didja see me rolling down the hill? More waves and I was gone down the ramp for south 65, they up north 65 I think. It was with a heavy heart that I rode the other way, tempted to say what the hell and stay with my new friends. But I knew I had to get back to my regular life so I rode on, hoping to see them again as soon as possible and share another ride.
    I took a few different turns going back. I decided that 62 through Eureka springs would be sad to do alone, what with all the great memories of the group ride, so I turned south on AR 21. This was a nice relaxing run through lovely bucolic farmland valleys and hills, the land undulating lazily along below the dewy grass and contented cows. The road followed the terrain and twisted in a fun yet not too demanding way, and somewhere along this road I spotted a fellow Blitz rider up ahead. I caught up just in time for he and his buddy to keep on straight when I turned west on US 412.
    I should note that it was a chilly morning. I had the silk liners under my gloves, and even ran the heated grips at one point. I was now at the point where I decided I'd need the heavier gloves. The grips had been off a while when I pulled over, and I was about to get off the bike to dig out the winter gloves when I made an interesting observation- the grips were still warm! They do tend to cool very slowly after turning them off, but they should have been totally cool by now. They seemed to be operating at some odd fraction of their planned intensity. This told me I probably had a shorted switch or something like that. This replaced my theory that my earlier troubles had been a bad battery. I pulled the fuse for the grips before changing gloves. While I was doing so an LT went flashing by, and I waved at whoever it was, wondering if we'd met over the weekend?
    The next fuel stop was memorable for two reasons. First while I was in the convenience store, a boy of about ten years of age said "nice suit" to me, asking if it was for mountain climbing. I thanked him and said it was for motorcycling. "Oh," he said, and said it made me look like the cops from one of the Resident Evil games. I took that as a sort of compliment and went on my way with a smile. The second thing was the trepidation with which I prepared to press the start button. But the engine did as it is supposed to do- it cranked eagerly for no more than half a second before catching in a vigourous way. I had no further starting problems all the way home. The rest of the ride back was pretty much unremarkable in fact, except for the rain that never was. All I got was after entering TxSx. First a little bit just after the state line, just enough to tell me it was there, then a light shower as I exited the freeway for my neighbourhood in Dallas. And home I was. It was hard to believe- just that morning I was with distant friends and now here I was, once again a thousand miles away.
    It was a great return to motorcycle travel, and a great opener to my first real rally season, at least if plans for the season come to fruition. There were some highlights I'll always remember. One was learning to make Bradford Benn's signature AppleTinis. Thanks Brad for sharing the recipe! But even greater was the great comraderie I found in our gang of four. I know we partly came together because three rode down together and we'd planned to meet, but I suspect we also fell into such an easy groove because we were outsiders to the typical BMW rider demographic- the over-40 upper-middle-class married white guy, although Bradford Benn does have a couple of those items covered. But we four were young and crazy, so we fell in easily. Thanks so very much to all three of you for being truly outstanding riding buddies for this wonderful weekend, and let's ride again as soon as possible!
    I'll share some pics in my usual no-webspace style, so bear with my single-photo posts...
    Oh and Bob, get well and back on your wheels soon!

    Pictured below: Bradford Benn shows us how it's done!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  3. #3
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    The Gang Of Four

    Everyone go out and meet the folks you talk to here!

    L-R: The Veg, Tracy, BoxerGrrlie, Bradford Benn
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  4. #4
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Unhappy Wet Airheads

    They really wanted to be out tearing up the countryside. Pictured is The BatBike, being admired from afar by Hilda in the background.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  5. #5
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Talking The Bat

    My riding companion for the weekend.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  6. #6
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Question Unmasked again!

    Our favourite mystery girl. She's holding the bat, I'm wearing a long wig...yeah...that's the ticket!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  7. #7
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Thumbs up BatBike along the way

    Stopped for a pic on US 62 near Proctor, OK.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  8. #8
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Thumbs up A better Pic

    This is the what I had really stopped to capture: looking west on US 62 near Proctor OK.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  9. #9
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Posts
    5,303

    Question GIANT INFLATABLE SLOT MACHINES???

    Yep, we were definitely in Injun country. Make that Injun casino country!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  10. #10
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Marin By God County, California
    Posts
    11,639
    This just RAWKS!
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  11. #11
    07 R1200GS Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Killdeer, ND
    Posts
    1,145
    Originally posted by KBasa
    This just RAWKS!
    No doubt! Nothing like riding with friends, eating good food, and sipping fine drinks. Nice write-up, Veg, it makes me envious that I wasn't along. It sounds like a great time.

  12. #12
    REBECCAV
    Guest
    Originally posted by Rich
    It sounds like a great time.
    I WAS a great time, Rich! So cool to meet and ride with Forum Friends. Maybe you could make it to Michigan for Track Day????

    Veg, nice report. I especially like the picture of 62. I miss the twisties and the green and the flowering trees.

    bg

  13. #13
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    pdx
    Posts
    5,878


    most excellent.
    scott conary - BMW... err...umm... bikes are dangerous
    portland, oregon
    www.scottconary.com | new paintings

  14. #14
    07 R1200GS Rich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Killdeer, ND
    Posts
    1,145
    Originally posted by boxergrrlie
    Maybe you could make it to Michigan for Track Day????
    bg
    I have been following that thread, and it sounds like a great time too, but that ugly thing called work is going to keep me away.

    I am still hoping we can have some sort of get together for the forum crew at Spokane, maybe even with name tags and the like, how would that go over with everyone? I think it would be neat to pin some faces on each other, which some of you already have a head-start on!

  15. #15
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Marin By God County, California
    Posts
    11,639
    Originally posted by Rich
    I have been following that thread, and it sounds like a great time too, but that ugly thing called work is going to keep me away.

    I am still hoping we can have some sort of get together for the forum crew at Spokane, maybe even with name tags and the like, how would that go over with everyone? I think it would be neat to pin some faces on each other, which some of you already have a head-start on!
    Don't you worry about that. We're looking at a meeting with a banner and all so we can find each other.

    Name tags? Rob and I have had some discussion about that are working to get something in place.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •