Fudge factories and Alabama unicorns

Day 3 of my 3 day tour ….

I woke up somewhere in Arkansas, as always, I was in desperate need of some coffee! I walked down to the hotel office where the desk clerk was sleeping in the lobby and I couldn’t help but notice that there was no coffee out. So I went back to my room for a bit, packed up my things, and got ready for the day. Roughly 30 minutes later I walked back down to the office and lo and behold the desk clerk had awoken.

 I caught the weather map on the TV as I was pouring my coffee and the man behind the desk asked where I was headed, I told him Iowa but I was taking the roundabout way to get there. 

It was at this very moment that I did not need a penny for his thoughts they were free for the taking! It turns out this man was not only a desk clerk at this local motel he was a weatherman, GPS, geologist, and tour guide all rolled into one. I did appreciate a small amount of his information but given the fact that I was without coffee at this point in my day I did not absorb much of it and was very happy when the phone rang so I could run away. 

After the hellacious storm that had crashed down much earlier in the morning the beginning of my ride was a tad foggy and wet but it was warm and very eventful in all the best sort of ways. I discovered another favorite Highway, Arkansas 123. Full of Rolling hills, twisty curves and beautiful scenery even in the rain. I shared my lane with some bicyclists who happened to be peddaling uphill paying no attention to my motorcycle rapidly approaching them and I am assuming they were just as shocked as me that all of us fit between the yellow and white lines!  It was also along Highway 123 where I not only became a hero but I also became a turtle!  First I saw a little hard shelled creature in the middle of the road, I noticed that he had not yet been squished as the many others this week,  I pulled over and put him off in the grass where I thought he would be safe. As Mother Nature would have it, shortly down the road after that it began to rain so I stopped and put on my rain gear. However, I am stubborn and knowing that several hundred miles of my day was going to be in a state with a helmet law I was going to take full advantage of not having to wear one in this state. I put on my yellow glasses and raingear and away I went only to discover that at lower rates of speed rain and wind in the hair just do not mix and stick to your face, I solved this problem by pulling up the hood on my rain jacket resulting in myself becoming a turtle.  While in full turtle mode I was tooling along rounding one of the curves when I saw a black Dodge charger screaming around this very same curve over halfway into my lane, now you may think that this was karma at work for me sharing lanes with those bicycles…EXCEPT, I made sure all of us stayed in one lane this guy was taking up both lanes and there was nowhere for me to go other than onto the shoulder, luckily I wasn’t traveling at that high of a rate of speed and kept everything under control. Had this been my first rodeo I may have swallowed a Barbwire fence.

Not too many miles further I drove out of the rain and came to an awesome one lane hundred year old bridge, on the other side I found some fellow motorcyclists from Alabama. We will call them Scott and Robert. These guys were traveling together up to this very point and then one was headed to Montana and the other back to Alabama. We started swapping stories and taking pictures and next thing we knew we all had been standing out there swatting Nats for about an hour of our morning.

 I was informed that I am in fact a unicorn! I will take this as a very big compliment, by their definition a woman who is out riding alone for the adventure or fun of it is indeed a unicorn. I like it! 

Turns out Rob and I were headed down the same stretch of road for the next hour or so and we traveled together until 123 came to an end, both agreeing it was by far one of the best roads we had ridden in a while and very similar to those in northern Georgia and Tennessee. Steep grades coupled with 10 MPH curves all the way up to 50 MPH curves made this one adventurous beautiful ride. I pulled into a gas station to top off and say goodbye to my travel partner. When I walked into the Casey’s in Harrison Arkansas  the clerk right away struck up conversation about riding and roads and motorcycles. What an awesome way to be greeted! Pretty soon a customer sitting in a booth by the window started talking with me and gave me some advice on different routes I can take from here to Iowa today. He was a truck driver and has been in all 48 lower states in his big rig and also rides motorcycles! It never ceases to amaze me the people that I meet on these adventures. A few minutes later I went outside to eat my lunch and chat with Rob a bit before heading out, out of the blue a man walks up and hands me a business card from Youngblood Harley Davidson in Harrison Arkansas he had seen us standing there with the motorcycles talking and just wanted to make sure that we were OK and didn’t need anything. Once we said we were fine he handed me his card and said well in case you ever do let me know. 

Now that is some excellent marketing! After putting my helmet back on and once again becoming a bobble head I trusted the good old GPS to route me the fastest way to Iowa. First it took me down Highway 65 through Arkansas up into Missouri which was quite a beautiful ride for four-lane highway. The speed limit is only 60 miles an hour but the views were fantastic and the pavement was smooth as glass. 

Next it ran me down Highway 44 (Route 66) where I discovered some more excellent marketing skills! There’s a big yellow billboard on the side of the road and in large letters it says URANUS. Right away this grabs my attention and when I got close enough to read the rest it not only got my attention but had me laughing for miles! Uranus is the name of a fudge factory. Anyone else find the irony in this? Somewhere down the road I turned up Highway 54 which was also very scenic and great riding. I spotted Ozark Harley Davidson and noticed they were open so I hopped off on the frontage road to go grab my son and Isome poker chips. I don’t believe we have any from Missouri yet unless I happened to pick some up on my trip down route 66 with my dad a few years back, I’ll find out soon. 

As I pulled off the interstate to find the frontage road the Harley dealership was on I found another sign that still has me laughing today! Apparently there is a town called Licking….. I am most definitely going to google the history of this town and how exactly that name happened. 

It was just a short little trip maybe a mile down the road to Ozark Harley Davidson. They had bikes outside for demos and the inside was full of very helpful happy staff! For people working on Sunday of a holiday weekend I was thoroughly impressed at their smiles and helpfulness!  Back out on the interstate with a few hundred miles yet to go I started growing tired and I hate to say it but a tad bored. Today was not a day I wanted to be on four-lane highway with a bunch of cage traffic. I wanted to be winding down back roads around curves and over hills again! Unfortunately that was not my reality so I made the best of my situation. I discovered that if you set the cruise control you can actually get a hell of a workout on a motorcycle on a smooth flat road surface. I would stretch my arms out and fight the wind giving my biceps and triceps a great challenge and from there I wrapped my legs behind me and in front of me working on some yoga stretches … I should ask the people down here for some marketing advice on this! Anyone ever heard of Harley Davidson road workouts? Or yoga poses? I think it fits right up there with my wind therapy theory. Although if this started catching on I can’t help but think Insurance companies would need to add a new clause to their policies and the highway patrol may need to add new citations to their ticket book! Shortly after my workout I got serious again and was riding  as a normal motorcyclist should, feet on the floorboards hands on the bars and I still had a brain bucket on my head. It was around this time when an unidentifiable insect smacked into my vest and somehow maneuvered its way into my jeans!! 

I am here to tell you; you never fully understood what your grandmother meant when she asked you if you had ants in your pants until you are riding down the highway at roughly 75 miles an hour and have something unknown crawling around inside your pants! 

This is not the first and I’m sure not the last time this has happened to me, I’ve had Hornets up the pant leg which caused me to Depants myself on the side of Highway 90 in South Dakota. Once while wearing a full face helmet I for some reason had the visor up and a bumblebee went directly between the padding of the helmet and my temple. And there have been numerous other occasions when said insects have flown down my shirt, up my shirt, and every other inconvenient place you can think of. I am certain passersby at this point figured I was inventing new dance moves.

I enjoyed Route 54 even though I wasn’t feeling the four-lane vibe today, somehow even ended up on a country County Highway H which was definitely a motorcyclist dream. Crossed a beautiful bridge. Before I knew it I was in Iowa, where I once again pulled over right at the Stateline and removed my helmet. After which  I was sporting some pretty amazing gas station sunglasses !  Iowa isn’t home but it was for tonight. I ended my 600 mile day with magnificent sunset views followed by going to see my favorite band perform. What a completely fantastic and eventful day on two wheels!  All that’s left from here is a 2 hour and 15 minute ride home…let’s hope it’s in the sunshine! 

Hope you enjoyed my three day tour and you will all join me again on my next adventure!!! 

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