Today we had approximately 100 miles to go and we would be at the Oklahoma border. It would turn out to be some challenging miles over some terrain made more difficult by the weather.
I love the way paved roads become gravel at any time. We’re on a fully striped two lane highway, and then the sign “Pavement Ends” and end it does. Just as we start up the mountain. In the rain. In the harder rain. With lightning. And thunder. Great. Arkansas just won’t let us have an easy day. Oh, well, we aren’t giving up either. We just stayed on the trail, stopping a few times to clean glasses and face shields so that we can actually see the trail we’re riding. In some places the runoff has washed out some good-sized ruts in the road, so you have to really watch the road.
Eventually, we get over the mountain and onto the more level ground. As we cross into Oklahoma it begins to rain harder and John spots a church with a porch that we can tuck under for some shelter. We see the rain on the iphone weather radar, and it looks to be moving to the southeast, leaving us clear skies but wet roads. We head out and almost immediately find mud, but it’s not nearly as bad as we’ve seen and the roadbeds seem to (mostly) dry out rather than turning into a mudfest. That’s good news.
Then, we see a single motorcycle headlight coming at us. The first TAT rider we’ve seen, moving west to east. It is Brienne (Grlstar on ADVRider) on her KLR650. Soon after that, Ted (tcourdin on ADVRider) comes up on his GS1200. He’s from Fayetteville, not too much further down the trail. We talk for a few minutes, take some photos, say goodbye, and continue on our way.
A few miles down the trail, John turns right, but I need gas and the map says Moody’s is a little over a mile away. he doesn’t turn around, so I go on to Moody’s, fill up, and head back to pick up the trail. A couple of miles down the trail, he’s waiting and he’s found a Best Western in Locust Grove. It’s been a longer day than either of us expected and we take a odd route to the hotel, but at least we found it. Dry clothes, a hot shower, a hot meal – they seemed a long ways away when the rain was pouring on us as we started UP the mountain in Arkansas.
The stats from today: