Sherm and I worked out a plan for a ride today. Vickie and Debbie from Texas were here and did not have a lot of group riding experience, so we decided to take them on a leisurely ride to Branson. By the time we were ready to leave, Bassman, Laura, Cheap B and Rick had signed on as well and Stewey would ride up there with us on his way back to Illinois.
I led while Sherm brought up the rear. With the CB communication from front to back, I was able to adjust the speed so that we all stayed together. We took SR 21 north out of Berryville to Blue Eye on the Missouri border, where we stopped for a photo opportunity.
From Blue Eye, I led us across Missouri 86, a very nice road we have travelled a lot, to US 65. We followed this north to SR 76, the main drag through Branson. We could have taken a faster route but Sherm wanted the ladies to get a look at what the town was all about. There were a few new things since the last time we went through here, and some old ones were gone.
At the end of the strip, we stopped at Golden Corral for the breakfast we missed, now properly called lunch. I enjoyed the steak on the buffet. Twice. Plus some other goodies. I tried to avoid starches and desserts and almost succeeded.
Stewey left us after lunch, heading for St. Louis today and home to Peoria tomorrow. The rest of us continued west on 76 to where it met SR 13 near Kimberling City and stopped at a gas station. Cheap B and Rick left us there and continued on 76 for a 'spirited' ride on their Vulcan 2000's. I led the rest of us south on 13 across Table Rock Lake to 86 and then west.
Eventually, Highway 86 came to State Road P which we turned south on. It became Arkansas 23 as soon as we crossed the border. We passed the enclave of Holiday Island and could have bypassed downtown Eureka Springs but opted to see what was going on. This wasn't the best idea because it was choked with motorcycles who should have been in Fayetteville for Bikes, Blues and BBQ.
After we got back, Sherm and I both loaded the bikes up and maneuvered around to get the rigs parked in the lot. Thanks to Jamie T and his hand signals for getting me hooked up. Hot Sauce and company cooked some chili and more ribs for the folks who stayed. Sandy and I had to finish the chicken strips we had left over in the fridge from Route 62 the other evening.
After the sun went down, a few of us headed for the go-kart track next door. The first race was five laps and, although I had no kart experience, I was doing OK until a young lady spun me into the wall while I was passing her. Wunnem racin' deals. I sat out the second ten lap race, which ended with "the big one" as cars ended up facing every which way. Young Claudia was clearly an up and coming champion.
After the great race, we sadly said our goodbyes. Last year, some of us still had Virginia to look forward to. This year, today was the first day of fall and the last day of our rally season. Anticipating a long day tomorrow, I was the last one in our room to bed at 9:30.
This was a fantastic reunion. I need to thank Condi, JR and Brandon for all they did to give us a place to come together. Word was that the main floor of the motel has already been completely booked for next year. Sherm said he had us covered so we'll see y'all there.