Thursday, September 19, 2013

Eureka Springs Arkansas - Thursday

The group started to wake up slowly and congregate in the parking lot, talking about what we would do today.

Cheap B, Southern Draw, JR, Watchman and DD

Southern Draw doing something mysterious to his biike

I like this picture of Cheap B

KT, Sandy and Condi

Hot Sauce, Cleve and Taz

A group of us rode down to The Roadhouse for breakfast. There had been problems there last year when the restaurant was undergoing a change in ownership, but the Gambler Clan tried it out yesterday and said it was fine. In fact, it was better then fine. The server was friendly, took our orders quickly and brought the right thing to the right person. And the food was excellent.

Sherm, DD, Skyking and KT at The Roadhouse

Sandy, Sherm and DD enjoying coffee before the meal

For some reason, everyone looked grumpy here (but they weren't)

Skyking and Gearman

Bubbles and Gambler

Stewey and Coyote had been talking about riding to the Cliff House Inn near Jasper for lunch. They had intended for it to be a small, informal ride but people kept asking if they could go. I'm not sure how many bikes started out but we were third in line behind the two instigators. Sherm elected not to go on this run. Coyote led at a moderate pace down US 23 and we stopped at a WalMart in Huntsville to let a couple gas up.

The Ride - 162 miles

Coyote and  Stewey leading down US 23

Cheap B and the rest of the group on US 23

WalMart in Huntsville Arkansas

Leaving Huntsville, Stewey dropped back to get some video of the group, which moved us up to the number two spot. We continued down US 23 to SR 74 and then headed east to Kingston and then on to Jasper, where we stopped again for a few minutes at a Conoco station amidst a sea of Bikes, Blues and BBQ bound Harley Davidson's. The roads were awesome and the more relaxed pace allowed us to look around a bit more than we have up until now.

Beautiful rolling Arkansas countryside

Sedimentary rock layers

Crawling up a steep hill

And then we passed him (on a solid line)

The sign says it all

Lots of these, usually at the bottom of a steep hill

Mount Sherman (and we left Sherman at home)

This is great riding

Coyote and his Connie in a curve

And setting up for another one

This building has seen better days

Up on a ridge

Jasper Arkansas

Paused at the Conoco in Jasper

A lawn shark??????

From Jasper, we headed a few miles south to the Cliff House Inn, overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon. There was little space to park but, as usual, we got the bikes wedged in. Just after we got there, a second group of our people arrived.

The sign said "Don't pick the flowers"

Arkansas Grand Canyon

The awesome view from the Cliff House Inn

Wrong Turn

Cheap B, Master Of All He Surveys

Despite all the cars, we were ushered right in to tables. I had planned on a light lunch but ended up having coffee and dessert. Only dessert. Sandy had blackberry cobbler while I had their trademark Company's Comin' Pie, advertised as the State Pie of Arkansas. I had never heard of it before and had to give it a try even though I knew it would mess up my blood sugar.  It was excellent.

Waiting to order at the Cliff House

Our group (sans Stewey, who went the other way and said he would meet us in Kingston) left the Cliff House heading south on Highway 7. Again I was second behind Coyote. All was well for a few miles until we skirted a the dark leading edge of a nasty looking cell and large raindrops started to fall. Coyote pulled over and I pulled up beside him to tell him I had  no intention of stopping. As I did, Southern Draw must have been of the same mind because he blasted past me.

As the two of us roared (OK, whooshed in the case of the Wing) through the rain, I looked in the mirror and saw we were not alone. After about five miles, SD pulled over when we reached the SR 16 intersection, and motioned me ahead. I was now the leader but I only had a vague idea where I was going. Regardless, I was going in a hurry because the black cloud looked like it was chasing us.

The clouds we encountered


I'm glad we weren't over there

When 16 reached SR 21, I cut north towards Kingston because that was where Stewey was supposed to be. We got to the town square and found no one, so we parked and settled into the gazebo to wait. A quick head count showed Southern Draw, DD, Cheap B and Rick were still with us. We had no idea where the others were. After a little while, Stewey arrived for the rendezvous. A bit later, Coyote pulled into the square and, ignoring us completely, road through and north on 21. That was unusual. As to what became of Wrong Turn and KT, Skyking and Gearman, we had no idea. At that time.

After a decent interval, I led the remaining riders north on 21 to US 412 west, where we stopped at a Conoco for fuel. As we were there, Sandy commented on a black cloud north of us. North, the very direction we were heading. We continued on 412 and then took CR 127, the same road where we had seen the deer a couple of days ago, north to US 23. Looking at the GPS and estimating the west to east speed of the cell, I predicted we would come in behind the rain. Sandy was skeptical but, for once, I was right. We encountered wet roads ten miles south of ES but stayed dry. The only challenge was the school buses once  we got into town.

We would miss this

There it goes, away from us

Back at the motel, famed moto-journalist Teri Conrad had arrived. Sherm had arranged for a discount for those of us who wanted to attend the Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down. Some had already gotten their tickets so DD and I went over to get ours. In addition to mine and Sandy's, I got some for Cheap B and Southern Draw. Returning to the lot, we decided we needed  some food. Southern Draw and Cheap B had phoned for delivery from the Route 62 Diner down the road, so Dave, Sandy and I also phoned an order. Virgil delivered the food with time to spare. Our chicken strip were huge and tasty and the coleslaw was very good as well. We had enough left over to put in the fridge for another meal.

The missing riders soon wandered in. Coyote, who beat us back, claimed he had not seen us in Kingston. Wrong Turn and KT, followed by Skyking, had been a ways behind us and missed the turn onto SR 21. They rode all the way on 16 to US 23 at the top end of the Pig Trail before turning north. Gearman missed the turn on 16, had gone south on 7 to the next town, asked directions and then ridden all the way north on 7 to US 62 and come home that way. Coyote said he had done what any good leader would have done in similar circumstance. He had been faced with a mutiny and had cut and run:-)

Sandy and Teri

The Hoe-Down was withing walking distance but most of us rode anyway. We arrived at 7:00, plenty early for the 7:30 show. Our 22 person group was seated in two blocks, the normal folks in front and the anti-social group about eight rows back. 

The show is a bit corny but Randall George (aka P-Nutt) can really play a guitar. The other brother, known as Ponytail in the act, plays bass in the typical stoic manner. Leslie Wright (Girl) sings, while the keyboard player Lee and drummer Derrick are better than good. The slapstick and audience interaction from the P-Nutt character kept the show going. One of our riders, Candy from Des Moines, became the butt of a lot of jokes and responded in kind. Cheap B became known as Cueball and Sandy got her moment of fame as well.

During the intermission, I was talking to Lee and Derrick when Southern Draw came over to tell em that "Mom" said I had to come back to my seat. Some of you may not know that SD has a prosthetic eye that he can turn whichever way he wants. What I didn't see but Derrick and Lee did was that he was looking at them with one eye while the other was pointed in the direction of Saturn. I couldn't see him but I could see their faces.

After the show, a few of us hung around as SD talked music with the brothers. He is quite a musician in his own right and has played in a similar show in the Smokey Mountains. Derrick the drummer had told Leslie about Bill's eye and she came over and asked him if he was the one that had scared the drummer half to death. She asked to see him do it again and, after some cajoling, he did. Then he showed her how he cleaned it by popping it out, putting it in his mouth and then out it back. There was a little cringing. Then the talk went back to music and Bill played them one of his own compositions. Randall gave Bill his last CD and said he could burn us all copies of it.

All in all, it was a fun show with some special moments. I am a big Leslie Wright fan. In addition to working the show, writing songs and touring with the brothers, she owns a graphic and website design business in Harrison and also owns and runs a private school for young children. All that was built into a perfectly proportioned 4' 11" frame.

At the Hoe-Down

Cheap B ready to be entertained

Candy and Cheap B entertaining with P-Nutt

When we got back to Motel 62, more people had arrived. We wandered the parking lot mingling with our fellow VROC'ers having a great time.

Tom M and Coyote

Stewey, Badger, JPob and Jamey T (Rocky)

Jamie watches Mitch rewire his sound system

Margot and Hot Sauce

Taz is worn out

Southern Draw entertaining his fans

Stewey, Cheap B and Badger pondering something serious

Susan and Flamekiller

DD doesn't look impressed with whatever Scooter has measured

Flash and Cargo

But great fun can only go on so long and I eventually had to pry Sandy away from the ladies' lemon drop ceremony so we could head off to bed. So far, the reunion has been excellent and we still have a couple of days to go.

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