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I'm heading out tomorrow afternoon for a two-week tour down the the AR Ozarks, over to the Appalachians in Tennessee, probably up north into Virginia and back south through West Virginia and Kentucky, then over to the MO Ozarks and then home. In rough terms:

RoughPlan.jpg


I don't have a lot of plans. Some fun roads people told me about here and a pocketful of maps. Otherwise, just going to see what happens.

Once I'm on the road my location should post to Spotwalla here, when I have cell signal: https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1f0ab5d2607c23bc20&hoursPast=0&showAll=yes

I'm packed and I'm a bit freaked out. I'm taking almost nothing. I have spare room in my saddlebags, my dry bag isn't full. But generally I head to remote locations up north, so I bring more warm clothes and tools and spare gas and so on. I have my camping gear, but for the most part I'll probably motel it this time. And I'm going to rely on cell phone and credit card for repairs. And I'm certainly not going to need warm clothes. Jeesh, 90s tomorrow and dew point around 70, and that's up here in Wisconsin! What's it going to be like in Arkansas?

Anyways, I'll try to post some pics and a couple stories here while I'm on the road. I'll just have my cell phone so it won't be easy, but I should be able to muster a little content for anyone that is interested.
 

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First 10 miles have gone great! :D Needed to come into work for half a day before I take off. The bike is in the motorcycle lot already to go:

2019-07-12 08.27.00_1.jpg


That's a light load for me. Usually I have another dry bag on top of the black one with rain gear and extra layers, plus a tank bag. That extra thing hanging off the back of the dry bag is my dromedary bag full of water. Think I'm going to need to drink a lot of water in the heat.

Fresh road tires on the bike, haven't had those on for a while, been running dual sport tires for a while now. Nice and smooth, but hard. Fresh oil and brakes pads, she's a happy camper.

Gonna let Kurvinger pick a lot of the roads for me. Have a Freecom 1 in my helmet for navigation commands and some music. I enjoy the music in my helmet more than I expected.

Came into work with about 6 crises waiting for me, but they will be cleared by noon, I assure you :) I am leaving by noon.
 

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Damn, it was a good first day, or half a day. Kurviger picked up some good road for me, a little bit of gravel but mostly nice secondary roads. The northeast corner of Iowa really is pretty nice. The weather started out pretty good warm summer day but not too humid. But I think the heat is settled in now. I was ready to get off the road around 5.

Checked into a $50 motel room, it's a little bit rough but owned by a sweet older couple and the sheets are clean and the air conditioner works. It'll do.

Tomorrow I'll take the back roads down the Columbia Missouri and I have a bed at friends house there. Hope there air conditioner is working
 

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Kind of a brutal day today temperature wise, but I did good drinking tons of water and resting in the shade. I spent like 5 or 6 years in Columbia Missouri in grad school, and I rode roads today in North West Missouri that I've never been on and are probably the most beautiful area the state I've ever seen. At one point I rested for maybe 20 minutes old-growth oak forest, I think like a one-car went by. It was silent except for the birds. Pretty freaking awesome.

My phone knows how to pick the good roads, although occasionally it sends me on these really minor dirt roads that I don't know if most GPS would send you on.

I stopped at this one park to fill my dromdary bag with water, and this young guy walks over with two bottles of water that he had fished from his ice cooler, I think his mom sent sent him over. **** like that makes me smile so much.

Staying at a friend's house tonight, got some pizza at the old college haunt Shakespeare's Pizza. There is not much better, and they serve gin and tonics! Thank God for the motorcycle, otherwise I'd hang on 9th Street all night and drink until I got stupid.

er.
 

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I think about a tour is you want to maximize the time you are there, and minimize the time you are getting there. You want to spend too much time grinding to a destination. I expected the ride down to the Ozarks to be a bit of grinding, but I was wrong. The roads from Columbia to Harrison Arkansas we're about all awesome. So many curves. So few cars. It was really pretty excellent.

last few days have been long days though, I started early and ran pretty late. I've been taking lots of back roads and gravel roads so takes awhile to cover the miles. It occurred to me I'm only on my second full day and I have 15 days. I run the risk of wearing myself out.

Tomorrow supposed to be pretty rainy, I think that hurricane that hit Louisiana is working his way North. I'll check the weather forecast in the morning, but I made you spend a second night in Harrison maybe take a ride in the rain tomorrow. I'm tired, decisions can wait till tomorrow.
 

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It's going to be a down day. Staying in Harrison Arkansas another night. Not raining that hard, and it's a warm enough rain, but the Ozarks are all up in the clouds. I don't want to miss seeing them. I did that in the Adirondacks a few years ago, rode through them in the rain and I never caught a glimpse of a single hill.

In a little bit I'll suit up and take a local ride. It's more fun getting all wet when you know where you're going to be sleeping that night anyways.
 

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It's going to be a down day. Staying in Harrison Arkansas another night. Not raining that hard, and it's a warm enough rain, but the Ozarks are all up in the clouds. I don't want to miss seeing them. I did that in the Adirondacks a few years ago, rode through them in the rain and I never caught a glimpse of a single hill.

In a little bit I'll suit up and take a local ride. It's more fun getting all wet when you know where you're going to be sleeping that night anyways.
Just saw this thread for the first time. We did Arkansas a little over 30 years ago and celebrated the 4th of July in Hot Springs. Only had one setback while touring there. Set up camp, went to get some beer and found out we were in a dry county. I ended up riding another 90 minutes or so round trip to get to the next county.

Enjoy your ride.
 

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Heh. After I pulled in last night I found all the liquor stores and restaurants closed. Sunday don't you know. Settled for eating too much Arby's.

Just went out for a couple hour ride. Confirmed that you don't need to gain much altitude before you're in the clouds. Couldn't find the cool part of Harrison. Tested my rain gear, it kept most of me dry. Had fun, but glad I'm not doing that all day. Back in the hotel room, might have to go hit that liquor store soon ?
 

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Went out this morning for a couple hours and rode in the rain. It was okay, mostly an exercise to test my gear. It works, kinda. About as well as anything will work on a bike without a fairing I suppose.

Then this afternoon I got an hour in between storms, got up to the Gainer Mountain overlook that was nice enough. Now sipping some Maker's Mark, and then to the restaurant next door in a while. I could use a salad. Not just a salad, but a salad, likely next to a mostly cooked piece of cow.
 

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Well the weather has surprised me, even saw some sun. I expected a thunder cell to find me, they were around. But in the end it was perfect, barely saw a drop.

There are not a lot of straight roads down here. That is not a complaint. ?

Wife looked at spotwalla and pointed out my route was inefficient, I went far not didn't get very far.
 

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Yeah, I've been on some beautiful land, and really awesome roads. Not inhabited by monied to people though. Hard to make a living down here. But it's inexpensive too, talked to one guy who said that if he can work 3 to 4 days a month he has enough to pay his electric bill, property tax and a little bit of food. He's been doing it for 20 years. He bought 7 acres back then for next to nothing.

Today was hot and humid. Not quite the apocalypse they described to me on the morning news, but still pretty tough at points.

Before I left on the trip I bought myself an Olympia Airglide mesh jacket, the mesh has saved saved me. But late this morning the zipper failed me. I was out of the hills of the Ozarks and down in the flat Mississippi River bottoms which extend for a hundred miles or so from the freaking River. Flat and humid and muggy and wet and hot down there. I pulled over to check my map and couldn't get the zipper down. The teeth are all out of alignment.

So I rode through Poplar Bluff to a Honda dealer to see if they could sell me a new mesh jacket. You know it's hotter than hot? Riding through a freaking City in dealing with stop lights in the heat. That's hot. And miserable. And a fool's errand, No one stocks enough clothing anymore. And none of them with my size, not nearly enough X's

From there I did the unthinkable, I jumped on the interstate. Interstate sucks, but you know what they don't have? Stop lights. And I have speakers in my helmet so I just listenef to music and blasted down the interstate until pretty close the Mississippi River. Crossed the Mississippi at the confluence with the Ohio, which is a really cool area. Two very old very long very narrow bridges cross those rivers. It's really cool.

I was thinking about riding down to Nashville to see if they had any jackets, but I think I've given up on it. I'll just pull it on ans off like a sweatshirt. Worst comes to worse I'll just go into to some farm store and buy a work jacket or something. When dogtired was in the states I remember him and Roxidoodle stopping at some huge motorcycle gear superstore. I feel like that was in Tennessee. Maybe I'll run into something like that, who knows.

As soon as I was in Kentucky the scenery and the roads improved. It's crazy how the topography can change right at a river like that. Life got better

Turns out I like barbecue, stopped for some more for lunch today. Tonight was a cheap grocery store dinner. Staying at a nice little cheap Rodeway Inn. Life is good.
 

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Just catching up on your trip again. Looks like a good time even with the rain. Is it easy getting a room every night? You are making me want to get on my bike and go somewhere, anywhere. Ride safe.
 

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I haven't had any trouble finding room so far. Motels haven't been very full at all. Honestly I've seen very few motorcycles on the road, it's kind of strange.

I use Google maps or hotels.com to let me know what towns have a bunch of motels. When I get to town I first look for a mom and pop place where I can pull up to the door. If I can find an adult working cash register at a gas station they'll usually give me a good recommendation. Teenagers tend to be too oblivious of the world around them to be of any help:)

I have my camping gear with me, but not sure I'm going to use it. Maybe if it's cooler up in the hills. But I like having a back-up plan in case I can't find a motel.
 
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