Ride to CO was axed~ now, where to roam with 5 days off?!?!

After potential plans to ride to Colorado were axed for the weekend, I contemplated what to do with a full 5 days off... naturally, I was going to ride somewhere, but the difficult question of the evening was, where? SO MANY options calling my name, some of which I have familiarity with, others not.  Rough evening and tough decisions to be made. Last minute I asked my dad if he wanted to ride as we hadn't done a trip in several years. He was game!

Sitting in the sunshine, flip flops kicked back, and ice blue mountains in hand... the 'pondering' stance

I LOVE Arkansas and talk about it all the time, so dad said lets go there. Done!!!  I sprinted out to the garage and collected my AR maps - riding maps galore. I am pumped!!!!  Oh.. I need to start packing. But first, I had to go play bean bags at the local bar for several hours. 
Turns out I made some NOT so smart decisions at bags (winning free drinks....), so the night went well into the wee morning hours... as in the lights turned on bright at the bar when I left... (closing time) so when I woke up at 6am...I just couldnt do it. I reset that stupid sound to 8am, which was still a bit rough going. My head was pretty upset with me - and that was before the wind and the pipes and the pouring rain started. I was sweating just getting everything into and onto the bike, so when it came time to put on rain gear... Well, I didnt. "It's a warm" rain I told myself. "It'll stop soon" said hope. Instead, the second I closed the garage door and backed the bike out... BAM.  full on rain - like the freeways in Mpls were partially flooded, kind of rain. I was soaked through and through by the time I got to the freeway, all of 1.5 miles away. Met my dad along the way and we continued south. It wasn't until Clear Lake IA that the sun started to peek out. Good thing I washed the bike last night! Because I was too lazy to bend all the way over and put on rain pants this morning -contrary to what I would think, my jeans were not 'cleaned' in the rain. They are disgustingly caked in road grime.

And I just started the trip! O-well. A real biker rides in the rain, right?  Life is hard sometimes (haha!)

And at the end of the day, this lil yellow guy is still hanging on strong - its survived 3 weeks on the bike - through rain, a couple of washes, and at least 1,500 miles. Thats one tough/brave/dedicated Dandelion!

All in all~ A solid 600+ mile day, & most of it was quite delightful and relaxing.  We stopped for the night in Harrisonville, MO. Had eats and drinks at the local pub and crashed in prep for an early AM.

Day 2: We were going to go straight south to Eureka Springs, which was like 3 hours away. But as soon as we turned the first corner on the freeway headed south, there was a dark, dark evil sky looking at us. Like the kind that says, I've got a buffet for you today of rain, hail, high winds, and maybe a twister. It was nasty green and black - neither of which are preferred colors when riding. So, we pulled off to look at a map and check the radar.

Left: Headed west.              Right: Headed South.
We were riding the edge of the storm and if we headed south, we would get beat up pretty bad, but if we headed west a smidge, then south, life 'should' be good. So we re-routed and caught up with parts of Route 66. Using the Road Trippers app, which gives 'quirky roadside' stop ideas, I found that we could go to the "Tri-State Corner" and put our foot in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas, all at once. Cool!

It was a bit tricky to find, as we had to take a casino road, then turn off on a dirt trail that receives ZERO maintanence ever. The ruts in the road were fine for my dad on his RT1200 dual sport ride, but on the Victory XR, it was sketchy in places.

Well worth the jaunt though!   This big stone structure was where the (whoever first map[ped the area) said the tri state corner was. The 'current' marker was mere feet away - pretty impressive considering the lack of technology and such that they would have had for the original marker.

We continued on Route 66 through Kansas, Missouri, OK. Using RoadTrippers again, I found a quirky little Route 66 diner. It was in a garage and impossible to spot that it was somewhere to eat if you didnt know it. Super cool memorobilia inside and out. When you walk in the front door, there are tshirt racks and other trinkets to buy. Go to the left at the back of the store and theres a steep drop into an old garage stall. Theres 3-4 tables, a few bar stools and a little grill and fryer setup where a lady cooked chow (Hamburger or cheeseburger... tots or fries. The end).  There were some creepy deadly looking bugs walking around (similar to a wasp but not..) and flies all over, yet, never phased me not to eat there. Too cool of a little pit stop to not!

Old school Coke cooler

The Car(s) look like its about to chow down on the bike!

Conveniently across the street was a Route 66 sign - so after a quick photo stop after an amazing dive burger, off we went towards Arkansas (kind of)!

The best trips are those that are unplanned. I had planned to heading straight to ES and was kind of bummed when weather sucked, but that turned out to be great as we got to ride Route 66 and see some hidden treasures of the area. And, we stayed DRY!
We stopped at a little po-dunk gas station out of ES - and before I was even done pumping gas, I made my first friend. He had roughly 3 teeth depending on which way the sunshine was beaming, wearing a tie dyed shirt, with three tear drop tattoos on his face. Whenever I travel south, I forget about the teeth thing. I make the mistake of smiling and people, and BAM. They are instantly lining up to be my friend. Which is cool that I meet random peopel, but this guy I was fairly confident he wanted to ride on the back of my bike. He was very complimentary, and also 65ish and a hippie that told me half his life story in 20 minutes. And it only takes me 4 minutes to gas the bike. Very nice dude, but laughable considering we just literally rolled into town. My dad had a good chuckle at the fact that I smiled and made eye contact, like a fool (says me, not him).

We finally landed in Eureka Springs and checked into our hotel. My parents travel 'for food' - they will literally detour to a town solely for a restaraunt they once ate at and liked.  I'm fine with Subway or something quick and a beer. But, knowing my dad would not appreciate the boring stuff, I took him to a little taco joint the girls and I happened upon during one of my trips to ES - we sat on the patio and there was a natural waterfall coming off the rock wall on one side, and my fave place of all time on the other side (CatHouse). The tacos rival street tacos from old school Mexico - with fresh cilantro and homemade chips + salsa. It was amazeballs.  And also VERY weird to be across the street from the Cat House and not going there to drink.... that's a first in the 6-8 times I  have been in the town! But yet I was just fine with that. Kind of didnt want my dad to know where I hung out, maybe as he might think twice of me when I come here so frequently!? Haha!
My dad;s foodie pic for my mom

We picked up some beer and headed to the hotel to veg for the night.

Took my dad on a ton of twisty fun roads in the area - forewarned him that he was not allowed to 'give me the talk' when I throttle it out and leave him in the dust on the corners. I would wait for him before turning, but I know the roads that we were going to take fairly well to know that when the sign advises you to go 40, you can really take that bad boy at 70 and be fine. Surprisingly, he did not 'dad' me on said corners :)  It was crazy fun - corner, after corner, after corner... thats all of NW AR.  HEAVEN!

We headed towards Jasper Peak - where we stiopped to walk to the top of the lookout.. which is rickety at best. There are missing boards, missing screws, it sways a bit in the stronger wind gusts. But the views are amzing! And my dad kind of chuckled when I declared "SELFIE!" but, its a great pic, if I do say so myself!

Leave it to my dad to meet someone from near where I work, Mr. Nelson (no, they are not related, they checked). Mr Nelson owns a HUGE gas station - restaraunt - gift shop - truck stop and he did not hold back on the fact that he was staying some where all hoyty toyty, and not quite bragging, but making it known he lives the fancy life. I of course asked if he rode to AR... I knew the answer. I just couldnt resist.

After the lookout, a mere few miles down the road (7) we stopped at the Cliffhouse restaraunt, where the poarking was all but taken, the line was out the door and the wait was a mere (short!) 45 minutes. We walked around, took some photos, and then patiently waited to be seated in the restaraunt, which literally hangs off the side of Jasper Peak. Its pretty cool and you can see for miles and miles.

  Then we meandered around and stopped to scope out different sights. We had fun playing on twisty roads in NW Arkansas.

And stopped at a cemetery for shade and water break somewhere along the way! That was the AHA moment, as i thought it was a road I had never been on, buyt the second I saw the cemetary, I recall a friend laying on the 'table' things years ago, so while I didnt recall the road, I had been there before. Random memory for sure.

 Found a cool little pull off, then quickly realized it was flooded over. My dad, on his adventure bike, just kept rolling across the water on the road - I waited back. All I could think was, "Turn Around, Don't Drown".... Turns out it was a mere 2-3" of water and brick under neath. Not one to sit back and stand back, I took off my boots and socks and went wading. Super clear water and cool which felt good! Meanwhile I didnt think that the road was populated or saw any traffic, and so I parked my 8' + bike in the middle of the road -  literally in the middle because I was on an incline and stuck. So, as soon as I took my boots off, sure enough, car after car after car. I threw my boots back on quick and my dad had to help push me backwards because I was otherwise going off roading. Moved the bike, played a little more in the water, and mosied on.

Meandered back to the hotel, had dinner, a few beers, and called it a day. Our hotel is pretty cool - it also hangs off of a hill - over looking the woods. You would never know it was in the middle of the city looking out the window.

280 miles was a solid riding day considering how many corners we manuevered today!!

Sunday: Packed the bikes up and mosied north, kind of. We went through Beaver AR via Cty Rd 76 - one of my FAVORITE roads ever and recently repaved. SO much fun!!!!  We stopped at the dam just outside of Beaver and hiked up some rocky hill for the sole purpose of taking a cliff hanger pic for my mom. She loves when I hang from rocks high in the air - and its my dad's fault that I do it... so it seemed normal!!!!   

Dad ran into a few Marine Corp guys who also went to Camp LeJune so they got to talking - it was interesting to hear and cool that they ran into one another- they didnt know each other, but by the time we left the dam, they had a lot of info to sharThen to Holiday Island, over a number of bridges, over Table Rock Lake, and on towards Branson and Indian Point Marina. I'd never been, but the locals talk highly of it - Its a pretty lake, but over crowded with no parking and not my scene. Cool views though. We ended up going THROUGH Branson - not ideal, considering it was really hot and lots of traffic. We got through Branson, went through Banjo country, and ended up in Macon MO for the night. Second time I have been in this town in a month, and it wasnt that great the first time. But timing was right so there we stayed.  It had gotten quite cold once the sun went down, so we got into the room and I turned on the heater. Which immediately smelled awful, then started shooting SPARKS out of it. I freaked a little. Ok, a lot. We now had a room that smelled like burnt toast and was shooting off fireworks from the heater in the wall. The front desk guy couldnt have cared less. My dad said "Ah, its just getting the dust out quicker" Since no one else seemed to care that flames were shooting out of the wall towards the bed, I decided to go with the flow. Nervewracking at first. But we were so tired, after eating, I passed right out. 

Monday - The forecast didnt look so good, rain everywhere and pretty black to the north. We suited up in rain gear and were pleasantly surprised when we only hit a few patches of light rain. I hit 60,000 today! Whoop!!  We hit some traffic on the way back to MN, but I managed to make it to the city, through the construction nightmare, and went straight from Macon MO to bean bags at the local bar. No time to stop home first - talk about dedication!!!!! Loaded bike and all, kicked some ass at bags, had a beer and some food, and finally rolled home about the same time that my dad had texted to say he was home. It was a GREAT trip and I was super happy that I could ride with my dad since it had been quite some time (years)! 

My dad and I had a great trip - lots of corners, lots of scenery, minimal traffic, and great weather!! I think he is hooked now :)

A week or so after the trip, my dad emailed or texted to say that he found a setting on his BMW that told him how many times he hit the rear brakes, the front brakes, etc. All in all, he was just a half mile shy of 2,200 for the trip!