MN to Arkansas in just under 12 hours - the pot of gold under the rainbow!
We met up at the gas station just south of the metro and headed on our way in the full moonlight and rising sunlight. We left MN at 7:30am and rolled into Ozarks in Arkansas at 7:30pm. I had heated gear on the entire day - we started out in 47 degrees (but with sunshine!) and it didn't get a whole lot warmer as the day went on. The high was only in the low 60's in Arkansas and they had major storms roll through all day. I have talked about getting heated grips for a few weeks but procrastination prevailed and I never got around to actually doing it. So, being it was chilly out and I got frostbite on my left hand 2 years ago when we rode to Daytona Bike Week (in mid March) from MN - in 9 degree temps (literally). I made it a solid 42 miles before getting frostbite on my left hand. Ever since then, my hand tells me very quickly when it is too cold to operate. So, having no heated grips, I improvised and made my own. I took two hand warmers that you shake to make warm, and I taped them to my grips. The first attempt was an epic blonde moment fail. I used electrical tape. Ya know, the kind of tape that keeps heat from melting things... needless to say, no heat was radiating out of my redneck grips at that rate. I redid my plan and used masking tape - and put yellow construction paper (it was randomly laying around) on the other part of my grips so the tape wouldn't get them permanently sticky. Ta-da!!! Magic! Worked like a charm for the 4 hours that required their use.
We have two required stops whenever we head to MO or AR - the first is at the Kum and Go in Clear Lake IA to see our buddy Neil. Every time we roll in, his first words are "Where are you girls off to now?" And we bs, have hot chocolate, a slab of their breakfast pizza, and mosy on our way. The other stop is at the MO welcome center, where we once stopped on our way to Texas in April - it was sleeting, pouring rain, almost snowing, and damn cold. We were drenched completely and stopped there to wait out the weather and dry out a little. While there, one of the workers had said she always wanted to ride but never learned how. As we were standing there, soaking wet with water streaming off our bodies shaking cold, we told her it is never too late to start!!! Long story short, we stop and say hi to Carrie every time we pass the IA MO border on 35. She is such a peach! We were bummed to learn that she had gone home sick today.. so we left her a love note. Her coworker probably is wondering what in the world we were doing based on my elementary school drawing of a motorcycle and random note leaving. We had some lunch, which I packed for the three of us - thanks to my roomie who makes jar lunches - I had three left for the week. And there were three of us. So we ate, had some caffeine, took the obligatory photo and went on our way. We had great riding overall - not a ton of traffic, alot of construction but no major slow downs, and we missed rush hour in both Des Moines and Kansas City - success!!
It was cold but we dodged most of the rain. And at the tail end of our journey, we thankfully we took a wrong turn - which was frustrating at the time, but turns out Mother Nature had an amazing welcome gift for us! These pics have NO FILTER! The colors were impressive!
It felt great to make it into Eureka Springs before darkness settled in. We got to the hotel, where the owner was wearing a Victory t-shirt - so we all bs'd about how amazing our bikes are, we got all checked in and he showed us to our room. The hotel is a ma & pa style which was completely renovated in 2017-2018. There are hardwood floors, lots of lighting, two beds with super cute quilts and bedding (and new beds!), a bigger than normal size hotel fridge and the usual amenities. I am pretty easily impressed by the little things in life - like cute quilts and the shower - which was all glass (no nasty hotel shower curtain) and has a rain style shower head coming out of the ceiling. Yep - easily impressed and amused. We pulled back behind the hotel and parked the bikes for the night. It felt great to ride all day but equally as great to be done! After unloading the bikes, we cracked a Yuengling that we picked up as we got into town, kicked off our boots and relaxed. Life is good! The hotel is on the main drag through the town (62), tucked just enough away from the road that we cant hear the road noise much at all. There is a huge 'backyard' and the hotel is situated right on the edge of the woods. There is a great deck area with chairs, tables, and usual amenities. There is also a gazebo, covered and lit, which also offers views of the main drag, to watch all the bikes roll by. We had planned on going out on the town, but by the time we arrived, unloaded, relaxed, and had a couple of beers... well, we were shot. I did the usual nerdery move of taking out all of my Arkansas maps and planning tomorrows ride. I love planning rides - the twistier the roads the better, and literally ALL roads in and out of Eureka Springs are twisty. Its like riding heaven!!!!
Arkansas truly IS the pot of gold under the rainbow!