What could be better than heading out on a cool morning on the back of a BMW motorcycle to tour the Grand Canyon? In July? Are you nuts? Only if going to the Grand Canyon in Arkansas is considered insanity. Here’s what crazy gets you. Green hills and valleys covered with trees. Twisty roads that are just plain fun when you’re fresh from a good nights sleep. Bacon, eggs and biscuits with a glorious view. And teaching RD how to stop and smell the roses.
So we didn’t see any roses and drove too fast to smell them, but the scenery on Highway 7 going south from Harrison, Arkansas was our version of living in the moment. We sat eating breakfast at the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, Arkansas overlooking the canyon. Gorgeous.
Arkansas is pretty surprising. When we got home, I did a little more investigating. We haven’t even begun to explore the roads on the west part of the state. More will follow. But for now, enjoy the pictures while I think of ways to convince RD that every ride does not have to be an Iron Butt. All suggestions will be welcome.
See you on the road,
How can you pass up a place that calls itself The Hub and advertises “Live to Ride, Ride to Eat” on its billboard? Well, you shouldn’t is the answer. The first annual BMW Bash was held at The Hub in Marble Falls, Arkansas. A group of BMW motorcycle dealerships from around the central states decided to throw a July 4th bash to celebrate riding, eating, riding some more and then more eating. Worked for me.
The Hub advertises itself as a Mid America Motorcycle Resort, but it looks like a giant Hershey Kiss. That would be the Hub. It is actually a convention center capable of accommodating about 1500 people. Inside the convention center you will find a game room, snack bar, stage and Scooters restaurant. Scooters provides steaks, burgers, Prime rib on weekends and breakfast buffet.
The Hub Hotel, which has 45 rooms and tent camping, is right next door. Parking right outside your hotel room door was no problem. Unless you were in a room on the second floor. I guess you could sleep on your balcony. I didn’t see anyone doing it, but if you really needed to keep your pony in your sight at all times, The Hub could take care of you.
The Bash started Friday, July 3rd with a geocaching game. Players were given a list of twelve places where “caches” or boxes were hidden. They had to follow clues and GPS directions on a scavenger hunt within 20 miles of some pretty fantastic roads and scenery. Once they found the hidden treasure, they collected a wooden nickel. The contest continued through Saturday. Prizes for the most nickels were awarded at a Bar-B-Que on Saturday night. I’d never heard of the game before, so I was pretty amazed that there are 851, 002 active geocaches going on around the planet. Check out their website at www.geocaching.com for details.
I haven’t seen so many BMW motorcycles together since our 4810 when we ran into a group of riders in a park in Oregon. I’ve never seen a motorcycle pull a car either, but I did at The Hub. No kidding. One gentleman was pulling a motorcycle trailer that looked like a miniature car. There were sidecars, trikes, sport touring bikes and off road bikes. One cool thing about The Hub is that all bikes and bikers are welcome.
You will find the giant kiss off Highway 7 in North Arkansas right in the middle of the Ozark National Forest. Coming from the north look for the turn off to Mystic Caverns on the right and take the very next left. Coming from the south on 7 look for the sign, “Live to Ride, Ride to Eat.” Or go to their website, www.hubinfo.com, for the GPS coordinates.
See you on the road,
Would a very tasty something called “Special Desert” justify getting on a motorcycle during questionable weather, like a pending tornado or thunderstorm from hell? Would a nice big piece of pie be worth traveling 600 miles in one day through said questionable weather? Apparently the answer is yes if you’re talking about the pie from Koffee Kafe Family Restaurant in Hico, Texas. Anything on the menu will work.
Sunday dawned with very questionable weather. A little on the cool side with a small window of opportunity for another training session on our BMW 1100 RT. We rode a tiny bit over 300 miles on the last run. To complete our Iron Butt 4810 ride, we’ll need to travel at least 800 plus per day. It was time to step up the training and log some miles.
I was still a little bit in the doghouse over our last ride to a historical insane asylum at Ft. Supply, Oklahoma. Who knew it was now a prison? So I conceded that maybe I wasn’t the best navigator in the world. It was my husband, RD’s turn to pick the road trip. Hico, Texas was his choice. We headed South from El Reno, Oklahoma on Highway 81.
Be careful when crossing the Canadian River. One morning about 5:30 a.m. we almost had an unfortunate run in with wildlife. We all know the danger lurking on the back roads. Deer, turkeys, road kill. All have the ability to turn a nice ride into disaster. But no one ever said a word about wild owls getting a drink on the river. We crossed the bridge just as he ascended from the riverbank. The wingspan was awesome. Bigger than our motorcycle. I saw his eyes. Never a good sign where wildlife and motorcycles meet. He swerved up. RD veered right and ducked. I swallowed my husband’s head. Helmet and all.
Once we hit Chickasha, Oklahoma, we got on the H. E. Bailey Turnpike and stayed south all the way to The Red River. We continued on 281 South through Wichita Falls, Mineral Wells and Stephenville to Hico. At the crossroads of Highway 6, 220 and 281, you will see the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant. It is worth the ride. The chicken fried steak and pork steak are as awesome as the wingspan of a wild owl. RD splurged on chocolate crème pie, leaving me with the “Special Desert” that came with his special of the day. Smooth, sweet, vanilla and coconut. Perfection on a plate.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I agree. Once RD was full he indulged in my historical curiosity. Without me asking or begging. He offered to investigate the “Billy the Kid Museum” located a few blocks down the road from the Koffee Kafe. The museum and several other stores make up about 2 blocks of early 1900 storefronts. You see them a lot in this part of the country and while it’s easy to become immune, I never get tired of the architectural design of each one. I’m an arch addict.
Turns out there’s a feud between Ft. Sumner, New Mexico and Hico, Texas. Both claim the remains of the notorious Billy The Kid outlaw of the 1880’s. Ft. Sumner buried Bill after he was shot by Pat Garrett as their story goes. Hico buried Billy after he survived being shot by Pat Garrett, changed his name to Brushy Bill Roberts and died an old man. The story is fascinating. Especially when I did a little digging and found out Ft. Sumner has 2 Billy the Kid museums complete with graves. Three museums, three Billy the Kids, three different stories and all because RD woke up today and wanted pie. Who needs fiction?
See you on the road,