22 Oct

We’re in Arkansas now and generally homebound, still enjoying backroads when possible. I’ve not yet resorted to having to ride interstates to make time, but that could happen when we head north. Sammy is taking lots of pictutes on the go with a handy sized Nikon Coolpix attached to a long lanyard. Without a computer and SD card reader we can’t share them until we get home. I’m not stopping as often to take as many as when I ride solo so we do make good mileage. Not stopping and parking along the roadside so often is a pleasant relief for me; although I didn’t accidentally tip the bike over this trip which was a daily concern.
We are going to ride from Fayetteville through much of the Ozark National Forest this morning and we will have an early start before 8:00am. We might even get to Tennessee by the end of today.
Unfortunately our SPOT locating device isn’t working properly so our blog map may not get updated. Similarly I’m concerned that it won’t work in an emergency.
This morning we rode hwy 16 to Clinton. It was spectacular! About 270km of never ending corners, grade changes, gear changes and a few hairpin turns, even a few deer crossing right in front of us. And beautiful fall coloured hardwood, mostly oak.

Nice to have fresh clean oil in the engine and gearbox for this kind of riding. I think that this mornings ride is likely the best Sam has ever had.


Right after lunch In Clinton we got back on hwy #16 east for more sweeping corners to Mountain View and then #14 still enjoyable for a way. Sam missed getting a picture of the sign for the little town of Weiner, “Home of the Arkansas Rice Festival”. We stopped at a park in Oil Trough for a break and some fruit, lots of fast current in Black River.

All in all about 350 of nearly continuous corners! Finally got to the FairBridge Inn in Jonesboro AR for the night. Cheap through HotWire booking, not the best place, but certainly ok for $60 and it did have a choice of foods for breakfast; and walking distance to Cracker Barrel for dinner.
Whatever issues and problem we had with SPOT seem to have magically disappeared. I’ve no explanation. I’ve been using the same device for 5 years all over the country and it has always worked well. Like Russell I’m an experienced GPS adventure traveler.

Sammy says that Fayettevile AR must just be a dead zone for satellite coverage, ha ha.
NOTE: now days later at home in Kingston I’ve spoken with the SPOT customer service and a new replacement is being shipped to me for the $30 replacement fee; my unit has been in use for four years.

Often during the last few days we’ve visited historic locations that are a reminder of the atrocities inflicted on Native people.
Follow this link for more information

It’s been a long haul for Sammy, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky ending with night riding which is not her favourite activity! She is a good sport so still speaking to me. Stopping three times in the darkness to fumble finding the right tools and adjusting the horizontal alignment of the lights tested her patience. My fault; after installing the new springs in the front end of the bike, which now sits much higher, I didn’t remember to adjust the lights before I left home. We don’t normally ride far at night because we both think that critters are lurking in the shadows just waiting to jump out into our path. We don’t know for certain if that’s true or not.
We did make 670 km today from Jonesboro AR to Lebanon KY, including a stopover at the visitors center at Golden Pond along The Trace in The Land Between The Lakes.

I think that’s a very impressive distance for one day for any passenger! So far on this trip she has ridden close to sea level and well over 10,000ft. Her list of Canadian provinces and American states that she has touched while riding with me on the Vstrom in the last few years continues to grow. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, New York, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware.

This was just one day, her longest to date.

We’re in the Hampton Inn for Friday night, Sam booked it at lunch today using HotWire to get the best deal, while I route planned. We do make a great team!

Thanks to my friends Cathy and Bob in Oregon for their suggestion of baking soda; my boots are no longer hazardous smelling. Just a small amount dusted into my boots occasionally seems to neutralize the acidic environment that hosts the world’s most stinky bacteria. Seriously, it really works. My life, and the lives of those around me has been changed!

By the time we had planned the next couple of days and had some salad and beans for our late dinner it was getting late. We know approximatly our route to our friends in the Finger Lakes NY and the next 3 days of riding. I had a shower and it is after midnight. It feels like a great bed, too bad my sleep will be short.

I woke up early as usual to rain and the radar and forecasts on NOAA confirms that the wet cold front has caught up with us. I’ve been dry for the whole trip except for a 20 minute downpour of rain with hail in Arizona. We both agree to stay here another night because riding north easterly today will just keep us in the rain. Might as well let it pass; on this radar map we are just SW of Lexington

This is what I see out our 2nd floor hotel window and I see no need to go outside and spoil the comfort of a Hampton Inn. I can easily spend hours with the hotel business center computer and big screen monitor and my GPS to tweak our routes.

Although no doubt the next few days the temperature will be cooler; that’s ok with me because I’m still wearing my shorts under the RoadCrafter suit. We’ve always been concerned about freezing temperatures on our homebound leg, but I expect we will make it home Wednesday, October 28 without any seriously chilling days.
The Garmin Zumo continues to be a reliable device that I couldn’t do this trip without. One of the lefthand buttons fellout in Las Vegas but I taped it and the others in place. A few days later at Cedar Breaks I noticed that the bottom right button, the on/off one was gone so I taped over the hole to keep dirt and moisture out. I can only turn it on by placing it into the powered cradle on the bike. Kind of a nuisance but at least it is still useable.
We had a day off and only rode the bike about 10km back and forth to downtown Lebanon to get wine and dinner. We also filled up the fuel tank with Shell high test.

** Inserted in February 2016   I highly recommend Short Tronics for GPS repairs.  My Zumo 550 which I love is discontinued and a comparable replacement with either the Zumo 390LM or the 590LM is more expensive that my original cost.  Shipping costs to send it Canada Post from Ontario with tracking was $17. Chris  installed a new internal backup battery and replaced one button and repaired all of the rubber buttons for a total of $58.85  plus return US First Class of $16 payable using PayPal.  I mailed it and got it back in only 13 days. Chris Short, President of Short Tronics provided estimate and notifications by email. Perfect service, fast and economical.


Phone: 612/326-4364   but email is preferred repairs@palmdr.com

Short Tronics, INC.  /   51612 US Highway 169  /   Mankato, MN 56001-6584  **

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