Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ozarks Trip day 7

Mount Pleasant, Iowa to home, sweet home.

Today's scripture: Isaiah 55: "... everyone who thirsts, come to the waters..."

After the rain this morning it was, thankfully, much cooler today. We had a long way to go to make it home (350 miles) so decided to take the first leg on the fast fourlane up through Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. This wasn't much fun but necessary.

We got off the super slab shortly after Cedar Rapids, IA. From there we headed north on State 150 to Decatur, IA. This two lane was better but still busy. After Decatur we got into the hills of southeastern Minnesota. Now things were getting interesting.

Keith & Lloyd wanted to take the most direct route home (US52). I (Wayne) however, had a hankering for some more twisties. So we split up at Preston MN. They continued north on US52 to Rochester and home while I headed east on State 16 to Lanesboro and Rushford. This is a very fun road but can be heavily traveled with tourists.

From Rushford I headed north on State 43. Stopped and took some pictures of an amazing abandoned brick dairy. It was quite the building (click on picture to enlarge it). After State 43 I went a ways west on Interstate 90 but jumped off at the first exit and started taking county roads. I took so many different roads that I can't even remember what the numbers were. I also drove through little towns whose name escape me as well. I really had very little idea of where I was. I just knew if I went east I'd hit US61 eventually and if I went west I'd hit US52. So I went east some, west some, north some, east some, etc. The roads were twisty and great fun. A couple of curves did have some gravel on them which was a little dicey...

I eventually ended up in Wabasha, MN on US61. From there I needed to decide if I wanted to head home on 61 or take some more twisties first. It was only about 4:00 PM so I chose the twisties. I took MN60 west along the Zumbro river. This is another great-fun road and I was glad I took it.

Finally my fun came to an end as I decided to head home on US52 at Zumbrota Falls. This is a quick four lane and I was home by around 6:30PM. It was an exciting afternoon. This was an unexpected benefit in that I thought today would just be travel day.

Overall we had a great trip this past week. A bit hot but that is what we expected when we decided to head south in August. We found some great roads, saw some great sights, fellowshipped with great friends and met some great people. Thanks so much, guys for all of your help in making this such a good trip.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ozarks trip day 6

Sullivan, MO to Mount Pleasant, IA.

We got up and enjoyed coffee and rolls and good conversation with Darlene and Terry on their deck. Then we loaded up and headed off. Morning scripture was Isaiah 50: "... Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God..."

It was already hot and sticky and we suspected it would be another real hot one. The good news is that it didn't get unbearable hot today but the bad news is that it was cooler because of the rain.

We headed east and north on state routes to try and skirt St. Louis. But the traffic was heavy anyhow until we got off the main roads over to the Mississippi river north of the city. We stopped at a small restaurant in Winfield, MO for a huge lunch at a small price. As we rode into town we had noticed some dark clouds in the west. As we ate it got darker outside, the wind came up and it started to pour. We decided there was no reason to rush out into that stuff so slowed our eating pace. Keith had weather radar on his GPS and we could tell it would leave as quickly as it came in. Sure enough, it wasn't long until we could suit up into our rain gear and head off relatively dry.

By the time we pulled into Hannibal it was back to hot and sunny. We had stopped a number of miles back to remove our extra layers of rain gear. We found historic downtown Hannibal, home of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. They have some old buildings to tour plus a Mark Twain Museum. In this museum there was Mark Twain himself giving a talk on his life. He looked pretty good considering he was around 150 years old. He gave a good talk that we enjoyed very much. We decided to head back to the main hwy where we had spied a Dairy Queen. At that location we'd decide how much further we'd head north since the hour was now getting late (4:00 PM).

Our decision was to ride 2 to 3 more hours to get to the Iowa City area. This would make our final days ride not quite so long. We didn't meet our goal...
As we were gassing up in Hannibal dark clouds began to roll in. We thought about putting our rain gear on again but decided that perhaps we could out run it since there were clear skies to the north and that was the direction we were going. This plan worked quite well for almost an hour of fast driving. But as we were approaching the Iowa border it became quite evident that our good fortune was about to end. The western sky was becoming very, very dark. Keith's GPS was warning him of thunder storm warnings. We pulled off at the next exit and pulled into a truck shop parking lot. As we were putting our rain gear on the sky turned green, it looked to me that a tornado could drop out of those black clouds at any minute. We retreated into the safety of the truck stop as the wind picked up incredibly hard with driving rain. Our motorcycles were shaking in the wind so that we were worried they might blow over. We put our helmets back on and went back out and drove them over to where there was more protection from the wind. Parked them right up on the sidewalk in front of the side doors under an awning.

As luck would have it, this truck stop had a very nice restaurant so we just decided to eat again and wait out this storm as well. The heavy winds and heavy rains eventually subsided but we could tell that the raining would continue for quite some time. We had been there for about an hour when we decided to head down the road in spite of the wet weather.

We rode about another hour in the rain and made it to Mount Pleasant, IA. After we got unpacked and moved into our room the sun came out and there was a beautiful double rainbow. God's promise to Noah that He'd not flood the world again.

Tomorrow: north to MN and home.

Ozarks trip day 5

Thursday August 19, 2010. Eureka Springs, Arkansas to Sullivan, Missouri.

I'm writing this on Friday night because last night we had no internet service.

We woke up to what promised to be a hot, sunny day. Forecast of 96. It was all of that plus maybe more.

Pre-ride Scripture reading was Isaiah 46: "... I am God, and there is no other. I am God and there is no one like Me..."

We headed east from Eureka Springs on US 62 and turned north at Berryville on to State hwy 21. This was a less traveled, twisty road that headed up to the Missouri state line. Right on the state line is a little town called "Blue Eye". Half the town is in Arkansas, half in Missouri. We ate a delicious breakfast on the Missouri side in a little restaurant called "VJ's Blue Eye Diner". Once again, we did not need to go hungry today....

From Blue Eye we headed east on State 86, across Table Rock Lake and over to US65. We went south on 65 for just a few miles back into Arkansas, then east on State 14. It was very hot by now. We turned north on State 125 to the Peel Free Fairy. The state runs a fairy boat across Bull Shoals Lake. Since it was free, we wanted to try that adventure of putting our motorcycles on a boat. On the other side of the lake we were back in Missouri. We will be in Arkansas no more this trip. This begins our trip home. Our original plan was to go to Branson and perhaps take in a show before heading north. However, with the heat and the expected traffic around Branson and our desire to get closer to our Friday's destination of Hannibal, MO we decided to skip Branson and take some twisties in a northly direction.

We stopped for gas at a little General Store in a dinky town called Protem. It had to be at or around 100 degrees. We stood in the store for at least 30 minutes talking to the owners and standing under their A/C ceiling registers. A local came in who is a biker and he helped us find some less traveled and twisty roads north and head us up towards our ultimate destination of Hannibal.

These were nice roads but eventually we had to get onto some main roads and deal with heavy traffic. We finally found a DQ at a town called Caboo. This was the first DQ we had seen since leaving Iowa 4 days ago. While cooling off and enjoying some ice cream treats we took a closer look at maps and started to try and figure out how far we were going to go today. We realized that we weren't too far from Lloyd's sister's house at Sullivan, MO not far from St. Louis. We had no desire to go to St. Louis with all the traffic that would require but Lloyd said that his sister would be glad to put us up for the night. He called her, and sure enough, we had a destination settled. Plus Wayne would finally have a place to pitch his tent after driving around with it for about 2000 miles.

Darlene is Lloyd's sister's name and her husband, Terry. They had three delightful granddaughters staying with them as well. In spite of her short notice she cooked up a delicious meal of meat balls and baked potatoes. We ate like kings. After I pitched my tent in their back yard, we played an 8 ball tournament in their family room. The team of Lloyd and Terry beat the team of Wayne and Keith 2 games to 1. The final tie breaker game was a nail biter in that Wayne won the game by sinking the 8 ball but also lost the game by scratching on the same shot. Argh!

Being at Darlene and Terry's was an excellent way to end a very hot ride. Thanks so much to those two!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ozarks trip day 4

Today we spent the day doing what we came this far to do: riding fast on twisty roads. It was a day of one nice twisty road after the other. We headed south from Harrison on State Hwy 7, west on State 123, north on State 21, west on State 16, north on State 23 back to Eureka Springs where we had lunch/supper yesterday. So, you can see, we didn't really get anywhere today. But on a motorcycle trip the best days aren't days with a destination but days of great riding. Today was a day of great riding. It was hot, sunny and in the 90's but the great roads made up for the less than ideal weather.

After a pseudo breakfast of bagels at the motel we said goodbye to Gordy. He was heading up to Branson with the truck & trailer where he would look around a wait for Larry to get done riding the twisties with us other three. Scripture reading for the morning was Isaiah 45; "there is no other God but me". About 70 miles south of Harrison we stopped at what was marked as a town for gas, a town called "Palsor". There was one country store there but no gas. We went inside anyhow and met the friendlist lady by the name of Jenny. Jenny and her husband had moved from Wisconsin the year before and bought this little store which was the whole town. She is a great cook and everyday smokes fresh brisket. Lloyd and I had the best bread pudding muffin I have ever tasted in my life. Keith and Larry had a fresh cinamon roll and split a brisket sandwich. All the food was outstanding. We then spent more time conversing with Jenny. She is a delightful christian woman.

Jenny told us the closest gas was back 6 miles so we backtracked to that gas station because Larry was on reserve and probably wouldn't make it too much further down the road. By now it was getting very hot whenever we weren't on the bike. It felt good to get back on and head back past Jenny's place and south and west on State 123.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent on the state roads mentioned above. We stopped at a very unusual burger joint in a little town with an unusual name: "Ozone". They made a good burger though.

At one crossroads it was time for Larry to cut away and head up to Branson where he would meet Gordy, trailer up his bike and head for home. We meanwhile headed further west on another twisty road and worked our way up to Eureka Springs. We tried to do a DQ stop in a town called Hunterville. But there seems to be no DQ's in Arkansas so we had to settle for a McDonalds. It was nice to cool off in the A/C. The heat was pretty bad.

We've found a nice place to stay here in Eureka Springs. Keith heated up some left over ribs then headed to a laundry mat. Lloyd and Wayne, found a restaurant and we were able to eat again.

Tomorrow, is more twisty roads, maybe a boat ride for the bikes. Then, Lord willing, up to Branson. I, of course, will let you know what really happens.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ozarks trip day 3

Today was Jane MO to Harrison AR.

Daylight brought clouds this morning, some dark and ominous. But, we only got drizzled on a little early afternoon, not a problem. The clouds meant the sun was not so hot which was good. I think it might have gotten up to 90 today, but it was oppressive. Morning scripture reading was Isaiah 44 "I have formed you, you are My servant...I have wiped out your transgressions...."

Breakfast was what the motel offered, waffles and biscuits and gravy. Quite good, actually. From the motel we went into Belle Vista and found a friend of Lloyds and Keith's, a man named Art. Art has a house hear in Arkansas as well as a house in Minnesota. He travels back and forth a lot. Art was very friendly, offered us a tour of his property, coffee and water and some good advice on which roads to take. His first suggestion was a very good one to take State hwy 90 to Noel, MO. This was a great road, nicely paved and a lot of fun curves. Thanks Art!

From Noel we circled back around to Belle Vist and then headed into the Ozarks. Our first stop was at the Pea Ridge National Military Park. This is where the largest Civil War battle was in this area. The battle was primarily about keeping Missouri in the union. Over 3000 soldiers died in the battle. The park HQ was very well laid out and very interesting.

From Pea Ridge we headed east on US 62 to the Mountain Chapel. This is a very scenic small church overlooking a great vista of forest, hills, valley and lake. Also a very interesting place to stop at.

Our next destination was Eureka Springs, AR. But before we got there we headed up an interesting looking side road called State 187. At the top of this pass through the hills we found a fascinating little town called Beaver, AR. One thing really interesting is the one lane suspension bridge which has wood planks as a driving surface.

After taking many pictures of this bridge we headed back down the "mountain" (really just tall hills) to Eureka Springs where we found an interesting little restaurant in the historic downtown area called The Cat House. It was now quite late in the day and we hadn't had a real meal yet. So, we called it lunch/dinner and enjoyed the meal and fellowship. We met a man and wife biking duet and enjoyed talking to them about their and our adventures to date.

It was now 5:30 PM and time to head across to find our motel in Harrison. It was a busy road over to Harrison but we made it just find and settled into our rooms. I (Wayne) still wanted to hit some more twisty roads before dark but none of the others were interested so I headed off on my own adventure. I found a nice loop north of town up state hwys 7, 281 and 14. Again, nice roads, great scenery.

After my excursion we all headed over to the local Sonic for late night ice cream. After that, time for our bible study. Romans 12:4-9, we are all part of Christ's body and have unique giftings.

Tomorrow we zoom around on some more twisty roads and will find a different place to spend the night.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ozarks trip day 2

Today we rode from Osceola Iowa to BellaVista Arkansas. The day broke nice and cool. Larry, Gordy and Keith had got in around midnight. We got Keith's bike off the trailer and gassed up. We were to meet some friends of Keith's in Kansas City at a BBQ joint so had a schedule to meet. Al had decided to head back home with Jim. They were going to stop at one of the famous covered bridges of Madison County. We were now three bikers strong plus Gordy and Larry in the pickup hauling Larry's bike. This morning's scripture was Isaiah 43 "I am the LORD, there is no savior besides Me."

Because of our tight schedule we were forced to jump on the interstate rather than a prefered two lane road which runs parrallel to the super slab. As the morning sun rose higher it became a hot, fast ride which frankly wasn't much fun.

We met about 8 friends of Keith's at Fiorelella's Jack Stack by noon. They were very glad to see him. It turns out that Keith was a youth pastor at one time there and this was their connection. We consumed mass quantities of barbeque meats and hit the road with many of these guys. Those with motorcycles rode show quality Harleys. We headed south and east of Kansas City on some nice county roads, these guys leading the way. We stopped at Stockton Missouri at a Sonic for our Dairy Queen substitute. There doesn't seem to be as many DQ's in Missouri as Minnesota. At one point I knew for sure we weren't in MN when there was a dead armadillo in the middle of the road.

After our ice cream fix the KC guys needed to head home so it was back to us three bikers (Wayne, Keith, Lloyd) and two guys in a pickup truck (Gordy, Larry) to continue our ride south to Arkansas. We said our goodbyes and went our seperate ways. We were on State Highway 39 which turned into a very nice twisty and scenic drive as we got closer to the Ozark Hills. At State Highway 248 we turned west and this was an excellent road as well but now we were riding directly into the setting sun which caused some dicey moments. We made it to Cassville, MO and gased up and got ready for the final leg of our journey.

Our biggest concern now was the setting sun which might bring deer onto the roads and we had around 40 miles to go through the woods. The roads were great, nicely paved and twisty but the deer concern was always there. We made it through without seeing any animals though and it was fine.

We found a motel in Jane, MO at the outskirts of of Rogers Arkansas. It was quite late, 9:00 PM. After we unpacked, we walked over to McDonalds for a late supper. Then we did our bible study from Romans 12: " transformed by the renewing of your minds.."

Tomorrow we will finally be into the Arkansas Ozarks!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ozarks trip day1

We have started on our trip to the Arkansas Ozarks. The northwest group meet in Maple Grove at around 8:00 AM. This group was Lloyd, Greg and Jim. These three met up with Wayne in Bloomington at 9:00. Then the four or us headed down the interstate to Al's house in Owatonna. Al was waiting for us and we said our hello's. From his house it was time for breakfast. We ate in a restaurant in the local HyVee... Nice pancakes for a grocery store.

After breakfast we bid adeu to Greg. This was all the time he had available for a ride this year. Now we were back to three fossils. We headed south on side roads staying off of the interstate as much as possible. It was a beautiful day, nice sunshine, temps in the 70's, a bit of a strong wind out of the west.

We finally found a Dairy Queen in Iowa Falls, IA. Al, being a somewhat of a new Fossil didn't know the rules and drove right on by. He knew something was wrong when he saw none of us in his mirrors. It didn't take too long and he backtracked and found us.

From Iowa Falls traffic got a bit heavier as we had to get around Des Moines. Our goal was Winterset IA, which is John Wayne's birthplace and a museum. Winterset also is in Madison County which boasts of the famous Madison County covered bridges. We made it around Des Moines and pulled up in front of John Wayne's house about 5:00 PM. Unfortunately, the museum closed at 4:30. It was still nice to walk around the grounds, though. We got some pictures taken and were ready for our last jaunt to our motel reservation in Osceola IA.

We found some nice twisty county roads after Winterset. Best roads of the day.

Found our motel @7:00 PM. Ate supper at a family restaurant next door.

We are now waiting for the next 3 fossils. Keith, Larry and Gordy were unable to leave as early as we did. They are trailering their bikes and should get in around 10 PM.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Breakfast meeting, trip plans

This morning we decided some things:

1. Wayne should turn his alarm clock on after setting it.

2. We will be leaving the cities in the morning Sunday the 15th. The northwest suburb guys will leave @ 8:00 AM. They will meet the southern guys at 9:00 at the SuperAmerica on 98th Street. We should be in Owatona @ 10:00 AM.

3. Three guys will be coming later in the afternoon and will meet us at Osceola IA at the America's Best Value Inn that Sunday night. (Keith, Gordy, Larry). They will be trailering their bikes. I will make the reservations at the Best Value Inn.

4. Once into Arkansas we will set up a base camp @ Harrison. Some will motel it (Lloyd will make reservations). Some will be camping.

5. At this time, there will be a total of 8 guys: Al, Lloyd, Keith, Gordy, Larry, Jim, Dick, Wayne. (We are still holding out hope that Bill will be able to make it). Half are campers, half not.

6. The itinerary remains the same:
Sunday night: Osceola IA (motel).
Monday night: Rogers, AR (motel)
Tuesday & Wednesday night: Harrison, AR (camping/moteling)
Thursday night: Branson, MO (maybe, or we can stay at Harrison, we can decide later)
Friday night: Hanibal, MO (motel)
Saturday night: Home.

Thanks, guys, looking forward to it,

612-729-5031 (home)
612-369-6699 (work cell phone)