Mena, Arkansas, to Branson, Missouri
5693 total miles
We began our day worrying about the slow oil leak on Bo's bike. Our initial plan was to drive the bike to a BMW dealership located in Bentonville, Arkansas. We decided that before committing to this major adjustment in our route, we would get some expert advice. We called Scott, the mechanical wizard at Bloodworth BMW Motorcycles in Nashville. We described the problem and Scott put our minds at ease. His advice was simple: if it slowly leaks oil, stop periodically and add oil. He said that engine oil leaks are never as bad as they look. Since Scott knows what he's talking about said what we wanted to hear, we followed his advice to the letter.
After breakfast at the motel restaurant, we walked back through the parking lot admiring several finely restored Model T automobiles brought to town by the Tulsa Model T club. We noticed that the Motel T owners previously standing around talking about their cars were nowhere to be seen. We turned a corner and there they were, standing around discussing the two BMW motorcycles parked outside our room. They had as many questions for us as we had for them.
Model T and Bo
They were an engaging group of seniors, some in their late seventies. One of them invited us to step into his car trailer, where he had a fully-restored, red 1923 Indian motorcycle with sidecar. It was a good start to the day.
By the way, it's great being in Arkansas, back with people who don't have an accent.
We left Mena still in the Ouachita Mountains and headed north on Highway 29 on route to the Ozarks. We wound our way up to the top of Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. In spite of being only 2500 feet above sea level, Mt. Magazine provided us a view that brought back memories of Colorado.
Inviting wildflowers on AR7 thru the Ozarks
By early afternoon the grind of 22 days on the road caught up with us. For the first time on this trip, we needed a serious mid-day break. We stopped in Russellville, Arkansas, to pick up sandwiches and soft drinks and get directions to a local park. We found the park, pulled over and had a quick lunch. Bill found some shade and took a nap and Bo read his first newspaper in 10 days. An hour later we returned to the road, rested and marginally better informed.
Now running on our second wind, we hit the Ozarks hard. We took Highway 7 between Russellville and Harrison, Arkansas. Highway 7 is known in the motorcycle world as one of the nation's better roads. It lived up to its' reputation. It offered sweepers and twisties that rivaled anything we have ridden yet.
What an invitiation for twisties hungry cyclists
We both notice that the closer we get to Tennessee, an almost magnetic effect pulls us toward home. While on the road we talk more about family, friends and work and less about the latest roadside attractions.
This is real!
This trip has been scheduled in a minimal fashion. Each morning we set a general direction and a preferred destination. But nothing is carved in stone. This has made the trip flexible and more of an adventure. We mention this because at no time have we ever planned to stop in Bransom, Missouri. We're a little suspicious of Bransom. We believe all jobs related to country music should be held by Tennesseans.
On Day 24 we plan to ride Missouri's Highway 125, perhaps our last great road of our trip.
Posted by Bill Thompson at September 26, 2003 03:31 PM GMT