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Old 05-26-2007, 11:11 PM   #1
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Arkansas: Squeaky's POV

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Old 05-27-2007, 01:55 PM   #2
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Day 3: The Day Biwwy Went Boom

VIDEO VERSION

Despite my deep love for the fine art of sleep, I was awake before my phone’s alarm could wake me. I was excited to get going – that’s the only explanation I can muster for being awake as the sun crawled back onto its perch.

I whipped up some breakfast – oatmeal for Donovan “txncdn”and myself, and Stinky opted for Ramen noodles.

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Don’t make fun of a man for eating Ramen for breakfast while he’s eating. Apparently soup coming up through your nose isn’t a pleasant experience.

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We unloaded everything but rain gear and electronic essentials and headed over to the hotel in town to meet the rest of the group. Biwwy and I had printed maps and routes… but we’d forgotten to label which was which and that part of the image had been cropped. Oops. I spent a few minutes deciphering what was what and handed out paper to anyone that wanted it.

The group I’d be in today consisted of 12 bikes with 13 riders. We’d attempt the ~297 mile route that hit the major sections of twisty Arkansas, but if the day got long we had places we could cut out sections.

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We wound our way to Jasper, only to discover we were too early for lunch to head straight to the Cliff House six miles up the road. Instead, the clerk inside the gas station recommended we do a loop of AR123 which would bring us back to the restaurant closer to noon. Sounds good!

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We all topped off the rolled out to meet some curves.

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I dropped back knowing that switchbacks were lying in wait. I tried to relax and just let my riding take over, but it was difficult. The scenic views are trumped in my head by the eerie thought of crashing and tumbling down a cliff. Having Stinky on the Chatterbox talking me through it sure helped… until he started singing to me!

We came around a set of curves and as I set up for the next one I was presented with a scene I dread. The bikes are all stopped, some have been parked, and someone is lying on the ground. My heartbeat races as I kill the bike and get it parked right where it is. It’s Biwwy.

He’s conscious and talking. I don’t see any blood. They’ve already got his helmet off and are keeping him still. Everything is a blur, but he is wimpering “something’s broken” as they try to see if his jacket will come off easily.

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Tim peers into the neck of Bill’s shirt and points out what appears to not belong. The bone is out of place, but it’s not coming through the skin. I had my first aid kit with us, but other than using the wrap to keep the arm still I’m not sure I could have done anything with it. I had some pain pills with me but I was told not to put anything in his stomach. I gave him some water out of my Camelbak to keep him comfortable, then we all just waited for EMS.

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The first responders from the local firehouse were most certainly volunteers. An old pickup truck with a hose reel in the bed rolled up to the scene and three or four guys in jeans and trucker hats attended to Bill. A few minutes later, an ambulance was up the hill and the process of getting Bill onto the backboard was initiated. The fear of neck and back injuries, combined with the pain of his shoulder, made it a difficult task.

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We shuffled Bill & Melanie’s bikes down the hill to the local school where Careflight had landed and was ready for transport to Washington Regional in Fayetteville. There wasn’t room for Mel in the helicopter, so Stinky and I would take her over to the hospital on the bikes.

But first – we must feed her. Melanie is an itty-bitty thing, but she needs to eat every few hours. We headed toward the Cliff House, since we were now arriving during lunch hours.

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Lots of discussion about what had just happened, weighing the risks we take against the pleasure these two-wheeled magic carpets bring us.

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After settling our tabs, Pacman agreed to lead anyone that wanted to follow him through the remainder of the ride. Thank you for stepping up Wayne!

It was a long ride to the hospital for the three of us. Stinky kept watch over Mel and I like he was herding sheep. We arrived and they let Mel back to see him; he’d finished the tests and was resting while the doctors worked out the terms of his release.

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Once a prescription had been written, Mel and I hopped on the Strom 2-up in search of a pharmacy and some food. After locating a Walgreens down the road a few miles, we dropped off the Rx and sat and had a good, girly talk. The whole accident experience can be a difficult one for a loved one and she was handling it like a champ.

We decided to ride through the Arby’s drive thru and got a real good laugh out of the guy at the window. These two crazy ladies are going to carry all that food back? You sure?

LOL

Sorry, I left the camera back at the hospital.

After Keith and Joyce came with the truck for Bill, Mel and I sat and ate for a minute to prepare for the long ride back. It would be dark soon, so it would be slow going and tedious.

I’m sure the roads would have been lots more fun if it wasn’t pitch black and filled with splattering bugs, but it was difficult not to curse the curves at this stage.

Once back at camp, we discovered the tent was already down and most of Bill & Mel’s stuff had been packed. We were now waiting for the bike to be brought back from Mt Judea and the trailer from Dallas to arrive for the swap.

Bill was getting cold, so we draped a sweatshirt over him.

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In an attempt to warm us all up while we waited, Stinky built a fire in the pit. He made too much noise trying to cut firewood, so we had to settle for scavenging. There are some creepy trails in the back of that KOA site…

We sat and played with the fire until Bill’s dad and friend arrived, then loaded the truck with all the gear. It’s amazing to think that all this fit on the bikes on the way up!

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When Keith and Wayne got back with the Strom, it stared at us sadly. It didn’t like being tied up like that. It’s a wild beast (and had demonstrated its untamed side earlier in the day) and wants to run free.

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We said goodnight and goodbye and headed off to sleep. This pair of five year olds was exhausted.
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Old 05-27-2007, 03:30 PM   #3
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Day 4: Missouri or Bust

Stinky and I had stopped off for some food on our way back into camp the night before, so it was bacon and eggs for us! The camp stove fired up like a charm as if it hadn’t been sitting unused for the past year and as the bacon sizzled we got the gear packed up and readied the loaded down bikes.

Bike after bike (and Busa after Busa) came roaring around the curve adjacent to the campground. Stinky said we were right on a wonderfully curvy section of 187 and that he’d show me on our way out.

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We both had an extra day to play, so we decided to head up to Missouri to get on the ferry (and break her little wings) since Stinky hadn’t gone that far north on previous trips.

My Chatterbox was giving off a high-pitched squeal when I tried to talk, and then it would go dead. The battery indicator showed full life and it was plugged into the bike, but we couldn’t get it worked out. I opted for just music for the rest of the trip.

When we pulled off for our first gas stop of the day, the GPS froze. Great. I tried sticking a safety pin in the only hole that could possibly be a reset, but it did nothing. Um… Yeah, electronics hate me.

Stinky has a GPS, but he didn’t have any of the routes loaded because he relies on others and is a follower on the road. Well, I knew we wanted to get on a road that gets straight on the ferry so we did a search in his Mio and it found three or four choices. Peel sounded familiar. I sure hope I’m right.

We headed out, him leading and me bopping along to my music behind him. We weren’t taking a very fast pace, which was fine with me. Other than turning and heading south at some point, there was nothing planned for today.

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We got to the ferry just as they were loading up – we got lucky. The last time I was here I had to wait almost an hour for it to return from the far bank and get us.

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It was a quick ride, and we were on the other side and on our way within minutes. Since my GPS was still frozen, I don’t have a track map for this section but it was a blast! Rolling lefts and rights in sequence – the tire marks from the motards we’d seen on the ferry were still fresh on the pavement.

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We stopped for a late lunch at McDonalds and I made a call to Becca “RocketBunny” to see if she knew the secret to shutting the Quest down when the power button wasn’t working. She gave me the secret combination of buttons and it worked!

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The motard riders were across the street at the gas station getting “talked to” by local law enforcement.

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Someone is starting to look a little sleepy.

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Just for kicks, we asked the GPS how far we were from home. I was much farther than Stinky was, but we decided we weren’t done with the fun yet. We could still afford some wandering time to scope out the land.

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I guess the late start had us deceived, because it started getting chilly and the sun was beginning to set. We decided Hot Springs was a reasonable destination for the night.

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At the next gas stop, we decided that tired eyes and bouts of body-shaking sneezes would not allow us to get as far as Hot Springs. Let’s settle for Little Rock.

Nope, we never made it to Little Rock. We pulled off the highway near Conway, AR and found a listing for Economy Inn on the GPS. All we need is a place to lay our heads and a safe place to park the bikes.

I was tired and already dreaming of my head hitting the pillow. I misjudged the driveway to enter the parking lot for the motel and hit the curb head-on. I was up on my pegs to absorb the shock of what I estimated to be an inch between the street and the driveway. Instead the bike took the blow of a five inch curb. All I know is I head BAM – SCRAPE and I was laying on the ground on my right. I might have closed my eyes.

I got up and stood with my back to the bike with a grip on the bars and the rear rack. I lifted it a few inches and heard metal scraping. I’d never tried to pick the bike up when it was fully loaded before, and it being over farther than horizontal wasn’t helping. The front tire was up on the curb and the back was in the street. This was all happening in oncoming traffic.

Stinky asked if I was ok, and after nodding my head he proceeded to laugh his off while blocking traffic with his bike and unhooking himself from his gadgetry. Why does it seem like my close calls, near misses, and crashes all end with someone laughing at me? I guess it’s better than someone crying over me.

A couple in a pickup pulled over next to us and he hopped out, “Hey dude, hold on, I got ya”. I realized my hands were shaking when I let go of the bike so I stepped off the street and onto the curb to unhook and take off my helmet and take my gloves off. “Oh, uh… I’m sorry ma’am” was all the poor guy could muster, then some grunting as he tried to pick up the big pig; “this thing’s heavier than it looks”. Stinky chimed in with his usual heckling self, “She’s a chick, she packs too much”.

I thanked them for their help and reassured them I was Ok. All I’d hurt was my pride.

I looked over the bike and was amazed at how little damage there was. We got the bikes parked next to the entrance where the clerk said they would be lit and on camera all night, then unloaded them and threw all the gear in the room. There was spilled fluid on a few parts of the under-belly, but everything looked to be intact and it was running. Whew. Biwwy would NOT have liked to drive out here with a trailer for another Strom!

We walked next door to the Waffle House and had a few laughs over some breakfast goodies. It was now past 11 and tomorrow was looking to be a long day with a lot of slabbed miles to get home.

(ok, only one day to go...)
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:45 PM   #4
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The next morning, I woke up and walked across to the Starbucks I’d spotted on our way in the night before. Hmm, could I have been dreaming of a white chocolate mocha when I bumped the curb? I sure hope not…

There was a bike parked in the lot, and its rider was inside reading the morning paper while sipping his morning nectar from a cardboard cup. I ordered up drinks and sweets for breakfast and brought them back to enjoy while photographing the damage in sunlight and loading the bike back up for the long ride home.

I wonder if having my bash plate installed would have helped get me over the bump or if it would have made me bottom out sooner?

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The lower point on the enginge guards

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The higher point on the guards. The weld Biwwy did for me at the Arlington Tech Day held. Awesome handiwork, Bill! (Yes, that’s rust. I never painted it. I’ll do it soon I promise.)

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This bike is tough. The brake pedal got pushed into the case cover and gouged it but it still works perfectly. I’m not going to try to bend it out unless it starts to interfere with something.

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Despite the stains on both blacktop and concrete, I was surprised to see my oil level still doing well. (And yes, it’s clean oil – changed it out in Arlington the night I got to Bill’s)

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We figured out it was mostly coolant and/or gas since we were close to full and my coolant reservoir was bone dry. We managed to get the bite valve of the camelbak down into the space to get it back up to a decent level. I’ll have to flush the system, which was needed since I’m due for a valve check/job.

The engine guard did it’s job, but it also got tweaked a bit. Sits closer to the plastic which probably means certain death to my side fairing the next time it goes down. I’ll see if Bill thinks it can be pulled.

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The heat guard is likely the cause of the damage to the concrete.

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The mounting bolt from the ammo cans pushed into the exhaust shield a bit, but shouldn’t have hit the exhaust itself. I don’t mind scars like this. I earned them.

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This tire has to get me home from Conway, AR.

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And now it looks like rain. Yippee. (can you sense the sarcasm?)

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Stop smiling. It’s not funny. Nice tank bag cover.

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Ok, maybe it’s a little bit funny.

By the time we got dried out from the short storm that drenched us, we were both getting hungry for lunch. We happened on a small town with nothing open on a Monday other than Pizza Hut – Prescott, AR.

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Bellies full and helmet belching under way, we were rolling through Texarkana and down 59. I would be on this until I was home, but Stinky had to head west. We stopped for gas and goodbyes in Marshall and he peeled off for I20 into Dallas.

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I continued down 59 and managed to fall in behind a truck and empty trailer that were going just a clip above the limit and would act as a deer and radar blocker. Not sure why, but he didn’t like that idea and deliberately tried push me off on another car. He got behind me for a while but after the car took its exit I slowed and got back behind the truck. I can’t help it if my low beams are bright – I can’t afford to hit a deer out here!

I stopped again in New Caney to stretch, top off the tank, and grab a coffee. I happened to catch an incoming call from my sister, so we spent a little while talking while I sat on the curb taking a good, long break. I love riding in small groups, but this is one of the big benefits of riding solo – stop when you want, where you want, and for however long you want. The only person you’re delaying getting home is you.

I hit some light showers on my way back into Houston and pulled up to the house shortly before midnight. I was tired, both mentally and physically. I took the tankbag off the bike and let the rest stay where it was for the night.

I don’t have an accurate account of the mileage because of my little GPS glitch, but hopefully Stinky will be able to pull some data out of the Mio for moi and I can get a grand total.
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:52 PM   #5
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3 post of nothinig but you...hmmm interesting?
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women just make it so hard to get... why can't you be like dogs, we walk up, sniff your , if we like it we get it right then and there!!!
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:07 PM   #6
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interesting trip.
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Old 05-27-2007, 06:39 PM   #7
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Nice write up Squeaky, enjoyed the photos.
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 50cc chick
3 post of nothinig but you...hmmm interesting?
you must hate life

great trip, and nice descriptive comment for each pics
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:33 PM   #9
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good documentary.
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:42 AM   #10
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Thanks for the story w/ pics. I love trips to interesting places w/ interesting people. I think the ninja could handle some soft bags....hmmmm.
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:50 AM   #11
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thats awesome! nice pics too! i hope to be able to do an interstate ride like that someday.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:20 AM   #12
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Becca...you didn't hit hwy123 and you didn't get to the pig trail to find my Titanium toe slider. you woman!
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
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you must hate life

great trip, and nice descriptive comment for each pics
Far from it, I love life...Squeaky is my roommate so I am titled to be smart to her, and plus I got this whole story with pic in person nice try though!!
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women just make it so hard to get... why can't you be like dogs, we walk up, sniff your , if we like it we get it right then and there!!!
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Old 05-28-2007, 02:11 AM   #14
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hahah even if your not my roommate i can be a smart too! btw squeaky whats your opinion on those aerostich road suit, they seem to go hand to hand with the bmw riders.
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
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hahah even if your not my roommate i can be a smart too! btw squeaky whats your opinion on those aerostich road suit, they seem to go hand to hand with the bmw riders.
I am known on here for being more of a smart you wanna push it... :laughing6
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women just make it so hard to get... why can't you be like dogs, we walk up, sniff your , if we like it we get it right then and there!!!
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:15 AM   #16
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Squeaky great story and pics
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImG
hahah even if your not my roommate i can be a smart too! btw squeaky whats your opinion on those aerostich road suit, they seem to go hand to hand with the bmw riders.
I wore a 1-piece Arerostitch (borrowed) for a track day and I loved it, but I'm not about to drop $1k on a riding suit. The group had various gear - most had full jacket/pants/boots but some rode in jeans with jackets. I had my waterproof liners along and I used them both for keeping dry and keeping warm - the early morning and evening temps got downright chilly! My liners are great for sitting around the campsite after a ride.

Olympia, Tourmaster, Joe Rocket, BMW gear - all were represented but it didn't matter what you wore as long as you wore your gear. The rider that went down on 123 had a quarter-sized spot of rash and that was it. What got him was the force of hitting the ground on his shoulder.

And yes, I luv my Nikki. She can say whatever she wants about me - I know where she lives!

Brian - we DID hit 123. Bill hit it harder than we did, though. :eh: We only got about 17 miles into it before he crashed. I did the entire pig trail, but I was too busy having fun to look for the toe slider. :icon_bigg

jrock - the best part of these trips I take is the people I take them with. A class act bunch. :notworthy
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:27 PM   #18
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Trips like this are more enjoyable if it is more scenic minded than twisties minded.
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:37 PM   #19
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Crazy!
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