Yes, the Bike Ride Around Arkansas is completed. The weather was great and the roads provided. Unfortunately for me, it only lasted two days and one night. Making a living jumped up and took me away. A blast of wind hit a marina in the state so I was called to work. However, the rest of the group continued and encountered many sights along the way.
The tour started at Wal-Mart in Camden, AR. The store manager granted us permission to park our vehicles for the week while we toured. It was a chilly day as we headed South on US 79 toward our first campsite 30 miles away.
This road had medium to light traffic for a US Highway and did have a good shoulder. The terrain featured rolling hills and scenic country.
We stopped at a grocery store in Stephens, AR for evening meal provisions. We knew there would not be a cafe in the area. Each person made their own selections. I had decided before the start that I wanted to do more cooking in the camps, so I bought a couple hamburger patties and cheese.
The group stopped at a convenience store/cafe in Stephens for a late lunch. However, this was not a good day to get a hot sandwich for the kitchen is closed on Sundays. We made do with what was there and traveled on.
In late afternoon we arrived at Logoly State Park about 6 miles North of Magnolia. This is a neat little park for tent camping only. The park attendant and the park ranger were very cordial.
Our traveling group started with 5 riders. Jim Britt and myself were on the original BRAA about 11 years ago. Robert Carrol is a veteran rider in the group. Paul Young was starting his first fully loaded tour ride. We also had our special guest from Illinois, Rob Grider, who is also a veteran of many BRAA events. Great group.
This area was a tourist draw from back in the late 1800s due to some mineral springs. Jim and I walked to the springs only to find them mostly dry due to a falling ground water level. Still interesting and a good walk.
Everyone prepared their meals in camp, including the hamburger patties I bought. This actually worked out well.
We had a chilly night with the temps dropping barely below freezing. All the reports were that a good sleeping night was had by all.
Personally, I did not stir until about 7:00 AM Monday morning. I boiled some water for a hot cup of coffee. Breaking camp was not high on my list of desirable chores when the hot coffee tasted so good on this cool morning. However, it had to happen. It seems that making and breaking camp gets easier as a week progresses, but this was the first morning. I finally got it done and we rolled out at 8:30 for Magnolia and breakfast.
Although we try to find local cafes, this morning brought us to the ultimate national establishment, McDonalds. It actually worked out well but it does not have the local flavor we like.
We took US 82 East upon leaving Magnolia. We did find road construction underway, along with lane closures. It is a bit odd being on bikes, or a trike in my case, in a line of vehicles waiting to pass through the construction area. Once we got to move we allowed all vehicles to go first and then "scurried" through the area. Unfortunately for me, our "scurry" was mostly up a slight incline. I was simply winded by the time it was done, but recovered quickly.
Then I received the phone call from a very good customer that I was needed at the damaged marina. The indication was "next week" was not an option. I had to go to keep this good customer. At the next crossroad I had to depart. So sad. One of the other guys will need to continue with this story about the 2018 BRAA.