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We broke camp and regrouped at Bendi's for breakfast before leaving town. We headed to Brinkley. The police chief found us at the south end of town and gave us an escort through town. He told us there was a store in Hunter to the north, so we headed there for lunch. We had the best white bread sandwiches ever. I knew they would be good because they had a toothpick in the wrapping! They were glad we stopped, as were all the small stores we stopped at. From there, we went east to Village Creek S.P. with the entire route for the day being part of the Trail of Tears. The S.P. gave us 4 nice campsites. We weren't on the lake, but there was one,, and cabins but they were all reserved. This is the only night we cooked and ate in camp. Also the only night that we had a campfire. This day was about 62 miles with again mostly a nice tail wind but it was somewhat windy all night and still the next morning. Brad met us late that night in his car and took pictures along the way for the next several days.
Our group thinned out to 7 for the ride. We had to change the route at the last minute due to flooding in southern Ark. Thanks to Kenny and John for planning that route that we'll use another year. Our first day was our longest at 72 miles. I was probably our easiest due to mostly a tail wind all the way. The restaurant in Humnoke was closed but we knew that and had snacks and a rest at the store. The restaurant in Clarendon also closed for the day, being Sunday, before we arrived but the Lion's Den drive-in had burgers and such and ice cream. We camped at the city campground on the White RIver. A porta-potty was still there for the Trails Symposium that weekend.
Day 3: As we say, "the road will provide." A restaurant had opened back at the Hwy. so we met there for coffee and breakfast. Thanks to Kenny. This breakfast was great since there is no other place along the way. We took the usual 3 miles of well bladed dirt road to the Bear community and on to the dam and Mt. Pine. The Hot Springs Bike/Ped coordinator met us in town and took our picture and got the news published, which helps there advocacy efforts there. We were not hungry so we didn't have lunch and just disbanded and wet to our cars.
Day 2: Again, the weather was great. We climbed back to Hwy 298 and continued west to Story. It wasn't time for either breakfast or lunch so we went on the Mt. Ida after a break. Our normal restaurant in Mt. Ida was was in business since about 1950 something was closed so we ate at a drive-in diner. We broke into 2 groups for the ride to Crystal Springs but that was fine. The camp host let us camp on one site this time. I was the only one to ride back to Burl's BBQ at the Hwy. for dinner. It's nice to be inside for a while. The rib plate was great. We didn't bother with a campfire that night. It wasn't cold enough or enough wood right at camp.
Day 1: We left Hot Springs pretty much on time. There were some rangers doing a controlled burn as we went over Cedar Glades so we got a group picture. The ride to lunch was uneventful with the weather being nice. Cool but just right for riding. We got to the Home Plate a little earlier than usual so we were served right away and they were very friendly as usual. We ran into another controlled burn before we reached Irons Fork Campground. There was still fire across the lake inlet which made for a nice show at night. Plenty of driftwood and other wood was available for our camp fire after dinner. I think the lake had been much higher with so much driftwood. When I got up during the night, it was cool, but not cold. It was the best weather we've had for this ride.
We started out with 9 of us. Thanks to Jarion for the sag vehicle. We had a very cold start but we all feel good once we started and even over dressed on the climb to Prim for lunch. Crossing the Midway Bridge over the lake was very scenic. We picked up 2 more riders who had spent the night before at Mt. View and rode backwards to Prim. Well, one of them had a broken bike so we had another sag vehicle. We had 1 blowout on the way which bend the rim, but the rider found a flat rock and hammered it back in and it held with some tape for the rest of the ride. "The road will provide." Another couldn't shift into the lower gear which is not good on this hilly ride.
We got to the B & B from 3-3:30 pm. The rooms were very nice and several of them were suites with a sitting area. The breakfast was great too. We had dinner at the Rainbow Diner on the town square. It got down to about 22F overnight but very little wind and it was a tail wind and it started sunny. Only 3 riders braved riding back up the mountain and completing the entire return. Most of the riders did ride another portion and after lunch. Only 2 of us had done this ride before so we were glad to have some new people to experience this weekend with the club.
We had about 12 ABC members on the Bentonville to Fayetteville ride and almost all had their ABC jersey on, at least after it warmed up. The day was great and the shuttle option before or after the ride made it more convenient for many. Some of us rode both ways but we were a little late getting to the official start. We'll work on that next time. We were talking about staying overnight in Bentonville next time to see Crystal Bridges and take the trail to it. The trail system is beautiful and well worth the drive up there to ride it. There were not nearly as many side road crossings as I thought there would be. There are few services directly on the trail except downtwon F'ville and B'ville. The Kum and Go was on the trail was very popular. It was about 20 miles from Fayetteville. I was told that the next one of these will be May 14 from F'ville to B'ville.
This was a bit of an anti-climax day. The Saturday day riders had left with a few of the Friday riders, so we were down to 7 on the return. It was decided to leave after 6:00 am. I didn't want to get up so early but I knew that was best with the 100 degree day ahead. Even then, it was hot and especially humid getting the vehicle loaded. It was much better once we were on the road at 6:30. We had a tail wind for much of the return and we set a pretty fast pace but we stayed together. The restaurant in Humnoke was not yet open but it was too hot and still 25 miles to go to have more than a breakfast snack at the store there. We passed one local rider from Stuttgart who asked if we were the group from Clarendon, so the word got around somewhat which made me feel good.
Again, thanks to John and Susan Linck for the use of the support vehicle and Terry for driving. We couldn't have done it without carrying the extra ice water and the gear in the hot weather. Burton and Sarah Moore were great in offering the 2 furnished houses for our use. We'll have to tour their museum with antebellum furnishings next time. Mayor Jim and Phyllis Stinson in Clarendon were great hosts. We saw them off and on the whole time we were in Clarendon and Holly Grove. Clarendon Police were also great in getting us over the bridge. I think the Sheriff also had a vehicle there too. Also Police Chief Hollis Foster from Holly Grove was a great escort and friend and Mayor Lulu in Holly Grove and it seems the whole town, for turning out to greet us with cold drinks and hot dogs. The catfish lunch Saturday by Jim and Linda at East Lake was great and they and their son and daughter were also great hosts. The son drove us on their farm wagon on their gravel road from where we left our bicycles at the end of the payment. I think the folks in Madison County were very appreciative of us coming to publicize their bridge and we had a great time with them.
We stayed in 2 furnished, unoccupied houses owned by the Moore family, one was the ladies and one for the men. Everyone had their own bed but we were prepared to sleep on the floor if necessary. We had another breakfast at the restaurant. I wanted French toast. It wasn't on the menu but they said they could make it but I had the short stack and they were great pancakes. We met at the foot of the bridge at 8:30 am where we picked up about 8 more riders for the day rides, for a total of 19. We again had a police escort and went over the bridge and back and again, stopped for pictures at the top. The view of the River and the steeple of the Monroe County courthouse were superb. I think everyone continued on with a police escort by Chief Hollis Foster to Holly Grove, about 11 miles way. It was dead flat and we were really flying, only to find out later it was because of the wind that we had to fight coming back. Holly Grove had hot dogs and cold drinks for us and the town folks. Then, we had a police escort around the small town. Kenny was getting a flat, so we pumped it up to get him to lunch. He had a big blow out when he hit a pothole on the Bridge on Friday, so technically, he didn't go over the whole bridge on Friday. The Chief led us a few more miles to East Lake. Linda and Jim and family there had a big catfish lunch for us. He caught the fish on the lake. Their son drove us the last 1/2 mile down their gravel road on a wagon which you may see in the Pictures. The big lunch was great. By the time we fought the wind getting back to Clarendon and going over the bridge and around Holly Grove, I got in about 32 miles. We were going to go to Louisiana Purchase State Historic Park, but it was too much farther for us for this trip. Some rested when we got back to Clarendon. Some of us got on 2 boats and went up the White and Cache Rivers with Mayor Jim Stinson and his friend, David, for more than 20 miles on the Rivers. It was time for dinner when we got back, so I didn't get cleaned up until nearly 9:00 pm. The restaurant closes at 8:00 pm and we got in a little trouble for not getting in early enough Friday evening. Not too much trouble.
Friday, Aug. 7. We started out at 8:20 am with 11 riders and a sag driver and picked up Peggy for part of the ride. It was very hot but we were lucky that it was overcast most of the way. The store at Humnoke said we might catch up to the rain in Stuttgart but we didn't. The Police from Holly Grove and Clarendon met us in Roe to escort us over the bridge since part of it is very narrow. They stopped the traffic both ways so we could get some pictures and see the views. We went straight to lunch in Clarendon about 1:30. After that, we went to the 2 houses that were made available to us by the Moore family. Everyone had their own bed with towels and plenty of bathrooms and showers. Some of us went to the city museum but we didn't have time on this trip to visit the Moore House Museum across the street from where we were staying to see their collection of antebellum items. That will be on the next trip.
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