First Road Trip on the New Wing

Friday April 2’ 2004 – and we are alive again.

The moment that engine came to life and we slipped through traffic and eventually out of town we realized how simple it is. How simple and refreshing it is to just wake up … to shake up your world a little … to get lost. We were heading south out of the Kansas City area on our ride, a new 2004 Goldwing, black of course to do just that. Leaving late in the afternoon didn’t afford us much sunlight and even fewer hours of warmth, nevertheless we wailed ourselves relentlessly south the goal being to spend the weekend carving up as many Arkansas roads as we possibly could. What better way to break in the new Goldwing. As we settled into the ride the sun was setting in a cloudless blue sky in the distance and the usual suspects were on the roads.

I know I drive like an idiot most of the time but why do I have to be surrounded by them too! As we are cruising between Pleasant Hill and Harrisville two juveniles on an off road ATM of some kind come busting up on to the paved road directly behind me, dangerously close, hands wailing just generally acting like a couple idiots. I couldn’t move ahead because of traffic so I had to endure until they finally decided they had enough or they realized I wasn’t going to engage them. Think it’s time to thin the heard again. Some people just plain shouldn’t be allowed to run free with the rest of us normal folks.

We had wanted to drop all the way down into Arkansas …Mountain Home to be exact but plans change … in fact that’s usually rule # 1 on any Road Trip regardless of its length. “Plan on changing your plans” don’t plan where you want to be because if you do you’ll be chasing it rather than enjoying yourself. Better to say we ended up in Lebanon, Missouri rather than say we reached Mountain Home, Arkansas as planned today …. Boring …….. Roads were nice today but all too familiar since we have traversed this way before. We didn’t break any new ground today in terms of roads not traveled and that’s a must or Rule # 2 for Road Trips I love going on roads I haven’t been on before. Think that’s why we stopped here in Lebanon when we ran out of daylight.

Highway 5 south of Lebanon continues on south of here all the way into Arkansas down to Mountain Home and near Bull Shoals State Park. This is the new frontier that lies in wait for tomorrows riding. Roads that I have never been on before! Beyond that we will wind our way a little further south and then swing back in roller-coaster fashion west toward Eureka Springs. Least that’s the plan … are you catching on yet ………. In reality I don’t know exactly where I’m going tomorrow or where I will be tomorrow night. All I know is that I will be in the saddle and in total control of one the best production high performance motorcycles ever built or at least one of the best in my opinion. I love my new Goldwing so far and the Valkyrie is quickly becoming just a fond memory. I still need a name for my new steed but I think as the miles roll by that should come into focus if there is to be a name. To sleep now …think I’ll count curves to help me fall asleep …………

Saturday April 3’ 2004 – Get up and ride.

Up and on the road by 7:15 a.m. we headed south on Highway 5 moving closer to the Arkansas border. Occasionally, you’ll find little Roadside parks with a few picnic tables along many of the rural roads in Missouri and we pulled into one after about an hour or so to take our first respite. There was a little stream right next to the road and the little gravel road seemed inviting or so we thought as we pulled in to stop and clicked off the engine.
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It was a nice location for a break but as we mounted back up and proceeded along the little gravel road which leads back up on to the highway again we noticed up ahead that the little stream flowed right across the road on the way out. We had come upon it rather abruptly and quickly realized it wasn’t a wise decision to go across the rocks and water on two wheels even though it was only a very short distance to the other side and the water was not deep. In a car no problem but I wasn’t prepared to take such a risk with the Wing. The good news is that this little obstacle gave me the opportunity to use a new feature of the Wing I had not experience before and this was “Reverse”. On the Valk we would have had to dismount and Yong would have become my reverse to push us backwards in order to turn around. On the Wing I simply put it in reverse backed up enough to make a safe U turn and out we went the other way and back on the highway in no time. While I appreciated the beauty of that maneuver I don’t think Yong fully realized how lucky she was not having to get off and push. Back on the road highway 5 down into Arkansas was a very good road and the flat lands gradually gave way to rolling hills and curves. We quickly made our way over to Bull Shoals State Park and stopped by the dam to take in some of the beauty of the area.
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We next looped back around to Mountain Home, Arkansas and then down highway 201. The roads and landscape started to really get beautiful after hitting highway 341 and 79 through Push Mountain and the Ozark National Forest. We just meandered the rest of the day slowly winding out way towards Eureka Springs. One hour we were heading Northwest and the next Southwest on any road that looked good and there were many to choose from. As we approached Eureka Springs we decided to find a place there and check in early, and then head out to Beaver Lake, one of our favorite spots discovered on earlier trip to see the sunset. No pictures from Beaver lake since it typical Lewis tradition we unpacked everything into our room and then hopped back on the bike leaving camera and other essentials behind not realizing it until we wanted to take pictures of the Sunset. Oh well they are etched into my brain but unfortunately no pictures of sunset on Beaver lake to share. Finished off Saturday with a very nice meal at a place called Myrtie Mae’s recommended by the inn keeper where we lodged that night. Excellent food, good service & fair price.

Sunday April 4’ 2004 – Taking the long way home.

Seemed strange to be heading south out of Eureka Springs when our home laid 250 miles North but the long way home involved as many new ways to get there that I could come up with.
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We wanted to swing around Beaver Lake to the other side and then head up to Roaring River State park. We took 23 South our of Eureka Springs and then looped around highway 12 to the other side of Beaver Lake and stopped for a break before pressing on north towards Missouri. As we headed up highway 37 into Missouri we discovered by far and away one of the best stretches of roads a cyclist could ever want. This was on Highway 112 between 37 and Roaring River State Park. It was 10 miles of nicely paved road with large sweeping curves that you could take between 60 & 70 MPH with no problems. That was very enjoyable not to mention exciting …all your time is spent picking the bike up out of the lean only to immediately let it drop (lean) in the other direction. Doesn’t get much better than that. We cruised through Roaring River and on up along highway 76 which also provided some good twisties. We stopped in Springfield to grab some Subway sandwiches to have a picnic on Lake Stockton as we neared home. I love Lake Stockton …….very pretty and many great picnic areas right next to the lake. We ate our lunch right there on the ledge above the water.
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I don’t know where everyone else is but we practically had the place to ourselves. Planning on coming back down here and bringing some charcoal so we can bar-b-que right here and spend the entire day here. Mounting up around 4:00 p.m. we wound our way home and pulled into our drive way around 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening.

We covered 900+ miles and had a great time but it was evident that we were rusty having forgotten to pack several key items and making key mistakes here and there. Being on the road means being prepared and since this was our first little mini Road Trip of 2004 it gave us a chance to tune up for the big ones later in the year. Planning a 3,000 mile trip to the South Eastern US in early summer and maybe a 5,000 mile one to the North Western US in mid/late summer. No chance for error on those ….. type at you later

Donnie & Yong

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