This past weekend was one of those rare perfect weekends. The weather was about as perfect as it could get and I had a 3 day rally in the heart of Arkansas based out of the little town of Paris.Â Well actually I had to work a 1/2 day but this rally was only about 250 miles away so it was about a 4 hour run. Most of my route was going to be either interstate or 2 lane straight roads so I took the interstate down and the 2 lane back home on Sunday. Great thing about this was that meant on Saturday I was going to get to ride the twisties of Arkansas all day long.Â
This is one of the MSTA’s smaller rallies due to the fact that Paris only has one hotel.Â However we take it over and it’s a nice size group to hang out and get to know the other riders.Â We had a great cookout in the parking lot and kicked tires until late into the night.
Saturday morning dawned sunny and clear with just a slight chill that promised to become a beautiful warm day with a high of 81 and little wind.Â Even with only 30 riders we broke into different groups depending upon riding styles and choice of route.Â I had put together a short, medium and long route out to our lunch stop.Â Our groupÂ chose the medium loop which was around 140 miles.Â While we ended up being a pretty big group 16Â total on 15 bikes with 5Â ofÂ theÂ 6 ladiesÂ on their own bikes.Â Â After running the south 1/2 of 123 weÂ take a break at Hankins Country Store and the Blue Mountain Deli which while closed on Saturday still makes a great place to stop.
Break at Blue Mountain Deli.
Then it was on east on 16, 27, 333 and a couple of other roads to our lunch stop which was on the Buffalo river and was aptly named Tater Bugs on the River.Â A group that could not make the entire weekend had ridden down for lunch from St. Louis and a couple of the other groups from our rally showed up also.Â We all take different routes but always end up at lunch about the same times.
Lunch at Tater Bugs on The River in Gilbert Arkansas
After lunch we decided to do a variance of one of the routes so that we could do the fun part of 123 from Mt. Judea south with it’s cimbing switchbacks.Â Â Going back we broke into 2 smaller groups so that the faster guys could go play and the rest of us could just enjoy the ride.Â Their route apparently was a little different than ours as they passed us about 10 miles from the hotel.Â
After a beautiful day with great weather, no LEO’s and no incidents we had logged about 260 miles of twisties.Â So it was time for the banquet and more tire kicking in the parking lot.Â
The overlook on Mount Magazine
After a short ride south to go over Mt. Magazine to a local cafe for breakfast and then back over for the fun of it the time had come to point the bike west and head for home.Â I will admit that I had a few sprinkles before I got home but not enough to hardly notice.Â At some point on the way home my bike turned over 178k and I’m around 16k for the year.
I’m hoping to do a larger MSTA rally the weekend of Halloween down in the Texas Hill Country but that one will depend upon the weather since it is right at 500 miles down.
Get those tool kit contest pictures in before 10/10/10!
To give you an idea of what we’re looking for, here’s my kit. I used a RoadGear tool roll and replaced most of the OEM tools with better quality stuff, then added things that I know my bike needs and that would make most road-side repairs easier. This includes a ratchet, a selection of the right sizes of sockets, some hex-head sockets, pliers, wrenches, wire cutters, screw drivers, etc.
Tool roll, closed up
Tool Roll, opened up
And for good measure, here’s a link to the Road Gear tool roll…
Roy's BBQ Hutchinson, KS
Ride to Eat’s are an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday even when there are not lots of curves between here and there.Â So last Saturday when Roger posted that they would be doing a RTE at Roy’s BBQ it sounded like a good excuse for a ride.Â Roger hosts these rides about once a month and any riders are welcome.Â He’s such a nice guy that he’ll buy lunch for the rider coming the furthest distance and desert for any fellow MSTA member.Â So I left home early Saturday morning for a little 220 mile ride and found out when I got there that I didn’t get a free lunch.Â I was beat out by an ST owner that had about 75 miles or so on me.Â
Kansas Motorcyle Museum - 1916 Indian
After lunch we decided to let the food settle before indulging in desert so some of us took off for the Kansas Motorcycle Museum in Marquette, KS.Â This museum was started in memory of STAN “THE MAN” ENGDAHL a dirt track legend.Â Â His wife currentlyÂ runs it and has some great stories to tell.Â These motorcycles were just the opposite of last weekend as they were clean and in pristeen condition.Â Â
Pie at Carriage Crossing Restaurant Yoder, KS
Then it was back on the bikes again in search of pie at possibly one of the best places I’ve found in the little town of Yoder, KS at the Carriage Crossing Restaurant which even has motorcycle specific parking right in front of the door.Â I kept myself to 1 piece of Chocolote Peanut Butter pie but some of the guys had room for 2 pieces.Â Since I was the only other MSTA member to show up it was free which made it even better.Â
Finally it is time to go out and see if we can dodge the rain that had come thru and head for our homes.Â It was a little after dark when I finally returned with a trip of about 550 miles.Â Not bad for a Saturday RTE.
Working on my technique.
Over the years I have taken different rider training incuding the MSF’s BRC and ERC plus a couple of Lee Parks Total Control schools and a track day at Hallett which included the H.A.R.T. – Hallett Advanced Rider Training.Â Now all of these were taken on my own bikes either the 1996 750 Nighthawk that I had previously or my current ride which is a FZ1.Â
This year I had been looking at the different schools wanting to take another classÂ andÂ found Jason Pridmore’s STAR school was going to be in Topeka, KSÂ last ThursdayÂ which is only about 250 miles away.Â Â At first I thought about taking my bike butÂ my tires at the time were touring tires and had around 8k on them.Â Â Not wanting to put on new tires that would work well on the track but only give me a couple of thousand milesÂ I decided that itÂ might be wiser this time to rent a bike.Â Â An SV650 set me back about what a set of tiresÂ would haveÂ been and I didn’t have toÂ haul my bike.Â
Jason’s school is set up with classroom sessions followed byÂ going onto the track toÂ work on those technique’s.Â They dividedÂ us into 2 groups with the Street and Advanced so that we pretty much rotatedÂ back and forth through out the day.Â Â
Two up with Jason.
One of the highlights of the day were the 2 up rides that Jason gave during the afternoon.Â If you wanted to take advantage of this it gives you an idea of how smooth a person can be while shifting and braking.Â I wasn’t sure if I could give up control to anyone even someone of Jason’s calibur.Â I have never been able to ride more than a couple of miles on the back of anyones bike and that’s at slow speeds around town.Â So all the guys in the class decided that I would be the 1st one to ride with Jason so that I wouldn’t back out.Â Jason’s bike is set up for this type of riding and has a pair of grab handles built into the tank.Â So I climbed on the back and got a very tight grip.Â Jason took it easy on the 1st lap which still felt like we were going super fast.Â After that lap when asked if I wanted to do the 2nd lap I gave a thumbs up and off we went again and this time it was even faster.Â Â About the only thing you feel is when Jason is going into the corner isÂ theÂ bike slowing dramitically but you don’t actually feel the down shifting.Â I would do this again and next time I might actually ask how fast we are going.
Last Sunday a group from Oklahoma City got together to ride down to Ada Oklahoma to check out the motorcycles that were being ridden from coast to coast. None of these motorcycles can be newer than 1916 and they have to be ridden the entire distance. They left Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Sept 10th and arrived in California at the Santa Monica Pier today. They have a designated route to ride each day and an allotted amount of time to do it in. Keep in mind that these bikes can only average around 35mph and have very little in the way of brakes or suspension.
After looking at these bikes I couldn’t imagine riding them around town let alone across the country. The riders came into Ada for lunch and while they ate and did maintenance on their bikes the rest of us got to check out all the unique machines. They came and went as quick as they could trying to keep to their schedule. Watching them leave peddling to get up to a speed that the engine would kick in was definitely something you don’t see everyday.
After spending a couple of hours admiring the older bikes I got on my bike, hit the start button and put it in gear knowing that I would not have to worry about any problems on the way back home. Such was not the case for one of the old bikesÂ as within blocks I saw one stopped and the rider was working on it.
Not a long ride today but a pleasant outing of around 250 miles.
The results haven’t been published but you can read more about it at http://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/
Well I just got home from our first fall rally of 2010 and the weather was very near perfect.Â The MSTAÂ has 3 day weekend rallies all over the country but for me that means I only do the ones within 500 miles of home.Â I figure I can do 500 miles and still be there for the evening cookout but anything more than that I’d need either an extra day or a really boring day of all super slab.Â We had one gentleman that rode in fromÂ Washington stateÂ and I think that was after he had done the Iron ButtÂ 3 flags ride.Â It would be so nice to be retired and able to afford to travel all the time.
The format is generallyÂ a cookout of some type on Friday evening after the riders have ridden in from various parts of the country, then ride in small groups on one of several routes put together of the best roads in that area on Saturday with a banquet on Saturday evening before leaving to return home on Sunday.Â This may very slightly according to the person or persons putting on the rally.
With the remnants of Hurricane Hermine going thru on Thursday I had several people questioning if they should cancel since there was still a chance of rain.Â I told them that if they did they would regret it.Â I have found out over the years that if you let the weather forecasters tell you what the weather is going to do in that area then you will usually miss out on a lot of fun.Â Â I think I’ve only gone to maybe 1 or 2 rallies where I got up on Saturday and said not just no way but NO WAY.Â One time it was a day of record setting rain and another time the temps dropped into the 40′s and while I had my electrics most of the othersÂ didn’t have enough gear.Â But when that happens you just get a friend with a vehicle to take every body to a really bad movie or you sit around a warm lobby and talk about past trips and future trips and make new friends.
A couple of people coming in from the north/northeast did run into a little rain on Friday going to the rally however most of us had a beautiful day in which to make our way to the rally.Â During the night a couple more storms rolled thru but Saturday dawned to sun shine and only a few clouds here and there.Â
As I was getting ready to leave on Saturday morning one of the guys snapped this picture of me waiting on my group to be ready to roll.Â I think I have finally figured out that maybe I should have all my pictures taken with my helmet on since I have horrible and I mean horrible helmet hair.Â This time I stayed in Missouri and rode some of my favorite Missouri roads and even rode a couple of them multiple times.Â After the ride on Saturday we all gathered in the parking lot to BS about our routes and adventures before going up toÂ aÂ great banquet with lots of door prizes given away.Â I will admit that I ended up riding the last 30 miles home inÂ a hard rain but didn’t even bother to stop and put the gear on just boogied on in.
I did get new tires put on before leaving for the rally and I think I pretty well have them scrubbed in with just over 900 miles logged for the 3 day weekend.Â I am now within about 40 miles of that 175k mark and that can be done on a local dinner ride.
Well I have 3 more of these rallies on my calendar for October, a lunch ride to Kansas for BBQ on the 25th of Sept. and maybe another overnighter to Arkansas you just never know.Â Life and work do get in the way of my motorcycle habit once in a while but thankfully it doesn’t happen too often.
We received this excellent ride report from listener Denise Dickenson. Give it a read and enjoy living vicariously through Denise’s words. Denise rides a Yamaha FZ1 with 174,000 miles on it! Way to go!!
- Hankins Country Store
Hadn’t been out of town in a couple of weeks so loaded up Friday afternoon and headed to Arkansas.Â It’s about 225-250 miles of super slab to get into Arkansas and find the good roads but it’s well worth it when you can head out on Friday.Â By getting over there Friday evening it gives me all day Saturday and a good part of Sunday to ride the fun stuff before I head back home on Sunday afternoon.
There is a place at the intersection of Highway’s 7, 123 and 16 that has been a stopping place for bikes for years known as Sand Gap or Pelsor.Â Â There is actually a post office across the highwayÂ but that is as big as it gets.Â I don’t remember those gas pumps ever working but a lot of people have stopped there hoping there did since there is no gas in any direction for miles.Â You never know if the store would be open but usually on a Saturday there would be someone around and you could get a soda and take a break.
Well this weekend on Friday evening I see a sign that says Blue Mountain Deli and Bakery now open.Â I didn’t stop then as I was headed on to Heber Springs and wanted to make it before dark as I had already seenÂ 3 deer so far and a total of 7 before I got in.Â So on Saturday I came back by and there were 3 other bikes stopped there and the sign said open every day except for Saturday.Â My buddy that I had met up with that morning fromÂ MemphisÂ was waiting on me to catch up but the other 2 guys were from Hutchinson, KS.Â Came to find out my friendÂ knew one of the guys from Hutchinson as they had done a tour of Europe together last fall and met over there.Â Finished the Saturday ride up in northwest Arkansas at Eureka Springs again which is one of my favorite weekend get away spots.
Sunday I have to head back to Oklahoma and my buddy has to head back to Memphis so we head back down thru Arkansas riding a few more good roads and I end up back at this country store for the 3rd time in 3 days.Â This time we are in luck and the smoker is going with ribs and brisket but we go in and browse the homemade bakery items which included sticky buns, bread pudding muffins,Â multi berry muffins and several other kinds of great looking pastries.Â We sampled a sticky bun and a bread pudding muffin that were warmed to a nice gooey perfection and meltÂ in yourÂ mouth good.Â Talked with the new owner and he said he’d do breakfast also with farm fresh eggs too if we ever wanted to stop early in the morning.Â When I asked why they were not open on Saturday’s I found out that was their church day which if a very good reasonÂ not to be open.Â This time there were at least 6-8 bikes there at different times while we sat and talked on the porch.Â I think one group was hoping that the brisket would soon be done as it was sure smelling good.
Well the weekend finally has to start winding down so I head west on 123 and my buddy heads east on 16 back to the real world.Â Just as I pulled into the garage I noticed that my baby had turned over 174k on the nose and she’s ready for new shoes before my next ride to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas again in 2 weeks.Â This time it will be to attend one of my MSTA rallies known as the BS (Bull Shoals) Rally in Theodosia, Missouri http://ozarksbsrally.com/index.html so I can again go ride some of my favorite roads.
Listener Nate B. sent us this great picture of his SV650. These are great, bullet-proof, versatile and well-loved bikes. Hope you’re enjoying it, Nate! And thanks for the awesome feedback!
Nate B.'s SV
Listener Scott Langston sent us this great picture of his machine on Highway 64 north of Taos – Eagle Nest. Thanks so much, Scott. Fantastic picture. Keep ‘em coming, folks.
Highway 64 North of Taos
See that FZ1? There are 173,000 miles on that bike. Probably more since Denise sent us these pics two days ago. I’m just going to say thanks for the submission and get out of the way. This is what Denise had to say about the pics.
Some pics taken this summer on my annual STAR trip hosted by the MSTA
This year it was to Taos, NMÂ with an after tour up to Avon, CO and Rocky Mountain National Park.Â That’s where a friend rode up beside me and snapped the 1st one.Â The others were at an overlook on Highway 64 going up to Chama and Highway 434 southÂ of Angel Fire.Â Â 434 remindsÂ me of the narrow roads in the Alps.
That trip was approximately 3000 miles in 10 days and included a chance to demo the new Honda VFR DCT version.Â Nice bike but not a replacement for myÂ FZ1.Â I’mÂ working towardsÂ 200k on it.