Well the weekend of Feb. 19/20Â started out as a much needed get away.Â One of my friends wanted to attend the Arkansas Motorcycle Racers Reunion in Little Rock, AR on Sunday afternoon.Â I had just had a new chain and sprocket put on the bike this week and had been chomping at the bit to get out for a ride.Â So I headed east toward Conway while 2 guys from Memphis headed west toward Conway.Â
Well the 1st of 2 coincidences started when I passed a group of fellow riders on an assortment of cruisers and goldwings.Â They were wearing the Buffalo jackets and I didn’t really blow by them but passed them at a few over posted.
Stopped at a favorite gas station that is really in the middle of no where.Â It’s on the interstate but unless you know it’s there you won’t generally stop at it but it does have No Ethonal gas.Â In pulled the group of Buffalo Soldiers with various comments about how I blew by them.Â Then all of a sudden I hear one of them say something like “I told you that was my girl”Â Figured out this was a friend of the neighbor that lives directly across the street from me.Â I’ve seen him a few times pull in on a bike but really hadn’t talked to him that much about riding.Â So after a little more ribbing they pull out and I start to put on my gear.
This is when the really bazaar coincidence happens.Â A couple pulls past me in a car and stop in front of me.Â Gentleman hollars at me ‘Hey are you a member of the MSTA?”Â Now that gets my attention since you almost have to be a MSTA memeber to recognize another one.Â I lean down and look in the window and lo and behold it’s our previous membership directory Sue and her husband Phil.Â This might not seem odd to you but they live in Indiania and are on a trip to Arizona and I live in OKC and am on a trip to Arkansas and this gas station as I say is in the middle ofÂ nowhere.Â What are the odds that we’d both pull into this little station on the same date at the same time going in opposite directions?
Now back to the ride.Â Since they had a shorter ride to where we decided to stay I just told them that once I got into Arkansas I was going to start taking back roads.Â If they got to the hotel early enough and wanted to ride some more they could catch Arkansas 16 and I’d see them on the road somewhere.Â About 4:30 got a text saying they had gotten to the hotel and they’d decided to just wait for me.Â I had choosen about a 150 mile section of twisties that I wanted to ride for that final leg.Â Roads were dirty as I’d expected but still it was so nice to be out and on the bike that I just took my time and enjoyed.
After a nice dinner and some serious bsing we found out that the hotel didn’t have Speed so we couldn’t watch Supercross.Â Oh well we did some planning on future rides and decided that the next morning we would explore the area around Conway and Little Rock to see if we could find any little roads to link together to get around the area and to the roads we like to ride.
So the next morning we did just that and while we found a few good roads there was too much traffic and also several dead ends.Â We wanted to be at Spectators for the Racer Reunion by 1pm and by 12:15 we decided to go ahead and go on over.Â It was a good decision as people were already gathering.Â Â Wandered around listening to war stories of racing in the Little Rock area which was mostly off road but still great tales.Â I wanted to be home by around dark that night as a cold front was coming thru that was not looking real good.Â So a little after 2pm we split and headed back in our respective directions.
I think the tire may have been going flat before I even left Spectators so I probably picked up something in the parking lot but will never know.
As I left I noticed that the bike kind of pulled a little to one side but thought it was just the rough section of road that I was on. Got on the interstate and while it felt a little rough nothing very bad. I had just about decided at the next exit I would pull off and double check the bike and fill up with gas when these guys in a car pulled up beside me and pointed at my back tire and said it was going flat. So not really wanting to stop on the side of I-40 and it still didnâ€™t feel too mushy I decided to slow down and pull off at the next exit as planned.
As soon as I went to turn to go to the gas station I knew something was really wrong. Pulled into the station next to the air pump and a guy comes over in a pickup truck and says heâ€™d like to help but he doesnâ€™t have a repair kit and is on his way to work. Told him I was going to air it up and see if I could get it on the center stand so I could find the hole. It only looked really low at that point but it felt really warm too. By the time Iâ€™d turned back from talking to this guy it was like it had sucked in upon itself.
As I was putting the air in it and it really didnâ€™t seem to be doing much good it kind of just exploded like a gun fire. I guess it didnâ€™t like cool air inside of its hot self. Blew a hole thru the tire probably big enough to put a couple of fingers thru with frayed cords. I donâ€™t know why I didnâ€™t think to take a picture but guess it was because Iâ€™m thinking good grief now what am I going to do.
So I called and texted Tom hoping maybe they had stopped for gas or something. Then I looked at where I was and decided that William a fellow HSTA/MSTA member was my next hope. Called and asked for William as I needed a really huge favor. He said his truck was out of commission but that he would come and rescue me and weâ€™d then figure out what to do with the bike. Told him I had AAA and AMA towing so if I had to get it towed to a shop I could. He said nothing was open that he knew of on Monday though.
So while Iâ€™m waiting I think about Cycle Gear and the fact that they are open on Sundayâ€™s and Mondayâ€™s if there is one in Little Rock. Get on the I-phone and find one in Little Rock, call and they are open. Said they were the only one in Arkansas. They didnâ€™t have the Pilot Road 2 that I was running but had a couple of sport tires â€“ Pirelli Angel and Bridgestone 016 and when I asked about a more touring orientated one they had this Dunlop Roadsmart. So at this point I just tell him Iâ€™ll have to see if I can even get the tire off and find them.
William shows up with another guy and I tell him about my idea to pull the tire and take it to Cycle Gear. So luckily my tool kit had the right wrench and since it was just off for the chain/sprockets they had the tire pulled in just a few minutes and we are on our way south and to the far side of Little Rock.
At Cycle GearÂ I decide to go with the Roadsmart and see what I think of it and he goes off to change it. A couple of customers start talking to me and pretty soon back comes my rim with a new tire on it. He said the rim looked really good and when I said something about it having 181k on it he was really amazed.
So we go back out to my bike and with only a little help from me put the tire on and Iâ€™m ready to go. William said I could come out for dinner and spend the night but at that point I had about an hour of daylight and was really figuring it was going to be colder Monday than it was tonight.
So headed out and when it got dark it started cooling off but my Gerbing liner was doing a pretty good job of it. When I stopped for gas just into Oklahoma and to check messages.Â Figuring it might get steadily cooler decided to add both my electric pants/gloves and frogtoggs that way I wouldnâ€™t have to stop but just turn up the heat some.
Shortly after that the wind picked up out of the south and it actually started to feel warmer. So I only had my jacket on a very low setting and never turned anything else on. When I got into the metro saw 2 bank signs and one said 65 and the other said 71.
Right now at midnight it says 67 here but only 59 in Russellville so guess it really was warmer over here. So I think Iâ€™m glad I came on home even though I donâ€™t like riding at night and have lots of folks probably pissed as I ran my light on high to make it easier on me but surprisingly no one every flashed their highs at me.
Well Iâ€™m home safe and sound. Enjoyed the weekend very much except for the very last part.
Oh and Iâ€™m glad I came home last night as today at noon it was 37 with a 17-26mph wind out of the north and it was much much colder. It would have been nice in the daylight but as cold natured as I am Iâ€™m not sure all the gear I had on last night even with the electrics on highÂ it would have been warm enough.