This Memorial Day weekend I rode to Arkansas from west Texas for my 40th High School Reunion.
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The first order of business is to put a new tire on the rear. I had debated on whether or not to replace it before the trip but the forecast of rain demanded that I do it!
I had to install the Dunlop D404 instead of the Michelin Commander II because the MC was not available! I have run the Dunlop in the past but it's wear mileage is about a 1/3 that of the MC.
The ride out on Friday was great. I rode out about four hours ahead of a large storm:
(I am the blue dot and am heading east)
I stopped in Seymour at the Rock Inn Cafe for breakfast.
This place appears to be the local coffee hangout because it was very busy with locals. I saw one table getting a stream of folks coming and going during my time there.
The remainder of the ride east was enjoyable and uneventful.
On Saturday I visited friends and family in the area before getting to the reunion. I am surprised that most of my former classmates did not recognize me at all. 40 years will do that.
The trip home is where things got interesting. Ironbutt offers special certificates for any ride done this holiday weekend. I had not really thought about doing one but at the last minute I slapped together a route for a Saddlesore 1000. It ended in a decision that cut the ride short at 978 miles.
My first indication of potential problems came at the start of the ride. I had wanted to start the ride in my home down of Junction City. However it is in a very rural part of Arkansas so finding a place with fuel AND a computer generated receipt on a Sunday morning proved problematic. I finally got one at the 3rd gas station that was ten miles north and into my already close mileage but I still had enough miles. The ride to Little Rock was uneventful except that after the first fuel stop/corner receipt I took a wrong turn and ended up backtracking a couple of miles. Everything was going gangbusters until just west of Oklahoma City when everything fell apart. A large rainstorm was gathering in front of me and Garmin warned of a massive traffic delay of over two hours. Garmin also offered a route around the delay and I decided to take it. (With fingers crossed) Actually the detour wasn't bad but it is secondary roads in rual Oklahoma. The rain is coming down in buckets now, the road surface is collecting puddles so I have to keep my speed down to avoid hydroplaning. (thank goodness for the new tire) Lightning will NEVER be my friend so when it started presenting itself I decided it was time to wait out this storm. I found an abandoned business with a very small porch to wait under in Coger.
(I am the blue dot heading west.)
About 30 minutes or so after I had arrived a local stopped and offered me dry shelter at his house a couple of miles away. I accepted it.
The rain finally passed and I continued on my way. (Thanks Hugh)
The delay has cost me a couple of hours but I still have plenty of time to finish in the 24 hours time limit.
I made my way back to the interstate where things continued well. That is until I turned north at Amarillo. My plan was to ride up to Stratford, turn southwest to Dalhart, then directly south to home, with a side trip to visit my Father-In-Law's grave at Boy's Ranch. This very ugly storm was blocking my way to Stratford:
(I am the blue dot heading north. Stratford is approx. the 19mph arrow.)
I have stopped at a roadside picnic area 47 miles south of Stratford to see about waiting for this storm to pass. But the closer it gets the uglier it becomes. After about an hour or so of waiting and self-consulting I make the choice to call off the Memorial 1000. Safety! Safety is the reason for ending the attempt. There is no need to endanger myself in this endeavor. There will be other opportunities to ride. Sure, I could have ridden to another town and gotten a receipt to prove the miles for another certificate, but I really wanted to go to Boy's Ranch today and that storm was not going to let it happen. (This is the third time I have attempted to go there during a memorial ride but things conspire against me to stop it from happening.)
I mount up and turn south, towards Amarillo, towards Home.
I am feeling more relaxed now and stop and get a bite to eat in Amarillo before the two hour ride home.
Pulling into the driveway at about 12:45 I have covered less than 1,000 miles today and I am okay with that.
Ride Safe my Friends!
PS: According to the local in Coger, OK, the abandoned store I had stopped at is where the Phone Booth Fart Scene in the movie Rainman was filmed.