Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, heading for Eureka Springs.
Well, it was a neat little touristy place and I was riding through town just looking at what kind of stores and unique things it had, when I notices a big ARkansas ADV sign. Of course I had to stop there! It was a really stacked to the brim little motorcycle stuff that carried a ton of stuff. He didn't have an Arkansas ADV sticker though, but he did have one of his store, so I got that. We talked a while about the road and places to see, and I hopped back on Spirit and this time headed East and North toward Missouri.
I had looked on the map and noticed all the Mark Twain National Forests, and I was hoping to be able to find a place to crash in the wild.
Well, that day was a bit of an odd day, I ended up stopping to find some food for the road, and then again once I found out that I had gotten the wrong lithium batteries for my spot, and so spending most of the day in cities was overwhelming and draining. I was glad to be finally done with all the noise and traffic, and to hit the solitary quiet country roads again.
The first stretch of road was actually a divided Hwy, but it had some rock formations like in Utah and Colorado. It was nice to see some rock again, Haha.
It felt great to ride again for a longer stretch, but I had sorely misjudges the distances. It was getting dark and there was no way I would make to to the Mark Twain Forest before it got totally dark.
The sunset was amazing however, and even though I don't like riding in the dark, the night sky was spectacular.
Once I got to a little town called Ava, I decided to ask if there was a camping place around there. I had not seen a wild stretch of land for the last few hours, everything was farm land and therefore owned by someone.
The lady at the gas station told me of a little camp spot in Vera Cruz so I headed there. The little country road down to Vera Cruz was deer country! I was glad I was riding slow, they were all around me. All of a sudden the road ended, and I found myself again, on a sandy road. I looked at the rocks and deep ruts in the san and said , "No way!!" My rib still hurt, and I was not ready to try again, especially not in the dark, not knowing how far the campsite was.
I decided to turn around and just keep riding until I saw a suitable place to crash.
It had gotten pitch-dark by now and to make things worse, I had a row of cars on my but, and no place to pull over and let them pass. Finally I saw a turn off and let everyone get by me. About half an hour later I found a camping ground near a river, and a group of people were standing around in the parking lot. One guy cam up to me, and said that he was driving the car behind me a while back, and that my tail light was out. He said the only reason was I didn't get run over was because of my shining yellow safety vest with reflective stripes on it. Wow! for once I was glad that I had bought it. I had just checked the might that morning, but some time during the day it must have popped.
The campground store was closed already, but the owner was at a campfire in the back, and said to just camp and pay in the morning.
I was just too buggered to make it down the gravel dirt road to the tent site, so I strung up my hammock nearby and went to sleep.
The thing about campsites is that they don't really close, which is usually a good thing, unless a huge group drives in at 3 am and starts hollering and pounding tent stakes in the ground with a metal hammer. Oy!
Needles to say I did not sleep much that night.
The campground di mostly river rafting and kayaking tours, and also had a small restaurant there. I zombies on over and ordered a big cup of coffee and some oatmeal. The gal that ran the place was sweet, they normally didn't make oatmeal, but she would for me.
Kathy at the campground cafe near Twin Bridges.
They also served hot cinnamon buns, and the gals that worked there were really sweet and inquisitive. Unfortunately they left soon after, so I couldn't take a photo of them. Even though the night was hard, the hot shower made up for it.
As I was about to leave I gazed at my speedometer, shucks! I had missed my 30,000 mile mark by 5 miles
this was a big moment for me, seeing as I had left with almost 20,000 miles on the bike.
I spend the day very relaxed and carefree, avoiding the big cities. I had enough food, and water, and only needed some gas occasionally.
I rode through the Mark Twain Forest, which was very quiet and very few people on the road. I say deer occasionally, and lots of birds.
After the forest the roads ran though farm lands again. I was amazed at all the perfectly cylindrical bails of hay spread out over the fields.
Needing to gas up again, I stopped at a store and a young kid was interested in my bike and stopped to strike up a conversation. He was really sweet, and I asked him if I could take a picture of him. Yep, no problem there, he eagerly posed for a snapshot with his black and blue bike which he had painted himself.
......I managed to get lost again, and ended up way east.
Instead of turning around I decided to just stay at a campground nearby.
It was a really nice little place called Marble Creek near Arcadia.
The night was quiet and I was thankful for a good night's sleep.
The next morning was cool and dreary and I was hoping that it wouldn't start pouring before I packed my tent and stuff. It didn't.
The park ranger came by and asked if I had paid my fee, and I said Yup! He then nodded and rode off.......... How easy it would have been to camp without paying! I'm too dreadfully honest at times!
I hit the road and aimed to go through the rest of the Mark Twain forests.
I was really enjoying the ride that day, and getting a kick out of the rolling hills that made your stomach lurch every time you went over a hill that quickly dipped down again.
I think I shall call Missouri the Roller-coaster-Road state. I squealed every time I went over a hill like that, it was fun, and there was no one to hear me scream.
I had a blast that day. Ahhh, the simple pleasures of life! :<>grN
As I was riding I noticed that I saw red barns everywhere, and I decided that this shall be a theme of mine. From now on I will find unique looking red barns and take a photo of them.
After a while it was time to gas up again, and I stopped at a small local gas station.
I also needed to use the rest room and inside I saw how this little town was concerned for the wellbeing of its townsfolk.
Once outside however I noticed that this was not entirely true, there were people smoking inside and outside of the gas station! I don't get it!!
I suppose they prefer the faster dying than the slower dying is all I could think of.
It looked like there had been a fire in this Mark Twain forests well.
It was a sad sight to see all the dead trees in between the green life ones.
A little after leaving the forested areas the meadows turned into vineyards.
I did not know that Missouri grew grapes. These are the purple grapes, not sure of it was for wine or juice.
heading toward Macon the sky darkened but the rays of sunlight made a very picturesque horizon.
Macon was there before I new it, which meant that Long Brach state park was nearby.
Wel..... I guess sometimes it's hard to see what a map really says!
It looked like the park was on 'O' road, so I turned on it and drove, and drove, and yes I was acting like a guy and not stopping for guidance.
Finally I figured this is wrong, there is no state park on this here road! So I pulled into a driveway of a farm house. I had just barely taken my helmet off when a guy got out of the door with a big old question mark on his face.
I hollered, "I'm lost!" Haha, those three words changed everything! In no time the wife cam out too and together they told me how to get to the camp ground.
We talked a while about my trip, and the woman told me how brave I was to do such a thing. The husband had assumed that I had served, LOL, must be my short hairdo!
I thanked the couple, and hopped back on my bike. Then I noticed the door opening up again and this time a young teenage girl peeked her head around the door and waved at me. It made me wonder if the parents had told her what I was doing.
This time I found the right road, and a view of the lake.
I arrived at the camp site a little later and noticed how tired I was. I really didn't feel like pitching my tent, but the amount of bugs swarming around the lake didn't give me much of a choice.
I was the only one camped at the tent site, and again I had a fairly quiet night.
The next morning I walked around the lake a bit. It really was a very pretty area!
I decided for once to take a picture of myself, I had totally forgotten about the self timer on the camera.
I managed to leave fairly early that day and headed toward Iowa to visit my friend Robert.
Of course I took a little back road, and was disappointed to find out that they don't post "Welcome to Iowa" signs on little rural roads, so no picture :(
Iowa is similar to Missouri, but very pretty as well, and plenty of red barns!
I took mostly rural roads to avoid traffic and trucks, and I was glad I had. There is something very familiar and peaceful about back country roads. It's a very relaxed way to go.
Some lakes along the way as well
I stopped at the corps of engineers, and the lady there told me about a free place to camp. Great! As I neared it however I saw that a long stretch of it would be on dirt, and again I decided not to yet. My rib still complained when riding over bumps, and also I had no more food or water.
I continued riding and aimed for Red Rock state park.
Along the road I noticed this contraption (Jim, enlighten me to what this is!) and it triggered a memory for me. This looked a lot like the ufo tower in the movie Men in Black 2. (I think it was 2) Haha,
As I was riding I couldn't help but notice how lovely the clouds were,
I finally got to Red Rock camping ground and found again that I was the only tent camper there.
I am starting to get spoiled, all those campsites to myself! Yay!
I took a lukewarm (almost cold) shower and washed some of my clothes (cha cha cha style!) I hung them up assuming they would be dry the next morning, boy was I ever wrong! Dew kicked in as soon as the sun set, and everything was covered in a thing beaded layer of dew. The night sky was incredible! the amount of stars you could see was just awesome, even the milky way looked magical. I would have loved to lie down in the grass and stare at the sky, but didn't have anything to lie down on that could afford to get wet. Note to self, get another compact tarp for such occasions!
Despite my rib I slept fairly well and woke refreshed.
Took some pictures of the local vegetation, but didn't see any bunnies form the evening before.
I took my time that day and left around noon. I didn't have far to go to Ames.
Robert had suggested I go see Pella, seeing as it was a very Dutch community. I had to laugh, because for some reason I had marked it on my map as a place to ride through.
Pella was indeed very Dutch, and I felt right at home!
This was the visitor information center, and I walked in there and asked the two ladies in Dutch if they spoke Dutch. Nope, neither one did, but they did recognize that I spoke Dutch. They were very sweet and told me all about Pella's heritage and history.
This next windmill was actually brought here from Holland, taken apart and put back together once it got here. The base however was build here by Dutch masons that they asked to come over.
I left Pella a while later and headed toward Ames.
Yet another red barn!
I got to my friend Robert's house around 4 and was pleasantly surprised to find I had my own room and bathroom there. I was all ready to pitch my tent in the back yard.
I'm spending a few days here relaxing and talking about lucid dreaming with Robert.