A Winter Ride Report

A slideshow presentation is located at the end of this story

From my home in North Texas on Friday, March 2nd, 2007, was a cold, crisp winter night. Yours truly made the decision to head towards Arkansas at about 10 P.M., or 2200 whichever you prefer, from my home in North Texas. Heading north on 75, towards the Oklahoma border, it didn't seem too bad (temperature wise). It was chilly but if I kept my head down no air leaked in around my clothing or under my FF (full-face) helmet; the cold was tolerable. I kept going, across the Red River, past the I-75/I-69 split and made Atoka in a reasonable amount of time. After gassing up I looked longingly at a motel across the street and thought, "Oh what the hell, a nap won't hurt." I rode over and read the sign on the door that said FULL. I got to thinkin' that I wouldn't get up in time if I napped now so I figured I would continue north to Springtown and then east on 43.

I had it in the back of my mind to keep an eye out for Friday night drunks... as it turned out, drunks were the least of my worry. In fact, I saw no more than a handful of vehicles on the road all night. With my ear plugs firmly in place, my head strapped in my helmet and my boots firmly planted on the running boards, I could only hear Granny's deep growl, feel her relentless v-twin throb and see the road a short distance ahead.

From behind my faceshield, looking out at a crystal clear night with a full moon as my solitary street light, I was suddenly startled by the ethereal crossing of a deer who then turned and ran along the side of Granny for a few yards. I immediately realized it wasn't drunks I needed to be so watchful for. Every mile or less there would be another deer either running across the road or running along the ditch beside me. Between the moonlight and my Granny's lights, the whole scene took on a eerie, netherworld glow and I couldn't help think how memorable this momentin my life was ... running with the deer after midnight, engulfed in freezing Oklahoma air, with only Ms Luna, Granny, the deer and me to witness the event.

I became heavy-eyelid a little before the town of Adel and decided to pull over and try to take a nap. It was several miles up the road and way past Adel before I found a place that I felt comfortable dropping my kickstand. I learned that a cheap sleeping bag from Wal*Mart is almost like having nothing when the temps dip to whatever they dipped to that night. I left my helmet on to keep my head warm and settled next to Granny, prepared for an attack of a deer monster (or whatever) and dozed off for a half hour or so. I awoke and was good to go; I proceeded on my journey. It only took a few minutes before I passed over Sardis Lake. The wind had picked up and it was howling like a Banshee as it bit right through my leathers into my skin. I pulled over, got off Granny and took a couple of pix at the dam. It was so dark the effort was pretty much useless ... so I hopped back on Granny and kept going toward Talihina on US-271.

Coming into Talihina, I rode by a gas station that had the old pumps that don't have card readers. I hoped to find another station on the other side of town which had the newer pumps. No such luck ... so I turned around and headed back toward the station I knew was open. Talihina was dead at 5 A.M. I didn't see a living soul until I passed through the downtown area and I noticed one light burning in a storefront. As luck would have it, Pam's restaurant was open and there was a crowd of Okies drinking coffee and shooting the shit. After gassing up, I stopped at Pam's and went inside where it was warm. A couple of the good ol' boys welcomed me heartily as I found a table and shed my outer riding clothes. I really looked forward to a hot cup o'joe. It came forthwith and I ordered the CFS breakfast with biscuits and gravy ... screw the diet. I waited a little longer than I am used to waiting for my breakfast but the waitress kept my mug full and occasionally one of the locals talked to me. One old boy asked me if I was going up on the Talimena. I nodded my head to the affirmative and a younger man of about 45 spoke up and warned me that there were deer out there ... I am thinkin' 'well duh!'.

The food was worth the wait and the price was reasonable ... it was gettin' near six o'clock and if I was going to get some good shots of the sunrise on the Talimena Parkway then I'd best hightail it out o'there ... so I did, accompanied by a chorus of well wishes.

I scurried up the mountain as I saw the sky begin to lighten. I stopped at the first overlook and took a couple of pix as the red line formed on the horizon ... hopped back on Granny and hustled to the next overlook. I repeated this maneuver until the sun was too high for a good shot. I proceeded off the Parkway, stopping to take a picture of Granny and the Talimena Parkway sign, then on to Mount Ida were I gassed up. I called the folks I needed to, fired up Granny and proceeded on my way to Hot Springs.

It never warmed up much that weekend. I still had a great time with my friends and accomplished everything I set out to do. I even got a bonus; Saturday evening we witnessed a lunar eclipse while taking an evening tour along Hot Springs Mountain Drive.

On Sunday, after a good egg and bacon breakfast, courtesy of Tommy and Pam Johnson and saying good-bye to Mud Duck, I set out for home on a different route than I used to get there. I avoided the highways as much as I could and rode some nice FM's (Farm to Market roads), with plenty of T's & T's (Twists and Turns) through the north eastern edge of Texas.

When I got home I turned up the heater and looked at the pictures on my memory card. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see a few of my ride shots.

I left out a few things like the part about the Brotherhood of Grey Beard Bikers' (BGBB) "Meet & Greet", which was the primary reason for the trip ... I also would have liked to have include pix of the Sardis dam. Hopefully y'all will like the sunrise shots and ride report OK.

That's my ride report ... Cappy out.



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