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Camping is natures way of promoting the motel business - Dave Barry

Well Planned

How do you plan your motorcycle trips? I doubt there is any right way. I also suspect there are more wrong ways than right ways. I believe that after all these years of riding that I am pretty good at planning. In fact, I have been referred to as an expert. While that may be debatable, I do consider myself above average. It is time to let y’all in on a little secret. This may be the one piece of advice I can give you that will truly help you understand and cope with the art of motorcycle trip planning.

No matter how much time you take to research a trip, it will seldom ever go exactly as planned. It would be too easy to write it off as simply poor planning. I have been a witness, countless number of times, to this depressing phenomenon. Even with superlative planning …

Of course, I have an example.

A Trip by Cappy

The plan was pretty simple. Take a trip north, wander around the Talimena Parkway then journey the next day through Arkansas and the following day in Missouri. I carefully researched the state parks along the way. I figured on combining camping and moteling to try and save a little money. I was so detailed in my written instructions I even had alternative routes in case of bad roads. Interesting towns were marked along the way in the event I wanted to get a town sign (I have hundreds of pictures of town signs with my motorcycle in them). I knew where the gas stations where. Between the redneck GPS (the paper directions), maps and my electronic GPS, there simply was nothing that could go wrong. The operative words here are "go wrong."

The first night wasn’t too far off the plan, with the exception that it had been raining heavy and steady all day. So, instead of camping at a very wet Robber’s Cave State Park, we stayed in a motel in Talihina.

We had a slight thrill the second day as the preplanned gas stop in Arkansas was closed, causing minor apprehension. As it were, the ride worked out surprisingly well; a story in itself. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the HUB there were three, yes I said 3, events going on at the same time. There were no rooms available.

The next day my riding buddy's bike conked out and we had to part ways. There was nothing I could do to help him at this point. I kept to my plan and had an interesting ride snaking through Bull Shoals and then on into Missouri. Finally, everything was working like clockwork. It was a beautiful day, plenty of pictures were taken and all the gas stations were open.

I took the last road, a dirt road, to Grand Gulf State Park. It was here I had planned on camping for the night. I rode into the park, immediately taken with the beauty of the area. I really looked forward to a night under the stars. I looked around. No ranger station. Where are the campgrounds? Oh dayum, there is no camping. Being quick on my feet, and having the electronic GPS, I found camping just south, over the Arkansas border. Hopping back on my bike I head south, with a bit of urgency as the light was fading. I got to what "GPS" had called a campground and found a couple of trailers parked by the river, which was not even close to my vision of sleeping on my back while staring up at the star filled sky.

I found a clean motel for $45/night and counted myself lucky. I ate at a little restaurant, which had outside seating overlooking the river. I was pooped and needed a good dinner. I ordered a medium rare ribeye with baked potato. I got a skinny well-done piece of meat from what part of the cow would be anyone’s guess.

Well Buckaroo's, now you have heard from the expert. If you ever need any trip planning advice I hope you find someone that can help you. Even with all the could-go-wrongs, I had a marvelous time. The rest of the trip was marvelous. I'll tell you about it some time.

Don't forget; ride often, and ride hard, but mostly ...
Ride em if ya go em!

Entering Missouri
Entering Missouri
Grand Gulf State Park, MO
No Campsites
Railroad Museum
Railroad Museum
Hasty - A Town Sign
A Town Sign
Dining By The River
Dinner By The River
Mammoth Springs

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