Texas Day 2: The Long Arm of the Law, and the Long Road
With a mix of emotions from the events of the day before, Jim and I headed out. We were already 100 miles short of our day one destination, and since we did not leaving until 10am. We esentually are started day two, 200 miles down, and a need to make up some serious time. Duncan stayed behind with his friend, and we didn't know if we were going to meet him in Dallas, Big Bend, or at all.
The first legs of our trip would not allow us to make up time. First we had a trouble just finding our way out of town. We were heading for twisties and Ozark scenery, neither is a place to make up some miles.
We eventually arrived in Harrison, Arkansas, the head end for SR 7, the road that we would take south to Hot Springs. I was shagging behind Shooter, and had noticed that my water temperature light had come on, but not at full brightness. The bike was obviously not hot, so we forged on. Even after a gas stop, the light came back on for the engine check, and then went to half intensity. I checked the fan for obstructions, and the coolant level. All were fine. Jim was actually able to place his hand on the engine!
It wasn't long before we were stopped again, but not by choice, this time by one of Arkansas Finest, a State Trooper. I had noticed that we went through a little burg with an intersection a little quicker than the posted 45 mph limit. I was going to mention to Shooter that the limit was a little below our actual speed, but the officer took care of that notification just a mile or so down the road. After a stern lecture, we were released with a written warning. Along SR 7 we stopped at a ranger station for Shooter to get stamp, and then made a stop at The Cliff Inn for lunch. The view was spectacular, the lowest valley in the Ozarks. I will try to add a photo or two later. We tried to get a hold of Duncan to find out where he was, and when we would might be able to meet up with us. The conversation that Shooter had with Duncan went like this.
Jim, "Hey Duncan, this is Jim."
Duncan, started before Jim can finish, "We're on online, and we can't talk, bye."
Jim took this that things were not going well back in West Plains. We theorized what might be happening back there, but the way this trip has gone so far, our imaginations are not up to par with reality.
Back on the twisty roads and into Hot Springs. I was quite surprised with Hot Springs, as my only exposure to Arkansas had been Fayettleville, and it was like any other Midwestern, college town. Hot springs was unique because of its namesake, the Hot Springs. We got out of the saddle for a little foot stroll along Bath House Row. We were both amazed by the number of motorcycles cruising the main drag, racking the throttle, and trumpeting their loud exhaust pipes up and down the street.
By now, most of the day was shot, and we had done nothing to that 200 mile dent we started the day having. We needed to make up some miles, and it was going to take time. The next leg was a warm one, and even though the sunset lowered the temps, we decided this was a good time to keep pushing on. We realized we would not make Dallas, night two's planned stop, but we wanted to get close. After another tank or two, we ended up in Sulpher Springs, Texas.
We checked into a hotel, and the research began. I worked on the next day's route, while Shooter tried to figure where in Oklahoma Duncan was, as Duncan didn't know. Then we needed to figure out where he needed to go. Then Jim collected the rundown on the situation with Gene. Apparently the limo that Gene's Son-in-law promised never came through, so they were able to arrange cab to drive the 100 miles to Springfield, Missouri. There was also a little battle with Duncan's laptop, the internet, and the flights available. A battle that took so long, that Gene missed the flight they booked. As we were going to sleep in the Best Western of Sulpher Springs, Gene, broken arm and all, was going to spend the night in the Springfield Airport. He was now booked on a flight to leave at 6:30 Monday Morning.
Shooter and I filled the bikes with gas, and walked over to a restaurant adjacent to the hotel. It was open 24 hours. On a Sunday Night, late, That would be the only place open, as it was nearing midnight, local time. The meal was decent, and we returned to the room, had a beer, and turned in for the night. We had over 600 miles to Carlsbad, NM, our night three destination, and we thought we could turn and burn up those blue collar miles to get there. We weren't making any promises, as we still need to meet up with Duncan first.