15 October 2011

Trip Report: Arkansas Fall Gather Leaving Already

25 Sep 2011
And I'm heading home...

With the bad news about my bearing, the next morning I got up early so I could get help getting Baby back on the trailer.  Almost every one was getting ready to leave any way.  thepopularjock was going to join FZ1_Arao and his girlfriend (who still hasn't decided on a motorcycle) on a short ride but he woke up feeling like crap; instead he chose to sleep in to get ready for his long ride home.

I thought I might go back to sleep after getting the bike back on the trailer but once it was there--thank's to V10, his ramps, and the guy in the big black SUV whose name I can't remember--I started thinking about just going home.  thepopularjock and I had discussed staying until Monday but that was when I thought all I needed was more rear rubber.

I needed to get home so I could get my rear bearings ordered with the hope that they arrived for me to put them on the following weekend.  So instead of going back to my rented bed, I got my things together and loaded the car.  There was nothing in Eureka Springs for me on a cool cloudy or foggy morning so I might as well get started on the drive home and hope I arrived before 6 a.m.!  Decision made, I plugged the return route into the gpses and turned in my key.
Baby doesn't look happy back there!
I was on the road for less than an hour when my back started to hurt again.  I don't think I'm used to driving a car because I couldn't figure out how to sit without my back aching. I stopped at the next Walmart and got one of those lower back things and popped an Aleve before continuing on.

It was a terrible day for a ride and I was beginning to feel bad for those that were riding.  I'd seen pirates putting their masks on at gas stations, bundled up in what seemed like everything they had with them.  When we started planning this trip, temps were in the high 90s or 100s on a daily basis and everyone was looking forward to cooler weather.  I don't think this is what most had in mind.

At dinner the night before I learned it rained on Thursday, then crashes on Friday, and us getting lost on Saturday.  Everyone had fun though!  I was glad just to be around them.  I could feel my bad mood or apathy easing a bit.  In fact, writing this now I think I left a lot of it on the road to Arkansas.

It was nice to see some of the state in the daylight, no matter how cloudy it was.  I finally decided it was cloudy and not foggy some three hours away from Eureka Springs.

I wasn't trying to get the pic of that HHR!

It started to sprinkle then the sun came out.  About the time my back was really hurting, I stopped at another Walmart, some 2 or 3 hours later, and got a pain patch that I put on in the parking lot.

I must have looked possessed trying to put that thing on my back all by myself.  In the end, I layed it on the trailer side and pressed it against my back.  It stuck and I carried on.  It started to drizzle, then full on rain about half an hour later.  While I was filling up and change the straps that hold the sides onto the trailer, the heaviest rain fell.  I was glad to be under the protection of the truck stop's canopy.

thepopularjock sent me a text saying the extra rest helped and he was getting on the road around 5 p.m.  I was in Sherwood AR on I-40 pressing on with the same determination that had gotten me to Eureka Springs.  This time I filled the mp3 player with songs and plugged into the aux jack on my factory radio.  No football for me!

A few hours later, I arrived near Memphis as the sun was setting.  It felt like that was the halfway point for me.  I'd been driving in rain for about three or four hours and thought if I was on the bike, I would be stopping here for the night.  Heck I was tempted to stop there anyway!  The patch on my back helped but it fell off when I got out of the car for gas and I wasn't about to go through that hell in the rain to get it back on again.

I checked in with my brother and pressed on through the rain.  I saw beautiful lightning once I left Memphis on US 78.  It wasn't constant but the closer I got to Alabama the more beautiful the strikes became.  I never heard thunder though so I knew it had to be far away.  Just as I crossed into Alabama, the rain stopped.  I was happy to see that.  It was around 11 and it felt like I'd been driving in the rain all day long.

It was dry the rest of the way home.  I pulled into the driveway around 4:30 a.m. to the relief of my big brother.  Maybe that's what was pulling me home.

I am grateful for this trip and the people I met.  It was a wonderful time.  I felt better once I got home.  I'm not sure why I needed to go, but I'm definitely glad that I did.  I'll be going back in the Spring when, hopefully, I'll get to ride more than 200 miles and spend more time with my new friends.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Intimidating rear view!

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