Our desire to explore the Ozarks by motorcycle was not to be fulfilled on this trip. The weather conspired against us, and forced us out of the mountains and down onto warmer, drier, and less interesting roads. Our brief foray into the unexpected hill country of Oklahoma and northern Arkansas looked really promising. The hills were beautiful during the brief moments when we weren’t complete surrounded by fog and rain.
On the OK side, the roads were that terrible, low traction surface we’d seen elsewhere in Texas, as if they’d paved with pea-gravel and tar. It’s not pleasant to ride on when dry, and its pretty slippery when wet.
On the ridge where we crossed over into AR, the fog was so thick Kevin would often completely disappear in front of me. I had to slow way down, and was frankly pretty uncomfortable. My choice was between riding with the face shield up, and seeing slightly better, but getting hit with wind and rain on my face and eyes, or riding with it down, and trying to see through the fog on both the outside and inside of my helmet. Plus, when the fog is that thick, I get sort of disoriented, like a mild case of vertigo. I’ve experienced this in thick fog before; I apparently need a wider field of view to feel balanced on the motorcycle. Kevin has better internal balance than I do, so he doesn’t experience this, but I had to trust the fact that the motorcycle pretty much self-balances while moving to make it through the worst sections. I almost stopped several times I was so dizzy, I started to be concerned about my ability to not wreck the bike. Fortunately it never got that bad, but the entire experience on the ridge was not exactly pleasant.
Despite the somewhat adverse conditions, we both took it in stride as part of the adventure. Once we left the higher elevations, the weather improved to just being cold and gray, but mostly dry. The riding can’t always be good, and this is what we get for going on a road trip in April. An hour lunch break at a Subway sandwich shop in some small town in AR was a welcome rest, and broke up the day, although I’m really not sure why Subway does not serve hot cocoa. They should fix that, stat.
4/23/2013 – 370 miles of fast, boring roads in the cold and gray. Its all mostly a blur of undistinguished farmland and small towns. Late spring cold and rain sent us inside for the night near Brinkley, AR.