Great Alaska Adventure: Riding home
After a nice couple of days riding with brother Jon and his wife Ulla, we parted ways in Eureka Springs this morning. They returned to Kansas and we continued our final road assault on Orange Park, covering about 320 miles through Arkansas, cutting across the southwest corner of Tennessee at Memphis and ending for the night at a mediocre Best Western at Olive Branch, Mississippi. Our original thought was a late breakfast/brunch in Eureka Springs with a departure sometime between 10 and 11 a.m., but Jon had a wary eye on storms moving across Kansas and wanted to avoid them if possible. Turns out he did, all except for the final few miles into Wichita. Marilyn and I pulled out at 8 a.m. and, as it turns out, could have gone further than we did, but the reservations were already made so we finished our ride at 4 p.m.
When I googled the route, it looked like the best route would be through Little Rock, heading south out of the Ozark mountains and then west to Memphis. But the Garmin GPS had other ideas and plotted an eastern route first that didn’t dip south until about 200 miles into the ride. I think this was a far more scenic and enjoyable ride, as we rolled along through hilly farm country, miles of flea markets, scenic lakes, more flea markets and nice, cool cloud cover for the first six hours. Either way, the time and distance would have been about the same and I’m glad I opted for the Garmin route.
The route didn’t have any serious twisties, which Marilyn liked, and she was able to maintain her speed at the posted speed limit, which I liked. Nice sweepers which required a little lean, but no floor-board scraping. We passed lots of bikes, so other bikers also must have liked the route, too. It’s a shame the Ozarks are so far from Florida, because I’d like to come back and spend more time exploring the hills and valleys. Maybe on my way back to Alaska I’ll detour in this area again. In the meantime, the mountains of North Carolina are close enough to exercise the Ultra Classic the way a motorcycle needs to be tested every now and then.
Another good-weather, uneventful ride in store tomorrow and then the final dash home on Tuesday. I’ll add a short post tomorrow night and then Tuesday or Wednesday will try to post a rambling wrap-up post on the Great Alaska Adventure. As always, thanks for following along.