Springs Hillbilly Dualsport
I don't have a lot to write about this year, plus I'm very busy with a bunch of things that I need to get done in order to leave for Mexico in less than two weeks. In addition to a score of yard chores and honey-do's, I have to turn the bike around in that short time: oil change, tire change, new plugs, air filter, etc. Arkansas was just splendid. Temps were way above normal. Very little shivering was done this year; there was no need for electric gear or even a jacket liner. We only got rained on a little, despite overcast skies and mega storms ripping through Oklahoma and Texas most of the weekend. There was flooding and tornadoes and all sorts of nastiness ... just not where we were. The Ozarks were absolutely beautiful. The early spring had everything in Arkansas budding and blooming and bursting with green. We rode hard and rode fast, pretty much without incident. I think Connie and Kim each dropped their bikes once at a standstill, that's it: just easy tipovers, the sort of thing that happens to even the most experienced riders once in a while.
Mostly, I'll let the photos below speak for themselves, just adding brief captions about the rider(s) featured and/or what's going on. All photos by me unless otherwise noted.
Chris Marlow, Kevin Moore, and I rode out from Oklahoma City. Here's Chris leading the way on his DR-Z400. He's carrying more than he normally would for a weekend trip: rehearsal for our trip to Copper Canyon, Mexico. This photo was taken on Oklahoma Highway 10 where it twists and twines along the banks of the Illinois River north of Tahlequah. You can see the river there on the right.
Here's Chris with Connie during a break in the Ozarks. Though approximately 70 riders showed up for the rally, we broke into smaller groups for our rides. Chris was the ride leader all weekend for the group that I rode with. He did an EXCELLENT job. Thanks, Chris!
Riders lined up behind me, somewhere in the Ozarks.
Always thoughtful, Danny cleans the bugs and road grime from the windshield of my Dakar.
Danny's wife Kim. This was her first major outing on her Suzuki DR200SE. She admitted that she really wasn't on good terms yet with "Mister Clutch" ... but she did a fantastic job riding with us. Hardly slowed us down at all. She suffered just one minor tipover, with the only damage ...
...being the proverbial broken brake lever. You rock, Kim!
Kim and Danny ... twinkies in their matching jackets.
Chris cruises by, somewhere deep in the verdant Ozarks.
Kevin is close behind on his Suzuki DR650. This was Kevin's first major outing as well. He rode like a pro.
Danny can't seem to keep that front wheel on the ground ... even with the weight of that "septic tank" hanging from the front of his frame. Ha!
Danny adjusting his boot. He had surgery on that ankle last month and it's still bothering him a bit.
Along the banks of the Buffalo River.
Yours truly admitting he doesn't really know one end of a camera from the other.. (Photo courtesy of Tony Adams.)
Danny ... always grinning when he's in the saddle.
Friday's lunch at the traditional spot, the Cliffhouse Inn in Jasper. L to R: Ron, Randy, and Tony, three of our riding group.
Chris is excited about lunch. We had the special. We always have the special. It's always the same special. And it's always good.
Kevin on the deck of the Cliffhouse with the cloud-shrouded mountains as backdrop. He looks tired, but I promise we took it easy on him that morning.
Of course, I look tired too. Here I am with Connie.
Danny and Kim leaning through a switchback en route to one of the trailheads. Arkansas twisties are to die for.
Arkansas has been rather dry lately. We rode this dry river bed for a while. Here we are taking a break. Some gotta light a smoke. Some gotta wander off into the woods to pee. Everybody's gotta bullshit.
The infamous ZRod and his wife Pam ... also twinkies ... kinda hard to make 'em out, though, on account'a they're camouflaged. But I promise they're in that picture somewhere!
Connie and Chris ... trail buddies.
Couldn't resist ... another shot of Pam.
Kim and my scruffy self. How Danny snared this woman is beyond me...
Come on, Kim, give us a wave! (I think she might not want to take her hands off the bars.)
Kevin discovered that the rough terrain had vibrated loose a bolt from his chain guard. A zip-tie from my trailside repair stash rectified the situation and he was good to go. Always carry zip-ties with you ... zip-ties and duct tape.
Found this beautiful and unusual moth outside my hotel room door. You know me and critters ... I had to snap a photo.
We had a few light showers and a few spots of mud. Mostly, however, the rain was just enough to keep the dust down, for which we were grateful. There was, however, one really nasty stretch of mud. It would have caught our group by surprise -- and probably taken quite a few of us down -- if it weren't for a previous group who were bogged down in it making repairs to bikes that had taken soil samples. This was mud of the slippery slimey Jabba the Hut snot variety. Feet went out like outriggers. Once graceful riders imitated octopi. And many a rear tire forgot that it was linked by a motorcycle to the front. We all got through it, though. That's Connie leading the charge in the photo above ... and, no, that little puddle is not the nasty stretch I'm talking about. Cameras stayed put away for that treacherous section; we were too skeered to go digging for our cameras!
ZRod likes to make a splash -- and his KLR is no stranger to mud.
Pam follows his line.
The bahwolf hisowndamnself. The orange dot on the front of my bike indicates that I signed a waiver releasing the ride organizer, David Hemphill, of all responsibility should I not make it out of the Ozarks alive.
Danny ... from the top of White Rock Mountain.
Chris ... same place.
One of several creek crossings. Chris sees me with the camera out and hits it full speed, raising quite a splash. You can see where the water even tugged his left foot off the peg. That's one way to clean the mud from your bike ... and your helmet visor.
More splashing. Is this Randy?
I bet Danny caught some in the face.
This is Tom -- nice guy from Cameron, which is near Poteau, OK. (Got that, Connie?) Somewhere in that deluge is a DR-Z400 with a custom seat that all the 400 guys were coveting. I think every one of them took a turn sitting on it, scrutching their butt cheeks around, and going "Ahhhhhh..." like a bunch of old women whose hemorrhoid medicine has finally kicked in.
Or is this Randy? You guys on the Army green KLRs gotta do something to stand out...
See what I mean? I'm positive this is Tony, though. I can see the Boeing 747 tail section he's got rigged on his bike -- ha! Minimal splashing here ... a rider who doesn't want to ride with wet feet for the rest of the day.
Pam makes it look easy. Nobody took my picture crossing the creek. I rode across first and took all the pictures ... then everyone rode off and left me while I was putting away the camera and putting my gear back on! WTF?!?! "We knew you'd catch up in no time at all," they said. I guess that's a compliment. (To be honest, ZRod and Pam did wait for me. Thanks, guys!)
After all that riding, Chris and I were pretty satisfied with our saddle time. We had done over 180 miles each day, mostly offroad (plus the 270-something miles of pavement getting there). The ride home didn't seem too important. Danny had room on his trailer (kinda), so we loaded the bikes and hitched a ride home, which allowed us to spend quality time visiting with Danny and Kim. Thanks for the ride, you two lovebirds!
Thanks to Dave Hemphill for organizing another great ride. Like everyone in my ride group, I had a blast. I'll be back next year!
Brian A. Hopkins
Copyright © 2011 Brian A. Hopkins, 2011-08-02 19:48, www.bahwolf.com