The Arkansas Dragon

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The Hellbender Tour was pretty amazing, and Jim and I will probably do it again next year. We had such a great time and the scenery was spectacular. I would like to take the ride during the spring or summer just to catch a glimpse of what the area is like during the warmer months.

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Last week I talked about the Arkansas Dragon. The Arkansas Dragon is one of the best motorcycle trips in the entire state, and quite possibly the whole country. In fact, MotorcycleRoads.com ranks it as number 29 in the whole country. After taking the trip, Jim and I have to wonder why it isn’t ranked in the top ten, but it could have something to do with the lack of amenities.

The nine-mile adventure goes between the town of Piercetown, which is on the north on to Lurton, which is at the southern end.

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As I mentioned before, Jim and I had never been to the Arkansas Ozarks on the back of our Road King, but are thrilled that we took the trip, as the scenery is breathtaking. I was able to get a better view as I was the passenger. Jim had to pay attention to the next curve, the switchbacks, or the hills, which keep coming at you for almost the whole ride.

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Neither one of us would recommend the Arkansas Dragon unless you are an experienced rider. The hairpins turns and switchbacks are pretty hairy, making it great for riders, but if you were a novice, I would personally steer clear. Actually, because of the turns, truck traffic is forbidden on the road.

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Like most of the roads in Arkansas, the road conditions are pretty good. Arkansas doesn’t have a huge population and the weather is usually quite good make it an excellent choice for a, “Travels with Harley,” road trip.

Hellbender Part Two on Travels with Harley

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Last week we left you wondering whether Jim and I would end up taking the Hellbender Tour after cancelling our reservations because of Jim’s project.

Needless to say, we decided to do the Hellbender Tour and took the Ultra and the Road King Classic for a demo ride. Both bikes rode really nice. After we picked up our riding packets, we decided to have a bite at the main Cavern. Because we had to do payroll and pack for the trip we didn’t get to leave until the following Monday missing part of the route, which took the 275 registered riders through Missouri to Arkansas. Our route took us directly to Arkansas.

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We left I-44 at Rolla and took 63 south. Stopping for lunch in Cabool, MO, we saw a sign for the Corner Cafe. A lunch buffet with homemade meatloaf and scratch made chicken tenders convinced me that their Steak fingers would be wonderful and, and as Jim always says, I was right.

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Our original reservation stay that we had to cancel in Mountain View had no open rooms and so I booked at the “Inn at Mountain View” Bed and Breakfast. What a wonderful Inn. Located on the square, the wraparound porch was perfect for rocking and smoking cigars and conversing. Local musicians gather in the square in the evenings and play music with a vendor across the square from the Inn selling the best Butter Pecan ice cream.

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I can’t say enough about the Ozark Folk Center. Artisans and Crafters are preserving our heritage in blacksmithing, quilting, printing, woodworking, and anything you can imagine. Bluegrass music played live with handmade mandolins and dulcimers. We were treated to a great meal of pulled pork, salads, and pasta by the parks department and a wonderful concert by Harmony in the evening. The next morning we met up with Steve and Matt at the lodge restaurant for a breakfast with biscuits so good that Jim had to compliment the cook.

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Tuesday it was on to Hot Springs and the Arlington Hotel with a great welcome from the Landers Harley Davidson. Nevertheless, before we could reach our destination we had to attempt the Arkansas Dragon. Rumor had it that it was not for the faint of heart and rumor was correct. I had the opportunity to play with our GoPro Hero3 Black camera on the dragon. Part of the ride I had the camera on mounted on the side of my helmet and then on Friday, I mounted it on the front of Jim’s helmet for a bit. It is amazing how easy it is to control the camera with the phone app and I’m always learning new aspects of it. I’m going to be more than prepared when we begin our, “Travels with Harley,” Video Road trips.
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During lunch, I discovered that I could transfer photos to my phone, and reduce the size. There is nothing better than enjoying great food and playing with my camera. It just keeps getting better! Sadly, my learning process is often slow so, although I should have tried mounting the camera low on the bike to really get the feel of the curves, that will have to be next time.

Don’t forget to check out next week’s blog for the final chapter of the Hellbender Ride on, “Travels with Harley. “

The Elusive Hellbender Tour and Travels with Harley

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When I saw the information on the Harley Owners Group about the Hellbender Tour, I was reluctant to sign up as we were already planning to go to the 110th Harley Anniversary in Milwaukee for Labor Day Weekend and I wasn’t sure that it would be feasible to take off again for the last week of September. Once I saw the route and realized that the tour was starting and ending within 35 miles from our home, I was almost convinced.

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Jim and I were still undecided and then I heard from Chris Kutsch who is the Events Project Manager from Harley Davidson. She told me that she had hoped to see us and talked about the beautiful route in Arkansas. Needless to say, we signed up immediately.

Jim had been working on a road job near Jefferson City, but was expected to be finished by the end of August. He had told his foreman about our plans to attend the 110th anniversary so he could have to two days off work. As luck would have it, the Monday before Labor Day he was laid off.

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It actually worked out pretty well as we had expected the layoff, but as luck would have it, the day after we came back from Milwaukee he received a call from his foreman asking him to come back and run a motor grader. Jim told him that he would, although he definitely didn’t want to run a scraper any more. At his age, being bounced around on a scraper is just too much to physically handle. Scrapers are a young man’s machine.
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Every week it looked like there wouldn’t be a lot more time left on Jim’s road job, perhaps a week or two. Then it seemed like every week something new was added on. Jim told me that he thought it would be better to cancel the Hellbender tour. I had already made room reservations after we came back from Milwaukee and scheduled myself off from the store, but if we couldn’t go, I thought it would be a good time to work on cleaning up the farm for sale and pay more attention to the store sale. Besides, I knew it was just as likely that I would schedule myself to work and Jim would be laid off again or we would be rained out. Finally, two days before the start of the tour, I canceled our hotel reservations. Later that day Jim sent me a text saying he was running a scraper again, something both he and I dread.

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We were going to go for a ride that coming Sunday so hopefully we wouldn’t miss the Hellbender tour too much, but things change every minute when it comes to our, “Travels with Harley,” and we may have just made that Hellbender ride after all.

Travels with Harley Goes To the Moving Wall

StartWallJim and I had the pleasure of riding with our Bourbeuse Harley Davidson Chapter to see the Vietnam Travelling Wall, or the Moving Wall as it’s really called, in our town of Washington Missouri. The tribute is simply amazing and Jim and I were quite taken aback at the sheer size of the Vietnam Moving Wall.

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We left early in the morning with the rest of our chapter excited to see the Moving Wall that our town had been talking about for quite some time.

The Moving Wall is an exact replica of the one in Washington, DC, but half the size. The Moving Wall was dedicated at the DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982.

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The Moving Wall was built by Vietnam Veterans about the same time and was put on display in Tyler Texas 29 years ago this month. Two structures of the original wall built by Gerry Haver, Norris Shears and the mind behind the idea, John Devitt now travel around the US for eight months every year from April to November.

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The Moving Wall was built to honor, respect, and remember those who lost their lives and soldiers who were missing in action. It is also meant to remember those who returned home from the Vietnam War often to a hostile American Public. By visiting the Moving Wall, Jim and I felt it was a way to welcome home those who fought in the Vietnam War.

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The event was held from September 19-23rd in Washington Missouri to honor the 25 service men and women whose names appear on the wall and the 2.7 million who served in the United States Military in Vietnam.

Check out the schedule on the website, and if you have a chance to see the Vietnam War Moving Wall it really is a must see. In the meantime, you can check out the Virtual Wall online.

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Jim and I really enjoy taking part in our, “Travels with Harley,” especially when we get to see something that really has become American History.