We broke camp at Lake Enid MS at daylight and headed west for Arkansas today. We discovered rather quickly that rain is good AND bad. No more dust, cooler temps…Good. Muddy, slimely, slippery roads…BAD! Not too long after hitting the trail, we came to some roads that were pretty muddy. Corey’s back tire, which started life as a 50/50 tire, was now a “slick” when caked with mud. At one point he just sat and spun the tire on level ground in the mud. A few minutes later, the mud trolls grabbed his bike and pulled him down again. This time much harder than the first and I thought he was pinned under the bike. But he popped up and was ok. The heat and humidity, combined with the physical aspect of this kind of riding was brutal. I think I lost 5lbs of water weight in the first 30 minutes.
We finally started getting close to the Mighty Mississippi and even road several levys, which was totally awesome! One got pretty treacherous. It was muddy and rutted, but trying to go around left you ZERO room for error or else you’d ride off the steep embankment of the levy. We made it around and got to the river bridge at Helena Arkansas! A quick stop for gas and back to trail, where within minutes we came across one of the landmarks of the trail, Al Faust’s famous “Heidelberger & Co” TAT stop near West Helena AK. Ironically, one of the other groups that left around the same time from Georgia, was there. After hangin out for a while and swapping stories, we hit the trail to get a room for the night. Nowhere really to camp here, the mosquitoes are larger than birds and the humidity was 99%, so primitive camping tonight seemed like a bad idea. The catch is that there is only ONE motel nearby and there were 8-10 of us wanting rooms.
So sneaky Rod got Corey and I saddled up quickly and we bolted for the motel 15-20 miles aways! We got there and they had 6 rooms left! Winning!! While checking in, we started talking with the nice lady at the desk. We discovered that her and her husband had owned and run this motel (20 rooms) for over 30 years! It was like going back in time and being at one of those little roadside motels along Rt66. Paper registration forms and actual KEYS on those big plastic key fobs. When Rod asked her about the possibility of our bikes being stolen, her replied “we have a way of handlin’ those types around here, we shoot ‘em and throw ‘em in the river”. I believe her cause she never even looked up as she said either. The icing on the cake was the local diner with the perfect catfish dinner. Full, dry and cool in my a/c…Good night from Clarendon, Arkansas.