Friday May 14, Henderson TN to Forrest City AR
I was in Henderson, not Selmer as I wrote in Wednesday’s notes. Today I plan to complete the loop that I started yesterday and head back toward the MS-AR line South of Robinsinville. I want to cross the Mississippi River somewhere other than at Memphis, and MS 49 has a crossing into Helena AR. Today was a nice little ride, especially in a couple of roads in TN and AR 4. But it gets very hot and the roads get very flat and straight too soon down in AR.
I take TN 100 out of Henderson to pick up TN 18 which is the same as AR 7 that I rode into TN yesterday. I stop for breakfast at Sharon’s Kitchen ( have grits ) in Bolivar. While I’m eating I notice a Beemer heading down the road in my intended direction of travel.
After breakfast I’m putt-putting along on AR 7 and notice a guy laying against his bike taking in the wonder, so I turn around to chat for a bit. Met Jason a young guy from MA. It turns out this is the rider that I noticed while I was eating breakfast. Jason simply decided that he needed to buy a moto and ride across America to the West Coast and then up the Pacific Coast Highway. He bought a used BMW K100RS and he’s doing it. I tell him what an excellent concept he is carrying out. More people should try it.
We ride along together for several miles and find MS 4 to be very pleasant, again being East of the mega-argi on the fairly famous fabulously fertile farming fields firstly formed by The Big Muddy. Jason is planning to ride I-State 40 for the most part because he has to be back home mid-July. He’s planning a fast dash to the coast and then ride the PCH North and then dash back home.
Soon Jason heads for the I-State and I head for the river crossing. It’s extremely depressing down here right on the river. Hotter than two hells, too.
The skies start to threaten up ahead and forecasts of severe weather are all around. Severe weather seems to be code words for tornado and the skies certainly are very very black. I pull into a service station in Brinkley to inquire about motels up the road. Forrest City is suggested to be the closest. It’s way to early in the afternoon to stop, but I don’t look forward to severe weather on a moto.
I wait at the station for a while to see if the storm blows past and see cars with wet surfaces coming from the direction if intended travel. I finally decide to try to beat to Forrest City and get parked before really bad stuff hits. For the most part I’m successful and get only a few rain drops as I get to the town. But as I’m cursing through looking for a motel, the water on the roads gets deeper and deeper. And eventually I’m riding in a light rain and at the same time see a motel. I barely made it but I’m mostly dry.
After I check in and park the bike, the really bad stuff hits. Hail as large as golf balls is banging hard against everything not covered. And the wind whipping hard. It’s more than a little scary.
After the first phase passes I’m checking the bike for damages and notice that one rear view mirror is cracked to a bunch of pieces. I can see that a hail chunk has hit the frame right at the bottom and caved in the mirror there and shattered the remaining part.
Weather forecasts and reports of really bad hail all around continuing though the night and into the next day. Welcome to Arkansas.
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