Before I get started: 240.8 Miles for the Day. 2,622 Total Miles for the Trip.
At one point, I even thought to myself, what am I going to write about? We've literally seen thousands of acres of corn, rice, soy bean. I saw a couple deer run out in front of me. On Levee Road (which is an actual Levee for a river), I had two deer running at full speed up and over the Levee. I saw them coming because it is SOOO WIDE OPEN. I slowed down, they literally jumped the whole road in front of me and everyone was safe. I kept riding and the deer went into the woods by the river.
I literally thought I would be relegated to talking about my equipment and things like that.
Mississippi Gravel Farm Road Riding Video:
We completed Mississippi with very little incident - However, I will say that MS-04 is a wild ride for novices like Paul and myself. We've got video of it, we'll be uploading soon. Until then, here is a picture of me struggling cause I was stuck in a deep rut and had a felled tree in my way.
Here is the video..
But, I still didn't think MS-04 would be enough to fill today's post.
We exited Mississippi and entered Arkansas as we crossed over the Mississippi River.
Upon entering Arkansas, we fueled up and hit the dirt roads almost immediately. As we all know, the TAT Sign-In in Trenton is pretty quick. I knew it was coming and was excited to be there again. Last time I was there was 2013 - I got this picture of the gentleman that towns the "TAT Sign-in" in Trenton.
Today, when I met with him again, I took a similar picture with him as I told him that I had met him the first time in 2013. He then proceeded to show me the following from 2013 (that is us on the right, and of all people... Sam Correro on the left!)
WAY COOL! He has been putting together books for every visitor on the TAT and we're in the 2013 book!
As we signed the TAT Book for 2020, we were #125 and 126 today. The last visitor to sign the 2020 Book was July 24th. (We're 4 days behind you!)
We continued on after saying our goodbyes - immediately, more dirt/gravel. These are long / straight farm roads that run between massive crop fields. I assume corporate farming... We were running between 40-50 on these roads - wasn't difficult. In fact, as long as you didn't mind the 'looseness' of the ride, you could probably get a bit higher speeds.
Then we hit a couple roads that squelched our confidence a bit by hitting some loose gravel and small amounts of silt/sand. Slow down a little, stay on course. Build confidence back.
Then confidence gets blown away by a road (Phillips Rd 152 in Marvell, AR) full of powdery silt with deep ruts. Doing about 40 and all the sudden my bike is swerving left and right and I'm trying to get it to slow down without me going down. Finally, I get control. This happens to me two or three more times. In fact, I almost go down. I stop and sit there a minute to gather my composure. Paul takes the lead and I'm riding just behind him because the silt creates such a dust plume that if I was further back, I wouldn't be able to see anything.
Then Paul disappears in a massive explosion of dust. I hear him, but I don't see him. He's down. He hit a rut and it took his front tire from him and spun him around. He's sitting on the road and his bike is halfway down the agricultural irrigation ditch. We lift it up and get it back on the road. We look at the road where he spun out.. deep silt. deep rut. Confidence completely blown. We were running about 25 when this happened...
We laugh and commemorate this location as Paul's
With our confidence low, we start riding side-by-side at about 16. Literally saying to ourselves, we gotta get off this road. But, there is no end to this road and it is too far to backtrack. So we go slow.
LESS THAN ONE MILE LATER (34.640870, -91.040864), I hear through comms some sort of strange noise - Paul isn't in my mirror anymore. Just another MASSIVE Plume of Dust/Silt. I'm calling out to him, he isn't responding at all. I slam on my brakes and run back to the confusing dust bomb.
Paul is sitting on the ground, he got blood on his chin and his bike is sitting next to him. He isn't speaking.
I was a medic in the Army way back in the early 90's - so I start asking questions. Attempting to discern the situation we have in front of us. He passes PERRLA (without me telling him what I was doing) - He's aware. We're all good. He's got a pretty decent sized hole in his lip, if I had the right tools, I probably would've put two stitches in it after cleaning it up.
But we don't have stitches and it isn't worth cleaning it right there on the silty road. I find Brinkley, AR on the map with a hotel and a small clinic. We go straight there. Both riding slowly for the remainder of Phillips Rd 52. We both ride with our feet dangling to cover any 'blips'. This road is murder.
We make it to the Baptist Clinic in Brinkley. Door is locked. We knock, they answer and literally take 10 minutes just deciding if they'll see Paul or not. F'n Covid.. standing outside a clinic waiting to get taken care of... grr. As a past medical professional, I wanted to punch people.
I sat outside in the heat waiting while strange people kept driving by (the same guy three times) - I assumed I was getting scoped out. So I sit there and admire my motorcycle. (note Paul's bike in the background with the very broken windshield)
No stitches, they gave him a tetanus booster, some antibiotics, and some elastic/adhesive type bandages to keep his lip together. At this point, it was quite swollen. Upon arrival at the hotel, I get out the tools and take apart his windshield and throw it away.
Needless to say, quite a day! Time to rest, heal, and tomorrow, rebuild our confidence and do it all over again!
Life is good.