Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cook Out Mena Arkansas Style !

A group of us got together and decided to run away from some of the Dallas heat and have a little camping trip to the Mena Arkansas area. We got three camping areas side by side so we would have plenty of room for cooking out, lounging around and telling stories. If you have never camped or stayed at the lodge, it is a treat. They have a good place to eat and the camp grounds are clean and the bathrooms are as good as they get in these type of places. You can read more about the lodge here: Queen Wilhemina Lodge

We had decided that we would have kick stands up at 7AM, so we could get on the road before it got really hot. We all met up at the Racetrac in Mckinney off 75. I rolled up at 10 minutes till 7 and there were a group of bikes already there. I noticed a Gold Connie like mine. We would be joined by Tom and Scott from the Houston area. They had seen the post on my web site and got a camp ground right next to ours. We had met Tom in the Hill country during a
TCAT trip so it was a nice to see him again. His friend Scott tagged along, this was his first big road / camping trip. I do not think he will forget it anytime soon.
[REMEMBER TO CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO GET THE FULL SIZE VERSION]

A nice group of machines.

Rob's new BMW

The Houston guys had joined us.

We headed out on time and the group looked like this: Me (Kawasaki Concours), My brother Vern (Suzuki Wee-Strom), Rob S (BMW 1200 GT), Pete R (Honda ST 1300), Eric (Triumph Sprint), Dave E (Triumph Trophy) Paul (Triumph Bonneville), Tom (Kawasaki Concours) and Scott (BMW 1200CL) so we had a pretty good group of bikes. We had decided to slab it to Mena, get camp set up and then ride in the afternoon. We headed out on 75 and things were great, the weather overcast and cool. We were running along smoothly until we reached the area around Atoka Oklahoma. We stopped for fuel and some of the guys put on rain gear, it looked dark, but it also looked like it was clearing just down the road. This was not the case. (I did not put on gear, I had a fairing that would keep me dry.. yeah right!) This would be the last time any of us were dry the rest of the day. We left the gas station and then all hell broke loose. It started raining hard, then harder, then crazy hard. I had to pull over at a gas station as I could not see a thing and the road was also under construction so that did not help. I had left my rain suit in the garage and I remember telling myself to grab it on the way out. I was soaked.

It was raining very hard

My brother trying to figure out what part of his body is not wet.

Paul told us to pack rain gear.

Rob trying to find the DRY route to Mena..

Well there was a break in the action, so we decided to head out. We headed out to 43 to cut across to the skyway. We were rained on the entire time. It would slow down but it rained 95% of the time. We got to the Dam at Sardis and it had stopped raining. We took a break while people tried to collect their thoughts and drain the water from their boots and socks.

Eric drying out his socks.

That is a great picture of the weather that would catch us and make our ride the rest of the way to the Lodge terrible.

We took off from the dam and got stuck in hard rain again. We did this all the way to the lodge. The bad part was the Talemina Scenic Drive was under fog as well as all of the rain. That was not a fun ride as it gets twisty in parts and no one could see 10 feet in front of them. It was slow going until we reached the lodge.. FINALLY! I was freezing my ass off. We were all soaked and we just wanted to get out of the rain. We were inside the lodge and the people behind the desk must have felt sorry for us as they gave us towels and let us dry off in the lobby. Paul and Dave had a room so we all threw our stuff in their rooms and tried to dry off.

We finally got warm and dry and we decided that we needed to pitch camp and get things moving. It stayed dry the entire time we set up camp. We were all looking forward to an afternoon ride. It was only 2:30PM and there was plenty of light left. Well these plans never panned out. After we pitched camp the sky opened up again. We were all getting soaked again. Pete and Dave had brought some sun tents, we were all cuddled under the tent, drinking some beer and hanging out. It was then we realized that the tent had a few leaks. The wind picked up and we also noticed that the netting on the side of this tent just let the rain come in. so now we were huddled in the middle of the tent just trying to stay semi dry. It did not work. I do have to say that I have never laughed so hard in my life. We had a great time laughing and joking, making the best of a rainy situation.

The bikes getting washed.. again.

Pete trying his new "you can't see me" outfit.

Dave's wife Traci summed it up best " You can't make this shit up" We laughed our ass off.

Beer makes the rain go away... NOT!

It did clear up and we all headed down to the lodge for dinner. The over look at the lodge was beautiful. We just hoped that we had seen the last of the rain. Tomorrow would be a new day with roads to ride and friendships to build.


I will write more later this evening. If you want to see all of the pictures go here:
Picture Gallery - Mena Arkansas - June 06

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