Have you ever needed to just get away and not think of much of anything? I was in this state before we headed to vacation. I have lost three very influential people in my life the past 90 days. All were taken way too early. I needed to reset and spend some time with my wonderfully supportive wife and I must add.. World Class Pillion.
We decided that a long road trip on the Versys was much needed. We started to look at destinations. We were planning on ending up in Theodosia Missouri for the MSTA BS (Bull Shoals) Rally. I will have a full ride report later for the rally. So stay tuned!
I had ridden in Kentucky a few years back with the Lone Star BMW group and my good friend Jackie. He and his beautiful wife Alta are going through a tough spell and they were in ours thoughts many times during this ride.
Jamie had never ridden in this part of the country so it was decided! Bluegrass state here we come! We headed out on Saturday Sept 1st. Our trip started off great as we were able to hook up with a few of the guys from Lone Star Riders group from our old stomping grounds in N Texas. We met them at the Ozark Cafe in Jasper Arkansas at 8AM. This meant that we hit the road at 6AM. Before I get too far along I need to go back a little. We are often asked how Jamie and I can go on a trip for 9 days to camp and get all of the stuff needed packed on the bike. Well let me tell you , it takes years of practice and a wife that understands that less is good. Let me explain.
We needed to pack gear, for a 9 day road trip. 4 of those days were going to be spent camping. This meant a tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses and anything else needed to pitch a tent and stay for that many of nights had to be packed on the Versys. This along with clothes, riding gear and of course our cribbage set. It took a few days of planning but we made it happen. The pictures show all of the gear we loaded up on the Big V.
The only gear casualty was my tail bags raincover and my heated jacket. At the last minute we put the jacket under the cover. We took off early that Saturday morning, only to realize that the cover and the jacket blew off... it would have helped if we had strapped it down.. doh! Lesson learned and I needed a new heated jacket anyhow. Well not really but what was done was done.
We rolled into Jasper right at 8AM. It was great seeing Mark, Rick and Randy already inside ready to order breakfast. We love living in Northwest Arkansas and have not thought twice about leaving the Dallas area, but we sure miss our friends. We enjoyed catching up with the guys. It was a great way to start the trip. After breakfast we all headed our own directions. The guys were spending a few days riding our wonderful roads. (I still have to pinch myself. That we live here in motorcycle mecca) Jamie and I were taking the long way to Cape Girardeau Missouri, for our first night away from home.
As many of you know, Jamie likes her casinos. The Cape offers this activity, so after we checked into our hotel and showered we headed to the Isle Casino. We had a nice dinner, a few drinks and even took part in some gambling. Jamie played some slots, while I made it to the bar and watched the college football game. (UCLA still sucks) We had a fun evening. We were back at the hotel and sleeping by 9PM. It had been a long day and tomorrow would bring more adventure.
Sunday morning greeted us with warm temps and some serious humidity. We headed out, wanting to get some miles under our belt before we stopped and had some breakfast. We made our way through the back country. Cairo Illinois, Fort Defiance Park before having breakfast at a small local place on Land between the lakes recreation area.
After taking a number of beautiful back roads we ended up at our campsite for the next few days. We decided to stay at a KOA so that we could have nice bathrooms and showers. The KOA Renfro Valley just 30 miles south of Lexington. When we checked in the place was packed. It was Labor Day weekend and we were lucky to have a place to pitch the tent. The hosts told us we would have the place to ourselves on Monday and they were right. It was awesome!. We went down the street and grabbed dinner after setting up the tent. We cooled down as it was very warm and humid. No trip is complete without cobbler, so we took some back to the campsite. It was a short night as we were exhausted. We both were looking forward to some great riding the next few days.
We awoke to a rooster alarm clock from the farm down below us. The fog was heavy in the valley. Jamie and I got together and was on the road by 8AM. It was a great day of riding. We got lost a couple of times, but we did not care. We were riding the bike and enjoying the Kentucky rolling hills and manicured horse farms. Life was very good. We got back to the site around 4PM. We showered and enjoyed some time playing cribbage. It is a favorite of ours while on the road. Guess who won 2 straight games.. not Jamie.. haha
Tuesday we decided to explore some of the local horse farms in the Lexington area. It is amazing how clean and manicured the fields are. We spent most of the days just riding around, enjoying the countryside. From time to time we would see beautiful horses living in paradise. I have to admit a couple of times it struck me that these horses live better than some families in America. These horse palaces were grand and you could tell, very expensive to keep up to these levels of beauty. We had a great day of exploring the kentucky Horse farms. It was a great day of riding.
It is so hard to write and paint a picture of how beautiful the Kentucky landscape is.
It is truly a beautiful place.
It is truly a beautiful place.
Monday evening we got to have dinner with some of Jamie's family that lives in Georgetown KY. She had not seen them in almost 18 years so we had a great night of food and family. It was a great evening. I was so glad to meet this side of Jamie's family. They treated me like they had known me all my life. Hopefully it wont be nearly this long before our paths cross again.
Wednesday we had to call an audible. Seemed like tropical Storm Gordon was going to make the rest of the trip a wet one. We decided to head out a day early so if we had to ride in the rain, we would minimize the amount of time in the torrential rainfall. Turns out it was the right plan. We got up Wednesday under cloudy skies. We closed up camp and hit the road. We decided to visit Cumberland Falls on the way out of Kentucky. That was another great choice. We avoided the rain in the morning and the falls were beautiful.
After spending some time at the falls, we headed towards Paducah KY. We dodged the storms all day long. At times it looked like we were going to get soaked, only for the route to take us a different direction. It was a great day and ultimately we made the right choice to leave a day early. The Lexington area was soaked for most of the day. We jumped in the shower and walked across the street to grab an adult beverage and a steak. It was a fantastic way to end the day.
We woke up to a muggy warm morning. We got packed up and headed over to breakfast. This was a sad start to the day, our KY journey was over. The good news was the trip had a part 2 that would be happening. We would ride today, taking the long way to get to Theodosia Mo, home of the BS (Bull Shoals - MSTA) rally. This would be the first one we have attended and we were looking forward to seeing friends and meeting new friends as well. We rode in and out of showers for most of the day. Little did we know this was a precursor for the next 3 days. We rolled into the Marina and Resort around 4PM. There were already some bikes there. I love motorcycle rallies.
Kentucky was amazing. We enjoyed our much needed time together. We got to see some visually stunning sights, rode beautiful roads for mile after mile and ultimately had a fantastic time. This Part of the story is over, but stay tuned. More fun was on the agenda. Here are a few more of my favorite shots from the first part of our trip. You can see all of the pictures from this journey here. Thanks for reading this ride report. I hope you enjoyed it. Stay safe and Let's Ride!