Rain - Rain - Rain
Jamie and I are starting to think that every time we want to attend a MSTA get together it is going to rain. Just like Bull Shoals, the weather report was not looking very promising.
We headed out Friday afternoon and decided to get to the hotel the fastest way possible as the skies were looking very ominous. We had an uneventful ride and arrived at the Sherwood Inn - Best Western around 4PM. While checking in the phone rang and it was the group getting a late lunch at The taste of Italy next to the hotel. We had already eaten so we took our time, got a little warmed up and just enjoyed the slow rain.
The gang came back to the hotel, it is always great catching back up with MSTA friends. Barbara and Steve were there along with Gayla. As we were kicking tires, Denise arrived in her cool little convertible and Bill showed up just a little later, as he had to wait and finish work for the day before joining us. The rain was pretty steady, so we just sat around told lies (..err stories) and enjoyed the company. We also got to speak with the guys who braved a lot more miles than we did to attend. Jerry S from Kansas, Doug F from Mo, Jon N, John Campbell from Iowa along with Roger & Virginia had rode in earlier and were just drying off and thinking about the routes to pursue the next day.
The Texas gang of Kris, Linda and Lisa arrived in the late afternoon. The gang was all here. I was delightfully surprised at the turn out as the weather was not being very welcoming.
That evening a group of us headed out to dinner. Our first choice was the Italian place next door, but it was slammed! They had an hour wait, so we decided to walk down to the pizza hut. (Jamie & Linda did the speed walk) It was a fun evening. We decided that the rains would hold off on Saturday until 1pm or so. We all decided to do a quick jaunt to the Ozark Cafe in Jasper for breakfast. Good plans always have some sort of flux.. stay tuned.
Saturday morning arrived and the weatherman seemed to be on his game. It was not raining, however it was a little chilly. We all loaded up and headed out for a little Arkansas fun. The group was a large one as we all had the same idea, to get back before the serious rains came. Somehow Jamie and I decided to pick up the pace and go hunt down the quicker group. Well this was a great plan until we hit the cut off at 16 and 21. My GPS said to go right, my wife said I needed to go left. The wife is always right, so left we went... wrong! No big deal, as life is always an adventure. Once we realized the mistake, it was way out of the way to head back to Jasper so we decided to venture out on our own. Jamie had not been to Oark and the General store, so we went that direction.
It always amazes me when we ride in Arkansas on how beautiful the roads are. It is hard to find a bad experience. We enjoyed the having breakfast and warming up with a nice cup of coffee. We decided to take back a pie for the group since we figured they would be a little baffled when we did not show up. We texted everyone to let them know we were safe, but as most of you know the cell service on the back roads of Arkansas can be very spotty at best. We headed out to make sure we would get back before 1pm as the rains were coming.
Our timing could not have been better. We rolled up right as the skies opened up! The rest of the gang arrived, right after that so no one got really soaked. The afternoon was filled with fun times of story telling, college football and nap time. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Dinner was at 6:30 at La Chiquita. Everyone attended. The food was very good and the margaritas were amazing. This is the best thing about staying at a hotel close to food options. We had an enjoyable evening. Thanks to Bill and Gayla for arranging all of the activities. It was so much fun!
The sad part about these rallies is saying goodbye on Sunday morning. The weather looked gloomy but it was not raining so we were all ecstatic. Jamie and I rode home with Bill and Gayla. We encountered some cool temps, a few miles in pea soup fog and then all of a sudden the SUN! The last hour home was sunny and bright. All and All it was a great weekend. Our hosts Bill and Gayla did a fantastic job and we look forward to next years Byway Boogie. Until then Ride Safe my friends.
You can see all of the pics from the event here. We did not take as many as we usually do as the weather was not cooperative. I will leave you with a few more fun shots.