In April of 2022, the most poignant observation I have is how weird things continue to be. During the ‘rona years I managed to head to Georgia on 2 wheels for the worst of it, do the Back of the Dragon, and ride to a canoe camp. Now we’ve either gotten COVID under control or decided we can’t have any more shutdowns, and that aspect of the world is returning to level. But things are still pretty fucked up. We unnecessarily let over 1million Americans die during the pandemic. A bunch more retired early. People in service jobs decided “the customer is always right” is a permit for abuse and sought greener pastures. As COVID forced a large-scale remote work experiment, People in the Midwest suddenly found that companies in San Diego and Boston wanted very much to talk to them. There’s a war in Ukraine that’s heartbreaking for moral reasons an devastating to the world’s economy. Gas is expensive and Ford can’t ship vehicles due to world-wide microchip shortages. We might never see the relative level of peace and plenty we were taking for granted in 2019.
While no one would have said 2019 was the zenith of human flourishing, it now seems like a lost utopia.
I still have a motorcycle and I’m still employed. When Harley Mark and Wingnut Dave proposed a 4 day weekend in Arkansas, I had to come.
It seems like the weather has been kinder to us in WI for the past 15 years or so, because the past 3 years have been marked by monumentally shitty and unpredictable springs. In the weeks leading up to this trip the weather forecast oscillated between 40 and raining and 65 and sunny. Now I’ve got heated gear and I’ve ridden around in 40 degrees all day, but not at freeway speeds. I finally agreed to do something I swore I’d never do: trailer the bike down. We crashed in Bloomington on Night 1 and eagerly counted the miles to Eureka Springs, AR after an early start Friday morning.
Stonegate Lodge & Eureka Springs
I had found Stonegate Lodge on one of the dozen Motorcycle Vlogger youtube channels I started watching to keep myself sane during the winter. It’s rustic-bordering-on-cheesy but that suits me just fine. Arriving on a Friday afternoon and taking the bike off the trailer in 80 degrees and sunshine gave me that Two-Wheel Doggo feeling and I couldn’t wait to get some evening riding in but Harley had other plans. Harleys with an active security system can have their batteries drained by the jostling around of being tailered, luckily Polaris batteries are so notoriously shitty that I travel with a small .7a battery tender so we put the bike on the juice.
WingnutDave showed up after a bit with his wife and a friend from the Alpharetta Roadrunners.
Being in 80 degrees in April in WI basically never happens so it was still great, and we walked to some local grub. This was probably the most holyshititmustbehardtohiregoodpeople moment in recent memory, as I write this in Feburary of 2023. It took forever to get served some pretty basic BBQ meals but it was really good. We headed to the lodge and made plans for Saturday.
Our first order of business was to attain what I’m told is the world’s best French Toast. I seldom eat breakfast and even more seldom eat a sweet breakfast so I opted for a Sausage Biscuit instead. This is where it is, though, and apparently there are many pretenders to the throne but here in Jasper is the real Ozark Cafe.
There are no straight roads in Arkansas, and since I was not the route planner this time I actually don’t know what roads we were on, but it was all day carving up in gorgeous weather. We did not ride the Pig Trail so that one is still on my todo list. We got back late afternoon and checked out the famous cat house lounge which was busy as hell despite this just being a random weekend with no big events. The Ozarks are beautiful!
The owner of the Stonegate Lodge was putting on a guest party on Saturday night so we ate BBQ Razorback. He told us of the problem with feral hogs and how whenever he wants to have a party he shoots one with a crossbow and mixes it with bacon to take some of the gaminess away. It was good food, but I do no recommend John Wayne’s bourbon.
Sunday the short weekend was over and we had to head North into much worse weather. I doubt I’ll ever trailer a bike again, but we’ll be back to Arkansas next year.