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Scouting the UnRally Routes


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You folks do know that we have a huge gathering in early October, right? smile.gif At our first UnRally, we had 179 people, so we expect a good crowd. So far we have about 60 people signed up. You can read more about it at the UnRally web site, also "stuck" to the top of this forum.


As I sit here and write this (be sure to see Emerson's thoughts here), I don't think I've ever been this tired from a motorcycle trip. But there's still a big smile on my face. smile.gif


I just returned from 1,700+ miles in 3.5 days. Not any sort of endurance numbers, but they were concentration-capturing twisties in 99 degree heat, in high humidity Arkansas.


Saturday: to Arkansas


David Bearden (GTR) and I left Nashville at 5:30a Saturday to get a jump on the heat. We slabbed it for about 200 miles, and then took back roads for another 200. At our last gas stop, a very nice fellow ambled over in shorts, flip-flops, and a tank top. No helmet or any other gear. "Don't you get hot?" he asked. "Absolutely, especially when stopped."


Then he looks at the bikes. "Sweeeet! How far can you ride these without getting tired?" I answer: "Well, we are nearly at 400 miles, and it's not even noon, and I feel pretty good."


He answers: "Dang! I feel totally beat up, and I've only ridden 30 miles!" grin.gif We then talked about windscreens, how gear keeps things from hitting you, etc.


Made our way to Mountain View, AR, and found a nice restaurant on the town square. It's 12:30p by this point and we were hungry, so we left a message for Emerson Goodwin (MurrayG), who was on his way from Bentonville.


For this scouting trip, Emerson was going to be the local knowledge, Bearden was going to lead from the map, and I was going to mark all the turns/mileages as we encountered them.


We ordered, acted interested as our waitress talked about her daughter's birthday, and then Emerson showed up. So we sat with him so he could eat lunch, and then headed off to find a hotel.


We'd done a bunch of research in advance. A rider that organizes IBMWR events helped, and of course Emerson knew a bunch of good roads. Steve Slisz had been through the area before and also made notes. Then there was a good web site on sportbike roads in AR, as well as a very good Arkansas Rider's Guide. So we were well armed, and put that knowledge all on one map. Then we strung them together for routes. Here's the first night late planning session (Bearden on the left and Emerson on the right):




We were committed to riding every mile of every route, so it was going to be a busy two days. On to bed.


Sunday: Scouting Day One


Headed SW down some great roads, and found this sign. Thought you'd like it:




Bearden and Emerson waited while I headed back to take the picture.


We soon stopped for lunch in Marshall:




...and then ran one-half of the longer route, ending up at the Iron Horse, UnRally HQ. Here are some shots, starting with the single A-Frame cabins:




Here is some of the camping area:




And here are the showers for the camping folk:




Here are some of the normal rooms:




And here's one of the bikes in the parking lot:




Finally, here's the three of us in front of the office (l to r, Emerson, mua, and Bearden):




We'd done 230 miles of twisties by that point, and after a bite to eat it was about 1:30. Emerson had to head back to church (I urged him to go early to allow plenty of time for confessing his many speeding transgressions). Bearden and I headed out to scout a 250 mile route.


Needless to say it was hot. Worse yet, what we thought was going to be a great route really sucked. So we wasted that entire afternoon and decided we'd head for a hotel in Eureka Springs and regroup.


We stayed in a Holiday Inn Express (great little place), ate a good meal across the street, downed two beers each, and collapsed in the hotel room.


Here's a shot Emerson took of some nice low hills. Very typical of the roads we ran.




Monday: Scouting Day Two


Emerson couldn't join us until after depositing their two girls at school. That, coupled with the heat, prompted Bearden and I to leave at 5:00a to start scouting. It was veeeery dark out in the countryside, and it was tough to find reference points for curves. It was even tougher to read a tank bag map with a flashlight, but we lived and struggled through until daylight came. We also wasted nearly a half hour trying to find fuel. Nothing was open.


But what a sweet route, with nice hills...




...fantastic road surfaces, hardly any traffic, and just one of those A+ rides that are hard to describe. We can't wait to share these routes with you and have you experience the same things we did.


Next time we ride them, we'll do it a little slower, but we had to book along pretty good to put 400-500 miles of twisties behind us every day.


On the "Pig Trail" Bearden and I came across this nice little incident, right after it happened. The driver said his brakes failed, but judging from the skid marks, it looked to us like is concentration failed!




Soon after we met up with Emerson at an intersection, at 9:30a. By then we'd ridden 180 miles and had a leisurely breakfast.


We finished that route, running all the way to the top of the state again. Then had to finish about 175 miles of the long route.


My goodness, my goodness. I'm struggling with words to describe how fun those roads were. Bearden was wringing about all he could out of his bike, and destroyed a perfectly good fairing when his '02 kissed the asphalt leaned over pretty deeply! grin.gif




Emerson, we didn't notice it until we parted ways and were doing a TB sync on his bike. His bike was considerably lighter after that day, losing feelers, a hunk of center stand, and this piece of plastic that got in the way. smile.gif


The roads have such good surfaces, and you can see so well through many of the curves, that they just beg to be ridden with a capital R. Of course, they are also perfectly suited to leisurely gazing, but we didn't have that luxury that day.


Later, I felt a very sharp pain in my left arm, on the fold opposite my elbow. I thought I'd been hit with a rock that Bearden threw up with his tire, but then I felt another sharp pain. Finally I realized that something had flown up my sleeve and was biting me. I smacked my arm, which in retrospect just made it madder. grin.gif Because it bit me a total of six times.


I'm not sure what it was, because I'd beaten my arm so hard as I slowed that all I found was insect parts. I'm guessing it was a wasp.


I finally managed to stop in one piece, ripped all my gear off, and stared at a red arm with six welts. It still itches like heck, but apparently I'm not allergic to whatever bit me.


Bearden can ride an RT like few people I've met. I just don't know how he can wring that kind of performance and cornering out of the beast.


Emerson doesn't think of himself as a good rider, but we kept a very good eye on him, and believe me, he's a good rider because he has mastered the most important thing you can do: he controls the dang motorcycle. He is in charge. He knows when to press it, when to back off, and he rides predictably and with appropriate margins. Bravo, Emerson. If you get a chance to ride with him, you'll swear that the lanky 6'4" frame looks a bit too much like Ruben Xaus. smile.gif


I had a good time, too. It was tiring but very fulfilling to conquer some roads and grin from ear to ear as I thought about how much fun you folks are going to have in the Ozarks.


Tuesday: Back to Nashville


Bearden and I left at 4:50 this morning, and got a bunch of miles in before the world woke up. No traffic, clear cool air. Good company. But we were very glad to get home.


See you all soon!


(We'll be posting the routes, with maps and directions, shortly. There will be a long route, a medium route, and a short route. In addition, you'll have a whole planning route with all the good roads marked so that you can put your own route together. All are self-guided, with suggestions on places to eat along the way.)

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Oh, MAN! Jeez, ah-wheeze... Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy... holy guacamole!! shocked.gif


Thanks for that David! What sacrifice, what selfless commitment... all that effort for our benefit! Now I am drooling. (Of course I do that all the time, especially when I sleep.. nevermind!)


But thanks for the photos and the write-up. Anyone besides me getting all stoked about the Unrally?? grin.gif



BTW, about the "interlude with wasp" - I direct you to this thread for further commiseration! tongue.gif

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Oh my goodness!!! I cannot wait for UnII!!! The road descriptions sound exactly like my kind of roads!!!


David and all, thanks so much for putting yourselves at risk, day to day, in such terrible weather conditions, and especially during the stories about daughters and birthdays!!! grin.gif


You guys are genuine GOLD!!!


Can't wait!!!

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There is also Tallimena Drive in the south west corner that is a nice area.

The Tallimena should be on the inbound route for all west of Arkansas. I am definitely planning to hit it on the way back.

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David & Emerson:


David - Just read your post on our scouting ride to Arkansas this past weekend. A great job of recapping the trip and setting stage for what UN2 participants will experience in and around Eureka Springs. This promises to be a terrific event.


Emerson - a pleasure meeting you and having the opportunity to ride with you for the better part of 3 days. Also a great amount of envy with all those great roads in your very back yard. Also, your post in Ride Tales was hilarious.


To Everyone Coming to UN2 - David Baker and Emerson have really researched the roads to put together some wonderful routes. They range from laid back cruising, to enjoyable twisties, to "what am I doing here" challenging. The weather will clearly be more comfortable than our 99 degrees, and the opportunity to swap tales with fellow BMW SportTouring enthusiast will be the icing on the cake.


Hope to see all of you in Eureka Springs.

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Bearden and Baker are the consumate road scouting team. It was a pleasure tagging along with you guys.cool.gif


Whose up for a ride from Eureka Springs to Hot Springs via Rt. 7? Let's Moto

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just downloaded all my notes from the digital voice recorder, and now I'm transcribing them to a PDF/Word file for tank bag use. You can create your own GPS routes from that, probably. There will also be color maps handed out at the event.

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My wife and I have had to cancel from the Un riding because of unplanned surgery I have to have this week. Will keep me off the bike for 6 - 8 weeks, but better after it is done.


We ride these roads almost every day from mid-May thru mid-Oct. The reason for the post is that we have notice a lot of deer on the roads lately. Didn't see one all summer in the daylight hourse, but seems every time we go out now, we see one or more some time during the day. Plese keep this in mind when your draggin' pegs around here. It is some of the best riding in the country, but look out for Bambi!


We are going to try to make the BBQ if I am up to it. Have a great time all!

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Dan you're right. Last Sunday I had a close encounter with the bambi twins while scouting Rt. 74 west of Jasper. It got real interesting for awhile. We will keep you in our prays regarding the surgery and hope to see you and Anita at the BBQ. grin.gif

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My daughter and I may arrive Sunday night/early Monday. Will you be around to hook up with?

Send me a PM with your number.



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