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"Eureka" is Latin for "Good Times"


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I've been fairly busy since returning from the UnRally in Eureka Springs, AR, and this is the first moment I've had to write a few thoughts down. We had 106 people there, and one very obvious observation many people made is how many brand new faces there were. The point of moving eastward from Gunnison, CO to Eureka Springs, AR was primarily to make it easier for east coast folks to attend, and from that perspective the location worked. The very central location brought people from California, British Columbia, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Texas, and all parts between.


Here's a brief chronological account. It would be accurate to just say "thanks for the great memories," but that wouldn't do justice to how much fun it was.




I left the house at 7:25a, not sure where I'd meet David Bearden (GTR). We usually meet at a Shell station near my house, but that station and his home are less than 5 miles away, so I figured I'd pass him coming the other direction. Sure enough, I see the telltale Motolights on his '02 RT, and do a quick u-turn on Franklin road and fall into step, checking in by radio.


Just before 8:00a we meet Bill Hawkins (K2R) at another Shell station. We check to make sure our radios are all working, and then hop onto I-40 for the 210 mile ride west to Memphis.


Halfway there we stop for breakfast and fuel before pulling into a sports bar in Memphis around 11:30a. We had planned to stop and watch the Titans play, and then head further west. My brother Mark lives in Memphis, and he was hoping to join us for the game.


The Titans lost amid some obnoxious Patriots fans. It's hard to be a Titan's fan and relax at the same time. They either lose or barely win. This time they didn't barely win. smile.gif


It was sprinkling as we saddled up and prepared to cross the Mississippi river into Arkansas, but we figured that it would be good to get another 150 miles under our belts to leave only good roads for the next day. We made it to Batesville for the night, grabbed dinner, and headed to bed, with Bearden's promise that he'd put together an awesome route for the next day.


Here, our three trusty steeds are lined up on the sidewalk under the hotel's awning, figuring it's probably a safe bet that the slab work is done and they'll start the "leaning" that they've come to love.






Screw "continental breakfasts." Whoever invented them had a cruel sense of humor, and cheap hotels have perfected the art of making the worst thing in the world even worse. All this to say that I was the first whiner of the day. wink.gif


The good news is that Bearden did put a great route together, and the carving began early. What fun it is to ride twisties with people who share a common sense of glee.


We stopped in Yellville around 10a at the Front Porch, the designated lunch spot on the Lopsided Eight route. I was determined to eat some real food, and so we ate our second breakfast there from the buffet. The first picture is Hawkins (left) and Bearden, and the second picture is mua (left) and Hawkins.






We pulled into the Iron Horse Stables at 2:00p or so, and already about 20 bikes had arrived. We chatted with old and new friends and I got my room. True to form, Marty Hill is already losing his mind. We'd mercifully disconnected his turn signals months ago to save him the shame of at least one running all the time. The next thing we are going to work on is helping him realize that someone of his stature should not park the RT facing downhill with no escape route. I captured the deed here--I only wish I had captured a subsequent photo of him cajoling someone into pulling him backwards from the topcase rack to get it turned around! grin.gif




Soon after I grabbed lunch (in this case, meal no. 3) with Jake, Steve and Karen Knapp, Yeehaw, and Miss Vicki. Everybody in Arkansas seems to be friendly, and on top of that, the environment is very motorcycle-friendly. I've never seen so much courtesy in letting people pass.


We returned to the Iron Horse where Stephen and Miss Vicki would be hard at work welcoming everyone individually, getting them a name tag, taking dinner reservations, and passing out ride routes. These two folks handled registration at Gunnison, too, and they really do a great job of it.




There was time then to wander around and chat with people a bit more, as well as admire the bikes. If I were going to give out awards for bikes, I'd give out three. Eebie would get the "Best Pawn Shop" award. Jamie would get the "Best Cockpit" award. And Marty Mayer would get the "Best Hummer Wannabee" award. Look at the picture and you'll see a fuel cell on this Adventure, the Russell saddle from his RT with a special bracket to make it fit, and then pure "ruggedness" hanging from every imaginable place.




We ended the evening with an unplanned dinner in town. Yep, it was a good day: we crammed four meals in. grin.gif And then headed back to the Iron Horse for some beer and cigars. Here's KLD41 (left, from Texas) and Hawkins.




Tuesday brought some seriously thick fog. Breakfast was available at 7:00a, and most people were up by then, eager to ride one of the three routes. But it was obvious that few of us were doing to leave at 8:00a as planned, since you could barely see 30 yards away. So we relaxed and waited for the sun to burn off the fog.


I was busy answering questions about the routes and putting riders together. About a dozen people said: "I'm looking for [this kind] of ride. Any idea who to ride with?" It was fun to introduce people for that reason and match riding styles and desired pace.


Eventually we grew tired of the wait and decided to head out on the Big Eight. The first 45 miles were boring, and in fact we'd warned people about it in the ride sheet. From there it was so spectacular (290 miles total) that we were afraid that people might give up.


The fog lasted about that entire 45 miles, but then lifted to reveal a glorious day, just in time to pick up the pace and start carving. Five of us rode together until lunch: myself, Bearden, Hawkins, Dex (Houston), and Howard Rush (aka PhillyFlash, from Scottsdale, and one of your moderators). I'd ridden with Howard in Torrey and in Arizona, and I'd asked him to join us here.


This route was just spectacular. From steep switchbacks posted at 10 mph to curves that could be taken at 90 mph, it had everything, including wonderful elevation changes. The traffic was virtually nonexistent and the surface (except for some newly paved areas) had the kind of grip you only dream of.


As we started to attack the curves, the radio chatter started to fade and our concentration level soared. What fun.


We knew there were other riders nearby, because a few of them had passed us while we stopped for a stretching break. So it wasn't a big surprise to find them later. When we headed down 123, Bearden commented about the sign: "Bridge Closed Ahead." I figured we'd just keep going and see what we found.


Sure enough, the bridge was closed, and some fellow riders were already there waiting: Chris K (Atlanta), Mitch Patrie (Ann Arbor, and another moderator), and Big-T (Roanoke). When we pulled our helmets off, they said reported that the workers were getting ready to break for lunch in a few mins. So we all chatted while we waited.


When the trucks started to clear the bridge, we got ready to go. For some reason Bill Hawkins and I felt in a holy groove and just took off. I led and he followed (closely), and we really hit the rest of 123 until we stopped for lunch in Dover. For that section, anyway, it just came together, and without any work or drama we were kicking that road in the butt. Smooth. Good lines. Smart decisions. I don't think I'll ever forget those 20 mins.


Of course the only thing that pisses me off more than seeing a GS in my mirror is Bearden seeing anyone in front of him. grin.gif So it wasn't long after we stopped at an intersection before Bearden popped up. Then a nice spirted ride from there to lunch, where we merged two groups into one. Here's a shot, donated by John R. Clockwise, starting with the black-hatted ridin' fool: Bearden, me, Chris K, Big-T, PhillyFlash, Hawkins, and Mitch. Matt S joined us later, but isn't in this picture:




So eight of us head out in search of fuel. We mistakenly passed one station instead of stopping, and finally came to another, with 87 octane. The next station, we were told, was 25 miles north, and didn't have any higher octane, so we just filled up anyway.


I was still leading at this point, setting a fairly "clippish" pace. On the straights it was pretty easy to see if we were getting strung out or hanging together, and the latter was usually the case, so I kept wicking it up further and further. The surface had loose stuff on it, so that kept the pace sane. It was smaller than gravel but larger than sand.


Finally we stopped at the next stretching point, this little deserted gas station with an old sign--I'm not sure if it was still current--that said "Open on Saturdays and Sundays." Left to right is Bearden, PhillyFlash, Big-T, MattS, Mitch, Hawkins, and Chris, who was apparently a little thirsty. smile.gif




This intersection was where the "figure eight" crossed itself, so we turned north and west from here, and I told Hawkins to take the lead. Matt S followed behind. I figured he wanted to watch Bill ride for a bit.


All three of us are hanging together a bit, and then Bill starts to pull away. I get the urge to pass MattS and then the bike starts to respond differently than normal. My first thought is that I'm tired and riding poorly with a heavy touch on the bars. So I loosen up as much as possible, keeping only one finger on each grip, but still something is wrong with the suspension. I know it's a rebound issue, so as we are still carving tight corners at 70 mph, I narrow it down to a bad rear shock or a bad rear tire. I'm still hanging pretty close to Bill, but have to work a lot harder to keep him in sight. Eventually, and about ten miles after I first noticed something, I know it's getting worse, and I announce that I'm going to pull off the road and check for a leaking rear shock or low rear tire.


I pull off my helmet and gloves, put the bike on the center stand, and punch the rear tire. My hand goes almost to the rim, and it's obvious that I have a flat. I didn't measure the air pressure, but it had to have been less than 10 lbs. And the rubber is so hot that I can't keep my hand on it.


The tire was a Michelin Pilot Sport, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it handled while flat, similar to Sean Daly's experience on his Michelin Pilot Road. Really, it was unbelievable.


First lesson: trust your instincts and quit believing that you are just imagining something.


Second, if you are going to have a flat, have it in broad daylight where's there's a shoulder to fix it on.


Third, travel with people who have enough combined gizmos to build a nuclear reactor that would put MacGuyver to shame!


Fourth, don't travel with eight other bozos who would love nothing more than a chance to make fun of you. In the first picture, Mitch and Bearden are pretending to know what they are doing. In the second picture, Howard is pretending to be funny, and I'm pretending to laugh:






Well, we fixed it, threw 7 CO2 cartridges in, and headed the remaining 50 miles to the Iron Horse.


I'll finish the rest of this tale later. Gotta get back on a plane.

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<True to form, Marty Hill is already losing his mind. We'd mercifully disconnected his turn signals months ago to save him the shame of at least one running all the time.>


My, it certainly was cold on Monday! laugh.gif

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Eebie would get the "Best Pawn Shop" award.


I have no Flippin (Arkansas, over by Yellville) idea what this means, but what I really want to know is: What about the Flippin anchovies? What's up with Knappy bringing a boat to a bike rally? And how badly scratched up is that fancy Duc rim after Sleepy had at it?

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I have no Flippin (Arkansas, over by Yellville) idea what this means, but what I really want to know is: What about the Flippin anchovies? What's up with Knappy bringing a boat to a bike rally? And how badly scratched up is that fancy Duc rim after Sleepy had at it?


Well, David, let's just say that your motorcycle is...searching...searching..."interesting." It's somewhere between the RedGreen show and the Martha Steward show. Let's just leave it at that! smile.gif


And yes, Sleepy might have just charged me $21 to put that cold patch in, but I put the extra money aside to replace to rims! grin.gif In the end it'll be an expensive repair.

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Sniff, sniff, sob. And to think I washed it for the second time this year just for the UnRally. And you know if I wash the bike twice in a year it's something special.

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Part Two


On our way back to the Iron Horse after fixing the flat, I felt like one rider was riding just a bit beyond what was prudent, perhaps not wanting to hold things up. I dropped my left hand and made a quick motion. Bearden, who was following me, knew instantly what I was signaling, and we backed off together so that the rider wouldn't feel pushed. Yes, we are responsible for ourselves, but we bear some responsibility for those we affect, too.


We made it back fine and it was with a great sense of satisfaction that we pulled into HQ. We talked back through the route several times, talking about how we'd ridden it, and relishing every curve we could remember.


Dex, for never having ridden the twisties much, you took to it like a fish takes to water. You knew when you made a mistake and corrected for it, and your astronaut training should be a piece of cake after what we dragged you through that day. smile.gif Yes, Dex is in the space program and hopes to be assigned a mission next year. (And thanks for the pictures posted above.)


Everybody was milling about and talking about their day. I heard many comments about how much people enjoyed their rides. CFH--the gentleman that took the picture on the back of the new t-shirts--told me that it was the best day in motorcycling that he'd ever had.


Here's a shot of the bikes that night, just before dusk:




We had some great pizza. In fact, thanks to Steve and Karen Knapp for all the hard work in arranging the breakfasts and dinners. That pizza was really great!




Wednesday brought more fog. Worse yet, my newly plugged rear tire had dropped to 21 lbs overnight. Obviously I couldn't ride it that way, which was very disappointing. I'd wanted to ride the Little Eight with yesterday's friends, but I had to urge them to head out without me.


I found a tire that would fit, but it was 40 mins away and they couldn't fit me in until 1:30p. There was an on-site shop run by a mechanic, but his name--Sleepy--didn't bode well for an early arrival! He did show up at 9:30 and said he could remove the rear and put a cold patch in. Arizona Al had the super duper good kind, and Sleepy used that. At 11:30 I was all set to go. The Tech Daze continued as I pulled out, led by Chris K.


What to do, what to do. I knew a bunch of people were running the Little Eight, so I decided to suit up and run it backwards, hoping to "run into them" (figuratively) and then turn around and ride the rest of the way back.


As it turned out, I ran all the way from the Iron Horse to Ozark (the designated lunch spot) and never passed a soul. I did have a grand time, though, putting down 92 miles in 57 mins all the way down the Pig Trail! That included observing the speed limit in every town. What a hoot that ride was.


I saw MattS at one of the lunch spots, but he'd already eaten. So I went to the other, only to find no one there. So I headed north of town to gas up, removing my GMRS to perhaps catch snatches of BMWST.com traffic.


Sure enough, I hear Jamie, who is leading the group of about ten riders. I tell them where I am, and they gas up where I've just finished. I lead the group down to lunch where we all eat too much for $4.95 each.


After lunch we adjust Mark Davis' rear rebound and test it right there. We do the same for Christine. Then it's back up the Pig Trail to Eureka Springs. The group was just a bit too large, but it was still fun, taking turns leading, riding at 70% and then 90% and then back to 70%, making Jamie laugh so that he missed his lines, and so on.


Meanwhile, I never found Bearden, Hawkins, and Big-T. Later I found out that Todd rode really well that day, and I was glad he had the opportunity to have some good fun.


That night we had an organized dinner at the Forrest Hill restaurant. Another great night of chatting. Before dinner, in the restaurant parking lot, I was talking with Mark and Christine Davis. She was wondering aloud about what other motorcycles interested her, and I mentioned that she ought to look at the Monster. Anyway, one thing led to another, and she asked if I'd give her a ride on the Ducati ST4s after dinner. Why not, right? wink.gif


So about 9:30p, I put a jacket on and Christine put Mark's jacket on. I fired up the bike and grinned as Mark said to Christine: "Remember, you have twooo kiiiiids aaaat hoooome!"


We headed west on 62 (there are a some nice twisties when the traffic is light) and then south on 23. There was some major flinching going on the first couple of curves, and then I think Christine figured out what kind of speed we'd be using on the corners (doubling the caution signs smile.gif), and then she relaxed and began to really enjoy it. The bike is responsive and on rails, so a pillion can feel every little steering adjustment. You are a great passenger, Christine, and you are a trusting soul, Mark. See both of you soon at El Paseo.


I had to say good-bye to everybody that night, since we were scheduled to leave real early the next morning.




Dave and Bill came to pick me up at 5:00a. It was already raining, and it promised to be a miserable trip. As I said in another thread, I've never had a tougher day in motorcycling. We were on narrow twisty roads in heavy rain, pitch dark, and very slippery surfaces. The rear of the bike broke loose at least two dozen times. At one point we ran into some sort of weird surface. Bearden slid the rear out 45 degrees, across the yellow line. Bill slipped. And then I slid both front and rear across the yellow line, about 5 feet from where I'd started. If traffic had been coming, it would have been all over.


Bearden was doing a great job leading, Bill was in the middle, and I was at the back, navigating with my GPS (Dave's was covered).


Eventually all our suits began leaking from the heavy rain, and when we stopped for breakfast, we were literally walking puddles. It was embarrassing to walk into the restaurant. And every time we stopped, whether for food or fuel, climbing back into things was liking getting back into a wet bathing suit.


I started to feel some hypothermia, and said so over the radio. Bearden said there would be a place 20 miles ahead. I said: "We either need to stop now or we might as well ride all the way home. I'm starting to get water in my boots, and if they get wet, I don't have a spare pair."


So we made our way off the next exit and stopped at a hotel. I talked the manager into letting us have a room for an hour for $20 cash. After seeing the room, I figure that's the only way that room ever got rented--by the hour. grin.gif We dried out with the extra tools, flipped the weather channel on, ate a granola bar, and put dry stuff on. I folded all my gear up and strapped it to the back of Hawkins' GS, and put my spare set of rain gear on, over dirty, but dry, clothes. It felt like heaven and I started to become human again. Brrrrr. That trip was ca. 525 miles, all of which was in the cold heavy rain except the last 80 miles.


The short summary would have been: "Thanks for the great memories." I surely enjoyed being with you all.


And here are some more pictures, all from John R.:


Dick Schwartz (left), Emerson Goodwin (MurrayG), Shawn Goulding (LoneRT), Karen Knapp, Ken Deline (KDeline), and his wife. Sorry I missed the name.




Mark Davis (left, madavis), Chris Kinney (red shirt), Mike (Teecro), John R., and Christine Davis (HOON-Tang).




Kirk (left in black jacket, kld41), Marty Mayer, and Mitch Patrie.




Krista Hebert (left) and Steve Hebert, her Dad. How cool is that. Steve did the 100CC run last year.



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I put a jacket on and Christine put Mark's jacket on. I fired up the bike and grinned as Mark said to Christine


Fired up? That's not how I remember it....I remember another group gathering to see what your Duc was quacking about this time. I do belive the answer involved "flippin" a switch. wink.gif

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Thanks again for helping me with the suspension setup. What a huge difference! I had to back off the preload for the ride home as I was getting pounded by every little bump.


Christine is still talking about the Ducati ride, how smooth you ride, how powerful the bike is and....ooooh that sound! I've seen you ride enough now that it was not too difficult to be a "trusting soul". Just don't toss her the keys shocked.gif


See you in Cherokee.

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David, great job at capturing the Un! I noticed that you left out the fact that you needed assistance from Knappy in firing up the Duc. grin.gif


Who is Knappy? I don't know no Knappy. Knappy is a wilting figure of your imagination.

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Hey man, as long as your check clears I don't care if I exist in your world! smile.gif


Maybe you just need Chad to stop by and refresh your memory about FINEC! smile.gif




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Hey man, as long as your check clears I don't care if I exist in your world! smile.gif


Maybe you just need Chad to stop by and refresh your memory about FINEC! smile.gif


Okay, I don't know what a "FINEC" is, but I do know that I've never seen someone more excited than when he discovered that I'd forgotten to flip the kill switch. Least I didn't bring a boat to the freakin' motorcycle rally! tongue.gif

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Okay, I don't know what a "FINEC" is


Yup, sign up for an MSF course. It's obvious you've forgotten the basics.


I've never seen someone more excited...


I'm always excited to help my fellow rider!


Least I didn't bring a boat to the freakin' motorcycle rally!


You know David, it would have been great to have the bike down there, I'll admit. But the truck and boat proved to be useful as well.

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Ahhhh. Now I see that I've made your signature line! smile.gif On a serious note, I've done that more than once. The BMW won't crank in the "kill switch off" position, so it's less embarrassing.


Oh well. I'll be looking for something at 4T to even the score. Maybe I'll catch you strip a bolt because you forgot "right tighty, lefty loosey" or somethin'. grin.gif

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In a previous life, I knew all the guys who rode at work. We would often have "fun" flipping the kill switch on friends bikes while they were slaving away. Got less funny when a guy flodded his bike and killed the battery, all in one evening. Aw, who am I kidding, it was actually quite humorous.


I've fubar'ed plenty of stuff on my bike worth laughing at...clutch bleed fitting, top mounting bolt for the front Ohlins, valves way loose at the last 4T, loose brake line on my Triumph (friend was riding it when it started leaking!)...but I tend to be the one laughing the hardest once I figured out my Flippin mistakes. You *sure* you want me at your 4T? smile.gif


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