Up the next morning and get ready to go, we only have coffee for breakfast because we didn’t get to the the grocery store on Saturday. We get to our friends house at 8:25, much to their surprise. They weren’t expecting us for at least another half hour. Our usual procedure would been to have called them about 8:35 saying we were running late. The fog is thick enough to swim in, and my stomach is growling, so we deicide to head for the north side of town and grab a quick breakfast. We had called another friend who said that if we were still in town at 9, he might join us. We wash greasy bacon and eggs stuffed in a crumbly biscuit down our gullets with weak, burned coffee while waiting to see if anybody else shows up.
The food gone, the other rider was a no show. About a quarter after 9 we head out. The fog is thinning quickly, but the sky is still overcast. I’m wearing a long sleeved shirt and the heavy damp air is cool. The other riders are wearing light coats. Nobody takes anything off for a while.
We occasionally ride under a hole in the clouds and the sky turns blue. The sun almost looks strange. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it. But the holes are too small, and we’re quickly back under the clouds. The air is heavy and damp. Moisture collects on the windshield as we ride. My hands get damp on the bars. The sky is threatening, but it never actually rains.
photo, this antique cadillac zips around me.
We eventually get to the lodge at 2,681feet on the top of Rich Mountain. The sun has again made a quick appearance. Somewhere in the loose jumble of ideas we use as a plan was the intention of following the pigtrail back into Oklahoma. Looking back to the west from the mountaintop we see a vertical wall of water standing on the 30 miles of mountain twisties we’d be traveling. That idea is out. We’re not riding down a mountain in that.
As we watch, it’s getting closer. We decide to get off the mountain before it gets to us. Instead of following the 13 miles of Skyline drive back to Mena, we elect to take the more direct route down following 272 back to 270. Dropping just more than 1,000 ft in less than 2-1/2 miles, this is not a road you want to take on motorcycles in the rain, so we have to get moving fast. Fat droplets occasionally smacking the windshield urge haste, but the unguarded dropoff at the side of the road demands caution. Rain drops spatter the windshield threateningly as we negotiate the steep winding road, but the deluge never catches us. The road finally straightens out for its final run to the intersection with the main highway.
Back in the plains now on 270, we look back at the mountain top to see it crowned with the storm we’d just skirted. For 115 miles back to Texarkana, we continue to play dodge with the rain. At a gas stop in Mena, the clouds roll in just behind us covering the sun. We head out again, running out from under the clouds into sunlight. The rest of the trip sees us in and out of the sun as the clouds momentarily catch us, then fall behind as we open the throttles. At the last stop in Ashdown, another group of riders take note of the way the clouds seem to be chasing us. They question our virtue, suggesting divine displeasure as the reason for this meteorological display.
It’s 6 by the time I pull into my driveway. It’s been a little more than 230 miles since I pulled out this morning. There’s been just enough sun to pink my face, and I’m tired. But it’s been a good day and a good ride. Being chased by the rain has actually added to the fun. The grass is tall, the house is dirty and the screen door is still broken, but I’ve had a great day
— Guy Wheatley