We took another short ride this weekend. The original plan was to go to the Magnolia Festival in Magnolia, Ark. We’ve never stayed for the steak cookoff, and had decided to do so this year. The steaks are reputed to be world class and, in years past, the price was more than reasonable.
But Friday night BikeNight at Dougaloos made us reconsider. We got caught in a nasty downpour. I wanted to go on the bike, but Mrs. Sharon talked me into taking the truck. I’m glad she did because the sky opened up while we were there. There were a couple of BikeNighters there on their motorcycles, and they got pretty well soaked going home.
So when we got up Saturday morning and the sky looked threatening, we decided to pass on the trip to Magnolia. Staying late enough for steaks would mean coming back after dark. That’s bad enough by itself. I’m sure not trying it on a motorcycle, after dark, in a storm.
The sun occasionally peeks through the clouds all day Saturday, though, daring us to come out and play. We want to take at least a short ride. I decide it’s time for another of those exploration of small roads on the outskirts of town. This time we pick the southwest corner.
I don’t check these areas out on a map first, and I don’t have a gps with me. I can’t get lost because I’m bounded on all sides by known roads. But within this area I’m exploring, randomly picking a direction at each intersection or fork. And somehow the weather adds to the expeditionary feel, threatening but never actually raining.
Selecting a direction, I have no expectation for what lay ahead. I am amazed again some of these areas feel so alien. Dipping through a hardwood bottom on a narrow road with branches touching overhead, it’s hard to believe that I’m fewer than 7 miles from my front door. I’ve usually got only a general idea of where I am. It surprises me then, when I occasionally cross a road that I do know. It’s an odd feeling to suddenly be transported from an unknown, mysterious backroad to a place I know and have been before.
We ride for a couple of hours. We backtrack from dead ends, and occasionally circled back to take a different direction at an intersection from the one we’d taken before. Our wanderings cover about 25 miles of road before dumping us onto the familiar FM2148 from Gun Club Road.
Taking a left, I head south down to Clear Springs road and follow it to County Road 1217. By the time we reach Highway 67, the sky looks as though it’s through playing games and is serious about another deluge. Heeding the warning, we turn east onto Highway 67 and head for home.
The epic journeys that cross state lines are wonderful and adventurous. But this ride reminds me that on any given day, there is fun and adventure just a few miles down the road.
－ Guy Wheatley