Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Tour Day 6 - De Queen to Hot Springs, AR

Hello from the bar at the historic Park Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas!

I forgot to take a picture when we arrived because I was busy being soaking wet and trying to dry off. That's because of this hailstorm:

See? Hail.

We were only 6 miles out. The sky had been very ominous for the last 15 miles. There was lightning and thunder, but I rode on. When the clouds opened, I was right next to an Exxon station, and I scooted under the roof over the gas pumps and I was safe and dry while rain poured and hail fell.

At this point it was 6:00 pm, and there was nearly 2 hours of daylight left. Plenty of time to wait out the storm. But after a half hour of eating beef jerky and drinking Gatorade, impatience set in, and Jim and I set off in what appeared to be a break in the rain. After a mile and a half, it started pouring again, and we got soaked. I decided if we stopped we would just get cold, so we might as well ride it out. It was all uphill.

But now we are happy in the bar, which is also part of an Italian restaurant. The tortellini hit the spot. So did the Manhattans.

Today was the toughest day of the trip by far. It was 89 miles, but it was also very hilly compared to the previous days. Until the hailstorm, it was a gorgeous day. We rode US 70 all day, which was a two lane road with huge smooth shoulders and little traffic almost all the way to Hot Springs.

We started out at the Ranch House Cafe in De Queen, which was a half mile from our Palace Hotel. It was quite hearty and good.

This part of Arkansas is timber and chickens. Pretty much all the traffic on the road is log trucks, chicken trucks, and trucks carrying what looks like chipped wood. It looks like all the trees turn into wood chips and go on a train in Dierks, AR.

I have no idea what happens to the poor trees after that. Maybe they become paper? Plywood? Who knows.

There were few towns on our route today. We decided to shoot for lunch in Kirby, but the only restaurant in town closes at 2:00, and we missed it by 15 minutes. We had sandwiches from the deli counter at the grocery store across the street.

People like to fish in Arkansas. Check out the mounted bass behind Jim.

At Pearcy, AR, which was 15 miles from Hot Springs, we stopped for a break, and met this super friendly Noble Hound. She was great. Probably the only reason I got rained on today was because I had to play with this dog.

That's it for today. We had a great day on a long, tough ride.

Here is the MotionBased page.

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