Grenada, MS to Searcy, AR – 262.8 miles
Yesterday started off with a phone call I had been dreading, but today started with the one I have been hoping for. I am now an aunt to a sweet girl named Payson Marie who was born last night. Congrats Nate and Vanessa.
The pictures my brother sent set the positive pace for the day and we got a fairly early start. We back tracked to the trail and headed towards Arkansas. The rolling hills of clay soon flattened out into hayfields with bales neatly stacked or scattered about. At one point we passed by a field with an open gate and a particularly lonely bale with no farmer in sight. We pulled a quick u-turn to pay it a visit. Turns out hay rolls up pretty high and motorcycles make excellent ladders.
Along with the flatlands came all of the dirt and gravel we could ever desire. Smiles from ear to ear were soon accompanied by gritty teeth. We wove our way between fields of soy, corn, cotton, and a plant that had a very distinct Burnt Sienna color…Crayola has forever seared that shade into my mind. After some research I discovered this is sorghum, which is used in making beer. I think I like this plant.
Somewhere along the way I noticed my front wheel was bouncing a lot, making my steel horse gallop down the road. We pulled off to check out what the problem was and noticed my front tire was nearly completely worn. Just a couple days ago it was fine, so I’m guessing I messed something up worse than expected during my crash. Nothing looked broken or out of alignment but I for sure need a new tire before going much further. A phone call later I found a Yamaha shop in Searcy with a fresh shoe and made that our destination. I mounted my steed and we headed off towards the setting sun.
We soon crossed the Mississippi River and made our way into Arkansas. The flat terrain and gravel roads were endless. If you ever want gravel for a new driveway or to try and fill the Grand Canyon, come to Arkansas. At some places it was laid so thick our tires nearly disappeared. Soon after making the new state we came upon a sign telling TAT riders to stop for a break. We pulled off the road and were met by an older gentleman and his son who greeted us with cold bottles of water and a place to pee where the tall grass didn’t tickle. We signed the book and checked in as the 164th and 165th riders of the year. Only a couple hours behind the 163rd.
We arrived in Searcy shortly after 8 pm and found a spot to stay that was walking distance from a Mexican restaurant. We sat at the table and attempted to order a margarita, but the waiter just laughed and shook his head. When I asked for a beer he said no alcohol. I was appalled and started to get up to find a more reasonable establishment. Then he said there was no alcohol in any of the neighboring cities and many counties in Arkansas are dry. There should be warning signs for this.
Today’s lesson: Just because they grow it doesn’t mean they use it.