Sunday, April 18, 2010

Arkansas spectator

Arkansas spectator

Rolling through the Arkansas roadways I see the dents in the ground filled with water. All ditches are full of water. Walking out away from the bike I feel the spongy bog give way. On excursions into the bush, I carefully watch where I step to make sure I don't touch the wicked plant life: poison ivy is everywhere! Water is everywhere. Life abounds. Turtles take splashing dives for cover to avoid exposure, squirrels scamper up trees, horses come up to the edge of their corrals to get a closer look, and cows stop eating to gaze as we pass by.

While we're not able to see all wildlife-alive, we do get a sense of what lives out here by the road kill: beavers, possums, owls, badgers, armadillos, skunks (lots of skunks) etc. We did see a road-kill taxidermist along the way.

In Wabbaseka, we pass by a 'Chicken Shack' where a fellow is barbecuing what we assume was chicken. So we ask, "How much is the chicken?"
"Ain't got no chicken."
We clip back in about to continue then it dawns on me, the man is cooking something, so I call out to him, "What else to do you have?"
"Turkey legs, ribs, chuck steak. Ya wanna have a look?"
We get off. Smart too! We eat the best turkey legs I think I've ever eaten!

Passed through Stuttgart--Rice and Duck Capital of the World. Rice fields surround the flat land around the area. Trees seldom line the road to protect us from the wind, we're grateful whenever they reappear.

Coming to Clarendon, we are a quarter way through this water causeway combination bridge when we see a sheriff's car behind us with flashing lights. We stop and he tells us, "Go on, you're going to need me behind you. You have no idea how dangerous this road is." So we continue forward, now with pressure because he's behind us, holding up traffic to keep us safe but also because now everyone now knows just how slow we roll when facing a pretty strong headwind. The causeway takes a sharp turn, we're glad he's behind us. He now has a trail of cars behind him. What we are on looks like a bridge but it was the causeway because 3 miles down the road, we come upon the bridge which takes a skyward turn up. Spin, spin, spin and up we go; finally, we meet the downside and the end of peer pressure as we land on a shoulder of the road safe and sound. The sheriff does a u-turn and we thank him for his help for getting us over that safely.

People are so friendly! People wave, toot horns, wave out car windows, yell out to ask where we're headed. If we're stopped, people ask about the journey, where we're from, where we're going. The other day, while stopped at a traffic light in Pine Bluff, AR, these girls pull up along side us (all decked out to go partying) ask where we're from, "No way! Really? El Paso? Texas? Well, I need to ride with y'll! What's that thing on your glasses? A mirror! Oh, that's soooo cool!" When the light turns green, the car behind passes by slowly and calls out, "You two are beautiful! Stay safe!" These things really make the journey.

Ever since we entered into Arkansas we have been riding on land that rolls up and down, up and down, up and down. This has really slowed the forward motion of our journey and we are really glad there has been places to stay in closer intervals than there had been in Texas. The land flattened out after Pine Bluff but a northeastern wind is blowing. Guess what direction we're heading: you got it, northeast. That makes it a headwind. So, we look at the good points: It's cooler, flatter, we're healthy, we're with each other and we don't have to be anywhere too quickly (unless there's a police car behind us).

We're currently in Clarendon, Arkansas: 1,204 miles from home on our 34th day.

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