Today we aimed to make it to St. Louis. Our Moto Guzzi riding friend at North Dallas BMW had pointed out a ‘scenic’ route that would take us up through Arkansas to Springfield via Rt. 7.
The day did not look promising. A thick fog obscured the view from the Lodge, and the air was still uncomfortably warm and humid. We were low on gas, and became increasingly concerned when no gas station appeared in the 60-odd mile stretch of Rt. 270 between Mena and Mount Ida. By the time we finally did come across one, we must have been on fumes!
The route from Mount Ida to Harrison (where we joined Rt. 65 to Springfield), lived up to its billing. Though as we travelled north, ominously dark clouds started to gather. With the first few splashes of rain, we speeded up, anxious to be undercover by the time the inevitable thunderstorm hit.
Eventually the rain caught up with us, and we pulled over in the car park of a small country restaurant. It was closed, but the car park afforded us a spectacular view of a violent thunderstorm moving through the valley below us. We were still relatively dry by the time we reached Jasper. But this time our luck had run out. We stopped in a small café advertising dairy ice cream, while the rain deluged outside. When the sun at last reappeared, we were dismayed to discover that it would take us another hour to reach Harrison and Rt. 65. Part of the attraction of the Rt. 7, is that it winds around the hills, and the bends are sharp enough to make overtaking virtually impossible.
By the time we reached Springfield (in the grips of another thunderstorm), it had become clear that we would not make St. Louis this evening. Instead, once the rain had cleared we made a dash for Rolla (site of the extraordinary ‘Stonehenge’ replica), and spent the night at a Motel 8 on the outskirts of the city.