191 miles traveled today.
7:23 a.m. ready to ride
9:10 am. Beebe Arkansas. 124 miles. 2.76 gallons.
I did not sleep well last night. I was keeping an eye and ear open for wild animals. I didn’t see anything other than a squirrel. I have not refilled my water yet so that weight is reducing. I also moved my heavy canned food items from my top bag into my left side bag. That seems to have made the bike handle much better. Either that or the roads are easier, or I’m getting a bit better, or maybe a bit of all three.
Stopped about 3 PM having covered 147miles since the last fill up. Odo is 12226. The drive was very pretty, with plenty of scenic overlooks. At one point, we saw a vast valley drenched in light in the middle, and drenched in thunderstorms at each end. Of course, the trail led us right into the rain.
We drove in the rain for an hour. Visibility was poor and the roads had slick spots, but the air was cool and the water was refreshing.
We eventually pulled into into a place called the TAT Shak. We were soaking wet. It’s a free place to stay and a hidden gem. It has protection from the elements and basic amenities. It has a mini fridge, a small microwave, a hot shower, and two bedrooms with cots. It has a window AC and some space heaters. There was no washer and dryer, no Internet, and not even a hint of cell reception. Most importantly, it is dry and comfortable.
It looks like somebody’s old house (trailer with an add on). This is private property. The owner has opened it up for use by TAT riders. Inside, we found a used chain and sprocket set which still had some life left in them, a box of perfectly good inner tubes, a box of hotel size soaps and shampoos, and stacks of motorcycle magazines. The cupboards have random stuff like instant coffee, dried milk, salt, and a freeze dried meal. The walls are adorned with posters and photographs of classic bikes, maps of the area, business cards and stickers from visitors, and information about local repair shops. There is a guest log that goes back to 2014.
There were two 16 oz LaBatt’s Blue beers inside the fridge. There was a note on the fridge explaining that this is a dry county and those beers were for us. Us, the unknown visitors who are welcome and might never meet the host.
It blows my mind that somebody would be generous enough to open up their private property for use by complete strangers. There is a list of rules on the kitchen wall which basically states to be nice and don’t make a mess, but it also says “don’t piss off the neighbors because they have more guns and ammo than you do”.
Those beers were good. They met my first two criteria for my favorite kind of beer: Free and Cold. IPA being the third.
So, Sean and I have a dry place to sleep tonight. We can dry out our clothes, get hot showers, and sleep well.
I will be leaving a donation so that whoever comes along in a few days or weeks can benefit as I have.