I recently completed a short trip to Arkadelphia, AR to attend a sidecar rally. It was only a few days but I had lots of fun and took lots of pictures. This is my story.
The Rally was a Friday/Saturday/Sunday event but Arkadelphia is about a 8 – 9 hr trip and that is a long time on a Ural so I decided to make it a two day trip and left Thursday morning.
I get off about 8ish.
Notice the famous “wine tree” with bottles of wine growing out of the sides and hanging from the limbs. (an ongoing project to be discussed in the future).
On the way, I pass through the town of Hubbard and find this interesting VietNam war display worthy of a photo op.
I stop in Corsicana at the fruitcake place for a 10 cent cup of coffee and a complementary cookie. Coffee and cookies; Breakfast of champions.
Near Tyler, my stomach begins to complain (a constant state), and I veer off route a bit to get feed at The Shed in Edom, Tx.
I made it as far as Atlanta State Park (Southwest of Texarkana and set up camp in the beautiful pine forests of East Texas.
The park is fairly deserted; I hang my hammock and sip on the scant bit of wine I brought with me. Then along comes a dude on a Beemer sickle. He stops and we talk and he decides to set up camp next to me. I offer to share some of my dehydrated meals with him, but sadly, I tell him I am out of wine. He then tells me he has plenty of wine. My new best friend! The only thing better than meeting a fellow motorcyclist is to meet a fellow motorcyclist with plenty of wine. Mark (the name of my new best friend) and I spent the evening drinking his wine and solving the world’s problems. I don’t know if we solved any of the world’s problems, but I do know we drank all his wine and had a very nice time .
The next morning, after saying goodbye to Mark, I head towards Arkadelphia. A sidecar buddy Lee (aka: SwampFox) sent me an interesting route from the park where I was staying to the small town of Proctor where some folks had decided to meet for lunch and then ride together to the rally site. I follow this route and cross over into Arkansas.
I am unable to finish the entire route that Swampfox sent because I was running out of time so I be-lined it to Proctor so I wouldn’t be late. However not everyone was concerned about being late. Oldtimer & Tahobiker were late, so we had to wait for them to finally show up anyway.
After lunch, Swampfox tells us he has a nice route for us leading to the rally side and we get to cross over some old bridges, so off we go.
We cross (well at least some of us cross) North Boat Ditch of the Terre Noire River in Clark County. Tahobike with his fancy dancy pretty low sidecar, comes off the rail and high centers on the rail and can go no more. Immediately, everyone runs to his aid. NOT! First order of business was to get out our cameras.
A few other shots while on this road
We make it to the Rally site, register, say howdy, etc. After a while, I head over to the state park where we are staying, “Degray Lake Resort State Park”, and set up camp
Great campsite next to the lake. Their I meet up with a friend (Darrin) that I know from Two Wheeled Texans (TWT). Being just a youngster in his early 40’s he has yet embrace the concept of a sidecar rig, so he rode his two wheeled cow-wa-saki KLR.
He had some other plans for the weekend but they fell through so he decided to join me to this event.
Some views from our campsite.
We return to the Rally and join the rest of the group for hot dogs and the best road-kill chili I have ever had. Darrin and I are able to secure some adult beverages for the evening and return to our campsite to consume these beverages.
In the morning we all meet up and ride up near Hot Springs for breakfast. Great ride, great food.
After breakfast, Darrin and I go in search of dirt. Swampfox pointed us in the general direction and we went to go get dirty. Soon we found ourselves on some old logging roads and trails in the densely wooded forest.
We come upon a muddy low water crossing area. Darren skillfully and carefully works his way around this obstacle; I on the other hand choose to go right through the middle spraying mud and water everywhere. Great fun!
Continuing down the logging roads
Sometimes the road .we were on would sort of petter out leaving us to blaze a path through an open area where perhaps there used to be a road
We came upon this section of the road that was mostly washed out. I was very concerned that the width of the sidecar would present a problem staying out of the deep ruts.
A view of the washed out section.
The following is a video clip of us going through this ravine. I also learned that one should wait until you are completely through the obstacle before yelling “Yeeehaaa”
Click on picture to see clip
What there was of the road is now nothing more than a sliver through the woods where there are not trees. The pathway narrows to almost single track, about another foot more narrow and I and Lyekkas would have to turn around. We ride over some small limbs and trees, but able to continue making progress.
We find out way out of the woods and head back to the rally site to watch the sidecar game events. I did not have a willing monkey, so I could only watch. We then had a great BBQ catered dinner.
The rigs are all lined up for photo ops and for judging. Lyekka had wanted to freshen up for the judging, clean up, put on fresh lipstick, etc. but time did not permit (besides, she now had a flat), so she entered the contest covered in mud with vegetation caught in some of her framework.
After dinner, there was an awards presentation for the sidecar games, prettiest rig, rider that came the furthest, etc.
Lyekka won a trophy! She won the “Rat Hack” award.
This is basically an award for the rattiest rig in attendance. Lyekka is not a pretty girl anyway, but covered in mud did not help her appearance much.
Lyekka and I are not much into pretty so we were quite proud of our trophy.
The next morning, Darrin and I head back to the woods. This time we were not as lucky to find as good of roads as we did yesterday. The first obstacle was a ditch going across the road. To smarter men, this would have been a clue that this was not a good route and we should find another road. But since we are not that bright, we push onward.
My concern was the only passable section of this ditch was not very wide and I doubted that Lyekka could make it without sliding into the ditch. No problem says Darren as he stacks some lose rocks and a rotted log to widen the path.
Darren and his KLR get through without much trouble, Lyekka on the other hand, well…
The following film clip shows how Lyekka got in this mess. (click on picture for video)
After some various attempts to get Lyekka out of the ditch, we discover the problem is that while sitting on the bike, the frame is pushed down into the dirt. So we decide to “walk it” through with me standing on the left side in the ditch operation the throttle and Darrin pushing from the back. This works great, except for a slight issue. Once out of the hole, I let go of the bike and then I fall down because I was standing in the ditch. One would think that once I let go of the throttle, the bike would stall and come to a standstill. But not this time. I’m laying on the ground without plans to get up real soon when I look up and see Lyekka heading down the road. Putt putt putt, there she goes. As I am truing to scramble back to my feet to give chase, there goes Darren sprinting after her. He finally catches her and hits the front brake, this time causing her to stall and die. It may be one of those “you had to be there”, but to see Lyekka putting down the road on her own with Darren running behind trying to catch up was one of the funniest things I have seem for a long time. We both laughed and regretted that we had not been able to get a video, So you will just have to trust me, this was funny.
After this good laugh, we regain our composure and continue down the road. Because of the way a sharp slab of concrete in the ditch was position, coming back the other way would be very difficult so it is important that we find another route out of the woods. A short way down the road we come upon a dead tree across the road. So tromp down some small trees and bushes that will allow us to go around the tree.
We do, however, see a little side road going up a hill so we follow that. We end up at a deer blind with no other egress other then the way we came. We are without a doubt, now on private property. Not looking forward to crossing that ditch again, I had noticed an unlocked gate in front of a road that might lead us out of and I was suggesting that we trespass and hope we get away with it without getting shot. Darrin however, swears he hears some banjos playing in the background and was not too keen on going through a gate on private property. So we head back the we come, this time paying close attention to any side roads that may be there that we could have missed. Well, we did not miss any side roads and ended up back at the same ditch.
We explored other options to possibly go around, but none looked any better. But this time, we don’t even attempt to ride Lyekka through but instead, just walk he through. This worked fine and Lyekka did not get away from me and proceed down the road on her own.
By this time we a pooped and poor Darrin was worn out from pushing Lyekka through the ditch. We go to the nearest town and find a station that also serves food ate nd rested a bit. We gave some thought to finding another section to ride but decided that to go back to the campsite for a little nappy time.
We nap and goof off the rest of the afternoon and then we discover the park we are staying at has a nice lodge with a restaurant, so we go there for dinner. Upon returning to our campsite we discover we still have some pre-mixed margarita that needs to be consumed and we do so.
The next morning Darrin thinks one is supposed to hurry and pack up your gear and hit the road. I work to teach him the fine art of goofing off and talk him into returning to the lodge restaurant for a nice breakfast and returning to finish packing up. We finally get on the road about 10ish, I think. Darrin rides with me until Texarkana from there he west towards Ft. Worth and I break off heating southwest to the Waco area.
My original plan was to take two days to get home and stop at Tyler State Park for the night and finish the trip in the morning. By time I got to Tyler, I was feeling fine and decided to push on.
I finally got home about 8:30pm. Tired, but glad to be home.
Had a GREAT time. It was a lot of fun finding out that Lyekka is a pretty good off-road vehicle