Arkansas has always been one of my favorite States. It’s people are friendly, the land is not quite tamed and the asphalt twists and meanders forever through forested backroads. It’s no wonder there are plenty of motorcycle enthusiasts that visit.
It’s noon on Sunday, July 2nd and I’m all alone on my anniversary so my treat is a ride from the lake house across a ferry at Peel, Arkansas to Protem, Missouri, then back across the Bull Shoals Dam. I’ve driven this stretch several times, but never by motorcycle.
First, I’ll pack a few necessities – water, peanut butter and crackers, rain gear, pocket knife, sunglasses, readers, I-phone, and wallet. Forget about the broken strap and trailer mishap–order a new turn signal later. Today the forecast is sunny with a high of 88 F and a slight breeze. Perfect.
At the Ferry, I meet new friends on a shiny black Harley cruiser. This husband and wife duo is from Greenbriar, Arkansas and like everyone here, they are friendly. They have roughly the same idea. Take the Ferry across the lake and wind around the north side of the lake and back across to the Arkansas side. As quick as our conversation begins, the ferry is back. We fire up our engines and embark.
Amazingly, the ferry is free. It’s been in place since the White River was dammed and turned into Bull Shoals Lake in the early 1940s. The lake cut off Arkansas-Missouri access on Highway 125 so a deal was forged to maintain a ferry.
After a relaxing 15 to 20 minutes, we’re across. Fire up the engines again and say goodbye to my new friends. Almost immediately I feel the rode winding and twisting up and down like a roller coaster ride that I control. Faster…slower…down – I can feel my stomach…up – my ears pop. One hour seems like 5 minutes.
Finally, I stop for a late lunch (peanut butter and crackers) on the east side of the dam in a State-run picnic area. What a beautiful day.
Across the dam, a visitor’s center is perched on a hillside overlooking the lake. In two days the lawn will be packed with spectators viewing the annual Independence Day (Fourth of July) celebration of fireworks. Below the dam lies the White River where trout fishing is king. A resort known as Gaston’s will take care of all your trout fishing dreams and even serve up a special dinner overlooking the River.
Winding back through the town of Bull Shoals and the edge of Flippin, then on to the short cut leading to Webb’s landing and eventually Pine Mountain. I’m back home. My home away from home–this one-bedroom cabin in the woods. What next?