TAT Day 8 – Riders in the Storm

 Puskus Lake Recreation Area, MS – West Helena, AR
Miles Ridden – 185

Total Miles – 1,260

Today’s Travel Time – 10 hrs

Animal Totem – Hummingbird 

What I learned today – Eating greasy food before riding a motorcycle on a gravel road is not a good idea. 

After reassessing last night we woke with a new plan of 180 miles per day, traveling from 8:30am – 6:30pm (10hrs). Based on this, our goal for the day was to get just west of the Mississippi River. We pulled out of our lakeside campsite at 8:45, and got down the road at a good clip with a couple of short breaks. 

     

 It was mostly backwoods dusty riding, with a little bit of mud. Stefan had to go on reserve for his gasoline, but we made it alright to our next pit stop. 

   
 After filling up on gas we stopped for lunch at the Catfish Hut. It’s one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time. 

 It would have been if we had stopped eating after the milkshake and salad bar. Instead dad had catfish, Stefan had frog legs, and I had a half a grilled cheese washed down with a hush puppy and 2 bites of a giant onion ring. 

 
 A few minutes later I had to lay down in the parking lot. 

  
Then about 20 miles down the road we all had to take a nap in a ditch. 

  

I’m not kidding- I felt drunk after that meal. I was singing to myself and standing up in the saddle to stay alert! The one nice thing about the restaurant is that they had a bunch of hummingbird feeders hanging out front so I got to see lots of hummingbirds before I keeled over โ˜บ๏ธ 

  
Hummingbirds represent joy, and I really do feel joyful out here on the open road. Even though it has been grueling at times, the days have been long, the road ahead unpredictable, there has been an overwhelming sense of excitement and adventure, and a feeling of trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it should. I am learning something new, pushing my limits, spending time with people I love in places that are unbelievably beautiful. I have no idea wha tomorrow will bring, but I know whatever it is, it will be amazing. I am so grateful for every moment of this journey and for the fact that I had the courage to say YES to the ride!

  
After our post-lunch side-of-the-road nap we checked on the massive rainstorm that had been headed our way and realized that we needed to hightail it! We had about 35 miles to go until our next gas stop and we would be in the middle of nowhere until then- not a great place to be for a thunderstorm. 

  
After making our way through dirt, gravel and some mud (I almost went down in a Mississippi mud puddle), we were about 5 miles out and could see the storm coming in. Stefan stopped to put on his rain gear, and a few moments later cold wind started whipping around our bikes and droplets began to fall. 

  
We roared down the gravel road into town and took shelter under a gas station awning before the worst of it began. 

   
   
 After more assessing on the doppler radar we determined we had about an hour window to make it to West Helena before the biggest storm came in. Again, we hightailed it, opting to detour around the mud bogs this time. We rolled across the Mississippi River into Arkansas and arrived at the hotel literally 5 minutes before the lighting started.   

  
Welcome to Arkansas!  

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18 thoughts on “TAT Day 8 – Riders in the Storm

  1. I just found and read your blog post. I’m always excited to read about other folks’ TAT experience, since I will be riding it solo in 2016. My wife, Sarah, and I live 1/2 mile off the TAT in Beebe, Arkansas. If you have time for a chat or if we can help in any way just let us know. Good luck on your sojourn and be protected.

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  2. Be cautious as you enter Oklahoma. (Specifically west of highway 177) we are experiencing a lot of flooding and road closures. There will be many miles of road that will still be impassible when you reach here. If you need a spot to stay when you reach the Blackwell area we would be excited to host. We have plenty of room and a garage and tools for maintenance.

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  3. I really hope y’all beat the bad storms we are experiencing right now. Stay safe and keep the rubber side down. We look forward to reading more about your adventure.

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  4. You are having the adventure of a lifetime. Have a great and safe ride. Hope you get out of that bathroom and back on the road soon.

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  5. I’m really enjoying your posts. There is a little place on the trail called Catalupa in Arkansas that I always have to stop and eat. Discovered it by accident on a ride about and not a clue where I was lol. I try to go back every year for the past 14 years now. Stay safe and keep riding!

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  6. Nice Husky graphics on the Yamaha ๐Ÿ™‚ How are those saddle bags working out? They look like the ones designed for horses that I bought but have yet to use.

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  7. I’m reading your wonderful blog as I am riding the TAT solo in August and early September this year. Loving the trailblazing information from you and your following. Loving the photographs too as they say so much about the trail and the experience. Good luck and great trails.

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