REPORT 1 of 2 (both on this page).

From Roadkill Rich Mitchell....


Friday. April 16. Texarkana, AR. 6:00. 40 degrees. Ready to
ride. I've stuffed as many layers as I can under my leathers, hoping it will
be enough. It's not. I plow through the darkness on Interstate 30 headed
west. The eastern sky behind me has a faint glimmer. Even though I am
rolling away from it, I hope the rising sun catches up to me, overtakes me
strengthened by the wind which will dog me on the first half of the OK-1 run.
I am determined to make the most of these two days. It is rare that I can
ride two days in a row.

Just beyond New Boston, I take the Hwy 82 exit, thankful to slow down
a bit so I can warm up. The terrain doesn't change. The road is straight.
As dawn breaks I can see the fields are covered with wildflowers. At Paris I
find a place to gas up and warm up. I order a breakfast bagel and bask in
the sun coming through the window. It's 8:00 and I'm wondering if I will
make it to Bill's Roadhouse In Oklahoma City at 11:00 before Bill and company
leave. It occurs to me I may be too optimistic about getting there. If I
meet them on the road, I'll be looking for Bill's 700 Shadow with the chrome
tank and a Wing Trike. As I finish the clerk warns me not to miss the exit
for 271 or I'll be coming back around the Paris loop in 10 minutes.
No problem. About a half hour later, I'm across the Red River and
into Oklahoma, then on the Indian Nation Turnpike headed north. The change
in scenery is welcome and I'm flying along at 75 doing the legal speed limit.
I can tell I'm really fighting the wind. The couple I left at the gas
station fly past me going 85 at least. I don't follow since I've had to
experience with Oklahoma Police. I scan left and right from horizon to
horizon as this four lane super slab gently rises and falls, bends and
twists, through the hills of eastern Oklahoma. I am captivated by these
hills and the miniature trees covering their slopes. I focus on the scenery
to distract myself from the cold. Yep, it's still cold, even with the sun.
Just as I get to the McAlester toll booth, the bike sputters. What's
that? Reserve?! But I have only gone 90 miles. I usually get 125 before
going to reserve. That's the power of wind. "How far to the 270 exit?" I
ask the attendant. "6 miles." I think to myself there is probably a gas
station there. I figure I'm good for 20 miles. Guess what? No gas station.
What the heck, I decide to take my chances. Waiting for gas or walking
might be warmer than riding today, anyway. There just ain't much in the
middle of Oklahoma. I check my saddlebag for that OK map I thought I put in
there. Nope. The next town can't be too far. Thank God it isn't.
I pull in for gas at Arpela, OK, at 10:00, the time I'm supposed to
call Bill. Bill informs me that the route out of OKC has changed. Because
of the late start due to the cold, they will be coming on Rt. 9. Meet him at
Wetumka. At 11:00 I'm in Wetumka. One gas grocery, one gas and convenience
stop, one motel/restaurant (closed), one gas and tire shop, one Dairy Queen,
one tire shop, one wood craft shop. I top off the gas tank. Still waiting.
I stretch out on my bike for a nap. Still waiting. 11:30. Urine dump at
the gas and tire shop. Still waiting. 12:00 Still waiting. Where are you
Bill? The Dairy Queen gets my lunch money. Still waiting. At 12:30 I get
the long overdue bright idea that I could be riding. I saddle up and head
west. I'm sure I'll run into these guys sooner or later.

1:15. I see a group of bikes coming down the next hill. Who else
would be crazy enough to be riding through this cold wind? And there's the
Wing Trike bringing up the rear. They pull over, I get behind, and retrace
the road I've just been on. Seems like a new road to me. It always amazes
how different a highway seems coming from the other direction. Pretty soon,
I realize the Trike's not keeping up. I pass and join the pack of 6 bikes.
Dave is starting to earn his well deserved nickname, "Dawdle."

We stop for gas in Wetumka. Deja Vu? Nope. I really was here
before. Official introductions. I meet "Dawdle" Dave, Bill, DJ, Steve,
Adam, and Eric. I learn that Bill's on his '79 HD 1000 Sportster Christmas
present because of a threadbare tire on his Shadow. I really wanted to see
that chrome gas tank. Oh well, next time. Bill hands me a gift bag,
actually a lunch sack holding an Oklahoma City Rose Rock, an OK state pin
which I proudly pin to my vest and a map of Oklahoma. I file the map for
future reference. (The rock sits on my dresser at home now.)

We liesurely ride to Poteau, stopping for gas, refreshment. Bill
gets behind when he has to fill his mediocre HD tank. At every stop, DJ,
sends Dawdle out first or waves him past. Last in, first out. I lost count
how many times I passed that trike in two days! We arrive at Poteau and find
the American Inn. I end up rooming with Eric who I learn is from Plano, not
OKC and rode up from Dallas earlier that morning. He's also riding an ACE,
one year older than mine. We ogle and compare ACEs.

We have time just before dark to go the 15 miles to the Heavener
Runes. The scenic overlook provides a view to the south of the next day's
ride, a 52 mile ridge carved up by an asphalt ribbon called the Talimena
Drive. I go to bed in a $28.00 motel room wondering if the bed is worth my
share of $14.00. Thankfully, it is. After 421 miles, I'm ready for a good
night's rest. More coming.

Installment 2:

Poteau, OK. Saturday dawns. Eric and I are first up, ready to go by
8:30. We discuss the possibility of running the Talimena Drive and coming
back before everybody else gets up. But we start talking bikes, doing a
little detailing. At some point, I marvel that Eric has put 25K on his bike.
I've only got 11K on mine and I thought I did a lot of riding. I hope every
body loves their bike as much as I love mine. I just love looking at it.
Enough of that. Eric and I wake the others up about 9:30. It's pretty
chilly and nobody is anxious to check out.

We finally get rolling about 10:30 and find The Black Angus (I think)
for a good breakfast buffet. Heck, you can even buy the Poteau coffee mug
featuring this very restaurant for $3.00. Bill wants one. Says he collects
'em. By 12:00 we're finally heading out of Poteau after another stop for
Adam to correct the atmospheric pressue in his rear tire.

We're all set. DJ is somewhere way out in front of us. Bill is the
only real man among us. No helmet and no windshield. Hey, that's how you're
supposed to ride a Sport. He found out yesterday helmets don't stay on your
head if you don't put those two halves of the chin strap together. And who
was right behind him when he tried for a strike with the helmet. Hey, they
don't call me Roadkill for nothing. Fortunately he guttered the ball. First
time I had seen somebody park a bike and chase a helmet. Anyway, I don't
know how Bill did it. He blasted into the wind that dogged us again all day
and loved every minute of it.

By the time we turned onto the Talimena Drive, we still hadn't caught
up with DJ. Immediately we were going up, up, up. Nearest thing to flying.
We caught up to DJ at the first overlook. We all got our cameras to take
some brag shots. We agreed to meet at the first gas station in Mena just in
case any of us got separated. This freed us up to ride with anybody we
wanted or stop at as many overlooks as we wanted. My '98 1100 Shadow ACE
Tour was the first out of the box followed by Stev'e's Nighthawk 500 and
Eric's '97 1100 ACE. I was ready to see what my bike could do on these
curves. It handled beautifully. Accelerate. Brake before the curve.
Throttle through the curve. You know the routine. At the next overlook,

Steve was first out followed by Adam's CB 500, then me.
Steve's pushing his Hawk through each curve. Adam's keeping up.
Oops. I could see it happen in front of me. A left twistie. Adam through
his left boot down for an anchor and Adam must have hit the front brake. The
bike stood up straight, then started to roll with Adam trying to come off the
left. The bike rolled and Adam rolled. At least he's not the first Adam to
fall. Fortunately, Adam was wearing a ful face helmet, a leather jacket and
insulated coveralls. Brown leather works just as good as black. By the time
I parked my bike in front of the accident scene, Adam popped up without a
scratch. The old Honda started and we set to trying to straighten his right
grip which was folded in so the grip was just above the right side of the gas
tank. We held the bike down while Adam stood on top of the cylinder head and
pulled the bar. Managed to straighten it enough to ride it. I understand
the other guys are calling Adam slider. Well whatever he throws he's got
guts to get up and ride after going down like that.

At Wilhemena State Park, a ranger flagged me down as I was going up
the hill to the lodge. "Have you seen 4 Crotch Rockets within the last 10
minutes. Got reports of 'em racing and running people off the road. Tried
to catch up to them, but they were too fast for me." I was very reluctant to
divulge any information, but in the interest of public safety, besides it was
obvious that my half dresser could never be accused of such antics. :)
"Crotch rockets? You mean Sportbikes. Let's see. Seen lots of motorcycles.
And yeah, did pass a group of 4 with full race leathers on, but that was
about, oh, 45 minutes ago at least.

As we were getting ready to leave Wilhemina, Steve, I think, came up
and said the ranger just passed him. A few minutes later, we passed the
ranger and 4 police cars at an overlook. I kept going. They must have run
the Talimena, then circled back on the valley road and were starting the
Talimena again. Better luck next time. I toned it down a little myself
after that, pushing the corners and staying the posted speed limit on the

I like to stop at the East end ranger station about two miles up from
Mena. And since I was out in front, it occurred to me to count bikes as they
passed. Eric and Steve were with me. That's three. DJ and Adam came by.
That's five. A few minutes here comes Dawdlin' Tripod Dave - alone.
"Where's Bill?" "He was right behind me." I waited a few minutes, but
suspected I would find Bill and his empty peanut tank back up the Talimena
somewhere unless he got off at the 259 intersection and went to the gas
station four miles south of there I told him about earlier. We waited a few
minutes, then Eric and I went looking for Bill. Sure enough, we found him,
leaning up against his bike, just waiting for gas. I stayed with Bill and
Eric went back for gas. During our wait I realized again that there isn't
one thing I don't enjoy about motorcyling, even waiting with a new friend for
gasoline. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. Chatting with a
friend just enjoying life. The comraderie of helping each other out is part
of what I love about motorcyling. One by one everybody came back to check it
out. I added a 5 foot length of 3/8 hose to my list of stuff to put in my
fork bag. Finally, Adam came with the Gatorade bottle of V-Twin happy juice.
Down the hatch and down the hill.

At the gas station, we regrouped. Tried to find a place to get
Adam's handlebar in better shape. No luck. Then Eric decided he better
break off. Wasn't feeling well and headed back home. I know Eric and I will
burn up some pavement together in the future. Texarkana and Dallas aren't
that far apart. We ride 2 hours to Hot Springs. Beautiful scenic road. A
few challenges, but not many. I'm a little distracted. I know after supper,
I need to say goodbye myself and head back to TXK. I tell Bill at dinner
that I have felt like I've met him somewhere before this weekend, but can't
make any connections.

DJ lands at Stubby's BBQ for some great eating. We swap more road
stories before I have to part company and head back home. It's not near as
fun by yourself. Hwy 7 south to superslab 30. Straight shot home. At 9:00,
I'm home again. "Welcome home, isn't it nice to be home again." I wonder
what Bill, DJ, Steve, Adam and Dave are doing now? Then I think, maybe it's
better I don't know.

Roadkill Rich
Texarkana, AR
'98 Shadow ACE Tour (Jade/Ivory)
Sun above me, Shadow around me, Roadkill beneath me.