Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 8-Into Arkansas

I woke up at 8 and only took an hour to get rolling. After eating breakfast at a local diner, I rode 35 miles to Hope, the birthplace of Bill Clinton.

Budget Hotel in Texarkana was where I stayed the night, and I have to say that without exception, locally owned hotels are the way to go, especially if you are watching the bottom line. For around $40.00 I was able to get a sort of homey bed and breakfast feel at every local hotel I stayed at. Plus, the person that checked me in was always the owner instead of someone that probably isn't living the dream. The beds and furniture were nicer, the ac was colder, the towels were better, etc. The chains at this price range always give me the impression that they are running close to the bottom line, skimping out on these things. You may have to go more into town depending on the layout, but local is defintely the way to go for something like this. And generally, the 'town' is not the McDonald's and convenience stores that are built next to the freeway.

At Clinton, a girl that knew how to operate the GPS on her phone told me it was only 88 more miles to Benton if went via I 30. So it was decided that I would ignore the funny Arkansas sign that prohibits cyclists, pedestrians and parades.... I was able to get away with this for about 35 miles, and then a local trooper pulled me over to tell me to take the next exit and get back on 67. I have to say that 67 is a much more scenic route, quieter, compared to the truck and traffic heavy I 30.

That is the first time I have gotten pulled over on bicycle by a policeman.

Just before my run in with the law, I stopped at this sign:

Sent this to a manager I used to work for to show him that I was going to make it. This was the exit I had to take to satisfy the officer.

While I was here a truck driver on the other side of the freeway had pulled over and was trying to engage me in conversation. This was pretty impossible because of the trucks and traffic going by. I crossed the median to go over to where he was. He could not believe I had come all the way from Austin. He thought I was making it up. Then he asked me if I was homeless(!). I said, no, I work at Dell. Well then he thought if I worked at Dell then it would stand to reason I would have someone following me by car. Some cyclists travel that way but I chose not to do that.

Eventually we parted and I was back on the road. Had the run in with the officer and took that Gurdon exit to Hwy 69. It was a much better route, as I stated before. These two routes demonstrate the tension I feel while cycling-I like to cover to most ground as much as possible, but 67 really allows cyclists to better appreciate the beauty that our mode of transportation allows. This is one reason why I don't take many pictures.

That and my loaded bike takes a bit to get going after I stop.

One more thing. After arriving in Arkadelphia I ate at this local Mexican restaurant by the motel. I asked the waiter if he was really, really, really hungry what would he order? Without pause, he recommended this:

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