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Saturday, November 14th 2009

8:38 PM

Spring Street Deer Confusion

I called my buds Biff and Jimmy to plan a ride and we watched the weather all week just waiting on Saturday and hoping the weather forecast didn’t change.   Finally Saturday came and after many discussions about which direction to ride and where to meet we decided to leave from my house and head toward Eureka Springs. 

For those of you who might not be familiar with Northwest Arkansas or Highway 62, it’s one of the best rides a biker could wish for with curving roads and beautiful views through the Ozark Mountains. Eureka Springs is a quaint little hamlet built in the hills full of shops on lots of little crooked streets that wind through town.  Now back to our ride.

The guys made it to my house a little late and were anxious to take off but I wanted to take a couple of minutes to show them some things I’ve been working on around my garage.  So after a few minutes listening to me and seeing my ‘projects’, we got on the road.  Biff was leading as we headed out of Rogers on Highway 62. 

It was a beautiful, sunny day (in NOVEMBER) and about 70 degrees. We decided to take what we call “the dam loop” on Highway 187 which goes over the dam at Beaver Lake and curves back around to run into Highway 62 again.  There’s a place called The Dinosaur Park on the road to the dam where they have these life-sized statues of dinosaurs spread out through a park-like area where kids go and climb around in the summer time.  You normally can’t see the statues from the road but the leaves are all off the trees now so they were clear.

There’s a sort of traditional local landmark on the dam loop road called The Shoe Tree.  It started when some kids were out partying at the lake a few years ago and tied their shoes together and made bets on who could throw a pair of shoes the highest up in the tree where they wouldn’t fall down.  It got to where people would make special trips out to throw shoes into the tree until there were hundreds of pairs hanging from every branch. Last summer the highway department cut down most of the original shoe tree to make way for a power line but I noticed that another tree has now started filling up with shoes. I’m glad the tradition is continuing.

We made the loop and stopped at a convenience store to gas up and wet our whistles and a few people recognized me as The Biker Poet so I did an impromptu performance and made some new fans. We headed on down Highway 62 into Eureka Springs and turned north on Highway 23 into the old downtown area.  It’s hard to maneuver my big bike around some of the tight corners and bumpy streets with steep angles up and down the mountainside. Biff was in the lead and we were about halfway up Spring Street, the steepest road in town, and he suddenly stopped in the middle of the road.  Jimmy was behind him and jammed on his brakes so I wrestled to a teetering stop; wondering what the problem was.  Suddenly we saw the problem – a large deer had stumbled into the street and gotten startled and came slipping and sliding down the middle of the steep street.  It was a large doe that couldn’t get her footing and was panicking and sliding everywhere.  She slid past Biff and Jimmy but slid into my leg on her way down the hill.  I looked right into her frightened eyes as she bumped me and they looked like two pinwheels spinning in opposite directions. I watched her in my mirror until she slid down to a point the road turned and she got her footing and ran off into the woods.  Man was I freaked!  I couldn’t believe a deer had bumped right into me in the middle of the street in the middle of a town.

Biff took off again and I gathered myself up and followed.  We circled around a few side streets and stopped at a hot sauce shop.  I love peppers and hot sauce and had heard of this place and wanted to check it out.  I met a few new people in the shop and did another impromptu performance of my poetry, picked up some hot sauce and we headed out again.

We left there and headed out of town to stop for lunch at Anglers Inn.  It’s a good place to hang out and the food is good.

Jimmy wanted to take Highway 23 back toward home so we looped back into Eureka and headed south. Highway 23 is another one of the routes that bikers love to ride all the way from the northern Arkansas state line where it starts, all the way south through the southern part of the state.  We curved down the road till we got to where we need to turn on Highway 12 and stopped in at a convenience store called Shauna’s corner.  It was getting late and I wanted to get home so I split off from Biff and Jimmy when we left there so I took the shortcut on Highway 127 back over to another point on Highway 12 a lot closer to home.

All in all it was a great afternoon ride for three good friends.  Thank you, Biff, and Jimmy, for going on a Saturday ride in mid-November when the weather was great here in the Ozarks.

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