16 Aug TAT DAY 16: Enid Lake MS to Hazen AR (315km/196mi)
Deer +5, cotton maize and soybean fields + lots
The mosquitoes from last night must have been full from feasting on Simon as they were nowhere to be seen or heard this morning. Neither of us got a particularly good nights sleep, so it was a less than refreshed start on the road at 8am.
We didn’t bother rejoining the TAT where we left off, but got back onto it near Enid. I think I have come to terms with the reality that its just not possible for us to do every inch of the TAT and that its OK for us to skip bits. Simon has been telling me this from the beginning. I really should just learn to listen to him.
It was a very pleasant morning of riding. Was relatively cool and the riding alternated from good gravel, sealed roads and roads that are so badly deteriorated and half patched that I don’t know what they are supposed to be anymore.
The countryside got flatter and flatter and before we knew it we were riding though fields of soybean, cotton and corn. Sim finally got his drone out after all this time sitting in his tank bag.
We crossed the mighty Mississippi into Arkansas and what I though was the western half of America, but have since been informed it is just the middle of America.
We dropped into Heidelbergers and chatted to the guys for a bit. We may not be the first riders on the TAT but we are certainly the first ones on Groms.
Stopped for lunch, fuel and air conditioning in Marvel. Man it was starting to get hot. Its fine while you are moving, but finding shade to stop under was getting hard.
The gravel seemed to be a lot worse on us and our little fat Grom tires. It chopped and changed from something that was easy to ride on, to the thicker stuff, then changed completely to a mix of sand and hard packed earth. The going was tough and the roads were straight and boring. It was hard to take in scenery anyway as we had to concentrate on the road so hard. At one point we pulled over to let a pickup pass us in the opposite direction. He stopped and the conversation went like this.
Him: are you riding the trail?
Me: WHAT? ( I cant hear much with my earbuds in)
Him: I said are you ridin’ the trail?
Me: Oh yes….(nod and smile)
Him: Well you missed a turn
Him: I said you missed a turn. Trail goes that way. ( pointing to the road behind us)
Me: ah crap.
At that point it was late afternoon and we decided we had had enough for the day and bailed on the gravel in favour of the sealed roads running parallel to it. We were going to do the cool little bridge near Clarendon, but it is closed. We were also gonna try primitive camping north of De Valls Bluff but are glad we opted for an air conditioned motel room in Hazen as the mosquitoes in this state are freaking huge and numerous.
PS we popped outside to lube the chains and had to retreat from the massive swarm that enveloped us. We have inadvertently let a whole bunch of the evil buggers into our room and are having to hunt them down one by one.