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Black Hills Badlands Medley—Day Two

464 miles

I was up at 6 am and loaded and gone by seven. I found my way back to the major highway, US 82, then headed northwest toward Mississippi. The Appalachians were levelling out, but before Greenwood, Mississippi, they gave one last effort in a tousle of hills and depressions. While the elevation differences were not extreme, the ”wavelength,” as we sailors call them, were short, giving a roller coaster effect until they surrendered to the great flood plain of the Mississippi Delta. The land immediately flattened and agriculture took over as I turned north toward the closest crossing of the Mississippi River at Helena, Arkansas. From there it was an attempt at north and west until US 64, which headed west and allowed me to miss the big city of Little Rock, passing just north and joining the interstate at Conway, past most of the city traffic. From there it was a fast run to Russelville, Arkansas. There I tried to find a grocery, to no avail, where I could buy a pre-made deli sandwich, some beer, and chips for the evening’s meal at the TAT Shak. No grocery appeared, so I opted for a convenience store sandwich but, alas, no beer; it was a dry county. I had not planned on that and had been thinking about a cold beer half the day. The only option was to ride miles out of the county to get some, and I just didn’t have the energy for that. So, I bought the sandwich and pretzels and had to substitute ice tea for beer

I set the GPS for the intersection where I’d turned last to get to the Shak, and headed north on AR 7, a well-known motorcycle riding route in the Ozarks. Eventually I took a small local road to the west and soon found the turn to the Shak.

What a great blessing the Shak is for weary riders, with nice air conditioning and a refrigerator set aside for use by people like me for nothing but a thank you and possibly a small donation. Even better this time, when I opened the fridge to unmelt my granola bars and to re-cool the tea, there were cold beers left by previous tenants! The day could not have ended better. I relished my dinner accompanied by the donated beer, took a shower, and laid down on a comfortable cot for the night, using just my sleeping bag liner for a cover. Being alone left little for me to do, and I was in bed before the sun disappeared.

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