Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ozark Mountain Scramble 2012……..it’s a wrap! Part 1

Day 1 Truck Travel

On the way to Arkansas I was wondering on what to expect for this trip.  What I figured was some mountain roads and some new people to meet. All while riding a $1000.00 antique motorcycle. This is cheap fun so I was in.  While shaking down my chosen steed for the ride a 1979 Yamaha XS 650 that I dubbed Purple Rain.  All I was thinking this bike needs to hold together for 650 miles through the Ozark Mountains and we were gold. I left Western NY at 3:30 AM to meet up with my travelling companions from New Jersey in Cleveland Ohio.  In Cleveland we loaded the bikes onto one truck and proceeded to head south west to Bentonville Arkansas the home of Wal-Mart. Our trip down was uneventful except for my traveling mates acting like a married couple bickering about driving styles and fuel mileage.  We rolled into the hotel parking lot at 12:30 AM local time.

Day 2 Adventure in the Ozarks.

We meet up with a couple of the guys that organized the run for breakfast at the local Waffle House.  A quick bite to eat and then on the road to meet up with the remainder of the crew. At the beginning of the run there were 13 pre 1980 motorcycles that all lined up ready for the run. I mentioned that we should get some photos of the bikes as this is the only time that they will all be running and roadworthy. Some of the guys laughed but agreed and snapped a couple of group photos of the vintage herd.  The lineup consisted of 1 Yamaha, 2 Kawasakis and the remainder mid 70’s Hondas with the lions share being the Iconic 750 Four.

After the guys did the meet and greet and we saddled up for 1st leg of the run, 250 miles of mountain roads to our destination actually only 70 miles away by main roads.  The first 10 or 15 miles were pretty smooth running as they were secondary roads to get out of town.  Then suddenly the elevation started to change and the road became twisty and tight.  Usually when the roads begin to get more technical the faster more experienced riders tend to move toward the front of the pack.  This was the case here also.  After the first section of curves we lost 2 riders to the great force we all know as gravity.  Nothing major just some bruises and broken controls.  One bike with a broken brake lever was repaired in the next town and resumed the ride.  The other rider decided to call it done and did not complete the ride.  So I guess this was bound to happen as we now were down to 12 riders rather than lucky 13!

The majority of the rest of the 1st day of riding was really fun and exhilarating railing curves at double the posted speed. We took a scenic detour that the locals call the “Little Dragon”.  This road was worth seeing and riding for the high speed sweepers and death sentence 10 mph switchbacks.  All was going really well until a couple of the bikes were dropping like flys and running out of gas.  We drained off fuel from the bikes that were still running to feed the others that were not.  This worked well until the lone Honda single would not run for some other reason.  We roadside diagnosed the problem of no compression but, this was too involved to tear into mountain side so, we opted to tow the downed bike off the mountain.  We retrofitted some tie downs into tow straps and hooked up my Yamaha as the tow truck after a few failed attempts we got the bikes underway and moving up the mountain.  This went on for a half or mile or so but was wearing on Mike the rider of the broken Honda so, he let go of the tow rope and we need to come up with an alternative to get off the mountain. Before Mike could stop, Tim and his Bad Ass Honda 350 four Café roach came up and straight leg pushed mike over the crest of the mountain and down the back side.  Keep in mind that there are some very steep downhill turns and 10 mph switch backs and the 500 Honda has oil soaked knobby tires and drum brakes with no engine braking as the bike would not run.  All and all this turned out Ok as there was a gas station at the bottom of the hill to fill the thirsty bikes and see what could be done to get the broken bike running.
That is all for now we will continue later with the outcome of day one.

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