Short of Little Rock

Trip Start Nov 10, 2009
1
38
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Trip End Dec 18, 2009


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Oklahoma
Thursday, December 10, 2009

I left Santa Fe in the morning with big hopes of reaching a far off place called, Little Rock.  Arkansas was some 800 miles away and achievement of such a feat would be herculean to say the least.  The pay-off would be an easier ride to Jackson, MS the following day.   

Little things like food, rest and the Texas State Troopers would get impede my progress and invariably make this goal unattainable.

I began this leg with a significant headache which I attributed to the altitude.   Thankfully, it dissipated with every mile I drove.   As the headache went away in came the majesty the red rocks of Texas.   Pre-historic looking rock formations littered the landscape varying from red to tan and looking like the moon's surface (no, I’ve never  "actually" been to the moon)  Craters and seemingly free standing structures abounded on the Texas leg.

Shortly after crossing into the Texas border did I get my first taste of the TX Staties.  I was entering more the more civilized roadways of Amarillo when my rear-view mirrors lit up in a burst of red whites and blues.   I relaxed because after the “you betcha” cops of Wisconsin these guys would be easy. Or would they?

I eased my car into the right lane and naturally, I was hoping that the pursuit would end he’d fly right by me.  I park on the gravelly shoulder and the statie approaches my driver’s side door.  Jimmy told me years ago that if you get stopped keep your opened hands on the upside of the steering wheel so they can see you aren’t packing any heat.  I’ve employed this steadfastly though the results cannot be verified because what you want is a very subtle momentum through the whole “getting pulled over” experience.

He asks me the insulting question all cops ask which is really one or two questions.  “Do you know why I pulled you over today” or “Do you know how fast you were going” These questions provide ample opportunities for wrong replies.  I tell him “no”.  He tells me I was going 76 in a 70 mph zone.  It is all I can do to restrain myself from going all McEnroe on him “You can’t be serious” .  But, no  I restrain.   He throws me off by asking for my license first.  I oblige before asking permission to go to my glove compartment for my registration and insurance.  He motions that it’s OK and then the questions start.

Cop:  Where are you driving from?

Me:  Santa Fe

Cop:  Where were you before that?

Me:  Las Vegas and Gualala, CA prior

Cop:  Where are you heading?

Me:  Little Rock, AR but, I’m not sure I’m going to make it that far

Cop:  You’re a long way from home.

Me:  I’ve been on the road for about a month.  I’ll be back home next week.

Cop:  When do you expect to be home

Me:  December 19th.

Cop:  How long were you in Vegas

Me:  Two nights?

Cop:  Where are you heading?

Me:  Little Rock, AR but, I’m not sure that I’m going to make it

Cop:  What are you carrying?

Me:  Mostly dirty clothes, I need to do laundry badly and I also have some gifts and some Propel and a little bit of Gatorade.

Cop:  When was the last time you rode the bike?

Me:  I think it was Montana.  It has been beat up and needs a tune up

Cop:  Are you carrying any weapons?

Me:  Well, I picked up some cool rocks on the way and I suppose they could be considered weapons but, I’m not hitting anyone with them, I might give them to some friends.  They are from Idaho, Oregon and California.

Cop:  Any illegal substances on you?

Me:  (laughing) I can’t do that stuff, I can barely drink?

Cop:  Coke? Meth? Pot?

Me:  I’ve got none of that stuff.

Cop:  What were  you doing in Vegas?

Me:  Getting crushed on football bets and resting.

Cop:  What’s in the back of the car?

Me:  A sleeping bag, foul weather gear, an air mattress, yeah, the bike rack is really cool, I can lower it really quickly and you can take a look at all the stuff in the back if you? (I motion to the cruiser door)

Cop:  That’s OK. 

Cop:  How long have you been driving for?

Me:  About 4 weeks.

Cop:  Here’s your written warning, you get no points on your license and there is no fine.  You are can go now.

Me:  (shaking his hand)  Thanks, have a good one.

The encounter was more exciting than annoying and I found myself impressed by the interrogation and mildly so by my ability to handle it and answer his questions naturally. 

I kept on keeping on and found myself hungry and after consulting my Let’s Go Road-tripping USA Book decided upon Dyer’s Bar-B-Cue in Amarillo.  Between there and the restaurant I had a nice chat with Fantasy Football Genius and Nephew Danny Byrne about our recently completed Kacin Family Fantasy Football Season (We’re in the play-offs now and are hoping that the trophy makes it to Trumbull, CT)  Danny had a strong handle on the permutations that would have put one team or another in the play-offs and we both saluted Jack Sheehan who did the research, got off to a horrific start due to injuries and no fault of his own, fought and clawed his way back to a 4-8 records, spoiling play-off hopes along the way.  We also discussed how a trophy in Trumbull might be nice as long as we didn’t need to hear McCain talking about it all the time (win or lose).  These are the important issues of the KFFL day.

Dyer’s was strong if not unspectacular.  I had the rib platter which included a half rack of ribs, some kind of cold mashed potatoes, unbelievably good onion rings and some coleslaw.  I was the only one in the restaurant and downed it with an unseen ferocity (unseen on more than one level).

It was back to the road and on I swept through Texas and Oklahoma, not seeing much but, the crater and rock formations which were remarkable.  I got my second tank of gas at Allanreed, TX.  There was a goofy gift store there that I roamed through and I met the clerk who looked like a British bassist.  Tall and thin with short, thin, cropped too black hair.  He had a high pitched drawl and happened to be pulled over twice in a half an hour on the same 5 mile span I got snagged on.  We surmised that they were looking for someone with contraband as all the vehicles pulled over could carry some serious cargo.  Mini vans, station wagons and SUVs seemed the targets.  One fellow who came in to the shop was just released from jail and was stopped with 5 pounds of pot in his car.  He was heading back to jail soon.    I got out of there and kept on a keeping on.

I knew I could hit Little Rock, AR if I summoned all that I had but, also knew that if I did such summoning I might have nothing left for the next few days so with a little spongy, dizziness creeping in I pulled off in Sallisaw, OK

Now I must give big credits to Oklahoma in general.  First, I didn’t get pulled over in OK.  Second, every other exit in that state had a sign on it listing all the attractions you might visit should you wish to pull off.  Two of which were Troy Aikman and Carrie Underwood’s respective homes.  They did the best job of promoting themselves that I have seen thus far.    The downside of Oklahoma is that a lot of beef comes from here and said beef is essentially cattle along the highway and lots of cattle means lots of um…er...all waste the smell of which was gaspingly horrendous.  Oklahoma City comes up on you slowly.  There are some lights and some industry and then you are through the city and down more roads hurting  for light in a big way (my high beams have gotten a workout on this trip). 
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