Southern States Tour – Day 51

Day 51 Route
Day 51 Route

With temperatures in the 70’s, and no rain, it was close to an ideal day for a ride.

Day’s distance: 78 miles
Total trip distance: 9,213 miles

I woke up early and got the tent packed away quickly. I left the campground a little after 7am, headed for a latte on Central Ave. Stopping at Si’s coffee house first, I found that while the donut I purchased was good, the latte wasn’t, and the place had no wi-fi. 🙁

Knowing there was a Starbucks on Central, just down the street, I tossed the bad latte and went to Starbucks. The internet connection was super fast and I ordered just a latte. Since it was warm, I sat at an outdoor table and worked on the blog.

As soon as I finished the blog, I studied the Butler Map for the Ozarks and decided on a route that would take me up to Harrison, Arkansas via a 200+ mile loop. By the time I left Starbucks, it was close to 10am.

Traveling north on Central Avenue from the Starbucks took me past the historic downtown full of large hotel spas, stand alone bath houses, and museums.

Hwy 7 was somewhat congested until reaching the Ouachita National Forest.


Entering the National Forest land, the road really became worthy. The road surface was good and the traffic light. Though not technical, the sweepers and elevation changes were enjoyable.


The day took an unexpected turn while I passed through the town of Dardanelle. I hit a rock in the road. I wasn’t traveling too fast, about 35mph and the bike remained upright. I could tell the front tire was going flat and pulled off the road quickly.

I saw significant damage to the front rim and, as I thought, the front tire was losing pressure quickly. I was just about 50 feet past an intersection with both a restaurant and a tire service center, so I turned around and got the bike into the service station parking lot.

I recovered the rock I hit from the highway, in part so no one else would hit it. Here’s the rock and the damage it caused.

Front wheel damage from the rock and the rock I hit
Front wheel damage from the rock and the rock I hit

Because the bike is still under the original warranty, BMW roadside assistance is available to me. With one call, a tow truck was dispatched from Bentonville, the city with the closest BMW dealer. My next call was to the service department at Bentonville BMW to let them know I was dropping in unexpectedly. They ordered a new front rim so that it could be overnighted from California.

The tow came quicker than expected and soon the bike was loaded up and tied down.

Unhappy motorcycle
Unhappy motorcycle

The tow company owner, Mark, rides and had many entertaining stories. It was a long ride to Bentonville, and I felt like my motorcycle was just staring at me with an angry look.


We dropped the bike off just after 6pm and Mark drove me to the motel. After some time, I found a nearby hotel with a bar and had some dinner and a couple of drinks.

It was a sad evening, but it could have been much worse. I didn’t wreck the bike, and I wasn’t hurt at all. I went to sleep hoping the bike would still be at the shop when I arrived the next morning.

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