Temperatures were warmer today and reached the mid 80’s. The skies were partly cloudy to overcast and it felt a bit more humid than the day before.
Day’s distance: 75 miles
Total trip distance: 9,288 miles
The morning started with a cab ride from my motel to the BMW dealer in Bentonville, about six miles away.
I met Jerry, the service manager and co-owner of the dealership. The new rim was on its way and the new tire was sitting in the sunlight to warm up a bit (apparently it is easier to mount when warmed up by the sun – makes sense). We would examine the rear tire and rim after mounting the front.
Jerry took my copy of the tire and wheel protection agreement, measured the tread depth, and secured pre-approval for the front tire repairs. Fed Ex arrived and the tire was mounted and balanced by 11am. A test ride couldn’t detect any issue with the rear rim, but after dismounting the tire and putting it on the balancer, a minor imperfection could be detected. The warranty would not cover this damage, however, because the tire’s seal was still good. Jerry was certain that the new defect would not impact tire wear or safety.
Since the rear tire wasn’t visibly damaged, but would need replaced in another 1,000 miles, I chose to replace it now at my expense. A new tire was mounted and the motorcycle put back together.
While all this service was taking place, I met the Sales Manager and other co-owner, Bob. It turns out we have a friend in common, the former CIO at Amazon, Rick Dalzell. Bob worked with Rick at Walmart. We had some great stories to share and the morning passed quickly.
I left the shop on the bike about 2pm and headed directly to the local Mexican restaurant recommended by the staff. While eating, I considered staying in Bentonville since it was getting late, but after talking to my Seattle housemate, I chose to head towards Branson and get some miles on the new tires and maybe camp, since there were many options in that area.
Hwy 340 took me to Hwy 94 and I turned north into Missouri, the final southern state in my tour and the last “new” state I’ll be visiting.
That road took me to Hwy 90. There was a lot of gravel on Hwy 90 from a recent resurfacing effort and I adjusted my speed down. I stopped for a cool drink at a gas station. After talking to the folks there, I detoured back into Arkansas to check out Beaver Lake and the dam, which had been releasing water through the spillway recently.
Although the spillway wasn’t open at the time, I soon was joined by two other bikers, Julie and Bob. We ended up swapping stories and riding to Eureka Springs together.
We took Hwy 187 North, and passed through some nice slow speed twisties as well as Arkansas’s Little Golden Gate Bridge, a one-lane wood plank bridge crossing the Beaver River.
After stopping for gas, we ended up eating together with others at the Rockin Pig Saloon.
It was 8pm before I left and, having given up on camping, I grabbed a local motel (there were many, many choices in Eureka Springs).
Meeting Bob and Julie and sharing stories over a meal really helped me put the tire incident behind me. I am thankful for the support I received by BMW roadside assistance and the team at Bentonville BMW. I live a charmed life, despite the occasional bump in the road. 🙂