At the beginning of one of my early Adventures .. I actually “planned” my first stay at a place I found on the internet in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Of course, I had to get 671 miles from Indiana first .. and wouldn’t you know it absolutely poured buckets of rain the first 200 miles of that! And since I knew I was going to be gone for six weeks or better .. I spent hours during my final preparation stage checking my lists .. my gear .. my packing .. my bike .. and, of course, I ended up getting a late start.
After the monsoon eased up .. it was dark when I crossed the Arkansas state line and stopped to get a picture of the sign. I had my Hog Tales magazine sticking out of my T-Bag as I took my first shot of a state sign beginning with an “A” for my “ABC’s of Touring” pin.
Joe !! .. Where the f*$% have you been? !!” I yelled back .. “Eatin’ your F*$%in’ bugs and trying to find you in the dark!”
As I twisted into the darkness .. not only was visibility bad to begin with .. but the dampness and humidity pulled out every flying creature from every surrounding county I think, because I could barely see through my detachable windshield for all the yellow splatter. I wondered if I’d ever find the place when out of the blackness appeared “Iron Horse Stables”.
They were expecting me around 6-6:30pm and now it was after 10 .. and I was whipped. The restaurant sat out front, next to the road .. so I slowly rolled around back looking for signs of life. There was a real nice campfire going and I could make out several people sitting and standing around as I pulled close to the light and shut Bosco down.
Out of nowhere .. I heard a loud yell .. “Joe !! .. Where the fuck have you been? !!” I yelled back .. “Eatin’ your fuckin’ bugs and trying to find you in the dark!” The next thing I saw was a beautiful gal approaching me from the shadows with an outstretched arm to hand me an ice cold Bud longneck .. “Want a cold one?”
I knew already this was going to be a great layover. She said “leave your gear and come grab a bite to eat .. we’ll get you to our room later”. They had an impromptu “pot luck” pitch-in amongst the other guests .. and I feasted on a variety of homemade vittles. Everyone was a true “biker” in every sense of the word .. and from all parts of the country.
We ate and talked into the night .. incredible people with incredible stories to tell. Then the worst thing imaginable happened .. we ran out of beer!
The little gal and her husband, who owned the place, said they knew where there was plenty more beer .. but they couldn’t get to it. They explained the restaurant had coolers full but they leased that portion of the enterprise to another couple from town, and they wouldn’t return with the keys until 5am for breakfast.
Well .. an old farm boy and his pocket knife can do wonders .. and within minutes I had the double-hung window latch unlocked, but the window would only open about 8 inches. As we spied the thirsty & anxious group, it was a unanimous decision that the owner’s wife would fit .. all we had to do was pull up a table even with the window so she had a platform to slid through the narrow opening and into the kitchen. Within minutes the door came open and out came an iced tub of Bud. How slick was that?
We were up most of the night counting those bizillion stars I’ve mentioned before .. and when we called it a night I was even more impressed with the rustic, knotty pine quarters .. which even had a hitchin’ post outside my door for Bosco.
As I walked the grounds the next morning .. and we all squared up with the cook for the beer and a healthy tip .. I was just blown away at what a great little treasure I’d found in the heart of the Ozarks. The place had 14 rooms in a row that appeared like an old western town with wooden sidewalks.. and every room had it’s own hitchin’ post. It had a custom leather shop (I still wear their leather patch on my vest), a workshop with a certified mechanic on duty .. the restaurant .. massage therapy on premise .. campgrounds .. hiking trails .. and guided (or unguided) rides throughout the Ozark mountains.
You could choose the length of rides (from one to several hours long) and the degree of difficulty you wanted to experience while touring the countryside. Then they would give you a printed map detailing the excursion you chose. When everyone rolled back in early evening .. it was food, booze & life-sharing all over again until the body said “rest”.
Their www wouldn’t open today, and the phone number listed in “places to stay in the Ozarks” prompted a recording of “this number is no longer in service”. It’s a real shame if they had to close down .. but for those of us who were lucky enough to find the Iron Horse Stables tucked into the wilderness .. the memories are carried on forever.
Eureka .. ! says it all —
Until next time .. ride smart .. ride safe
and the Adventure continues …