Arkansas 2017 | Bikes, Blues and BBQ

Dear Arkansas,

You are stunning.

Love, Me

September 20-24th | 2017 Annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas came and went.   And in the 10 years that Clint and I have been going on big motorcycle trips, this one wins for the most unique, challenging and entertaining of adventures.

Wednesday

We packed, we loaded, we headed out.   En route with us: Tyree, Cole and Tyree’s brother, Clint S., riding my Clint’s old bike.

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Part 1, 2 and 3:

Uneventful.

  1. St. Joe with fumes to spare for fuel and to hook up with Erika and her trusty Jeep.
  2. Harrisonville for some grub at The Garage Burgers and Brew
  3. Gas station just 90 miles out of Fayetteville for a top off of the tanks and some much-needed hydration thanks to the cool and crisp 95-degree fall weather.

Part 4:

24 miles out of Fayetteville… the true adventure began.  As we pulled away from a small connecting community I noticed we were down half of our crew.   Over the course of a handful of minutes, slow riding on a four-lane waiting for them to catch up, a mid-traffic exchange between Clint and a friendly caged passerby we found out our trio were landlocked due to a bike malfunction.   A phone call exchange once stopped at an exit ramp we came to realize that the bike Clint S. was riding was unfortunately beyond any type of repair, and in addition to that major breakdown, Clint simultaneously had a gear shifter malfunction that caused him to have to get creative with some RPM timing and shifting.   So, with nothing any of us could do but make it to our destination, our half of the crew (Clint, Tyree and I) limped into Fayetteville while the other half (Cole, Clint S. and Erika) went on their own adventure of locating a Uhaul.   I should mention that during the Uhaul hunt,  ColeMan’s engine and oil light also came on, but that took third place in the line-up of current issues adventures.  Surely just over-heated, ya?

Totally.

Fast forward several hours and the second half of the trio made it into camp with one functioning bike, one Jeep and a trusty Uhaul with the untrusty bike, John made it in from Eastern IA and Clint fixed his bike issue.  With the crew together and camp set up, we all settled in for an evening of ice cold beers, conversations, and a little hackysack.

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Nothing but smooth sailing from here on out…

Or something like that.

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Thursday

The Uhaul had to go.   Thanks to our buddy Vern, the Uhauled bike found a temporary resting place in his garage in Oklahoma, so Clint, Erika, and Coleman took off in the AM to take care of that ordeal while the rest of us went cruising the beautiful Arkansas landscape.

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We set out in a general direction and ended up landing on Devil’s Den Road.   If you are looking for a lot of curves and switchbacks, add this short 23 miler to your list of roads to find.  Bonus: a few miles outside of it we found Backwoods Beer/Goods where we stopped for a 6pack and to finalize lunch plans once back in Fayetteville.

With the entire crew back together early afternoon, it was high time they got some open road under their belt.   With Erika riding bitch with Clint and Tyree with John (her bike went to her brother since his was having a sleepover in Vern’s garage), we set out towards Devils Den Road so they could experience those curvaceous 23 miles.

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Lean with it, rock with it…

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We had to visit our friends at the trusty Backwoods One-Stop-Shop for a cold brew and a view of the landscape before deciding to head down to Dickson Street for some grub, evening entertainment and of course, more beer.

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But ColeMan’s bike had other plans for us.

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Come to find out, he wasn’t holding a charge.  A little over an hour of being side-lined, some battery swapping and fingers crossed, we made it back to camp where we hunkered down for the night and enjoyed some entertainment courtesy of the Mr. BBB’s contest and odd camper sales pushing from an equally as odd salesman.

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My fear was these weirdos tipping the camper over and us getting stuck purchasing it.  She was a pretty little penny for not being able to stand up in it.

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Friday

I’ll spare you the details of the events from the evening prior through the course of 18 hours, but there was a lot of diagnosing, replacing, tearing apart, putting back together, test runs and the like before succumbing to a motorcycle repair shop to get Cole’s bike back in running order.

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Erika’s Jeep for the win, take TWO!   While ColeMan and Tyree set out on their “bring ColeMan’s bike back to life” adventure, we set out on our own towards Pig Trail Scenic Byway.

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The view on this byway never disappoints.

We, of course, stopped at the lookout point for a few beers and photo opportunities.  What we learned from our 2016 trip is that if you want a beer at any time during your time out on the road, you must bring it with you in your saddlebags.   Bars are non-existant and convenience stores are hard to find.

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PBR girls. 

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Somewhere out there is a photo of me with some random dude at the scenic overlook.  I had wandered away from our group to take some videos of bikes coming out of a curve and he asked me to take a pic with him.   All I know is he was from Iowa, coincidentally.

So, if you find that photo roaming around out here in the interwebs, lemme know, k?

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After a short delay descending Pigs Trail due to a motorcycle accident, we landed in Ozark, AR for the #1 Rated TripAdvisor BBQ joints,  Rivertowne BBQ!

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Delicious grub.
Amazing sweet potato fries.
Sweet and savory BBQ sauces.
Big Appetites.
Belly’s full.
Bliss.

At this point, we were into the mid-afternoon and knew it was time to head back up towards Fayetteville.  The LAST place you want to be after nightfall is in the Ozark National Forest area, let alone any backroad in the depths of Arkansas.  You are just asking for it, on many fronts.

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Back at camp we reunited with the Sejhaur’s and headed on down to the famed Dickson Street.   Let’s give THREE cheers for Erika’s jeep now, shall we?

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You guys… I don’t know if I need to apologize, try to explain what is going on here, or just let you come up with your own elaborated story.   Apparently, this means #BBB17, or something.  I don’t know.

Whatever.

It’s Clint and John.

No one ever quite knows.

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Dickson was a street.   With bikes.  And Vendors.  And Bars.   And people.   We met up with some Omaha peeps (hey, Adam) before heading back to camp for the night.   The majority of the group was definitely OVER it by this point in the day.  Peace out Dickson.  Maybe we will try you again another day.   Also, can this happen when we are there next time?  I feel bad for whoever’s bike this is, but that’s legit!

Hey Progressive – I don’t see Flo helping out.

What gives?

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Saturday

Up and at ’em by 7:30, we made our great campground escape for a hot breakfast before heading up to Eureka Springs for the first half of the day.

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Beautiful backroads, quaint little Eureka Springs for beers at The CatHouse, good company, a few random stops for souveniers and a group photo before Erika packed up and headed back to Des Moines.

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Please note Clint’s facial expression.

Now note mine.

What is that?

#nerdingit

Meanwhile, is Cole trying to look like a badass, frozen in fear, or just holding one in?

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Bonus points for rocking the Pirtlefest shirt.

Take off 10 for the Husker shirt.

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What a GREAT day Saturday turned out to be.

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Mid-afternoon we headed back to camp to allow Erika to pack up her belongings to get back to Des Moines.   The rest of us headed to lunch where we inadvertently ran into Adam Sandoval and Scooter on his Mission: Thank You tour.  Click HERE to find out more.

Tyree didn’t know who he was and asked a question that perhaps gave that away.

I say she was just humbling him a little.

😉

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Saturday evening consisted of campground cleanups, cold beer drinking and lawn mower pulls for a low-key end to our adventerous Arkansas vacay.

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Sunday

Time to head home.

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What’s this series of three photos with someone pushing me back you ask?   Just adding some flare to our Sunday departure by nearly running straight into that pole you see in front of me. Listen – the sun was GLARING, I couldn’t see anything and instead of taking the sidewalk path like we had taken over the course of the last three days, I wondered why no one ever went straight.

That would be why.

And thanks to the incline behind me, I had to be pushed out by some folks standing by while the rest of our crew snapped photos and laughed at my expense.

Hey, what can I say?  Just adding to the adventures.

Wait, wait.  What is this photo about?

Like I said… Just adding to the adventures.   Mere seconds after getting assistance from my near decapitation, my front tire went down and Fix-A-Flat had to come to the rescue due to a leak in the tube.

Seriously guys.  This trip.

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Tensions were a bit high for me at this point because I had little control over the front end.   Looking back, I am thankful for my dumbass move of nearly running into a pole in the campground because I think it was during that incident that my tire went all the way down and had just been a slow leak up to that point.  I had forgotten that on Thursday ColeMan asked me if my front tire was a little low… but we dismissed it.

And so we forged on.

The Kansas City outskirts provided us a stopping point for some fuel and drink and to check the tire pressure.  All was looking good!

It was also here that Tyree and I switched riding situations and I hopped on the back with Clint, and she hopped on my bike to finish out our journey home.  She needed to stretch out after being the bitch on back for the entire vacay and I am sure she was itching to get some miles in, even it was just interstate miles.

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This provided me the opportunity to take some videos and stupid snaps of our journey home.  And check work emails.  Cuz work goes on, vacation or not.

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What a crazy adventure we had.   Hands down the most unique trip I’ve expereinced in the years we’ve been going on large motorcycle trips.   Omaha was certainly a happy sight to see with everyone accounted for and all safe and sound.

 

Cheers to #BBB17 and to the many trips yet to come.

 

 

 

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12th Annual Biker B!tch Run | 2017

The 12th Annual Biker B!tch Run rolled in hot.

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And rolled out even hotter.

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Literally.

It was 9 million degrees that day. But who ever let a little sun and heat index of stay-inside-and-hydrate stop them?

Clearly, not us.

 

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The Beginning – Sugars in Council Bluffs, IA

Sugars provided us with our morning cocktail blends of bloody mary’s, screwdrivers and red-bull vodkas.  Logical drinks of choice for the 10:30 brunch hour, right?   And can we take a moment to appreciate this pretty BA sign that Candy and Marcy got for me???    This girl has some pretty incredible and oh-so thoughtful friends (even if I had to be reminded WHO actually went in on this bad boy.  Early on-set of Alzeimers, friends.  It’s real.  And I was just so excited for the day!)  Thanks again Candy!  ❤

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After cocktail hour, hugs, hellos and good-to-see-ya again’s… it was time to make that day our b!tch.

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Stop 1 – Tailgators Bar and Grill in Oakland, IA

A smorgasbord of lunch, ice cold beers and temperature regulation, Tailgators served us well.  And leave it to these naughties to find an opportunity in the dumpster.

Because where else, right?

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Finding fun in every moment is what these chicks excel at.

I dig.

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Stop 2: Cruisers in Griswold, IA

I believe we have Cruisers to thank for the kick of feel-good-endorphins.

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It’s a strong possibility those endorphins were brought to you courtesy of little cups of jello thanks to that wild child, Elise.  A little jiggly bucket of magic dust is what we will call it.

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And it’s our civic duty to follow clear directions and common law…

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So we made sure to oblige.

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Cruisers also provided us with a long stretch of street where we could actually set up and snag a few photos while melting under the fiery glare of the sun.

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Oh, but honey…

Griswold never looked so good.

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Let’s not forget our fun little crew taking space in the fun bus.

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I have Hunter to thank for many of the group photos from the road.  I gave her my camera and said “have fun”.

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Anyway, let’s roll on, shall we?

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Tyree always serves as my right-hand woman.  On the road and in life. ❤

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Stop 3: The Rainbow in Red Oak, IA

There is always one community that doesn’t know what to do or how to handle us when we come rolling in.  This year was definitely Red Oak.  Upon entering the town we came up on a sheriff.  Said sheriff pulled into the center turning lane and sat there while each and every one of us rolled on by, following the trusty 25mph speed limit and providing smiles, winks and a few head nods.

I am certain he was just enjoying the view…

Wouldn’t you?

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The Rainbow provided us with some eats and treats before it was time to leave the fine diners of the Rainbow Cafe to themselves again.

Ya, I see you Cyndi.

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Liz was being a badass a few weeks prior and broke her ankle so instead of two-wheels, she got four, courtesy of this little scooter.  And what kinda mode of transportation would it be without a license plate?

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Y’all.  This is my aunt Marla.  My dad’s sista.  I have this B!tch run to thank for getting us connected again.  It’s been so fun having her along for the ride.   Fun fact: she trailored down my dad’s old bike so I could use it in senior pics back in 1999.   Fun new fact: she fed me pizza when I was a toddler and got scolded.   This new fact is brought to you courtesy of Jessica’s conversation starters in the fun bus.

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Let’s ROLL!

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Stop 4: Jaime’s Tavern on Main in Essex, IA

Oh, friends.  FRIENDS!

You don’t even know…

Let me elaborate via visual effect.

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Our smart mouthed but huge heart friend Jenn couldn’t make the run due to work (we were also down a few others due to a trip to MX, a float trip, work and family time) BUT, Jenn busted her butt to get to Essex to have a drink and see us off to the next stop.

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And it’s always about this time where I become huggy.  I believe we can thank those little buckets of magic from earlier.

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Or maybe these baby beers.  Seriously.  Have you HAD THESE YET?

You are missing out.  Don’t miss out.

Don’t be that guy.

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Alright, Alright.  Let’s move along while we still can.

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Stop 5: The Hangout in Malvern, IA

It’s always about this time where folks start tearing off to head home for dinner with their s.o.’s or various other reasons.  It took me a minute to get used to that as the OG days we stayed together until alllllllll hours of the night.  But, a larger group now-a-days equals a wider range of home locations and miles in between plus family obligations, so I have embraced it as the new standard and can totally dig it.  It’s us.  It’s the new way.

And this last official bar always brings the onslaught of photo opps, as for many of these girls, this B!tch ride might be the only time each year that they ride together, which makes the moments and memories even more special.

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A little fact about the below pic.  Cyndi (left) rode in from Cedar Rapids!  I met Cyndi during the summer of 2007 at the Conesville Motorcycle Rally (R.I.P to the #2 ranked most epic of rallies… click here and here for the #1 ranked) so to have her join up this year on her own ride was pretty friggin’ sa-weet!

And Ashley (right) was a Jeeper during the 11th annual and decided then and there that she was going to be on her own two-wheels for the 12th annual.

A woman of her word.  My kinda peep.

Tyree- does this make her MY friend now too?

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Is the photo fuzzy, or have you just been drinking?

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The official stops may be over, but the unofficial stops were just beginning!

Peace out Malvern!

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Unofficial Stop 6: The Backroom Lounge in Lake Ohana/Glenwood, IA

We didn’t stick around here long.  Just enough for Tyree to join some kids in a bounce house, eat some grub, laugh at something on a phone that I am sure wasn’t funny, pass out the lollipops.

GANG, I am SORRY (not sorry cuz more for me) I forgot these earlier in the day… fail.

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OFFICIAL stop 7: Cara’s SURPRISE 30th BIRTHDAY PARTY!

We cruised into her nice quiet neighborhood, frightened her husband, rolled back the throttles because no birthday is complete without the sound of motorcycles hitting their rev limiters and surprised the hell outta this girl.

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We done?

duh.

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Some fuel and then I took up whip while Liz led us out to The Mile Away where you should also go for the chairs alone.

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Strong possibility they’ll put you right to sleep too!

Soon after the Mile Away we made our way to Crescent for some grub and good tunes and a final end to the night brought to you courtesy of Kimi’s famous split.  It wouldn’t be a B!tch run without it.  BUT, I shall spare her the pic.  There may be some shirt slippage in there and that’s just reserved for us. 😉

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Year 12 brought the fun.  It brought the renewed spirit.  It brought new friendships and reunited old.  It brought a sense of complete camaraderie and sisterhood that makes the B!tch run what it is and what it was built from.  Friendships united on trust, love, honesty, loyalty, a lil booze, wind and complete and total nonsense.

And 100% fun.

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CHEERS!

 

 

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Special Thanks to:

Courtyard Ink

And all the bars visited, linked above.

 

 

 

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Algona Freedom Rally | 2017

We came.

We saw.

We conquered.

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ABATE of Iowa, Algona Freedom Rally 2017 was another success.

And by success we mean drunk, tired and wet.

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Oh come on you dirty minded folks… it rained.  Daily.  Hell, we even survived a potential twister in the area.  Tent campers unite!

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But you dirty minded folks probably aren’t too far off either. 😉

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Like all motorcycle rallies; we arrived, checked-in, set up camp and immediately headed back into town for necessities:

  • Beer
  • Snacks
  • Beer
  • Liquor

before settling into some campsite day drinking, games and people watching.

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Holding up to last years promise, Tracy scored a yard game to keep us entertained for a few hours each day.   Let’s just say a few of us were big talkers and our mouths perhaps got a little ahead of our game.

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Why yes, yes that is a giant bottle of Sangria he’s holding.  We hang with manly men.  Don’t judge.  It’s a rally, remember?  In his defense, he also enjoys partaking in drinking the cheapest, most gut rot inducing beer he can find.

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Our crew prefers to camp on our own little acreage, nestled back in the trees, away from the Algona Rally hub.   We were pretty stoked when we scored our spot we stumbled upon last year and are pretty confident that two years in a row makes us official owners of said acreage.  Watch it 2018’ers.  We are coming for you if you take our spot.

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But, if you prefer to be where the action is day in and day out, then go camp with our good friends the Wiese’s and their mighty crew.

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Where might that be, you ask?  Just follow the loud rukkus coming out of this beautiful Coleman turned DJ central, aka Andy’s masterpiece.

*shirtless stud sold seperately

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Or just look out for a sea of tent canopies on the main drag.  You’ll see them if you don’t hear them first.

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Rain delays on Thursday didn’t dampen our spirits thanks to the Larson’s bonnet.  Who said anything about this contraption being made for a sunblock on the beach?  Psssh….. rain block at rallies is more like it.

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Heck, if that doesn’t work, just throw a chair carrier over your head and call it a day.

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SHUT the front door…. is that a SODA and not a beer?   Yes, sometimes a beer break, literally, is needed and welcomed.

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Many folks ask how large of a crowd the Algona Freedom rally brings in.   Allow me to let the photos tell the story.

 

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Pretty impressive, ya?

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One popular activity during the rally are the motorcycle games.   From the hotdog eating contest, to the slow ride, to the keg rolling, you are bound to see some skills.   In what skill area are we referencing specifically?  I’ll leave that for you to experience when you attend the Rally in 2018.

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Pictured above are our new friends Shelby and Brandon.   Liz and I have followed Shelby (and she us) for a few years on Instagram.  Funny how those hashtags actually work, you hashtagging fools.  When used with purpose and intention, you actually stumble upon some pretty cool shit, including people!   It was awesome to finally meet and hang out at the Rally this year!

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I am positive that this is just the start of a pretty great friendship and will bring about some fun rides in the future.   Way to go, Instagram!

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I used the rally games to actually start messing around with my DSLR settings and photoshop.  I am hellbent on figuring this out so I can try my hand at capturing some good shots of my girls on their bikes. 🙂

The photo above is my first time throwing in a sky overlay.   For my first time, I’d say I didn’t do too shabby blending it in.   Keep your judgy mcjudgerson thoughts to yourself photo police.   Perhaps lend some soft suggestions on how to use and abuse that fancy photoshop element tool, eh?

#notstaged

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The community of Algona held some dirt track racing on Saturday, so we made our way off grounds to partake in that little afternoon adventure.  It was decent but not thrilling.  I believe we all came for the action but stayed for the announcer.   Someone get that guy a gig announcing all the nonsense seen at the actual rally, stat.   Entertainment for hours.

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Algona 2017 went off without a hitch if you ask our little crew.  But, we don’t ask for much.  Steak sandwiches for the hubs, well done burgers for yours truly, prime real estate for camping,  good tunes and train wreck sight seeing galore.  I believe we checked off all those boxes.

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Even though a repeat from years prior, this guy never disappoints with his flame throwing techniques.

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But T-Rex was a new and hilarious edition this year.

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Ominous skies made for the most beautiful weather we’ve had to date!

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And evening tunes brought out the crazy.

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Heck, even a few mid-afternoon naps were welcomed by some, alcohol induced or not, the balancing act is impressive.

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BUT, word of caution, if you fall asleep while watching the afternoon parade of people, you are bound to wakeup to a bearded hug and a moonshine bottle in your face and down your throat.   Happy rallying, Heidi.

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In the end, great friends make the event a success.

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Thanks to ABATE of Iowa for yet another kick ass weekend of fun and sun.

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Algona 2017, you certainly did not disappoint.  We look forward to your next adventures in 2018.

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Cheers!

 


Special Thanks:

Photos:

  • Yours Truly
  • Tyree
  • Tracy
  • Liz
  • DeAnn
  • Algona Freedom rally facebook page

 

Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2016

Now that winter has set in and the cold has forced the two-wheels into hibernation, it only seems logical to rub salt in the wounds and reminisce on 90 degree weather and wind in the face, right?

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Arkansas

I had no idea how beautiful a state Arkansas is.  The trees, the hills, the hidden gems, the miles of curves.   Hands down my favorite rally trip so far, minus the time Clint did that little down on one knee number in Sturgis.

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On Wednesday, September 21st, a small group of us took off from Omaha to make our way down to Fayetteville, AR for the annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally.   It was a relatively easy and quick ride down there (I’ll bypass how much my seat SUCKS).  We made a pit-stop at the The Garage in Harrisonville, MO where we signed our names to the wall.  Score 1 for me as I found some fellow friends signatures who had been there a few days before us!

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We only made three official stops on the way there for fuel and to stretch, so we made great time!  Far cry from the ride to Sturgis!  Once there we set up camp and awaited the arrival of the Sullivan’s before we settled in for campsite brews and laughter.

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When on vacation, we are in no rush to get anywhere at anytime.   No rules.  No schedule.   When everyone is up we all decide where to go and what to do.   This particular rally included a lot of riding and a lot less walking around and boozing.  During the day anyway.  That might be due to the fact that towns in the hills are few and far between and they apparently don’t believe in bars.   This rally is the complete opposite of the Sturgis experience and I think is why it might have taken over the #1 spot in rally experiences.   #beentheredonethat

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Our first day of riding was pretty spectacular.  The sights, the curves, the beauty!

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Tourist alert

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We found ourselves a pretty incredible BBQ joint called Rivertowne BBQ in Ozark, AR.   The sweet potato fries and accompanying sauce to dip them in was to-die-for!

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Bellies full, beer craving satisfied and back out on the road we went for several more hours, winding our way back to Fayetteville for campsite shots, brews and relaxing.

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The next two days consisted of a lot more riding…

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Parking lot rest-stops while waiting on a few lost riders…

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Getting lost collectively…

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Dancing while lost…

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Roadside beers FINALLY thanks to a random roadside convenience store…

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Ever wanna take a back road?  Or put a little gravel in your travel?  Tear down two lane country roads?

We feelin’ ya, Rodney Atkins.

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I wouldn’t necessarily say we were lost again.  Just exploring…

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Tracy has this fun way about her.  And when I say fun, I mean she holds a convincing personality that gets me to do things I wouldn’t normally do.  Last year Sturgis?  She had me ziplining.

This year?

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It. Was. Incredible!  I need a helicopter hook-up, like stat!   So fun and slightly terrifying when the pilot pulled some funny stomach dropping business.

Thanks, Arkansas Helicopters for the fun!

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A little lawn-tractor pull action to close out our campsite experience was entertaining thanks to a very drunk redneck.

Y’all.  This guy was redneck.

Feel free to re-watch his awesomeness from my saved Snap here.

Should I remind you the pulls were lawn tractors.

It wasn’t really that cool.

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My take-aways from Arkansas.

1. Take beer in the saddlebags anytime you leave camp

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2. The official campsite of BB&B doesn’t really have anything official going on so bring your own entertainment.

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3. We should have used Uber to get to the action on Dickson Street.  This is a reminder for next year!

4. If you don’t sit next to the girls they will create snap stories about it.

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5. Find the camping spot with the fans!  Drowns out the interstate noise and the flysimg_0658

6. If one trailers a bike to a rally, one will always get made fun of.

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7. Twinning is appropriate

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8. Time spent with the hubs is always the best.

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Cheers to BB&B 2017!

 

 

 

Mississippi River Riding

Road trips are good.   Road trips on the bike are better.  And for our 5 year wedding anniversary, Clint and I decided to do just that.

Did you know that the first time Clint and I technically met was on a poker run?  In 2006, shortly after I moved to Omaha, specifically.  And our first time hanging out was also on a poker run?  I played REALLY hard to get for roughly four months after that too.  Had to make sure he could handle this independent woman, ya know.  I played my cards right. He respects my strong sense of independence, I respect his and we balance each other quite perfectly, if I do say so myself. 🙂

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So on September 9th, Clint and I took off towards Rock Island, Illinois for a weekend of cabin life and riding the Mississippi River.  Heading straight East on Highway 92 we had an easy ride, a little rain and a stop at one of our favorite grub spots in Indianola, IA.    The Sports Page was always our pit-stop when traveling to the Conesville Rally, back when Conesville, IA knew how to throw a motorcycle rally.  Sadly, they stopped that crazy fun weekend a few years back, so our stops in Indianola are very few and far between nowadays.

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The weather was only slightly temperamental, leaving us a little soggy just a couple times, but the wind and warmth always dried us off soon after.

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Mid-afternoon we made our destination and settled in to our adorable cabin on the Rock Island KOA at Camelot grounds where we spent the rest of our Friday evening fishing, sitting around the campfire, drinking ice cold beers and enjoying the serenity outside of the city lights.

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The only downfall were the mosquito’s.  Oh, the mosquito’s.  They love me, they find me, they are relentless.

More on that later.

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Saturday we donned our Hawkeye gear and headed out for a day of riding up the Mississippi on the Iowa side and back down on the Illinois.

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One of our stops landed us at Antique Archeology for what can only be summed up as a tourist trap and gift shop for the TV show enthusiasts.  Not nearly as impressive when everywhere you turn is another trinket enticing shoppers to spend money on.  Maybe I’d think differently about it if this place wasn’t basically in our backyard across the State, but I was feeling a little disappointed in the lack of cool things to see.

I was surprised, however, to see how close the location was to the Mississippi, considering the show only let’s you view the shop.  And St. Clair, IA is a pretty cute little town that left me feeling as if it could serve as the backdrop to a good book.

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For lunch we actually met up with our friend Vern who was on location nearby for work.   He took us to a pretty cool restaurant/bar with incredible views of the river.  Oddly, I didn’t take a single photo except for the boys mapping out our next leg of the journey.

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The rest of the day we cruised through various towns only stopping to take in the scenery or to have a few brews.  The weather was quite brisk, requiring leather jackets and gloves, but left us feeling incredibly refreshed.

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Our journey back to our cabin led us directly to Poopy’s Pub N’ Grub, which is a must for any biker in the area.  I am sure it’s quite the place to party on the weekend nights, with it’s large dance floor and multiple levels for mingling and people watching. We headed up to the Squirrel’s Nest to view the entire grounds and I’ll admit it was quite impressive.

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We stayed long enough to enjoy a cold beer before my bug bites decided to start making me absolutely miserable.  Remember the mosquito’s referenced earlier?

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Oh, hello darlings.  It was like they began to multiply at this point.   I’ve always been a magnet for bug bites.  Massive amounts of bug bites.  I can remember as a kid mom taking me to Minnesota to visit family and I’d be miserbly covered in these darn bites.  I have yet in my 36 years to find a repellant that works.  I basically bathed myself in Deet the moment we unloaded at the cabin.  Oy…

Anyway, onward we went…

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One last pit stop on the river front ensued before our final destination at a local Rock Island bar for dinner and the Iowa game.

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We made ourselves a little fire to close out our Saturday evening while discussing our Sunday adventures of fishing and our plans for lunch at a restaurant on the Mississippi.

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And, while Clint slept peacefully in our adorably cozy cabin, I lay awake for hours on end in complete misery while mosquito’s found their way through the covers and clothes to continue their torture on my body.

Pure hell.

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These little guys I’m certain are chiggers, however, sparing you the photos of the rest of my body, trust me when I say the bites continued up my legs, covered my arms, back and belly.   I am positive these were worse then chicken pox as a kid.

Torture.

After a middle of the night shower to wash off the multiple layers of anti-itch that only made me stick to my sheets, I finally threw in the towel around 7am.  By the time Clint got up I had my makeup on, fully dressed for the day, kitchen cleaned out and all our shit packed and ready to go.  With a confused look on his face, I pulled up my pant legs to show him the source of my misery and after stopping counting at 100 bites, he looked at me and said,

“let’s get you the hell out of here”

A quick pack of the bikes while I stood by with a constantly spraying can of Deet and we were soon our way back home, away from the open water and the little devil bugs from hell.

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The open air was good for my head and kept me from itching my skin right off.   We made a stop in Oskaloosa, IA at a unique coffee house that provided us delicious sandwiches and scenery, before finishing our Highway 92 journey back to Omaha.

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All in all, we had a GREAT trip and enjoyed each others company immensely.  It was nice to get away from the hustle of the city and wind down together on our bikes, doing what we love.

Next time, I vote staying somewhere far, far, far away from water and don’t blink an eye when you see me rocking a bee suit and wasp net for my attire.

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Not. Even. Kidding.

Cheers!