The open road: 2010 summer trip day 8

Day 8: Plano, TX to Memphis, TN — 552 Miles

If you are just finding this, go here to start at the beginning.

While I had been touring around Colorado and visiting in Texas, my father was making his way from Idaho to Tennessee on his new to him R12RT. After the fact, we discovered that we’d missed each other in Grand Junction, CO, by just a couple of hours.

He’d arrived in Memphis the day prior and it was time for me to make my way to catch up with him there. I bid a silent farewell to Clint and his wife and tiptoed out to the garage at O’dark thirty.



[click to go to an interactive map]

This bug was just motoring along at maybe 45 MPH. He made no effort to be in the lane, even when there was no other traffic. Bizarre.

Shoulder driving — Is that legal in TX?

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/3.5, 1/250sec, 18mm focal L. @60 MPH, map

The plan was to hightail it out of the greater Dallas area and then hit the two-laners to get a small taste of what the Ozarks have to offer. Trouble was, there were too many roads that were too far out of the way to make it to Memphis at a respectable hour.

This came recommended at the beemer shop in Dallas

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.5, 1/125sec, 48mm focal L., ~134mi from prev photo, map

After talking with several folks familiar with the area, they all agreed that the Talimena road was worth going out of the way for. I’d have to agree.

OK 1 — aka Talimena Scenic Drive. I’ll just call it, “Tasty!”

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.5, 1/800sec, 56mm focal L. @67 MPH, ~10mi from prev photo, map

The timber empire that the Dierks built included the largest family-owned landholding in the country. That is, until they sold all assets to Weyerhaeuser in the late ’60s.

Remnant from the timber empire.

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.0, 1/800sec, 18mm focal L. @33 MPH, ~24mi from prev photo, map

Queen Wilhelmina St Park

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.0, 1/640sec, 18mm focal L., map

I stopped at Queen Wilhelmina St. Park to get some breakfast. Sadly, I had just missed breakfast service and had fresh pick’ns from lunch buffet. I should have kept on motoring, as the food was unremarkable. However, there was a lovely view overlooking the valley while watching the many hummingbirds get their fill from the feeder in the foreground.

The “Castle in the Sky” dates back to the late 1800s as a railroad destination retreat for the wealthy. The most interesting part of the history is that of the constant rebuilding on the site: the hostelry promptly failed, decayed, and was rebuilt, and then burned to the ground, and then built a third time into what is now a state park.

My view while eating lunch.

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.5, 1/500sec, 70mm focal L., ~0.3mi from prev photo, map

AR 88 — Skyline Drive

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.5, 1/160sec, 52mm focal L. @61 MPH, ~1.7mi from prev photo, map

In case you aren’t getting it from the pictures, the Talemina Drive was just the sort of road I was hoping to find. The best part was that it was posted as 55 MPH for much of it, giving plenty of margin for fun.

AR 88 — Skyline Drive

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.2, 1/500sec, 38mm focal L. @56 MPH, ~6.0mi from prev photo, map

I sure did — and, if that’s all the selection they offer, I’d pass it up again and again.

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.0, 1/800sec, 18mm focal L. @67 MPH, ~56mi from prev photo, map

The area around Hot Springs, Arkansas, was a glut of stop-lights and traffic that left me wonting of the legal lane-sharing in CA. Instead, I looked at the map that Mr. Garmin was showing and opted for dead-reckoning along roads with no clear destination. It was a gamble to get off the main road and I gave it an 80% chance of going dual-sporting in order to get back on the main highway.

My cure for traffic

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.0, 1/500sec, 18mm focal L. @22 MPH, ~19mi from prev photo, map

And, without fail, the pavement ended. The nice gravel road turned into a narrow gravel road, which turned into a narrow trail that was only a marginal improvement from the dual-track that it doubtlessly was not so long ago. It’s not an adventure if everything goes as planned!

In for a penny … — I was afraid of that.

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.0, 1/250sec, 18mm focal L. @31 MPH, ~2.1mi from prev photo, map

Got Twins? — Yes, yes I do, thank you very much.

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.5, 1/500sec, 56mm focal L. @77 MPH, ~24mi from prev photo, map

Pardon the pun, but, I did a total double take on the billboard above. As the proud daddy of twin girls (plus the big sister!), I was very confused as to what exactly was being advertised. Fertility treatments? Child Photographer? Insurance?

I had to Google “Lamar” before catching the clue at the bottom of the billboard that they, in fact, actually own the billboard and are advertising their advertising. Totally obvious, right?

Count the misspellings

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.5, 1/640sec, 70mm focal L. @69 MPH, ~31mi from prev photo, map

Crossing the mighty Miss

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.0, 1/800sec, 18mm focal L. @67 MPH, ~113mi from prev photo, map

I couldn’t really come up with a better way to get into Memphis other than rolling the slab. Even with the early start, I didn’t want to delay getting into town any later than I already was.

Memphis, here I come!

Nikon D70, ISO 250, ƒ/4.0, 1/500sec, 18mm focal L. @41 MPH, ~0.9mi from prev photo, map

Dad was waiting at the hotel for my arrival. It was good to see him and compare notes on our trips thus far. I was especially anxious to see the sights around the old stomping grounds where he grew up.

Continue reading as we head up to Wisconsin.

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