Weekend at the TAT Shak with the Adventure Riders of Arkansas

I was able to spend a great few days in the Ozark National Forest as I headed south for the winter. Pete Petrick, owner of the “TAT Shak” in Booger Hollow, Arkansas yes, I spelled that right 😉 , was gracious enough to let me park the Yamahauler there as I spent several days riding day loops. He even joined me one day to show me some great roads! Pete is also a veteran, Super Tenere and Ford Transit camper van owner, What’s not to like!

The “TAT” stands for the Trans America Trail, a coast to coast mostly dirt and small roads route from North Carolina to Oregon. It passes by Pete’s mailbox and with an unused 40+ year old single wide mobile home in the front yard, he thought it would be a good thing to host travelers as they made their way across the USA. What a great idea! It offers basic but comfortable accommodations like a hot shower and possibly a beer in the fridge. It’s hosted travelers from around the world and most that do the TAT plan on a night there.

It’s all free of charge but he does accept donations, he said it helps keep the lights on. Through his generosity for a safe haven, the travelers do help out.

The next day Pete took me on a few of his favorites but went “easy”on his “big bike” a 2012 Super Tenere with 1/2 bald tires. He is a hare scramble rider that enjoys the technical single track, the harder the better. I said that’s not my style of riding so easy roads it would be. Riding in the deep woods as the leaves started to change was beautiful. Thanks Pete for taking it easy on me!

Up next was meeting the Adventure Riders of Arkansas the following morning in Dover Arkansas. I think about 12-15 made the ride. I had met many of the riders earlier in March on a campout they hosted not far from the TAT shak. That was a great weekend! click on this link to read more about it. More great roads, scenery and adventures from the group. I will really enjoy riding with that bunch! One of the ARA riders, Armando Nelson is an Army veteran that was actually stationed with me at Little Rock AFB in the early 90’s, we didn’t know each other back then but have made fast friends since. a small world for sure.

My last riding day out that way was just me on the bike “seeing where that road goes” A nice loop to take pics of the fall colors. Found some good spots!

I told Pete to expect my return in the spring, and I hope to not show up alone! Either doing the Trans America Trail or not, the TAT Shak is a great place to stay!

Home for the winter

It was about a month overdue for my departure from Washington (for good reason) but I finally hit the road on the 10th of October after the last few medical appointments. Said goodbye and thanks to Elsa for caring for me after surgery then had coffee with my girls on my way south east to Oregon. Hit a bit of snow at Chinook Pass in Washington and at Tollgate in the Umatilla Wilderness of Oregon, escaped it just in time! Stayed with PNW Tenere member Liz in Joseph, Oregon and she showed me around her favorite spots in the Hells Canyon area. Liz is the widow of Fred Bebisheimer, who was a super nice guy that will be missed.

Then it was off on my longest stretch to Roosevelt Utah for a quick overnight to see Aaron and Kate with their baby in their skoolie bus laceyadventuresofficial. The next day was more light snow as I made my way across northern Colorado through Craig, Steamboat Springs but hit a dumping of the white stuff at Jackrabbit pass. The Yamahauler did great on the packed snow and ice! Staying with Pete, Lisa and Brady of MeerkatADV then Pete and Kat outside Denver to get to the grand opening of the Revzilla store a couple days later.

A few months back I saw on line where” Gearchic ” Joanne Donn was looking for help to run the soon to be opening Denver location, so I sent the notice to friend and former host Tana Todd. Well, now friends Tana, Brady and Pete all now work for Joanne! The power of social media! It was nice catching up with Joanne since our last visit many years ago meeting her and the boss at the RevZilla HQ in Philly.

Colorado was quickly in my rear view to a spectacular sunrise around the Kansas border on the way through to Oklahoma for a night with Angie then on to Arkansas to my Aunt and uncles Air B&B ” Marfly retreat ” on the White River in Mount Olive. It was time to get the bike out the back and go RIDE! My first time since the surgery felt sooooo good!

On the way south to moms from the river, I stopped by my property to walk it with the InReach so I could accurately get reference points of the boundary markers. I also marked where the travelers “Stage Stop” cabin will be. It’s going to be great once the driveway is in and I can get the van up there.

Stopping in the greater Little Rock area, I went to visit veteran friends Sandra and then Dave and Lori. They each let me park the Yamahauler in the driveway, it’s always great to catch with old friends.

The last stop in Arkansas was my good buddy Jesse and his wife Kelly south of Hope. It was harvest time and his family was making sorghum molasses the old fashioned way, on 100+ year old farm equipment. What a treat to see something that isn’t done much anymore. The neighbors were lined up with cash in hand for a jar of the sweet stuff!

I’m now safely at moms in my boyhood home. I have a few little excursions planned between now and Mardi Gras(1st of March) but nothing too grand. Thanks to all that follow my journey and let me driveway surf across the USA!