My brother, Ed Nix, and I try to take at least one Long Distance Motorcycle Trip each year. We’ve been doing this since 2008 and will continue to do it until our old bodies no longer let us hold up the two wheeled motorcycle or lift our legs over the saddle of a Trike. We call our annual rides “The Nix Brothers Annual Motorcycle Adventure” and many of them truly are an adventure. If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle a long distance you know what I am talking about.
When we take these trips we will invite up to 20 men to ride with us but generally get anywhere between 3 and 7 which gives us total riders of 5 to 10 each year. I say we invite men because we choose to make this ride each year for men only. No women. When there is no women, there is generally no drama. Yes, we’re all married and our wives understand that it is for men only – and why it is for men only! That is not to say that we don’t take our wives on long distance rides … many of us do … but not on this annual trip.
Before getting into this years trip, here’s just some of the places we have been since 2008 – the list is not all inclusive:
- The Grand Canyon, Arizona
- The Smokey Mountains, Tennessee
- Key West, Florida
- Big Bend, Texas
- Sturgis, South Dakota
- Fayetteville, Arkansas
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Death Valley, Nevada
- Mount Whitney, California
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Savanah, Georgia
- Nashville, Tennessee
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
This years trip was to Eureka Springs Arkansas. It was not our first trip into Arkansas, we’ve been there three times and each time find a new road to ride that we have not been on before. There are many. We began our trip on August 1, 2021 and ended it on August 7, 2021. This is a play by play of the trip as I remember it … and I am old, as is my memory – another reason I tend to put things in writing.
REMEMBER AS YOU READ THROUGH THIS: There are normally two groups – Ed Nix’s group comes from the Northwest (Lincoln, NE) and Jerry Nix’s group comes from the Southeast (Clinton, MS). This year Ed had two riders with him: Charles Williams and Chris Johnson. An old standard, Dan Fonfara was not able to be with us this year. In addition, Rick Brown from the Lincoln Nebraska area had to drop out this year. So three were coming from Lincoln Nebraska.
We also had a lone rider, Wayne Sander, my nieces husband – who has been on many rides with us – coming in from Phillipsburg Kansas.
Finally, there was me and my son David Nix (from Central Louisiana) that was riding from Clinton Mississippi. We were supposed to have one other, Tommy Floyd, but due to a family emergency he had to drop out at the last minute.
Day 1 – August 01, 2021
David had arrived at my house the day before (Saturday) to have dinner with us and to keep from having to travel 2.5 hours from Central, LA the morning of the trip. We packed our bikes on Saturday Night after dinner so that all we would have to do the next morning was get on them and ride. We arose at 5:30 AM with the idea of being on the road by 7:00.
We actually pulled out of my garage with loaded bikes at 6:45 AM on August 1st.
We traveled 431 miles from my home in Clinton, MS to the home we rented for a week in Eureka Springs, AR. The route we took is below:
David developed this map for us to provide for Gas and Food Stops every 100 to 125 miles. I was thinking like most trips my Butt would get real numb after about 100 miles … but surprisingly that did not happen on the new Can Am Spyder with the most comfortable seat I’ve ever straddled. Not once in the entire trip did I feel the uncomfortable numbness in my posterior.
We arrived at the property above at about 4:30 PM after being on the road for almost 10 full hours. Now the guys from Lincoln had about 20 more miles to travel than we did (based on the map I looked at) and they left at 6:30 AM. However, they got to house a full hour before my son and I. How is that possible?
Well, I guess it is because my younger brother Ed (Fast Eddie) was leading those guys. He claims “They call me Fast cause I’m never Last and they call me Eddie cause I’m always ready.” Or, something like that. The boy thinks a 50 MPH speed zone is 70 MPH and a 65 MPH speed zone is 85 MPH.
OUR FIRST TASK
The first thing we had to do after getting all the luggage off our bikes was to head to Walmart and do some grocery shopping for the week. Ed put together a list of groceries we needed and we all jumped on our bikes and rode 12 miles to the nearest Walmart. I stayed outside to guard the bikes and helmets (for those who chose to wear them since Arkansas is a non helmet state) and the other five went in the store to shop.
$210 and 25 minutes later they were outside and we were stuffing groceries into motorcycle trunks, saddle bags and luggage racks to head back to the house 12 miles down the road. Now I wonder, if we’d taken women with us — how many could actually be in and out of Walmart in 25 minutes or less with $210 worth of groceries? Not many I would suspect.
The last task of the night was to go to the home we were renting, have dinner and relax. Many watched the Olympics on TV – after David got the TV working for the older guys. It was a simple matter of “Plugging it in.”
However, he did hook up the Google Chromecast he always travels with so that we could have a choice of movies from multiple outlets … but this first night … the Olympics won out. Personally, I stopped watching the Olympics years ago when America decided it was OKAY to allow professional athletes to play basketball and golf. I still think it should be an amateur’s event regardless of what other countries are doing. I was also dissatisfied this year when so many American Athletes decided it was right to take a knee or turn away from the Flag during the National Anthem when America won medals. In my opinion the International Olympic Committee needs a complete overhaul, but that’s a story for another time.
Day 2 – August 02, 2021
I woke up to the smell of Bacon Frying. It always wakes me up. Ed was cooking up a storm by the time I got my shower and entered the Kitchen. He had a plate full of Bacon, a plate full of Sausage, a Bowl full of Scrambled Eggs and probably 25 pancakes on a plate. I guess he thought he was cooking for the US Army or something. There was a lot left over that carried over to the next day.
This is the day we were supposed to take a 136 Mile Ride known as the Harrison to Eureka Springs Back Roads. This is what the ride should have looked like:
Our starting point was the red circle.
Ed Nix (Fast Eddie) likes to lead on these rides and asked me which way we should turn on Hwy 62 out of the drive. I told him left without checking the map and this is ultimately the ride we took:
Now while these look close to the same, they aren’t. The run we took above was only 69 miles. We made it all the way to the Pig Trail Harley Davidson shop before we determined we were going the wrong way. I told you it was an adventure! Since people tend to name rides they develop we decided to call this one the “Fast Eddie Run.”
In any event this is our little group the morning of the ride:
Fast Eddie was taking the picture … but we didn’t want to leave him out … so here he is getting ready to lead us in the wrong direction …
After we got back from our ride, we decided to “hang out at the pool for awhile” before we ate dinner at the pool.
He was in five feet of water and since he only stands about 5’4″ we thought it best that he set on the kids toy so he would not drown.
After splashing in the pool and drying off, Charles Williams prepared a meal of Hamburgers and Hot Dogs for us to chow down on.
After dinner at the pool we all went back to the house. Some went upstairs to watch the Olympics while my son, David, my brother, Ed, and I decided to play pool in the lower part of the house. The pool table was not great – lousy bumpers – but it was fun anyhow. I came up the big loser. Ed beat me about 5 games to 2. David beat Ed about 2 games to zip. I beat David about 2 games to 1 (rather he beat himself by scratching on the 8 ball due to lousy bumpers) then we played Cut Throat – I at least won that one.
Then it was TIME FOR BED. Six O’clock tends to come early for me.
Day 3 – August 03, 2021
We had something planned for the evening of this day – The Dinner Train Ride – which I will get into with photo’s later.
Again we all set down for breakfast (mostly left overs from the day before) at about 6:30. Nothing wrong with reheating food and eating it again. Actually I think the pancakes was the only thing left over and all they needed was a little microwave time.
Then it was time for another motorcycle ride. This time we actually did the Back Roads Ride (see Fig. 6 above). While it was only 136 miles, it did take more time than usual to complete it because of the sweeping curves we had to navigate while going up and down hills. There is nothing like riding a motorcycle on country roads in and out of the sunshine, plains and forests. While you see the scenery in a car – on a motorcycle your part of the scenery. You feel the temperature change, you feel the wind, you feel the rain (if there is any … we got lucky) you smell the smells and you even taste the bugs if you don’t keep your mouth shut. In other words, you are using all your senses.
We got back to the house about lunch time and grabbed a sandwich. Some went for a swim (well Charles did).
Ed, Chris and Wayne went for another motorcycle ride. David had a tummy ache so he went for a nap while I checked on mine and Ed’s investments.
Before long it was time to leave for the Dinner Train which left from a depot in downtown Eureka Springs. Check out the photo’s below:
There were three basic meals served … Prime Rib, Rainbow Trout Almandine, and Chicken Primavera with White Sauce. Charles had the Chicken. Ed, Jerry, Chris and Tommy had the Rainbow Trout while David and Wayne had the Prime rib. I do not have a picture of the Chicken Primavera … but here’s what the other two looked like:
Of course the meal would not be the meal it was if not preceded by a nice Soup and Salad and topped off with Baked Alaskan …
If you ever get a chance to go to Eureka Springs, I highly recommend the Dinner Train. The total cost per meal was $30.50 not including the tip and the meal and service was OUTSTANDING. I will do it again next time I am up that way.
From there we returned home with full bellies and socialized a little before hitting the sack.
Day 4 – August 04, 2021
This is the day we had planned to Ride the Pig Trail … and most of us did … some of us only rode about half of it. Like I said … it’s an adventure!
If your following maps on Google you will get different routes as to the Pig Trail. The real Pig Trail is Arkansas Hwy 23 from Eureka Springs to White Oak and Back again. However, Pig Trail Harley Davidson of Rogers Arkansas extended it so that riders would have to pass their motorcycle shop. The extended version loops almost around the state from north to south Arkansas and is over 200 miles in length. Here is what it would look like on GPS or Google Maps:
Many sections of this route is very curvy and treacherous with speed limits from 55 MPH to 10 MPH around some of the curves. It’s a great Motorcycle Road to experience.
I told you this was an adventure. Let me go back to day one for a moment. On our way up I was following my son, David, and noticed his rear tire seemed low. He carries a Ryobi Electronic Air Pump in his saddle bag so while we were stopped for gas he checked it. Sure enough it only had about 25 pounds of pressure in it and it requires 41 pounds when the bike is loaded down. He put air in the tire and we thought nothing more of it. Motorcycle tires do tend to lose pressure after they set dormant for awhile and his had set about two weeks before the trip.
A highly experienced motorcyclist can generally tell when a tire is low by how the bike handles in curves. We were not in many curves on the first day up to Eureka Springs, but on this day we were. Something just did not feel right to David.
We pulled up at the Ozark Scenic Overlook to grab a few photos and to simply take a riding break. Here’s some of the photo’s from that stop:
Actually the rest of us found a bush as well … that’s a natural thing for “Old Men” and probably another good reason we travel only with Men and not Men and Women.
You will notice in these photo’s that many of us had on jackets or at least long-sleeve shirts. That is because when we left this morning it was about 68 degrees … and in the woods on a motorcycle at 60 MPH or faster … 68 degrees is a little chilly. By 10:00 AM we were back to T-shirts. Bikers must layer their clothing.
After about a 25 minute break here we decided to get on the road again … but first David needed to check his back tire. Something just did not feel right, as I said earlier. He put the gauge on it and only had 11 pounds of pressure – even though looking at it, it seemed fine.
We checked and this is what we found (in the white circle):
Now I don’t know how much you know about Motorcycle Riding but I’m sure you will understand this. The one thing you don’t want to have happen while riding on straight, (let-a-lone curvy) roads, is to have a blow out in either tire. It could really mess up you whole day. When that steal rim hits pavement … it could be all over by the crying … depending on your speed and ability, of course.
David aired up the tire, got on the phone and found a motorcycle shop that had his tire in stock, fortunately. I was amazed he even had a cell-phone signal out where we were at since my XM radio had been in and out all morning. But he did … and the nearest shop that could assist was about 60 miles away in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
I decided to go with him and let the other guys meet up with us later since the Pig Trail was going to take them the long way to Fayetteville. As the map below shows … we turned around and headed for Freedom Power Sports in Fayetteville:
We were at the Motorcycle shop for a couple of hours when the rest of the group caught up with us. From there we headed to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Springdale for a late lunch before taking a short-cut back to Eureka Springs. Notice we did not go through Rogers and past the Pig Trail Harley Dealership.
David had his new tire and now could finish the trip with a feeling of peace. We got back to the rent house at about 3:40 PM and most of the guys had gone about 215 miles compared to the 147 that David and I did. We had left the house that morning at about 8:00 AM. It took a total of 7 hours and 40- minutes to cover such a small amount of road. It only took 10 hours for David and I to go twice as far as we journeyed to Eureka Springs from Clinton Mississippi. What an adventure!
We spent the rest of the day swimming, socializing and watching TV. The movie we watched on this day was Nobody and you can watch the trailer by clicking on the link. Of course, most old men will go for the Action Packed Thrillers most any day.
Day 5 – August 05, 2021
We started this day about 9:00 AM with a trip to Urbanette, AR and Cosmic Cavern.
Round trip was only 52.5 miles (Which did include a trip to Old Town Eureka Springs later that afternoon).
I found Cosmic Cavern to be a very interesting cave. The owner (now in his 70’s) only paid $66,000 for the cave when he purchased it several years ago. I found the cave to be very hard for “old people” to go through. Going down the steps some 100+ feet into the cave was treacherous … coming back out almost killed me. I didn’t think I’d ever make it up those steps. Not a great idea for a man with COPD … but I am glad I did it anyhow.
All in all, this was an excellent tour that took about an hour and a half. I would recommend it to anyone that is in pretty good physical condition.
We got back home before noon. Then Ed, Me and Wayne decided to ride downtown (old town) and look around. I wanted to by some souvenirs for my wife (as I always try to do on these trips).
I found Old Town Eureka Springs to be a very interesting place:
As you can see, the streets are lined with gift shops and restaurants. It is also built on hills which means walking downhill is fine … but coming back uphill for an old man that has problem breathing is not fun. I enjoyed it anyhow though.
Yes, Ed bought this on one of his many trips downtown and was continuously trying to get Charley to “play with his nut sack.” Men will be men – I guess!
We left the village after I was able to purchase not one but three T-shirts for my wife and went home to watch a movie before going to the Ozark Mountain Hoedown! The movie we started watching before going (and finished after we got back) was The Tomorrow War that you can see the trailer to by clicking on the link. This is probably one of the best sci-fi flicks I’ve watched. As a matter of fact this was my second time to watch it (David’s 6th I believe since he owns it).
The Ozark Mountain Hoedown was also a great show with fantastic entertainers. Mike Nichols is the owner, MC and a major star of the show as well as the guy who sells you tickets to the show. He was the comedian as well as the Elvis Impersonator. He also did other impersonations like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
The cost to get into this show was only $35 for adults and $30 for seniors. My only regret is that there were only about 35 in attendance on the night we went … so at an average of say $32.50 per person the show only took in $1,137.50 which probably barely covered the entertainers salary. This show – like most – have been hit hard by Covid and it will take them some time to recover … if they recover. Many of the same kinds of shows across the country have gone belly up to never recover.
I highly recommend Mike Nichols and his show if you get up that way. You will laugh till you cry, I’m sure. I’m also sure that the bigger the crowd they are playing too, the better the show will be.
We left that show and went home to finish “The Tomorrow War” before turning in for the night. We had just finished a full day.
Day 6 – August 06, 2021
We decided to take it kind of easy on this day and hang around the house most of the day since we had a big ride we were facing to go back home tomorrow.
However, we did have one final plan for the evening. We were going to go, and did go, to The Great Passion Play. This passage below is from their website:
Since 1968, The Great Passion Play has amazed nearly 8 million visitors from across the world at this amazing amphitheater attraction! Behold as scripture comes alive in a three-story-high outdoor amphitheater the size of two football fields, setting the story of Jesus’ life to a huge stage during this Passion Play Eureka Springs production. Watch in awe and reverence as Jesus gains a following before being betrayed by Judas. Grieve as Jesus gives up his life for your sins as he is crucified on the cross, and rejoice when he arises from the tomb in his holy resurrection. You can witness the story of Jesus Christ as he experiences life, performs many miracles, and spreads the word of God. A great experience for the entire family, this heartwarming play is one you must see!
Explore the culture, history, and people of ancient Middle East in the time in which Jesus was raised on this outstanding bus tour. Visit replicas of biblical scenes including the room where the Last Supper took place, and a full-sized replica of the Tabernacle. Encounter characters roaming around and hear true dialogue from the times of Moses to Christ just as if you were currently living in Biblical times. You can pet the live animals in the petting zoo, walk down the trail to the various landmarks, and interact with the exhibits. You can also walk or be shuttled to the Christ of the Ozarks: a 1500-foot statue nestled between the gorgeous Ozark mountains. This outdoor drama allows visitors of all ages to learn the epic drama and witness the greatest story ever told all brought to life before your eyes via talented actors and actresses, sound effects, and special lighting effects. Bear witness to the greatest Biblical story of all time; with over 150 elaborately costumed actors, and live birds and animals, this Eureka Springs play is sure to impress and dazzle the entire family.
Prior to the play and the self directed tour, we did have a full buffet meal at the property where the play was to be performed. The food was Okay. Not the best … but hundreds (if not few thousand) were served. And you could not beat the price of $11.50 per person.
To get the full benefit of the show one must stay seated and watch the entire thing. It is amazing. It takes the period from Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead to the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. Prior to the show there are many sites to see on the 640 acre tracked of land. We did not pay to take any of the tours but saw many things on our own. Here’s just a few photos:
Christ actually rose to above the treetops before the spot light went out and we could no longer see him. Where the guy who played the part ultimately got off the apparatus that lifted him up I have no idea since the area he left remained lit up.
This was probably the most incredible time we had on the entire adventure this year. It will me remembered by me and everyone else for years to come.
Since the show started at 8:30 PM and did not end till 10:15 PM … we did not get back to the rent house until after 10:30 and we planned to leave for home early the next day. We packed most of our stuff before going to the play so that all we had to do the next day was pack miscellaneous items.
Day 7 – August 07, 2021
Up early (5:00 AM for me) and putting bags on the bikes. We all planned to leave not later than 6:30 AM to head to our respective homes.
As the above picture shows … David has his Kawasaki ready to roll much earlier than many of us. He needed to get back home and get to work while many of us others (at least three) were retired and did not have to worry about work. the older ones who were not retired were surely not concerned with work.
I would imagine this is the route the boys from Lincoln took to get back home since it appears to be the fastest route. I know that Charles spent some time in Kansas city with a family member. Ed and Chris both made it home before I did, and we all left at the same time.
I think Wayne may have gone home this way. I heard he rode much of the way with Ed, Charles, and Chris. I do know that as soon as he got home he trailered his bike in his toy hauler, loaded up his wife and took off the same afternoon for the Bike Rally in Sturgis, SD. Since his retirement he seems to live on his bike.
My son, David turned off I-20 onto US 61 South when we got to Vicksburg and rode the remainder of his ride home alone (as did I).
I arrived at home at 3:20 so clearly we made it home faster than we made it there on Day 1. David arrived at his home about two hours after I did … and the guys from Lincoln, Nebraska again beat me by about an hour.
This years Nix Brothers Annual Motorcycle Adventure has come to a close. You can view some of the rides we took on this Video made by my son: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YaHBpQ3ZV4. It is one for the history books and now I am looking forward to the 2022 adventure. Who knows … it MAY BE a dude ranch in Tombstone, Arizona where we give up the Bikes for a week of Horseback.
I could think of no better way to close this than with this Bikers Prayer I found on the internet today: