Dry roads and beautiful mountain scenery coupled with miles and miles of forested winding trails culminating in the most technical riding of the trail so far down a rocky section of single-track saw us all at a lunch stop by 11 am the next morning. We were at Oark Stores. The oldest store still trading in Arkansas. It was built in 1890 and looked as though renovations had been few and far between. The store only had poor quality petrol and we were about to move on when the owner asked us if we needed to check our Email!! Obviously there had been more modifications than first met the eye.
It was a truly remarkable place. The type of spot that you want everyone you know to visit because its such a unique experience. I would try to describe the wall signed by trappers and hunters from as long ago as 1902, (before the war of American independence!), the great food, the single track dirt road that led to it, the photos on the walls, the hand written menus on paper bags, the smell of barbeque meat oozing from the walls, but I wouldn't do a great job. You really need to visit it yourself and find a piece of the America you see on the Waltons is still alive and very much kicking.
We stayed until 1 pm eating the customary huge amounts of food and chocolate pie (its rude to refuse food this good and this cheap!) before heading off to finish the trail early and go north to Fayetteville to get Jon's bike fixed. It had been an outstanding effort, with little front suspension and no front brakes Jon had ridden a KTM 640 Adventure 170 miles off road in 4 hours.
Fayetteville's KTM dealer was the first of many we were to see on our trip. Jon's bike was destined to become the star of the show in each of them and it took a few hours of endless chat before Jon left his bike to be fixed. I took him to our motel as a pillion and can happily vouch that loading an XR400 with nearly 200kg of gear is a BAD idea, especially if you're riding down the freeway! . Air conditioning on we relaxed in our room until a taxi came to take us into town for a little more food, and a swift beer.