The next day I split from Stef and Jon to visit an old friend in the hills of Arkansas. Seven acres of beautiful forest and a home built wooden house is as close to paradise as I had seen in a while. I was made wonderfully welcome by Stacy and Inger and got to meet some new additions to Stacy's family, his son Cyrano and daughter Lila. I ate great food (not fried!!), had a few beers, and slept like a log wishing I could stay in this fantastic place longer than a single night.
Jon and I decided to move to a hotel closer to the centre of the throbbing metropolis that is Fayetteville, so about an hour before checkout at the motel we set off to retrieve Jon's bike. Normally I don't take pillion passengers on my bike at home, but circumstances dictated that today I would get my second baptism of fire, so to speak, on the trail as I had to ferry Jon on a uniquely unsuited machine back up a busy freeway to the dealership. Fortunately he wasn't phased about being my 'first' and I managed to get him there without any drama. After yet more chat with the staff (KTM's generate a lot of interest in the US), we were in business and fully mobile again.
After moving to the Radisson hotel in the middle of Fayetteville, we took the opportunity to do dull stuff like laundry and then went for a walk around the town. As ever, there were few people out and about because of the heat, so we pretty much had the streets to ourselves as we wandered around the university campus and residences, all of which were empty with it being the summer break. The university had a football stadium to rival many a premiership club in the UK and way in excess of anything you'll find in an English university.
In the evening, we went out for a Thai meal, the first to feature vegetables for nearly a week, and then on for a few beers in the many bars that line Dickson Street. Here we met a particularly drunk fellow with a neck wider than the head he had clearly been dropped on many times as a child, who was in argumentative mood and proceeded to threaten all manner of unpleasant and painful demises should we not subscribe to this religion or that political doctrine. Needless to say, we vanished as soon as his attention was diverted by some wholly disinterested women who happened to stray into his airspace. Shortly after that little episode, we decided to call it a day as there was riding to be done the following morning