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I must travel to Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday for a program review. (I will not try to explain that, it’s just part of “whatever it is we do”…) We finish up at lunch on Thursday so I plan on taking Friday off and continuing the trip up to Nixa, Missouri to visit an Aunt and Uncle I have not seen in a long time. I managed to get the okay to take my personal vehicle so of course that means the bike. (Don’t tell them.) The weather looks pretty good except for a little rain going and coming. I am looking forward to riding through the hills and curves of the Ozarks. The hard part will be leaving the bike at their office from Monday to Wednesday while we go on a site tour to Hot Springs and Russellville. Which is a real shame as I've been on those roads before, just not on a motorcycle. My Uncle can’t get off work Friday but that’s okay as my Aunt is expecting a ride. This is the Uncle that gave me my first ride on a bike (I was about 10) but he doesn’t have one now. The camera will be handy and I will be sure to show y’all what the area looks like.

Any tips for great places to ride 100 miles or so from Springfield, MO will be appreciated.
 

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Glad your getting to take the Wing. I always wanted to take mine when I went to our offices in NJ, but traffic on interstate 80 was not conducive to travel on a bike. I did take a trip to visit friends in Northfield, IL after I retired and took the Wing then. That was a great trip. Ride safe and enjoy your visit with family..
 

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Up with the sun, gone with the wind…..Left the house before sunrise and it sure was a gloomy morning. But the last of the rain had passed to the east as I was getting ready to go. Temperatures started out at 50 but quickly dropped to the mid 40’s and the wind was fairly strong and gusty. I took the quickest route so as to avoid distractions and thus making myself late for my meeting. It was a good day on the bike and I arrived in Little Rock with plenty of time to catch lunch before meeting with the Arkansas Forestry Commission for the review.

Pictures are of the new Mississippi River bridge at Hwy 82, taking down the old bridge, and a stop at the rest stop in Arkansas. Like I said it was a gloomy day, but the sun came out in the afternoon and was very nice day.
 

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glad you missed the rain, that first pic doesn't look good
 

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Since I’m helping spend some of our tax dollars I thought that I would add some information and visuals of why I’m here.

The review I am doing is to look at the grant money the Arkansas Forestry Commission receives and how well they achieve results with that money. I can say that they are putting our tax dollars to wise and beneficial use. They do a lot to help volunteer fire departments obtain and fix up excess federal property to use to protect their districts. Some of these are fire boats to use on the many large lakes they have. They have many projects that help communities to keep themselves safe from wildfires. They also have a great small air tanker contract that they hire to help with keeping wildfires small and protecting the public and resources. (You don’t hear about large wildfires in Arkansas on the news do you?) From what I’ve seen this is a very professional organization and they are being wise stewards of federal and state tax money.

Some pictures;
1. The Joplin FD large fire boat. 2. Joplin FD station and equipment, all of this is federal excess property that has been fixed up to meet their needs. 3. A fuel reduction project in Hot Springs, this is right behind the downtown business district and until the brush was cut, piled, and burned it was a very great danger to the buildings if a fire would have occurred. The brushy area is what the whole place looked like, this was too steep to put people in there so was left. The Fire Department had no way to get behind these buildings. So if it was loaded up with fuel and caught fire they would have had no way to keep the buildings from catching fire. 4. One of their contract air tankers, these are designated SEATS (single engine air tanker) and are converted crop dusters. They do a very good job helping to keep fires small when used properly.
 

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I am "honored" by the recognition chopin, I really wish I could full fill the obligation. As I write this, I am in Des Moines IA for work, no not on the bike, though I did consider it, weather shows the possibility of some snow, besides, the trailer is at the painter. I do take every opportunity to ride to work, from and around the KC area, I will ride to Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, St. Louis, St Joseph, Wichita, Des Moines and then there is some "other" riding during off time. May get to ride to Columbus OH in May, looking forward to that one. The down side is theres not much room for play on those work trips, gotta get work done and then head for home to take care of things there so I can try and get some of the "other" in. Even though there isn't much playtime on the work rides, it's time in the saddle, just me the Wing and the road, and I don't answer the phone! :cool: Take care.
 

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My daughter is a volunteer fire fighter and crownfire is right about brush fires. We have quite a few around her in the summer and late fall and they can be very tricky to fight and dangerous if not contained. Her fire company has a 5 ton US Army truck that they use as a tanker/brush truck. Many times brush fires are hard to get to and gear has to be carried to the scene.
 

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More Federal tax dollars going up in smoke. In your case it's worth it Smokey.
Thank you.

Charlie, tell your daughter thank you for her , to be safe, and keep LCES in her mind all the time. If she isn't sure what that is have her email me. I help with VFD's all the time and they are a truely set of great Americans.
 

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Good on ya Crownfire. That plane in the picture looks like an Ag-Truck or an Ag-Tractor.
 

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Good on ya Crownfire. That plane in the picture looks like an Ag-Truck or an Ag-Tractor.
That's them, they call them an air-tractor down here. They can be loaded up with 800 gallons or water or retardent and have the capabilities to inject foam into the tank if they are just using water. This is just a soap solution that makes the water flow on the fuels and not just run off. I've seen big air tankers and helicopters on fires but have yet to see one of these making drops.
 

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I got out of the meeting at 11:00 today and headed north on Hwy 65 toward Nixa, Missouri. It started out pleasant but the clouds moved in and the rain started shortly after lunch. The rain gear worked fine as the temperatures dropped from the low 50’s to the low 40’s. Despite the rain it was a nice ride. The redbud and wild plums are blooming and the road was coming up to meet me just fine. It was a light rain and continued until I left 65 on Hwy 160 just north of Branson, MO. That is a great piece of road for a bike. It curves one way then the other for the first nine miles until it hits Hwy 13 and turns north. This adds the first new state this year as it is the first time I’ve ridden in Missouri. A good day.

Pictures; sorry didn't stop to take many due to the rain and it what I took didn't turn out too well. The first is one of the redbuds blooming and the second is the Buffalo River just off Hwy 65.
 

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A bit of trivia on the Redbud tree. It is also known as the " Judas " tree as a reference to a tree that " dies a thousand deaths ". I have a thirty year old one in the back yard that I have for years wanted to put out of it's misery. If it wasn't for Mz. Vickie and those purple buds it would have been in the fireplace a long time ago. On the plus side, the weather you encountered kept the fire potential risk in the Low.
 

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Took my Aunt Marcia for a ride today down to Branson and the School of the Ozarks. She hasn't been on a bike in many years. The rain ended last night and while it was still cloudy and gloomy this morning the front was pushing through. The sun came out about the time we left and it actually got warm over the next few hours. We had nice ride back down Hwy 160 then in the back way on Hwy 13 and 76 to go through Branson. I swear I saw King Kong climbing the Empire State building, but we didn't stop. We went on down to the School of the Ozarks where her two boys went to college and had a very good lunch. She enjoyed her ride and we had a good day.
 

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Nice pics Mark. looks like you had a good trip even with a little rain. Funny how in a car it's just another rainy day but on the Wing we can say, " Despite the rain, it was a nice ride." :)
 

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My wife strictly forbids any person of the female gender besides herself in the passenger seat of her Goldwing, no ifs, ands, or buts. Your wife is obviously a very progressive lady.
 

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Thanks for the trip and photos. I have been in 3 bush fires in two states. It hard to know just where the fire is and how much danger you are in. The one in Victoria we just got the heck out of there. Be good to have you for a season. Eric
 

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My wife strictly forbids any person of the female gender besides herself in the passenger seat of her Goldwing, no ifs, ands, or buts. Your wife is obviously a very progressive lady.
This is my Aunt, which should be an exception. But, yes I have an understanding and wonderful wife.
 

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To continue the trip: Didn’t ride the bike on Saturday but did spend the day with my Uncle. We visited Wilson’s Creek, an 1861 Civil War Battlefield. After that we went to Grizzle store to look at woodworking tools. Good thing I was on the bike or I would have been taking a planer home.

Picture of my Uncle and I at Wilson's Creek. Look at those grey beards, think we're related?
 

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