Many people have asked me “What’s next?” after the deanship. As a result, I promised to bring back the blog to keep you posted on what I’m up to.  To begin with, however,  I have to make a confession.  Although my last official day in office was Thursday June 30th, I took that day and Friday, July 1st, off as a vacation days.  Seemed to me a good way to start the transition.  🙂 

So, what does one do on the last day to commemorate 5 years of officialdom?  Why take a ride on Bea the Blessed Harley, of course.  I should explain. Since I last shared my adventures with you via the blog, I’ve acquired a Harley Sportster.  Her name is Beatus, which in Latin means “blessed.”  However, it also unfortunately looks like ” Beat Us” which has provoked a number of intersting responses.  Needless to say when I was selecting a name I thought would convey a quiet witness, I didn’t see that (nor did my friend Steve Sheppard who helped my pick my license plate.  That’s what happens when two nerds get together to do something cool.).  But I digress as is usual. 

Back to what I did the last day of “being dean.”  My Bestie, Associate Dean Carol Gattis went for a ride on our Harleys.  Carol is no wimp.  She rides a Fat Boy which makes Bea seem like a bitty baby by comparison.  Our destination was the Roaring River State Park in Missouri which was a nice ride, but not too far given that the day was to be a hot one.  We got our start at 7:00 a.m. and headed north.  Along the way at the stop lights we visited with each other, since we hadn’t seen each other for a while.  This seemed to really annoy the guys in trucks who were behind us, but we figured that was their problem, not theirs.  Our route took us up 265 to the shortcut in Lowell, over to 71B, up to 62.  

 We stopped at the Short Stop General Store to hydrate (and for me to caffienate).  From there, we took 62 north into Missouri and turned left in Seligmann onto 37.  It’s just a short way from there to highway 112 which takes you right into the park. We rode our bikes close to the river and parked under a tree.

Roaring River is a great place to visit to put the world behind you.  There is no cellphone service and as you come over the last big hill into the park, you know you’re in a different world.  The park has a lovely trout river (you can look into the water and see the fish–my kind of fishing), and a fish hatchery.  

 You are able to walk a short path to see the origin of the river, a spring, which begins in an cave more than 220 feet deep.

 Roaring River State Park truly is a relaxing setting. Each time I’ve visited, I’ve seen a number of families fishing and making a day of it. Carol and I bought handfuls of the fish food and marveled at thee feistyness of the fish who came up to feed.  

There is also a very large park store, cabins and a lodge that serves great cheeseburgers. After looking around,  we headed to the lodge for lunch.  Now, here I have to say it wasn’t quite that simple.  The lodge is on a steep hill that cirves off 112 on a sharp right.  Not knowing what that driveway looked like our plan was that I’d ride up slowly and if it looked doable, we’d head up, if not, we’d keep going and eat somewhere else.  This was one of those times that looks were deceiving because as I rounded the corner, the drive was steep, but not at all trick.  We enjoyed the air conditining and yummy cheeseburgers as well as the chance to rehydrate again. 

 Afterwards we headed back down 62, but decided to drop in on my Mom who lives in Pea Ridge.  This meant taking an unfamiliar road, Hwy 72, west, but we were out for the day, so why the heck not?  It was a pretty ride and took us right into Hwy 94, the main street in Pea Ridge.  Mom was glad to see us, and it gave us another chance to cool down and drink water.  By this time, it was in the high 90’s, and very humid, so the break was a welcome one for Mom and for us.

After a brief visit, aware of the steadily increasing temperature we said out goodbyes and headed home, down 94.  We stopped for gas  and water in Rogers, Arkansas only to discover that my wallet was back in Pea Ridge. So, after a detour back north we were finally on our way home after a hot, but good ride-and a slightly unconventional, but totally enjoyable way to spend the last day of my deanship.