Sunday morning early, 6:45 to be exact, I met with Julie Tolleson, Beth Woodcock, and Carol & Jim Gattis for a breakfast ride to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Julie, Beth, Carol and I are all members of the Chrome Divas of the Ozarks.  We met at the gas station on the corner of Hwys 45 & 265 to gas up before taking off.  The morning was cool (a relief given recent temperatures) and the sunrise was beautiful.  Julie road Lead and I was the Tailgunner.  Our route was out Hwy 45 (east) to Hwy 412 (east) to Hwy 23 (east) and up to Hwy 23 (north) to Eureka.  There was very little traffic and Julie set a nice and easy, early morning, relaxing pace.  We encountered one car, eager to pass, but other than that we had the roads pretty much to ourselves—except for the dogs.  Where the heck did all those dogs come from?  They certainly were up early.  Sheesh!  Fortunately, even though a couple of them looked like they were going to make a run at us, none of them did.

Our ride was peaceful and afforded the time for a real appreciation of the beauty of the place in which we live.  I was reminded of the hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth, the first two verses of which are:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:

Refrain:
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light: (Refrain)

I could hear it in my head at as we rode.

 

As we were heading north on Hwy 23 we spotted two small deer on the opposite side of the road.  They waited until we passed to continue their journey, thank goodness. Associate Dean Jim Miller has been warning me about the increased in deer-bike encounters.  I’ve promised him to be careful and I thought of him as we rolled past them. We arrived in Eureka Springs before too long and pulled into the Best Western Hotel which had received good web reviews for its breakfast buffet.  There were a few other bikes there and as we were seated the room began to fill up. While we waited for our breakfast we shared riding stories with each other about where we were from, the events of the day, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Now I know this will come as a shock, but when my breakfast arrived at the table, it was huge.  I’d ordered a waffle, sausage and one egg.  If I did get a single egg, it was from an ostrich.  The waitress who was pretty quick said, “I said he was a good cook, I didn’t say he could count.”  Once everyone had eaten and was ready to roll we pulled rolled out (to an audience of incredulous guys—ha!).  On the way back we headed down Hwy 62.  Now, I have to say that of the two routes, I prefer 23, because it’s an easier ride.  62 is pretty windy with some tight curves.  To me it’s like “Pigtrail light.”  For those who are unfamiliar with the Pigtrail it is Hwy 23 from Hwy 16 to Turner Bend.  It’s been described as “Hair raising hairpin turns, switchbacks, curves, curves, hills, curves and more curves! Not for the faint of heart” on The Best Guides to Motorcycle Roads & Rides.  I think you get the drift.

Everyone took their time in the curves which meant we had to pull over a couple of times to let the cars go by, but it was fine.  I guess the thing is, on 23, I can actually enjoy the scenery, but on 62 I’m much more focused on my ride.  We made a stop just outside of Rogers, at a place that looked like a combination, convenience store, grain mill and gas station called Anderson’s.  Truthfully, I’m not sure what bussiness it is. It dows have gas pumps with super, though.  One thing was for sure, from the reports of those who went inside, the woman behind the counter was not too happy to see our group. 

We took 62 to 71B and caught seemingly every darn traffic light.  Because it was now pretty hot outside that was not much fun.  Eventually we got our timing right, and rolled to Lowell where we took the shortcut to Hwy 265.  It’s good to get out of all the traffic on 71B, and the shortcut rolls past fields.  The speed limit is low, but there’s very little traffic and it’s a nicer ride than looking at all the businesses on 71B.  Once we got into Fayetteville, Julie and Beth continued on 265, and I turned off to go to church.  I usually don’t go to church in motorcycle gear, but it was too close to the time for service to change and drive back.  

Me, Carol, Jim, Beth & Julie

You know how sometimes you do the right thing despite yourself? , I’d been debating whether or not to go.  After all, I was pretty hot and sweaty (and I wasn’t real comfortable showing up in a Harley tank top & jeans).  But once I was there I knew it was important to be there.  The texts were two of my favorites.  The Epistle lesson was based on Romans 8, and verses 31-39 are my comfort verses.  The Gospel was on the parable of the mustard seed, another favorite.  In fact, my Aunt Ethel once gave me a pin with a mustard seed in it. It is a quiet reminder of how such a small seed can grow a big bush.  One of her many admonitions to me was to have “faith like a mustard seed.”  So, when I saw the lessons for the day, I knew I was supposed to be there. 

Pastor Clint scrapped his planned sermon and talked about the victims of the Oslo incidents.  He encouraged us to be thoughtful about what happened because the man who committed these horrendous acts identified himself as a conservative Christian. Pastor reminded us that we are public representative for the Christian faith so we need to talk about what happened.  What can we do? 1) Tone down the rhetoric.  Even if you don’t agree with another’s political perspective dial it back in terms of the harsh, bombastic, combative language. 2) Don’t lump all conservatives together.  Not all folks with conservative views are extremists. 3) Turn to Romans for comfort in the difficult times, because it reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God, even in the midst of the chaos. There was more to it, but that is the essence of it for me, and I’m glad I was there to receive that word.

 

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