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John F. Kennedy Overlook and Memorial

Originally Published in my column for RoadRUNNER Magazine on: 5/15/2014

Waking up in a giant overpriced room with no view of the water was not in my plans. But then again the rain pouring down outside provides plenty of water, so I guess I should be grateful. In a way, waking up to more rain is like greeting an old friend. A quick cup of coffee at the check-in desk is all I need to get me going before heading outside to load up the bike.

As the rain slows it is replaced by fog and I see a window to get going. I decide to detour over to see the John F. Kennedy Overlook and Memorial. Using my highly advanced reading skills I note that I am arriving only a few weeks before the 50th anniversary of the bridge’s commemoration, October 3, 1963. (A later Internet search reveals that Bill Clinton will be visiting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication. Probably best I avoided the crowds by being here now.)

As I look out over the overlook (since that’s what you do at an overlook) I cannot tell if it was worth the detour. I always like taking in historical experiences, so I can’t (shouldn’t) complain. The “views” from this point are not all that exciting, especially in the rain; but the construction is impressive. Then there’s the whole “riding a motorcycle across country, taking whatever detours strike me” so yeah, it’s worth it!

Yesterday’s rain assault could easily have been a downer, but there’s no doubt that riding in any type of weather is far better than a dry day in a cubicle. As I roll out of Heber Springs I pass through Quitman, AR. I smile at the name. With no one but myself to hear me, I shout out, “Quit man? Who me? Never!” as I roll on past. There is a cowboy church in full swing off to my left and I surmise that it must be Sunday. I wave to the many riders as they pull in, but today I prefer to commune with the road.

Trans America Trail: John F. Kennedy Overlook and Memorial
TAT: Statue of “Literby” in honor of Nya

I briefly pause to take some pictures at one of the wildest bed & breakfasts I have ever seen. My daughter, Nya, loves the “Statue of Lirterby” (her childhood way of referring to the Statue of Liberty, that we all, for no good reason, continue to use, even though she does not). Before I head back to the trail I make one more detour in search of a blue dress to bring home to her, before riding back into the woods.

All in all, today does not disappoint. I never did find that blue dress; instead it was hour after hour of trail after trail, which was just fine with me. Blocked Roads, creative crossings, and the beauty of being lost . . . and the hope that I am heading in the right direction. To some this would be boring; to others scary, and yet to others . . . pure bliss. Count me amongst the blissful!

Today’s sights included signs of inspiration, lots of detours, and even a fully stocked outdoor kitchen! Enjoy . . .





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