Today is Day 4 of our 13-day vacation. We are traveling to Eureka Springs, AR to attend the annual Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) Reunion rally. Yesterday, we met up with six VROC friends. We are riding, as a group, to the rally.
We awakened at 5:15 am, after a good night’s sleep. The eight of us had discussed meeting for breakfast at 8:00 am at the Huddle House located next to the Best Western Plus Venture Inn, our hotel accommodation for the night. That didn’t happen. Everyone ate breakfast at the hotel, which made sense as breakfast was included in our room rate.
We left Central City, KY en route Dyersburg, TN at 9:00 am, after fueling up at a Shell gas station located near the hotel.
En route Shell gas station, at 8:36 am
While at the Shell gas station, Jim A. and Jim T. consulted a map of today’s planned ride.
I think Katie looks a little bit concerned that Jim A. is helping plan today’s route.
Jim A.’s VROC nickname is “Wrong Turn” 🙂
At 10:19 am, during a rest stop, Jim A. and Jim T. took another look at the map.
Bradley, Tim and Bob look on.
About an hour later, Jim T. made a wrong turn.
The rest of us did not follow him.
We waited a few minutes for Jim T. to catch up with us.
I smile when I think of the few times today that Jim T. raised his hand in the air, making a circle with his finger. One such U-turn was made on a 4-lane highway!
A highlight of today’s trip was when we drove through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Located in western Tennessee and Kentucky, the Land Between the Lakes is the largest inland peninsula in the U.S.A. Originally created when the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers were impounded (creating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley),the Land Between the Lakes features over 170,000 acres of forested and protected public land, and over 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline. We stopped at the Golden Pond Visitor Center. While Jim T.. Bradley, Tim and Dee and Jim A. and Katie watched a 35-minute show in the Golden Pond Planetarium, Bob and I went for a drive through the Elk & Bison Prairie. We saw several bison and some turkeys. There are elk on the prairie as well, but we didn’t see any. We drove the prairie loop two times. On our second trip, bison were on the road. Bob had to slowly weave the car through the herd.
We made two more scenic stops en route Dyersburg, TN. From the Golden Pond Visitor Center we drove to Fort Donelson National Battlefield, stopping at the remains of the Great Western Furnace.
Great Western Furnace
Interpretive Signs Regarding the Great Western Furnace
Preparing to leave the Great Western Furnace
We began our tour of Fort Donelson National Battlefield at the visitor center, where we watched the orientation film Fort Donelson: Gateway to the Confederate Heartland. The film centers around a story line that draws on the lifelong friendship between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Simon B. Buckner. The film was informative, as well as engaging. From the visitor center we took a short ride through the battlefield to Fort Donelson.
Bradley at Fort Donelson
He is looking out at Lake Barkley (the historic Cumberland River).
This is what Bradley was looking at.
This is Jim T. and his son, Bradley.
Jim and Bradley have a wonderful father-son relationship.
This will be Bradley’s first trip to the Eureka Springs Reunion Rally, as it is our first.
Be sure to continue to read my blog posts about our Eureka Springs vacation. Bradley will be the recipient of a BIG surprise, while at the Reunion Rally.
We drove 286 miles today. To the best of my recollection this is the route that we followed today:
We arrived at the Hampton Inn Dyersburg at 6:45 pm. We checked in and went to dinner at Applebee’s, located near the hotel. We had a party of 15 for dinner. We met up with Jason and his girlfriend Traci, Toby, Bill and Carolyn and Butch and Theresa. We now have riders from Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky. All 15 of us (8 motorcycles, one car and one truck) will be riding together to the VROC Reunion Rally in Eureka Springs tomorrow.