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We woke up to a knock at the door, checkout time. We were so tired from the long day yesterday we had slept right in to thebbroad daylight of late morning. We packed up the bikes while they cleaned the room, evicted. After a quick Waffle House stop – hash browns peppered, diced and smothered – we are back into the forest.

Another day of perfect earth roads through the woods. We tick off the miles. The digital maps Samantha made in Google Earth from Corerro’s paper maps are excellent. We just hum along. At each intersection a quick glance at the GPS and we don’t even slow down. We haven’t loaded a roll chart in days. We also find the iPhone maps very useful for whenever we venture off the Trans America Trail (TAT). We also use a camping “app” called “camp and tent” that helps us find great spots with the exception of last nights mud hole.

One mile turns into another. I am learning how to corner a loaded dirt bike on loose dirt. Refining my technique on each turn. The bike is like a horse. Like cattleman we are riding and camping our way across America, except our horses ain’t got no sense. The motorcycle is always pushing to go faster. The top of each gear begs for the next. But unlike a horse it will run itself straight into a tree or off a cliff or into the back of Samantha’s motorcycle. It is completely indifferent to its own fate. And so it’s up to me to reign it in and reign it in I do. I find no thrill in speed for speeds sake. Give me a winding switchback and second gear and I’m happy for the challenge but anything over 40 makes me question just how hard I want to T bone a deer. And deer there are a plenty. We learn that where there is one, there are several. We come up with a hand sign to signal each other. We see little spotted fawns and leaping bucks. These animals are incredible and can leap into flight with a grace that is inspiring, but much like the motorcycle they have no sense. They will run directly into our path and even hit us from the side. So speed is not wise in the deer infested Ozarks.

Oh the Ozarks. Little mountain cabins with rusted, tumbledown roofs and plank piney porches. And everywhere the mountains. We ride ridge lines with empty forested valleys spilling off in every direction. We ride spots of light through playful sugar maples and stately oaks, elms and ivys. The forest is home. When we finally roll into our camp on the bank of the Mnt River and pitch our little nylon house on the good earth it feels like home. We are glad to be deep in the wilds and away from the Economy Inn’s and Waffle Houses of the world. The wilds have always felt more civilized to me.

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