Image Credit: Beaver Bridge over the White River

The British Invasion of the Ozarks

Chronicles readers may recall my “Old Route 66” (September 2013) and “Keep the Water on Your Right” (February 2015) motorcycle travelogues, in which I rode through small towns and rural areas to reconnect with the land and people of America. A road trip can do this like no other kind of journey, and doing one astride a motorcycle creates an intimacy with the road absent in other vehicles. Riding a motorcycle, one is exposed to every scent in the air, whether good or ill. Every change in temperature or humidity is felt immediately. Moreover, small motorcycle tanks mean regular stops at gas stations, and even those with iron butts need breaks to shake out their limbs. This means talking with locals, getting the feel of small towns, and resting at a beautiful spot next to a stream or atop a mountain.

Our first two long-distance, multi-state rides were sponsored by the Southern California Norton Owners Club. On those trips, we SoCal riders were joined by several members of the North Texas Norton Owners Association. For the uninitiated, Norton was one of the top British motorcycles before the bike went out of production in the mid-1970s. It is one of the many British bikes from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s that riders today like to restore and ride. The Texas Norton boys thought it was time to return the favor of sponsoring a ride and decided upon a route which would take us from Texas through...

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