November 22, 2008 - Polar Bear Run to Crawfordsville AR

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Jack Reynolds likes to quote an the adage that goes, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day," but the weather forecast wasn't even half right for the drive hosted by the Triumph Marque on November 22.  The forecaster had said the temperature would hit 50 degrees, but the mercury didn't get much above the 40 mark.  So, what promised to be a leisurely search for pleasant driving roads became the BSCC's First Annual Polar Bear Run.

The twelve hardy (fool-hardy?) BSCC members gathered beneath the statue of Ramses I in front of the Pyramid were bundled in coats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, hats, and hoods struggling for warmth in the face of a biting wind and sunless sky.  Still, Jimmy & Linda Dawson were determined to show the mettle of Triumph lovers - the top was down on their TR-6!  The stalwart Triumph drivers were joined by Jaguars driven by Steve Pratt, and Charles & MaryAnne Coleman; Jim Hofer in his beautiful A/H 3000; Charlie & Carol Gemeinhardt in their MGB; Bill & Marian Cravens in their Mini; and Sharon & Jim Duke in their MGB.  In short, twelve souls and seven LBCs.

We headed south on Riverside Drive to cross the Mississippi on the  old bridge' and left I-55 onto Broadway in West Memphis.  Continuing west, we then took Hwy 147 south from Lehi, Arkansas, then Hwy 50 west near Chatfield, AR.  We followed 50 through Widener to Madison where we gained Hwy 70 west into Forest City.  At Forest City we took Hwy 284 - Crowley's Ridge Road - along a winding path north along the crest of Crowley's Ridge - the lone geologic relief to the flatness of the Delta.

The Indian Creek State Park beckoned so we stopped at the Park's Visitor Center to get warm and hear a short interactive presentation on the  Trail of Tears' and the role of the historic Military Road' in that historic blot on our national character. 

The Dawson's surrendered to sanity and the chill of growing evening by raising the top on their TR-6 on departing the Park, and we discovered the generator on Jim Hofer's Healey wasn't living up to the beauty of the car.  Still things went well as we wandered on north to Wynne, then east on Hwy 64 to Crawfordsville.  Jim's headlights had about the strength of a couple of fireflies, but we considered that to be about normal for original Lucas lamps.

We found Uncle John's Restaurant at Crawfordsville, and piled in to find a large table already set for us.  And, we found their furnace wasn't working so the restaurant had a decided chilly air - especially the metal chairs - WHOO, that was exciting!

What kind of food comes to mind when you think of a restaurant named "Uncle John's"? Burgers?  Barbeque?  Catfish?  How about Italian?  Yep, Italian.   And good home made Italian food - at quite reasonable prices, too.  Manicotti, Pasta, Spaghetti, Ravioli, etc.  Maybe it was the bracing cold of the afternoon, but everyone seemed to have a hearty appetite and savored their meal.

The Healey electrical system had about given up the ghost when we left Uncle John's, and a quick boost from Steve Pratt's XJ-S was needed to give it life.  A gas stop up the road proved a good idea because the Healey's battery just wasn't supplying enough juice to keep all six cylinders firing steadily. So Jim made a quick decision - leave the Healey there, run home for a fresh battery, and then finish the trip in the company of Bill & Marian Cravens while the rest of us headed on home.  Fortunately, there is only about 30 miles from Crawfordsville to Melody Lane, so the journey would only add about an hour to our last driving adventure of 2008.

Though it may have been chilly, and ended on a bit of a sour note, the Triumph Marque event was great fun and a welcome opportunity to unlimber our British Iron once more before winter shut the door more firmly.  And, we had a chance to add a new entry to our list of favorite restaurants - but we hope they get their heating system going soon!

One more thing about Uncle John's - be sure to see the delightful mural painted on the north wall of their  back' room - a real surprise for a seemingly unsophisticated little small town restaurant.

11/08 Polar Bear Run

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