We made one quick stop at Powhatan Historic State Park for a brief rest and photos. Located along the Black River, the area served as an important river port for Northeast Arkansas in the 1800s. High atop a hill, the Powhatan Courthouse (rebuilt in 1888 after the original burned 12 years prior) looks down upon the park and its few remaining structures, the Ficklin-Imoden House, the Telephone Exchange building, the town well, and what’s left of the 382-foot suspension bridge that was built in 1926.
After stretching our legs we continued on our way and eventually made it to the BW Hillside Inn in Clinton. The Hillside BW is pretty much the basic property, not extravagant in its décor, but still very clean and hospitable. While the amenities are pretty standard, it had cozy rooms, free wifi, nice bedding, and a very small complimentary breakfast area in the confines of the lobby. One of the nicest things about the Hillside Inn BW is that it’s located on the side of a hill (duh) and as you relax on the pool deck, you can admire the area below. The pool deck became an impromptu lounge area as we sipped on beers and admired the local insects. An important note to remember is that Clinton is a dry town, so if you like to enjoy a cold beer after your ride or have a whiskey shot to chase down dinner, you better pack in the booze from somewhere else. Luckily our hosts had plenty of beers chilling on ice in our chase van.
The next morning we loaded up and began making our way toward the capitol, Little Rock, Arkansas. Once again we preferred a leisure ride through the rolling hills and country roads as opposed to the mundane and fast pace of the interstate. In fact instead of taking the direct route straight to Little Rock, we made a large loop skirting the east side of the Ouachita National Forest. Lined by magnificent trees, and riding near several lakes and rivers, the cool air from the forest and waterways provided a big relief to the soaring temps. After circling a small section of the forest we bee-lined it to BW Premier Governor’s Suites in Little Rock. Upon our arrival we were greeted by some members of the local HOG Chapter, representatives from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as George Newcomb and Jim Luchsinger from Landers Harley-Davidson. It was quite the reception after a long day in the saddle with plenty of libations and hors d’oeuvres. We felt like royalty.
Actually even without the reception it’s easy to feel like royalty at the BW Governors Suite. As a Premiere property this was by far beyond any expectations I would have imagined. Before even getting to your room you’re greeted by a beautiful entry that leads in to a huge, open sunlit atrium courtyard area surround by lush plants, plush leather couches, and contemporary décor. The suites themselves are incredible; spacious and luxurious, the rooms are more than 450 square feet in size and come with amenities such as a refrigerator, microwave, lounge area, and iPod docking station all surrounded by exquisite décor. But the crème de le crème of this property is Vesuvio Bistro; a four-star restaurant offering traditional Italian dishes as well as chef Rosario Patti’s delicious twists on Mediterranean classics. I love a good rib eye and I would venture to say Vesuvio had one of the best rib eyes I’ve ever tasted. My stomach is grumbling right now just thinking about it.
Bright and early the next morning I had to make a mad dash to Landers H-D in Little Rock to get a minor repair done to the bike I was riding. Luckily George and Jim had arranged for a tech to get there before the shop opened so that it wouldn’t delay our departure time. After spending some time with John the service tech as he fixed my bike, the group met me at the dealership and we blasted our way back to Bumpus with little time to spare before the majority of our flights departed for home.
While the trip was a little too short and I didn’t get to do as much exploring as I would have liked to, it was fun and I got to see some amazing scenery, ride some new roads, meet new people, and stay in well-appointed hotels. I can’t ask for much more than that.