Day two of the ride, from Fort Smith to Russelleville, started out cool and overcast , but the sun soon came out of the clouds and warmed things up. The days route was through open country and rolling hills. There were several large herds of cattle that provided an audience for the passing riders. Today we saw more birds than yesterday; there were Turkey Vultures, Egrets, Speckled Grouse, and Canada Geese. Probably the prettiest sight of the day was a Great Blue Heron that took off as some riders crossed Lake Dardenelle, its wing-tips gracing the water as it flew low across the lake toward the trees on the distant shore.
Lunch was a welcome break. The riders enjoyed grilled chicken and a wealth of side items to fuel them the rest of the way. The conversations about headwind and long stretches of uphill road were broken when a police officer arrived on the scene. Fortunately, he was only wanting to know what the green arrows, that guide the riders on the route, were for. He then took one of the riders to his car and patted him down, finding an illicit Power Bar. The other riders decided not to press charges for the possession of contraband, so we all took off toward our final destination.
The closer we got to Russelleville, the more people seemed to know we were coming. Drivers were honking and waving as they passed and one hunter took a break from his hunting to talk to a rider about the National Bike Ride for the Family. The longest climb of the day was only about six miles from the endpoint and treated the riders to a beautiful view of the valley below. As we entered Russelleville, one of the riders from the Georgia ride, and her family, was waiting by the road to cheer us on our way. A couple of the first riders to make it to the hotel decided that they would try to make a century (100 miles in a single day) so they headed back down the route to find the end of the group. It didn’t take as long to find the rest of the group as expected, and daylight was running low, so they only made it to 89.87 miles. The rest of the riders put in 80.34 miles today. This brings the total miles for the trip to 151.30 miles for the majority of the group and 160.83 for the other two riders.
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