My girlfriend's account of my 7-day unicycle tour....

The following is a compilation (uncensored) of my girlfriend’s daily account of
my recent unicycle tour across the state of Arkansas, USA…


At 10:45 am on Saturday, April 17, our trooper took off from his Carrington
‘palatial estate’ in the historic Orange Mound district of Memphis, Tennessee.
Don Hudgins was on the road for 3 1/2 hours (of that time he walked for an
hour). He reported that he had the usual response on the highway — People
honked and waved and he once stopped because of a funeral procession. He also
saw a bicyclist who was headed in the other direction. For a few seconds, the
two of them felt a camraderie as they rolled past each other in the rurals of
East Arkansas.

I am happy to report that his new unicycle makes wonderful time! He arrived in
Marion, Arkansas at 2:30 pm. Don arrived at the home of – Randy Carroll (owner
of R.C. Landscaping) and his wife, Glenda.

That evening, yours truly, joined all of them for a down-home dinner of
barbecued ribs, chicken, cole slaw, barbecue beans, rolls and beer. I left my
diet in Memphis and got carried away with all of the wonderful food. I felt
Don’s poking elbow and I realized that I better slow down – I did not want MY
ribs to be the next thing on the grill <g>.

We had a pleasant evening of chatting, looking at pictures and hearing Randy’s
fascinating stories about hunting and country living. As for ‘roughing it’ –
yes, Don slept under the stars – but they were ‘glow in the dark’ stars in a
luxury bedroom.

This morning, we ate a hearty breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits,
coffee and orange juice. After breakfast and a few more minutes of pleasant
conversation, Don repacked his gear. We posed for pictures and then he said his
good-byes to us as he remounted his unicycle and headed off once more on Highway
64. Don departed the Carroll’s home around 9am this morning.

He hopes to drive to mile-marker 58 tonight (The Starlite Motel) — a 50’s
style motel.

Don believes he could arrive at his grandfather’s perhaps a couple of
days early.


In our last episode, our hero, the dashing golden-haired Don Hudgins, was last
seen driving his unicycle westward toward the azure horizon – away from Randy
and Glenda’s home outside Marion, Arkansas. And, his girlfriend, Sheree, with
welled tears, sadly waved to her one-wheeled lover from her car as she headed
back towards Memphis with a bag full of frozen trout and fond memories of ‘glow
in the dark stars.’

Sheree wondered how she could possibly survive one week without Polka music. No
“Happy Wanderer – No 'Lady of Spain…Oh, my GOSH – NO TURNIP GREENS!” She
cried as she drove towards the Memphis skyline.

Meanwhile on the road, “Dashing Don” runs into “Junior” – a fellow he used to
work with, who was driving his family to church. They chatted a bit and then Don
bidded his good-byes and rolled on down Highway 64. Later, Sunday afternoon, a
sherriff’s car pulled over. The deputy walked over to Don and took off his
sunglasses. He squinted his eyes and gave him the once over and tilted his head,
“Son, have you seen a green Continental driving on this highway?”

To which Don replied in his usual respectful manner, “No sir!”

“Well, if you see one — would you please let me know?”

“Sure!” and Don flicked out his trusty cell phone.

“Good Thang! And, I highly reckermend that you be mighty careful where you roll
that wheel in this county!”

“Yes Sir!”

Further west Don bravely peddles his wheel until he decided to spend the night
at the beautiful “Starlite Motel” - Don even counted the stars on the marquee!
FOUR! A NIGHT OF LUXURY FOR SURE! (“Maybe they have glow in the dark stars?”).

He walked into the lobby and noticed a strong scent of spices and was
overwhelmed by a poster of the Taj Mahal. The desk clerk bowed his head (A ZITAR
chord) and simply said, “$28.00!”

Don pulled out his credit card and gave a sigh. If he weren’t so tired, perhaps
he could talk him down to twenty-five.

As Don and his wheel headed towards his room, a group of country ‘ladies of the
evening’ started cat calling to him. They were having a party and wanted our
hero to join them. He said, “Maybe, later” and left for a restaurant. When he
returned the same women yelled at him. One retorted, “Slap my mama — LOOK AT

Don was a good boy (as told to this reporter) and he returned to his room and
placed a chair against the door. This morning (Monday), Don left his room. He
noticed their car was still parked and the door was shut. He figured they were
still sleeping late. He figured they probably found someone – probably someone
without a wheel. How sad.

Our hero remounted his unicycle and peddled furiously into the wilds of
Arkansas. After a few hours, he grew hungry. Don stopped at a store which had a
little restaurant in the back. A star struck teenage girl widened her eyes as
she saw this handsome tanned stranger approach her. “Its YOU!” she cried.

Don, confused, turned his head and only could see a moose head staring blankly
at him. “Me?”

“YESSSSS! I saw you riding your wheel over this Missississppi!”

There were several farmers wiggling toothpicks in their mouths. A few chuckled.
One snorted, “Yup. You’re well known round these here parts.”

“Here… Have a sandwich!.. Its paid for!” the young girl gasped.

Don ate his sandwich and could feel the eyes around him. But, it was his
moment of glory in this county. “I could settle here,” he thought, “If it just
weren’t dry.”

He finished his sandwich and chips and walked outside. Everyone in the store
followed him outside. A few kids gathered around him and he entertained them by
riding to and fro here and yon. (MUSIC RISES). After a few more minutes Don had
to say good-bye.

The teenage girl stood silently as Don’s image grew smaller on Highway
64. She said quietly to herself, “Maybe one day that golden-haired stranger will
return…I’d like to fix him another sandwich…Next time with pickles!”

His legs grew darker as the sun rays beat down on his blazing hair. He noticed
another police car pull up and another cop walked up to our hero. “Did you know,
Son, that you’re BIG NEWS on our radio?”

Don’s blue eyes widened. “Really?”

“Yep…Hang on fer a few seconds.”

The policeman walked back to his squad car and pulled out a camcorder.
“OK…Give me a few runs on that thang…I’ve got to show this to the fellers at
the station.”

Don jumped on his uni-cycle, waved his arms and proudly raised his nose as he
rolled up and down the highway. The cop warned him, “Now we have a very narrow
bridge ahead. You call us when you get to that point and we will drive you over
that bridge. Heah?”


As Don approached that bridge he followed the policeman’s instructions and
another deputy showed up and drove him over the bridge. (Alright, so he cheated
a bit here.)

About 2:30 pm, on Monday afternoon, Don was making great time. Suddenly, a well
dressed old-man pulled up in a Toyota. He asked Don, “Do you make good money?..
I am a real estate agent.” and the man pulled out a huge roll of bills.

“Uhm… No thanks.” Don responded.

The old man said, “I was just concerned for you.” (As are we all!)

The old man drove away and Don ran into the same old man in Bald Knob. This time
the old man had HIS mother in the car with him. The old man stopped the car and
asked Don to show his unicycle to his mom. Don once again rode back and forth
and then waved to them as he headed westward.

Tonight, Monday night, Don is staying at the Scottish Inn and highways 64 and
367 in Bald Knob. Oh, well…too bad its a dry county.

Be sure to stay tuned next time and learn:

Will Don and his wheel find happiness where there’s ‘no shoulders’ on the road?

Will the “Starlite” girls pursue our dashing hero? (LOUDER ORGAN CHORD)

Will Sheree bash Don with frozen trout? (SHRILL ORGAN CHORD)

Stay tuned for the next episode of AS THE WHEEL TURNS…

April 21, 1999

Don wheeled yesterday from mile marker 106.3 (Bald Knob) to 136.2 (in Beebe AR).
One problem was that half of his riding yesterday was on a highway without
shoulders. He was actually on the white line and cars were pulling around him.
That idea did not make me feel comfortable.

Seems the only real shoulders he saw were smooth bronzed ones and they were
riding bicycles.

Don did see an area where about half the town was destroyed by a tornado. And,
he met yet another cross-country cyclist headed in the opposite direction.

He stopped at mile-marker 136.2 and checked into the Economy Inn in Beebe,
Arkansas. He did not ride further because it was at least another 50 miles to
the next motel.

So Don stopped at 2:15p and watched television and then took a nap. He ate a
small pizza for dinner and called me with the news (or lack thereof) late
yesterday. I then gave the daily call to his parents.

He plans to drive to mile marker 171.1 (Conway, AR) today. (A long stretch). He
plans to stay at a place known as the “Stacy Motel”… I am sure it has all the
luxury as the Starlite.

He hopes to arrive at mile-marker 221 (highways 124 and 326 – his grandfather’s
house outside Rusellville) Thursday night. I will be driving there Friday night
(I drive an unusual way – I use four wheels AND a motor). We will return to
Memphis Saturday evening and have grilled trout.

BTW – Our wheeler dealer turns 35 today. We celebrated last week by eating ribs
and chicken at the Rendezvous last Thursday night. Later, we sat for a time in
the lobby of the famous Peabody. We listened to a tuxedoed pianist play cocktail
music and pretended to be rich for about an hour.

No, we did not see the ducks. They had already paraded back up the elevator and
were resting in duck luxury.

Sorry folks – not much material and the creative juices aren’t flowing
this morning.

April 22, 1999

Don stayed at the Economy Inn in Conway Tuesday night. Once again, Don was
greeted at the front desk by an Eastern Indian gentleman. Don thought he was
having deja vu. He handed the man his credit card but no zitar chord this time.

As he headed toward his room, he heard the sounds of an occasional TV, a couple
in passion and loud voices. Unfortunately, the loud voices came from the room
which was to be his over night neighbor.

He was tired and decided not to let the voices bother him. As you know, Don is
not the type to knock on wall. He quietly endured the noise and finally drifted
to sleep. He woke at 6:00 am and the people were still talking, but it had
subsided to a few mumbles and a chuckle. So, once more he fell asleep and at
8:00 am he was awakened by wild passion.

“Hmmm.” he thought, “Took a lot of convincing!”

Don peered through the curtain and noticed a beat-up van parked outside
the room. He shrugged his shoulders and packed his gear and took off down
the highway.

Don rode through (Viola?) Arkansas. He drove past a high school and noticed all
the kids were outside the building. Don said it was eerie (considering the
Colorado incident).

Again, youngsters along the highway were cheering to him and people offered him
things. A woman who worked for “LITTLE DEBBIES” gave him a couple of free
pastries (everyone assumes he is poor and Don plays along).

The store manager approached him and said, “Everyone in here is waiting to watch
you take off on that thing.”

Don scarfed a Little Debbie and carefully placed the other one in his bag as he
headed toward the door. People followed him as if he were the Pied Piper. All
this was now old hat to him and his main concern was his poor Little Debbie in
his back pocket. He hoped she wouldn’t get smashed. (Wait – we’re in yet
another dry county.)

Once more he performed for the people and again headed down the highway.

He drove past Hendrix College and hopes to drive past The University of Arkansas
at Conway today.

Don’s motto in life is “Whenever you do anything – it should serve at least two
purposes.” Part of Don’s reason for this trip was to see some of the sights that
were a part of his mother’s life.

Last night, Don stayed at the Stacy Motel (Eastern Indian again). I talked with
him once at 5pm and again at 9. Between those two times, he changed his mind
about driving into Russellville tonight.

He is only going to mile marker 189.4 in Morrilton. At this pace, he should be
at his grandfather’s (221) by noon tomorrow.

FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 1999

Don left the Stacy Motel in Conway (171.1) around 8am yesterday. He began his
day by riding around the campus of The University of Arkansas at Conway.
Students were curious how he could ride so far on one wheel – and also, “WHY?”

Don talked briefly and smiled as he soaked up college life (once more). He
enjoyed a hearty breakfast in the diner and watched college kids as they mingled
with each other. He could feel the usual stares. He thought of his old college
days at The University of Memphis (then Memphis State). He thought how he would
have reacted in his college days at a character like he is now.

But, most importantly, he thought of his mother – although he was surrounded by
modern glass and brick structures, cold and impersonal to the tops of their
over-architectualized points, he somehow could still feel his mother’s warmth
within the balmy breezes of this Arkansas spring.

On that note, he gave a long sigh. Then he continued his journey. At one point
he had to go up hill for about five miles.

He finally arrived at Morrilton, Arkansas (190.5). He visited the Morrilton
Chamber of Commerce. They have been receiving our e-mails and told him that a
reporter may show to interview him in the morning and he could have his
picture taken.

It was recommended that if he should attempt to cross Tennessee for charity next
year, he should notify the radio and TV.

Last night (Thursday) my tumbleweed stayed at the 190.5 mile-marker SUPER 8
Motel in Morrillton. He should arrive at his grandfather’s this afternoon.

I am leaving after work – in a Mitsubishi. I hope I can take off early! Unlike
Don, my journey may take 4 hours.

We should be back in Memphis tomorrow!

Only 30 more unicycle miles to go… God bless you all…

APRIL 23, 1999

Don called me at 11:30 pm to say he was at the 204.1 (downtown Atkins) and he
told me he was at an old timey renovated train station. He said it was very
quaint with a cafe. He said he was interviewed by the Petit Jean Mountain
Headlight newspaper and they took several pictures of him. They will be using
the Press Release that we sent out.

I am about to leave work now and hit the road.

April 24, 1999

Well, folks, I know I have said good-bye twice, so credibility goes out
the window.

Don arrived at his grandfathers around 4:00pm yesterday. Don visited with his
grandfather and he was fascinated by his grandfather’s (Lester Wright) stories
of the old days. His Aunt Mary showed up later and the three of them enjoyed a
meal while waiting on yours truly, who thought she had everything under control
in her Mitsubishi on I-40.

It was growing dark and time for me to exit. I thought I would be smart and take
the further exit where there would be less ‘country miles’ for me and I had
directions from Don. Well, “King of the Road” gave me the wrong directions.
While driving all over the darkened roads, I learned about the wild life in
Russellville, Arkansas on a Friday night. Its a teen cruise town. I drove all
around Arkansas Tech and Whattaburger (3 or 4 times) and had to call their house
twice. I almost checked into a hotel, but Mr. Wright would not hear of it.

I finally arrived at his place, and our hero’s face was red. But, he managed to
heal things with a kiss. They gave me a dinner that had been waiting for me and
we listened to Mr. Wright tell us about the days when he used to teach math in
school back in the 20’s and 30’s.

This morning, I woke around 6:30 am. I thought I was the first one awake until I
walked into the den and saw the other three almost ready for lunch. Next time, I
am going to bring my personal rooster.

Mary had to leave for work. So, Don and I listened to Mr. Wright tell us about
the days when he lived in Southern Oklahoma. Mr. Wright surprised Don with a
tidbit that he worked on an oil rig when he was 17 down in Mexico. After a time,
Don and I followed Mr. Wright to his wood work shop and I bought one of his
clocks for my mother.

Don and I had to leave early because it looked like rain and Mr. Wright (94
years old) needed to work in his garden. So, we took a few pictures, loaded my
car (with the unicycle of course) and headed on the highway (again on the wrong
highway-Don is better with directions on his unicycle).

We finally reached I-40 and drove back to Memphis.

yours truly,