Written by Robert "Trip" Hilliard
Photography by Carla Tracy Donat and Robert Hilliard
Drone Photography by Vic Golubowsky

Vic and Katy Golubowsky have hosted an Antlers Fall Motorcycle Rally in Antlers, Oklahoma every year for the Vulcan Bagger Association (VBA) since 2008. The year 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the Fall Rally. Rather than just attend and enjoy the riding and comradery, I decided this year to write a trip report to journal the 10th anniversary rally and to look back at the last 9 years of rallys that have been held.

The Antlers Rally for 2017 was scheduled for Wednesday, October 4th and concluded Sunday, October 8th. Some arrived early and some arrived late. Some arrived from as far away as Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and North Carolina. Over 30 people attended this year's rally representing over 20 motorcycles.

2017 VBA Antlers Fall Rally Itinerary:
• Wednesday, October 4 - Arrival day to the Antlers Budget Inn and check-in
• Thursday, October 5 - Group ride through the Talimena National Scenic Byway - Lunch at Queen Wilhelmina Lodge
• Friday, October 6 - Free day - Do what you want, ride where you want - Evening Meal (BBQ) cooked by Vic and get-together
• Saturday, October 7 - Group ride to Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton, OK
• Sunday, October 8 - Departure day - Everyone travels home

Panoramic vista on Hwy 1, the Talimena Scenic Byway near Talihina, Oklahoma.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - I packed up and left the house on Wednesday, October 4th and arrived at the Antlers Budget Inn around 4pm. Almost everyone had already arrived. It was great seeing everyone again. Out of the 10 rally's held in Antlers, I have had the opportunity to attend 7 of them.

I got up early Thursday, drank coffee, ate breakfast and prepared to attend the ride on highway 1, the Talimena National Scenic Byway. We all collected at the Shell station in Antlers (something we've always done in the past) and left for the day's ride about 9:30am. The weather was flawless, sunshine and about 70 degrees. Perfect day for a ride!

We traveled up Hwy 2 from Antlers and made our way through Clayton all the way up to Talihina, Oklahoma. Once on Hwy 1, we made our way to the Panoramic vista, which is probably the best vista on Hwy 1. Once there, we took our time and enjoyed the mountains of Eastern Oklahoma. Vic broke out his drone and took some pics.

Click any pic for a much larger view

After leaving the vista, we traveled along Hwy 1 which turns into Hwy 88 in Arkansas. The entire ride is about 60 miles long from Talihina, OK to Mena, AR. The Talimena Byway features some of the best sweepers and switchbacks in the country. It's a satisfying highway that not only is challenging to ride in places, but affords an excellent view of the Ouachita mountains. In fact, Hwy 1 is a road that travels at the top of a mountain range and crosses what is called Rich Mountain, which is where Queen Wilhelmina State Park is located. Along the way on the Arkansas side, we stopped and ate lunch at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge.


After eating and visiting for a while, the group split up into several groups and made their way back to Antlers using various routes. Some wanted to get back to Antlers, others wanted to continue to ride. My group rode the remaining way through Hwy 1 to Mena, AR for fuel. Then we rode Hwy 59 North of Mena around to Hwy 259. Then we took Hwy 63 back to Talihina and turned South to Antlers.

The ride for the day was excellent! We arrived back in Antlers around 4pm where we spent the evening smoking cigars, drinking beer and enjoying each other's company.

Our route for the day. Talimena National Scenic Byway route from Antlers, Oklahoma.

Friday, October 6, 2017 - Every Friday of the rally is considered a free day... a day where one could ride anywhere they want or sit and do nothing. Most usually plan a ride somewhere except for Vic Golubowsky. He spends the day slaving over a smoker preparing some of the best BBQ that anyone can eat. He's been doing this almost every year.

For 2017, Vic out-performed himself by cooking and preparing BBQ ribs, brisket, pork belly (bacon) and other meaty delights only a king and his court would have prepared. If you left and went riding for the day, you always made sure you arrived back in Antlers at a decent time for Vic's BBQ. Everyone made it back in plenty of time.

Due to having to work for a few extra days, Dave Marang, the SouthCentral Leader for the VBA, arrived at the rally on Thursday evening. He missed the ride to Hwy 1 on Thursday and wanted to ride the Talimena Byway. I love to ride the Byway, so, I decided to tag along with him and ride it again.

Dave and I rode almost the exact route that we had ridden the day before. Only this time, we rode it a little more "briskly". We had a blast. We stopped at the Panaromic vista again and enjoyed talking and laughing for a while. We then made our way through the 60 miles of primo road. We stopped in Mena, AR. to fuel up and eat lunch at the Chopping Block.

We arrived back in Antlers around 4pm. Just in time to get in line and start eating some of Vic's BBQ. Life just doesn't get any better!

Saturday, October 7, 2017 - In past rally's, Saturday has always been a toss up, but we've almost always ridden somewhere as a group. This year, it was decided that we would ride Hwy 2 to Wilburton, OK. and visit Robber's Cave State Park.

There was a 20% chance of rain for the day, nothing to worry about really. The ride started out cloudy, but as the day progressed the skies cleared up and sunshine prevailed. We made our way up Hwy 2 from Antlers and rode to Wilburton. Then, we continued on up Hwy 2 to Robber's Cave State Park. There, one will find Robber's Cave which is historically notable as a former hideout for the infamous outlaws Belle Starr and Jesse James.

Some decided to take the hike all the way up to the hide out where the robbers kept their loot. Others, like myself, decided to wait at the bottom and take in the sunshine and warm temperatures. After staying at the park for a while, we then rode North of Wilburton to Hwy 82 and rode to Talihina, then down Hwy 2 through Clayton and back to Antlers. Some of us stopped and ate some pie at Pam's Hateful Hussy Diner in Talihina. I've eaten many times at the Hateful Hussy... always excellent food!

Click any pic for a much larger view

Route we took from Antlers, Oklahoma to Robbers Cave in Wilburton, Oklahoma.

My thanks go out to Vic and Katy for the time and effort they've spent in planning and executing these get-togethers. Many of us who previously owned Kawasaki Nomads have moved on to other brands of motorcycles, but we still love to come back and ride the roads that Eastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas have to offer and enjoy the friendships that we've developed over the last 10 years. I rode over 1,000 miles at this rally and enjoyed every minute.

My thanks also goes out to the current President of the VBA, Dave Jesse. Dave has done an excellent job in managing the VBA and moving it forward. It's a challenge many times and can be a thankless job. Dave continues to be the voice of reason as well as leading the group to a higher level.

As Past-President of the VBA, it is my sincere wish that Vic and Katy continue to have good fortune and that the VBA continue to grow in numbers and thrive in friendships! Below is a video I produced entitled, "Looking Back On Antlers" which features pics from past Antlers Fall Rally's.

Although there are other very good roads to ride in Oklahoma and Arkansas, below are four excellent roads to ride in Eastern Oklahoma. Click for a larger view.

The Talimena Scenic Byway - Hwy 1

Hwy 2 - Between Antlers and Clayton, OK

Hwy 144 - Through Honobia, OK

Hwy 259 - From Heavener to Octavia, OK

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All requests to use material from this page should be sent to Robert Hilliard.