Not trying to hijack your thread but thought I might add a trip report I had written this spring about Ark. I know the more info I can find on something the better I like it.
You are right about the great roads and rides. I just got back from 7 days a few weeks ago and never did a report? Guess I got too busy. This was the spring trip this year.
It is leaving from Crockett Texas so skim through that part if your an outsider
Tuesday April 29th:
We left Houston County Lake around 8:30 this cool April morning. We headed down 229 on into Grapeland on 227.
We stopped at the auto parts store to pick up a switch so my 2nd and 3rd light would be operational again. We parked our bikes in a sunny spot at the Exxon on Hwy 19 and drank a cup of coffee and installed the switch. By the time we were done it was a little nicer.
We headed down 227 and took 21 into Alto and up into Nacogdoches. Just before Nac we took the loop over and caught 259. At this point it was gas and cigarette stops till we ate lunch at Kissin Kusins Kafe in Dangerfield. Not a bad meal for the money!
We crossed the State line and went through Broken Bow and headed down till we had to fill up….the beer cooler. As is always the case in Ok we were forced to use the low octane?
The weather was great and I was down to a light sweat shirt….Yank seems to be more closely related to the reptilian family than the humans. He was still bundled up.
Finally we made it to the Talimena Pkwy. The road was as great as ever and we picked the pace up and were delighted to finally hit a road with curves and elevation changes.
There was a strange stinging of the eyes and we could not figure it out (more later).
We rode over to Queen Wilhelmina State Park, took a break and decided to forge on and make Mena. We never saw another vehicle the whole length of the parkway? That was real nice.
We rode on into Mena and stayed at the Sun Country Inn.
I still don’t know how Mena gets away with $80 dollar rooms?
We each got a room, ordered a pizza and drank a few beers. Well, maybe more than a few?
Total miles for the day 368. arrived Mena 6:30 p.m.
Day 2 Wednesday (Weather Sunny, cool and windy as all hell)
Woke early and hit the Skyline Café in Mena for breakfast (was great). We had the map out and Clay in the next booth decided to help us lay out our route.
He helped a little when we decided it was time to head out. Tried getting on Rte 88 but made the mistake of reading the signs. Ended up on backroads and finally we hit hwy 8.
Being adaptable we decided to take hwy 8 and chose a nice road.
Took 8 over to Norman and headed north on hwy 27 into story where we caught 298 over to hwy 7. I must say we have not hit a bad road yet. Some are just better than others.
We stopped at the edge of 298 and hwy 7 and refilled the beer cooler. Yank went for the real Hi Test with some Ron Rico Rum.
The weather was fantastic as we rode Hwy 7 up through the mountains. The dogwoods were just starting to bloom and the leaves were just coming out on most of the trees.
The eye stinging was back so we figured it had to be pollen. I have never had a problem with pollen but this was like fine sand being thrown in your eyes?
We rode on up to Cowell where we found the same hotel/café my son Jeremy and I stayed at. The Apple Plum Inn. They were out of rooms but had their one cabin left. It was a small 3 bedroom with one bath. $110 per night with tax.
It had a great front and back porch and was a nice spot for a 5:00 p.m. stop. I drank my beer and Yank consumed his rum.
We ordered salads so we could eat later (café closed at 7)
We caught the weather and saw these massive storms headed our way. Yank had to be back by Sat. so we decided to head closer to home the next day. This was a wise choice for us to make
Yank started singing “I’m Henry the 8th I am” so I turned in at a reasonable hour.
Miles for the day 206
Thursday: Day 3: (Sunny cool and windier than all hell)
Left the hotel around 8:00 and headed down into Jasper. This has to be one of the curviest parts and drops rapidly. Yank seemed to be a little off as he kept braking going into the curves.
We were finally able to pinpoint the problem. Ron Rico Rum Really left Rick Rough around the Ridges?
We had a great breakfast in Jasper, which is a pretty little town.
$3.99 for 2 eggs, 3 strip bacon, hash browns and bisket and gravy!
We chatted with some of the locals. I was starting to get a warm and fuzzy feeling for East Texas.
Seems the big sport in Arkansas is sign shooting? This might be fun for one or two but after 100 signs? “Shyte Bubba that was a good one, lets go get another?”
We decided to take 74 west and made the right choice again! This is arguably the nicest road of the trip. All the guard rails were gone from trucks taking the corners. Up down, down and up. This was a fine road indeed. It ends up in Ponta at a river with rest rooms.
We met two couples that had ridden down from Wisconsin. Left in 70 degree weather and after 100 miles it was 42……glad I live in the south this time of year.
Unfortunately the pollen had my nose dripping like a leaking faucet. I tried to get in front of Yank so he would think it was raining. One eye was almost totally shut and the other was stinging really bad. We rarely saw stores and when we did I tried Visine but it was useless. The only solution was the lower roads. Upper elevations were killing every bikers eyes we met. Of course neither of us brought our goggles?
We carried on to Boxley and took 21/74 to Kingston and followed 74 over to 23 south.
23 south followed a river most of the length.
Eventually it came into the higher elevations and we hit the famous (sorta) pig trail.
This road definitely had the sharpest corners of the trip. When they say 15 they are close to being on the mark!
It was a great section of the road.
I realized this is an area where the wife and I had hiked 2 years prior to this trip. We stopped at Turner Bend which was a spot we ate our first real food in 4 days on that hiking trip.
Very beautiful area and it was still cool enough for coats all day.
We carried on into Mena and stopped at the lodge on the Talimena for a late lunch. Yanks was dragging but I talked him into Broken Bow. At this point we should hit later morning storms than the folks in the mountains.
We got into broken bow around 7:00 and checked into a hotel where the owner was wearing a target on his forehead? Strange?
We found a store a walk away and refilled the beer cooler.
Miles 290. for the day. Most of it in the mountains which made for a long and tiring day.
As mentioned the wind was just ripping and we spent most heading into or slightly off the wind.
Day 4 Friday (Weather- scattered showers)
I slept well and didn’t wake till 6:30. Watched the weather and it seems the rain parted over Broken Bow and reformed to the east of us. Missed us totally?
Watched the weather and saw storms would be reforming later in the afternoon. Decided to beat it out and shut the hotel room door after loading.
Craaack!! A big boom of thunder within seconds of locking the door.
We hopped on the bikes and gassed up locally, we then headed towards Idabel. The skies opened up and we were in pea size hail. Luckily we were 100 yards from a station that had a cover and a set of pumps that were not operational.
We donned our rain suits and I put on my face mask. That sucker really helps with the rain!
We headed down 259 into southern Ok. When the skies turned a very dark black. We were headed straight for it with 18 wheelers behind us and moderate rain.
I don’t mind the rain but the 18 wheelers left skid marks in my undies.
Luckily we found an abandoned station and waited it out again. We hit on and off rain all the way to Henderson. Every time you thought about taking the gear off another wave would come. Made for a frustrating yet exciting trip.
Miles for the day 280.
Trip total miles 1144
Arkansas is a kick ass State for riding and has to rate highly as far as scenery and affordability. We had a great time and would recommend more time to fully enjoy this trip.