May 20, 2014
Paco and I rode a 200 mi. circuit starting in Russellville, AR. We began north along Route 7–a winding scenic road that runs through the heart of the Ozark National forest. After about 80 miles, we traveled east on 206 just north of Dogpatch, AR (yes, it’s a real place) where we picked up Route 65 and turned south. Just before Marshall, AR, we shifted west on Rte. 74 through Snowball, AR to eventually connect with Rte. 27 and back to Route 7.
Impressions: we rode so many twisties, I Iost count. While there were occasional 50 mph sweepers, it was a series of challenging sharp curves, with 20 and 25 mph speed limits. At the beginning of the ride, we encountered chilly temps and then very dense fog that reduced visibility to just a few feet. Later the sun broke through and it turned out to be a clear warm day so we could enjoy the overlooks of the “Grand Canyon” of Arkansas.
The population of Arkansas is slightly less than 3 million people in 52,000 square miles. You can ride back roads for many miles and not see another car. Most people were friendly, helpful and interested in what we were doing. Not many bikers ride BMWs in this part of the U.S. so my bike was a bit of an attraction.
We stopped at the Big Piney Ranger Station for a break and information. The lady ranger was welcoming and went over our route on one of her maps. She had some photos of a big snow storm that hit the mountains a few years ago and explained that the residents of Snowball were without power for six weeks. Ouch. We returned to the “Badger Den” at the Mission RV Park in Russellville, tired but satisfied with a rewarding day’s ride.
Today was a travel day through OK and TX. Tomorrow, we plan to drive to an RV park near Farmington, NM and start the Four Corners tour the next day.
End of our blog for today. Cheers, “Rufus” & “Paco”