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goldwinging in arkansas


Goldwing Arkansas


Saturday I took the GOLDWING out to enjoy the fall colors of Arkansas’s Ozark Mountain Region.  I left Mountain View at about 6:30 am and headed west on Highway 60, picking up Highway 76 in Willow Springs (if you stay on this for two hours, it eventually becomes “The Strip” in BRANSON).  I had my heated gear on as it was about 38 degrees in the bottoms (a 50 degree day is infinitely better than a 100 degree day).  Shortly thereafter, I picked up Highway 95 and headed southwest.  Not only is 95 one of the most scenic highways in all of Missouri, but once you get to the west side of Highway 5, the pavement is brand new with lots of twisties — many one right after the other. 

At the end of 95, I grabbed Highway 160 just west of Theodosia and headed west.  I could see the fog over the hills to the south coming off of Bull Shoals Lake.  I stayed on 160 for about 10 minutes and took 125 south to the ferry in Peel, Arkansas, which crosses the lake.  Even though I missed the ferry by a few minutes and had to wait a half hour, I had the opportunity to meet a couple of guys on a fishing trip who had grown up within just a few miles of where my parents now live near Melvern, Kansas. 

After crossing the ferry, I stayed on 125 South until I got to Locust Road, which took me over to 14 W.  Within a few minutes I was heading south on the most famous road in the Ozarks — “Scenic Seven”.  After going through Harrison, winding my way past the old Dogpatch USA Amusement Park (long abandoned), and crossing the Buffalo River, I was in Jasper.  In Jasper, I took 74 E. to 123 S., which has the best twisties and wildest switchbacks in a state famous for both (the best stretch is near Mt Judea — pronounced “Judy”). 

After jumping back on South 7 for about three miles, I turned back east on Highway 16 at Sand Gap (it’s labeled on Google Earth, but the same reveals that it is nothing more than a general store).  Not only was this road amazing (great twisties), but the views from the bluffs / ridges into the valleys was spectacular — especially with the Autumn colors and some of the leaves off so you could see.  It was in this area that I believe I passed through the communities of ‘Welcome Home‘ and ‘Ben Hur‘ (Welcome Home was an actual town, while Ben Hur had little more than a church just past the Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area).

Instead of taking 377 north like I have previously, I went to 27.  Both 16 and 27 were outstanding riding.  The thing is, if you are trying to get somewhere quick, don’t plan on it using these roads as both are all over the place — one minute you are going south and the next, north (look at Google Earth).  Parts of 27 between Marshal and Highway 66 were stunning.  The best was rolling through a valley bathed in various shades of red, green, gold, and yellow, with a hayfield covered in big bales next to a clear rocky stream on my left, and surrounded by the tree-covered hills on either side.  All along the way were breathtaking views.  After passing through Mountain View and stopping for a couple of minutes to listen to some Bluegrass being played on the square (their Mountain Music Festival was in full swing), I headed over to Anglers to eat (it’s on the White River at Sylamore Creek — at the junction of several highways), not far from the road made famous by motorcyclists; PUSH MOUNTAIN ROAD.

From there it was north across the switchbacks on Highway 9 (again, the views of the White River Valley from the ridge tops were about as good as it gets).  I turned north at Salem, Arkansas on the highway that becomes 17 just a few miles from town — just after you cross the Missouri state line.  50 miles later I was at my office, which is itself on Highway 17.  Great trip and look forward to a bit different route in the near future (with heated gear, cold is not really a problem as long as the roads are good). 

I would love to take credit for the pics below, but when I ride alone, I’m by myself I typically crank my radio and ride.  Hard.  Rarely stopping to take pics unless I have a passenger (the pics below are all from Wikimedia, although they are all places I have ridden).  The biggest problem with riding in Arkansas is that it’s curvy roads are wearing down my foot pegs.  Great problem to have!


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