It’s time to step up the motorcycle exploring in Arkansas! Riding the best curvy routes around along with free camping in the Ozark National Forest - it just doesn't get any better than this!
Arkansas! I’d never heard much about it before – good or bad. It was simply one of the states in the US that we didn’t know much about. But, boy let me tell you – there’s some of the most fabulous riding in this little, old state!
We started our explorations around Jasper, AR, a tiny town in the NE corner. 1st stop was a place to set up Basecamp and then go out and explore.
Barkshed Recreation Area campsite is located 3 miles down a gravel road outside of the town of Fifty-Six, Arkansas (current population 173, but that would be too long of a name). A quick peruse of the small camping space, compete with too many campers AND barking dogs, sent us scurrying further down the two-track road to an isolated camping site that was just perfect for our 1st ever camping with Basecamp!
Only one of two remaining suspension bridges in Arkansas, check out the Swinging Bridge located on none other than Swinging Bridge Road outside of Mountain View, AR.
It creaks, it pops – all those things you don’t want to feel while riding across something on 2 wheels, but hey – it’s all about the experience, right?
Once safely across, joy of all joys – Gus (Chris’ BMW) decided to not start after having its photograph taken with the bridge. We opted to give it the tried-and-true method of running behind the bike and dropping the clutch, but I (Chris) didn’t understand what Rich meant as he was huffing and puffing, gasping out “Drop the clutch! Drop the clutch!” So, in my defense, when in doubt, I hit the brake, just about sending Rich into a nose dive on the dirt road. What remained of my pride as a tried and true motorcycle rider had just gone out the window.
Just then a local strolled out of his house, having watched us for a bit. Apparently, he decided that if he wanted to see these 2 crazy motorcyclists ride on down the road and away from his peaceful morning, he’d better do something about it because we sure weren’t getting the job done.
“Got any jumper cables?” we asked sheepishly, having left the jumper cables, alone with our eating utensils back at Basecamp. (are you getting the picture yet that we’re not used to traveling without all our gear strapped onto the bikes yet?). Wheeling his truck over to Gus, he had it jumped started lickety-split and after many profuse “Thank you’s”, we were on our way again.
MOUNTAIN VIEW RUN:
Route Distance: 163 miles with 602 curves
It was time to do some riding!!! Mountain View Run, with all those miles and all those curves sounded like just the ticket to get over our embarrassment of having been so woefully underprepared with the jumper cables (see Swinging Bridge below). This ride takes you down AR Highway 14 across the Buffalo National River through the Sylamore National Forest. What a blast it was, the only down side was that I was scared to turn off Gus in fear that he wouldn’t re-start again. Might be time for a new battery.
NATURAL BRIDGE OF ARKANSAS:
The Natural Bridge of Arkansas is located at 1120 Natural Bridge Road near Clinton. The hike to it is short and sweet (to Rich’s delight), complete with a moonshiner’s cabin to wander thru and view some vintage items used during the time when liquor was outlawed and created more consequences than it cured.
What do an annual bean cook-off and outhouse races have in common? Well, nothing other than they’re held in the same town. We stumbled across Mountain Home, AR where every year folks gather to test their culinary prowess against others by cooking vast caldrons of beans, (much to the delight of the Beano and Gas-X companies) and invite everyone and their brother passing thru to sample their wares as they compete for the title of Best Beans.
The dinner bell rang at noon and they started serving beans. Having signed up as judges to sample the wares of all 12 contestants, Rich & I stood patiently in line, only to discover bowls and spoons were in short supply. Since our motorcycle tool bag does not include utensils – everything was back at Basecamp - and we weren’t about to use our fingers, we waited until more bowls/spoons arrived and just like that - we were back in business…..Hmmmmm, maybe not.
Did I mention it was crowded? We somehow managed to weasel our way up to our 2nd bean cooker, trying hard to not come up with some tasteless flatulence jokes. But by 12:11 it was all over – the beans were gone, the vast caldrons emptied out and we’d only sampled 2 out of 12 of the pots. Oh, well – our vote was for the 2nd bean cooker simply because his beans were better than the 1st.
Not to be outdone by all the excitement of the bean cook-off, things stepped up a notch with the Parade of Outhouses, which are glorified people powered potties complete with 1 driver and 2 pushers. Most drivers are perched precariously on a potty seat, while the 2 pushers run, pushing the contraption so fast down the street that some literally ran out of their shoes. The next few minutes are fuzzy, but eventually we had a winner.
The prize? - revered Gold, Silver and Bronze toilet seats for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place finishers. Not sure how they managed to do it, but apparently the 1st place winners also won 3rd place, or maybe it was the 2nd place winners also won 3rd place – I became a bit confused by then – counting apparently wasn’t one of the attributes for the event.
It was time to make our way back to Basecamp and see if methane gas instead of our usual propane for heating would work
TIME TO MOVE ON DOWN THE ROAD:
Well, we accomplished all we set out to do here. Stay tuned for our next exciting YouTube video as we continue to explore the beautiful state of Arkansas.
Watched all your videos, enjoyed them immensely! Can’t wait till you get back on the road! Stay safe ! God Bless!
Great show great couple. Longtime viewer and appreciate your content. Your helping viewers like us relax and celebrate your adventures and your life together with a overcoming positive determination. This is a wonderful original choice over the negative news thank you and carry on with Gods speed. PS started long distance on a Honda 750 1970 ( across USA)that I bought in Japan and brought back to the US like you had many even a new goldwing and now riding a ST Honda 1300 saying that I love your camera shots on the road and now with your new set up I’m sure you will have time for that. The very best Bruce snd judy
Did you ride 123 south of Mt. Judea? We did that 4 years ago when I had my Suzuki Boulevard C50T, not my Indian Chieftain Classic, and I still have nightmares about the switchbacks at the top of the mountain. God with us we didn’t meet any traffic until we got through them and then it was a full size pick up truck. Cannot even imagine these on my Indian. Otherwise we stayed near Hasty and rode all the loops on the Harrison map and many other roads. it is fabulous. Hope to be back to Arkansas (from NW Ohio) but over by Fayettville next time. Enjoy your videos and learn a lot from them. Love you two.
Enjoy all your videos. Live in SW Missouri and have ridden all the NW Arkansas roads. Just pick one, they are all good. There is another swinging bridge up by Beaver, AR near Eureka Springs. Keep on riding and having your adventures.
Sorry to see Rich’s Harley go but enjoy your adventures. My husband and I (both in our 70’s) have take the same journey as you & Rich – tent off the motorcycle, looked at a Bushtec trailer which turned into a motorhome. We both still ride and have many adventures under our belt – trips to Alaska, US West, North, South & West. We have ridden the Coastal highway & outback in Australia and many of the European countries. So please keep seeking new adventures and sharing them. We have thoroughly enjoyed traveling along with you.