When it comes to great motorcycle touring destinations, few compare to the stunning scenery and endless number of twisty roads than the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. The Ozarks truly have some of the best motorcycle roads around!
In this episode we ride the motorcycles on such roads called Jasper Disaster - 60 miles with 316 curves and Peel Ferry - 113 miles with 378 curves – complete with a ferry crossing. Wow!!
But wait there’s more – though we didn’t get to ride all 9 routes in the area - cold weather pushed us out – we want to encourage you to put this area on your bucket list.
The 1st step is to set up Basecamp and then hit the roads. We found such an awesome location!
Erbie Campground is 6 miles down a gravel road. When we rode it on the bikes to check it out, the road was fine. However, between then and now the county had dropped a load of gravel onto a section of the road and just left it - didn’t roll it or do much in the way of spreading it out. Going thru with the truck and trailer wasn’t an issue, but there’s no way we could make it with the bikes. The gravel was so deep.
Thankfully there are 2 entrances to get to Erbie Campground – the other one comes complete with some river crossings. So we set up Basecamp, unloaded the bikes, then went out to explore a bit. Rain was in the forecast for the next 2 days, so time to get some riding in beforehand.
Don’t be fooled by the name – the Jasper Disaster is just about the best ride in Arkansas – 60 miles with 316 curves of pure awesomeness!
And the Peel Ferry route is 113 miles with 378 curves – complete with a ferry crossing to boot.
The ferry crossing is free – just pull up, wait, then load the bikes on and enjoy the ride.
Moving from Tennessee in the 1830s, the Parker brothers built their farmstead on 195 acres near the Buffalo River in the Ozarks. Using red cedar logs, they built this home similar to how homes were being built in Tennessee at the time. These logs date back to the 1840s!
For the next 130 years this farmstead was lived in by 9 different owners, starting with the Parkers and ending with the Hickmans in the early 1980s.
If only those walls could talk!
CHERRY GROVE CEMETARY:
A short hike from the Parker-Hickman Homestead we found Cherry Creek Cemetery where some of the graves predate the Civil War. There was even one man who was killed in the Civil War buried there.
No ‘Parkers” that we could find. Lots of stones with no inscriptions on them. Several “Hickmans’ buried. A lot of children from the “Cecil” family – so sad.
It's worth the time to read through the old grave stones. You'll note that many of the gravestones are of newborn children (usually less than a few days old) -- a reminder of just how tough giving birth was in a time when hospitals really didn't exist in the west. One family lost two newborn children 20 years apart. There are several "Parkers" buried at this site....likely family members of the original settlers homeowners from the homestead site at the start of the trail.
A marker states that the Washington Monument Marble Quarried Here – in case you were interested in learning this bit of trivia.
ALUM COVE NATURAL BRIDGE:
Not too far off of Highway 7 is one of the most unique geological formations in the Ozarks. The weathered remains of what was once a quartz sandstone cave is now a 130-foot natural bridge. The natural bridge is carved from solid rock by a small creek and spans over 130 feet.
GRAND CANYON OF THE OZARKS:
For those who can't be bothered driving out west to that other Grand Canyon. This one has a parking area, observation tower, and an official sign all in one roadside spot. Can't get much better than that!
You’re not going to believe the fabulous riding around the Harrison, Arkansas area!