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Arkansas Maxi-Fun Mini-Run

Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Messages
2,097
Location
Tyler, Texas
Ever since my last Arkansas trip in August (oh, do I remember the heat) I've been want to get back there one more time this year but it seemed like scheduling a return trip just wasn't going to happen. Weekends quickly filled with other to-do's and November seemed like the only chance left. A couple of weeks ago the planets and stars aligned :zen: and a small but dedicated group of riders gathered for a year-end pursuit of Arkansas's finest curves. TexasRed had to cancel out on the earlier TWT sponsored trip and was eager to make up for that. Dutchinterceptor had just returned from the Hill Country but found a hole in his schedule (and enough tread on his tire) to make the trip. We added another Bandit rider from Oklahoma (LowRyter - new to TWT) to round out (no pun intended) the mix. I was ready to go with a brand new tire all scrubbed in and a plan was formed. :deal:

We decided to base out of Harrison - a good days ride from Tyler and Friday's weather forecast looked outstanding, although a bit cool. Well, 42 degrees is downright cold in my book and multiple layering was in order. Everyone else looked reasonably normal at the meeting spot but yours truly was nothing short of the Michelin Man with ten assorted layers on top and bottom. We headed out at 7:30am and ran straight up Hwy 155 at a "brisk" (pun intended) pace. As we neared Lake O' The Pines bridge crossing there was pretty thick fog that should have cleared on the other side - wrong.... it got thicker and thicker. We battled the fog, low visibility, face shield condensation and cold hands ('cept Dutch with his hoity-toity :wary: grip heaters - they're on the X-mas list) and had to take a break in Linden. Dutch made a new friend there... an elderly gentleman that talked constantly while we were there - even followed us outside when we got ready to leave. Also, the mental image of TexasRed's gloves on the food warmer was priceless. The actual image of his own glove warmer is pretty good too.



We got back on the road towards Texarkana and the fog finally lifted. With plenty of straight roads ahead, the MP3 player came in handy :jammin: - heck, even the temperatures started to climb as we climbed towards better roads on Hwy 27. The curves were starting to become more numerous and the real fun was just beginning. A splash of gas in some no-name town (well, it did have a name I just can't remember it) and we began an enthusiastic charge towards Russellville. Perhaps a little too enthusiastic as a very non-descript looking vehicle coming towards us suddenly had a grill full of blue lights flashing, blinking, winking and making for all kinds of "Oh, *&!!#" in the helmet. A check of the rearview mirror revealed no brake lights and it served as a good reminder to have fun but be careful. :trust:

Those who have journeyed up 27 know that just outside of Danville there's the first real taste of things to come - 3 miles of "crooked and steep" roads to whet the appetite. I made a quick stop to change gloves (too hot but the other layers remained) and wouldn't you know, a pack of cruisers with complimentary trike slipped in ahead of us. No bashing here BUT it would have been nice if they gave us any sign it was okay to pass the entire group of eight. As it was, we got "stuck" behind them through that entire section and it was painfully slow, although watching the trike nearly blow every corner wide was interesting to say the least. We stopped for lunch in Russellville on TexasRed's restaurant recommendation - Huerta's... good Mexican food was promised as well as "If you don't like it, I'll buy your lunch". The food was outstanding :eat: and the service even better. While we were there they had one of those restaurant style birthday greetings for some patron only this one started with a firecracker - scared the enchilada right out of me. You couldn't do that in Texas with all the CHLers around..... guns would be drawn. :shooter:

We began the last leg of our journey to Harrison with much warmer temperatures. I was able to get down to 6 or 7 layers and felt like a rider again rather than a lump of cloth. The fall colors were excellent against a clear blue sky as we headed up Hwy 7 with the sun primarily behind us - hard to believe we didn't take any scenic pictures on Friday. Traffic was fairly light and passes were easily made although ArkDot (or whoever) decided to put rumble strips down the centerline that took some getting used to. We arrived at the hotel by 4:30 and Lowryter was already there waiting. All the appropriate introductions were made and we got checked in to our rooms. The hotel management was very nice and let us park our bikes under the awning and close to the front door. Also fortunately, there was an excellent catfish restaurant within walking distance so I conveniently avoided another "too tired drop" like I had on the last trip. We met a couple of other riders from St. Louis (riding a Speed Triple & V-Strom) who trailered in the day before and settled in for some after dinner conversation and beverages. :chug:

We called it an early evening after 396 miles in cold, fog and sunshine. The forecast for Saturday was improving with rain chances being pushed back and warmer than anticipated temperatures. After a little channel surfing I stumbled across the Dallas Star's hockey game broadcast - with only 8 minutes remaining and the Star's down 3-1. I was treated to 5 goals and 5-4 Star's victory to cap off a perfect day. Tomorrow, the fun would really begin.

Day 2

We decided to get a slightly later start on Saturday morning and let things warm up a bit. It was a good thing too since the continental breakfast was being ravaged by a tour bus full of elderly patrons presumably on their way to Branson or such. Standing in line for some much needed coffee :coffee: I overheard one lady say "I'll tell ya what I want to do... I want to ride one of them thar motorcicles" - and she wasn't a day over mid-seventies. :rofl: By 9:30 the temps were going up fast and we departed southward on 43 towards Ponca. Some of us got a reminder that cold temps and cold tires offer limited traction. :eek2: Knowing it was a long day ahead we settled into a nice rhythm and got the tires warmed and the body loosened. We picked up 74 and headed east toward Jasper and continued on to Hasty. The second half of this road had some tricky corners and lots of rough spots in need of repair but the fall colors made that section worth it.



We took a short break in Hasty to (once again) re-calculate how many layers I should wear and get ready for the assault on Hwy 123.

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LowRyter's Bandit locked and loaded.....

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At the convenience store a gentleman pulled up to buy some groceries and of course no pickup truck would be complete without a faithful hound in the back.

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Highway 123 may be the most challenging section of road we covered all weekend and by far the most fun. The switch-backs and multiple curves demand full attention for what seems like an eternity. Dutch offered me the lead and off we went - getting rid of any tire flat spot we may have gotten on the way up. After about 5 miles the curves are less radical but no less fun. Our journey continued down 123 but after crossing Scenic 7 the road got somewhat treacherous with gravel strewn about for 15 miles. One area had a pile of gravel across the entire lane right when you crest a hill - a definite attention getter. Common sense prevailed and we made it through without any problems and pushed into Clarksville for lunch. :eat3: As mentioned in previous trip reports, we stop at this diner that serves a seven course meal for less than six bucks. You don't have to choose two vegetables because it comes with every choice there is - plus cake dessert. Pie is extra but certainly available.

Back on the road and heading up Scenic 7 towards Hwy 16 you could see the clouds building to the north. Between the huge lunch and rise in altitude I found myself (once again) adding layers - Dutch said he could pay for his trip if he had a dollar for every time I changed clothes. :huh2: We turned on Hwy 16 and headed east, then south, then north, then east, then south again and finally back north to Tilly. Somewhere we hooked up with Hwy 27 and headed to Marshall - I'm pleased to report everyone got through "Randall's Corner" in good shape. We gassed up in Marshall (...another wardrobe adjustment) and continued to Harriett.

While Hwy 123 is certainly my favorite, Hwy 14 from Harriett to Yellville is a close second. The lanes are ultra smooth with wide shoulders and you can have a real ball if traffic isn't too slow. It was getting pretty late and the clouds were getting darker with a hint of rain to come. We pulled off in Yellville to make a decision to cut the ride short - this gave me another opportunity to layer on (hopefully) for last time. Somewhere in the decision making process the subject of adult beverages arose (imagine that). One of the locals was kind enough to point us in the right direction, however it was the opposite way we were headed. So, we did the only thing we could do - head the opposite direction. :thumb: Twenty minutes later we had our stash and wouldn't you know - it began to mist. With my wardrobe complete, the only thing missing was rain gear so I put that on too (now 12 layers total) in preparation for the final 50 mile trip. On the way back we got stopped by the flippin police.... really..... well sorta.

Dutch made us stop so he could take a picture of - you got it... the Flippin police car.



The final leg wasn't without it's quirks either. A mad cow ran into the road and caused a bit of a traffic slowdown, an idiot cager slowed waaaaay down in a no passing zone for some strange reason :miffed: , a freight train held us up for about 10 minutes, the cold front finally hit with gusty north winds and it kept misting just enough to make the face shields a mess. We arrived safely at the hotel about 6:45 pm after 320 miles of hard riding. Pizza delivery and a few brews were the order of the evening along with lots of conversation about our ride. :party: Another awesome day for sure.

Final Day

We had great luck dodging the moisture save some fog and mist on days one & two - our luck with the temperatures simply ran out Sunday morning. North winds over 20 mph, overcast skies and 33 degrees greeted us as we packed for the journey to Texas. No warming trend fore-casted and too many miles ahead to wait so we hit the road at 8:30. Lowryter had brought a one-piece snowmobile suit that I'd pay top dollar for but it wasn't for sale.



Knowing this was likely our last trip here until spring we took a little detour from the route on Friday - one last jaunt over to Hwy 123. We stopped a couple of times to make gear adjustments - mainly to seal off areas that cold air was gnawing its way into. It's difficult to be smooth when you can barely move but nonetheless it was enjoyable and it evened warmed up to 35 degrees by then. At the end of that section we stopped to literally catch our breaths since controlled breathing was required to avoid fogging up the shields in the corners. It was here that Dutch found his new avatar and a road sign I've never seen before.

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In case you're wondering, that's me on the left and TexasRed on the right.

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Our posse of curve herders.......

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We got back on the planned return route and headed to Texas. It never did warm up until our stop in Linden - the same gas station we thawed out at two days earlier. Along the way we witnessed one cat that only has 8 lives left (near miss by a dually truck), the absolute worst service at a McDonald's ever (cold and hungry will make you put up with a lot), a jacket that thought it was a parachute (always carry a bandanna), and a brand new tire that stuck like glue but will likely not see 2,000 miles :headbang: (glad it was only a 3 day trip). I got home at 6 that evening and put in 5 miles more than the trip up there - that detour will become the preferred route for sure. Total mileage came to exactly 1,111 - this was one good trip.

Everyone made it back safely, not a single mechanical problem on any bike and no riding mishaps. I can hardly wait until springtime (and warmer temperatures)!!!! :bigokay:

PS - All photos courtesy of DutchInterceptor - Thanks a bunch.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
2,120
Location
East Texas
Thanks Jay!

Every few hours I'll think back to all of us railin' down 123 and it puts a big grin on my face. I won't soon forget this trip and I hope I can hold out till Spring!!

You know, I was thinking about our conversation while sitting about 12 cars back at the railroad crossing. We discussed "filtering" up to the front to keep from getting caught behind all those cars. I'm really glad we decided not to go since that shifty Sherrif's jeep was hiding in that line of cars.
 
Joined
May 6, 2006
Messages
808
Location
Lavon,TX
Thanks guys! I have the same problem getting my final AR trip done this year. Hoping for one more warm one (relatively speaking) before T'giving.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,700
Location
Huntsville
The problem with going to Arkansas is narrowing down the list of roads to ride so that your daily routes are not 500+ miles :doh: Hwy 123 is a great road. @7 from Russellville to Marshall is also awesome! Glad you guys had a great time! TxBndt, you need to invest in some 'lectrics :-P
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
90
Location
tyler, texas
Jay,
That was a great writeup. Now i can relive a truly fantastic trip. Next time we will add 30 degrees and 24 hours.

TR

Dutch, that beagle picture is great.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
2,191
Location
Nacogdoches
Great report:clap:
Looks like a fun ride that I am going to have to make sometime.

Scott I will show txbanditrydr the Gerbings, But when I start talking about riding on dirt, or in the rain, or cold I just get this blank stare from him.:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Guess it is a GS thing:zen: :rider: :lol2:
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2003
Messages
90
Location
tyler, texas
Jay is more relaxed with his bike cleaning now that he has "broken" the bandit in. If he wouldn't completely freeze up he might enjoy himself on the dirt a little.

Go ahead and pick up a nobby for rear tire while your at it Jay. it might last until spring for Maxi-fun/Mini-Run Two.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
1,369
Location
Edmond OK
These guys had lots of trick stuff: GPS, Radar Detectors, I-Pods. All I brought was a 20 year old Yamaha Cold Weather Suit. I hadn't worn it in maybe 7 or 8 years. But when it was 37 degrees, a headwind, and the weather channel was making up news about flurries, I was darn glad to have it. That stupid head sock caused by helmet to fog badly. I had to take it off and prop open my helmet with some folded MacDonald's napkins! The only real fright I had was blowing by at 80 and seeing a little doe scamper in the woods.

I took scenic 412 to Tulsa & old Rt 66 back to OKC. Was a geat time.

**** boys, the memories always are better after a ride you had with freezing weather, snow, rain or hail. I can pass on the tornados, tho- that'd be too much of story.

Thanks for turning me on to this board, Jay.
 

Mer

Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
367
Location
Plano, Texas
Sounds like an adventure for sure! I LOVE riding in Arkansas and do so every chance I get. Thanks for sharing.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
2,120
Location
East Texas
Mer said:
Sounds like an adventure for sure! I LOVE riding in Arkansas and do so every chance I get. Thanks for sharing.

Mer it definitely made for some good memories, but I'm already jonesing for those curvy roads!!:mrgreen:
 

Mer

Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
367
Location
Plano, Texas
dutchinterceptor said:
Mer it definitely made for some good memories, but I'm already jonesing for those curvy roads!!:mrgreen:
I hear ya! LOL. I'm SO ready to hit the twisties of Arkansas again!!:rider:
 
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