It was supposed to be a fairly warm and mostly dry weekend so I headed for Arkadelphia to try to ride the TART
up to I40. The friday ride from McAlester to Arkadelphia was great! A little windy on the Talimena Drive, but ain't it always? Some beautiful scenery on the top of the drive. This is a pano created from about 5-6 shots with my new droid phone. Color is a little hinky but not bad res. I'll have to see what Bibble can do with the color. Click on the pic for full size.
I looked like I should make it to Arkadelphia before sunset, which was good, since the GS was telling me that the headlight was out. Damn, 10K miles on these HID lights and one is already out? Ahh well, I made plans to stop at an auto supply and pick up a H7. About halfway through the T Drive my gas light came on. I should have filled up in Talihina. A little study on the GPS and I saw I had 40 miles to Mena and about that left on the GS computer. No problem, I've got an extra emergency quart in my tailbag anyway plus I know that the my GS will go 20 mi past the computers zero mile (DAMHIK). Onward, through the fog! No kidding. Some of the clouds were low enough to be skimming over the drive and sometimes made seeing the road difficult.
I made it to Mena without running out of gas and after fueling up my headlight started working again. Maybe the GS computer just needed a reboot. The roads from Mena on were mostly deserted but not a fun as the T Drive. I found a few gravel shortcuts to cut some miles off. I made it to the Hampton at about 3:30, cleaned up and whipped out the Kindle for a rest before a gargantuan mexican dinner at the place next door.
Awoke at 6:00, downstairs to get a bowl of oat gruel (with bacon, everythings better with bacon) and went back up with gruel to work on the PC for a bit. It looked kind of cloudy outside but it was still mostly dark. Later: what's that noise? I looked outside and it was coming a frog strangler. Damn weatherman said partly cloudy, no rain. I brought up the radar and there was a 5 mile diameter heavy rain crossing right over me. It passed in about 10 min but there was a light fog.
I packed up and waited till about 9:00 and headed out. The roads were wet for about 25 mi then dry. Much of the TART within 25-30 mi north of Arkadelphia is paved but fun roads. Just south of Lake Winona it turns gravel. The area around Lake Winona gets a little washed out and rocky, not much loose rocks though. Some water holes but they did have bottoms that were firm. I did miss the part that runs down the North Fork Saline River though. It had a sign that said foot traffic only. The sign was on a gate that was half closed. I would have decided it was half open but I had just passed an official looking pickup in some rocky areas and didn't want to chance it. Later I looked at the other end and the gate there was wide open.
A couple more Pics:
I made it to I40 early afternoon and slabbed it home. 565 total miles.