Day 3: Ozark National Forest to Athens, AL.
Miles 1040-1540 (500 Miles)
Isaac, Round 1
Got up early, knowing that i needed to beat feet across AR or ride through a Tropical Storm. Figured the first was a better option.
a few miles from the campsite, the storm began to show its colors for the first time
Beautiful, though incredibly daunting. A few back roads to avoid Little Rock, but, unfortunately, a fair bit of highway in the morning. There are only a few places in AR to cross the Mississippi River, and since i really wanted to stay as south as i could (but still avoid Isaac), i headed for Helena-West Helena area to cross on US49. Found out later that i was lucky to make it through when i did, because they has some significant flash flooding there.
Riding the last 30 or so miles to the river was absolutely BRUTAL. The crosswind made it all i could do to keep the bike upright, and tree lines, where the wind wasn't as bad, had me swerving as much as 3/4 of a lane before i could get the bike straight. Luckily (?) there wasn't much rain until i cross the river.
Into MS, where my phone/gps tracker worked the best of the whole trip.
Basically, i took MS 4 all the way across the state. Nice piece of road! Really, one of the best "put some miles on, and enjoy the whole thing" roads i was on the whole trip! Into small towns, out of small towns, through fields, into pine forests.
I love this picture. When i came into the area, i knew that was the photo i needed, so i waited for some cars to pass, and pushed the bike in the middle of the road and snapped a few.
I got on the Natchez Trace around Bay Springs Lake. Interesting, though i don't think the whole 444 miles of the Trace is something i really need to do. I crossed into AL on it as well:
and got a picture of the MS sign too, since stopping on the bridge was a bit unrealistic
In AL, i took US72 along the north side of Wilson and Wheeler Lakes. Looking back... it sucked. I was tired, dehydrated, and hot, and stop and go shopping center and state park tourists' traffic was about the end of me... But i made it to a hotel in Athens, AL safely. A hot shower, numerous bottles of water, and a steak at the roadhouse chain next door made up for the ride there at the end of the day. Did some laundry, and called it a night