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Old 06-10-2013, 09:12 PM   #41
Near Normal
Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Day Six

Curious onlookers, Central Arkansas

Beebe to Ozark, AR
After spending the night in an RV park in Cabot near Beebe, I set about servicing the Toad before the day’s ride. One of the benefits of riding solo is that you really don’t have to eat much dust on the dirt roads, so your air filters (and eyes, nose and ears) do not need to be cleaned as often. When I checked the filter again today, it still did not look bad, but I cleaned it anyway since I had yet to do it so far on the trip. The only dust I had seen was the occasional car or truck. I have yet to see a single motorcycle going in any direction on the TAT.
I was excited about the ride prospects today as I was going to get into the Ozark Mountains, which I had heard so much about. Before the Ozarks however, I was going to have to wind my way through Central Arkansas, which was experiencing a gas and oil boom of sorts. New wells were being constructed everywhere, with trucks, men and equipment clogging the roads. As I climbed in elevation, the farms and fields gave way to forested hills. The tiny town of Scotland served as the gateway to the forest service roads of the Ozark National Forest. These gravel roads were well maintained and reminded me of the Chattahoochee National Forest roads back in north Georgia. This was a Saturday, however, and it seemed like every other person in Arkansas was out enjoying the forest on this beautiful day. There was moderate to heavy (at times) traffic on the TAT in this area. Most were hunters and fishermen in pickups and jeeps, but there were many four wheelers on the road as well. I had a close call when a young man and woman on a four wheeler (tee shirts, shorts and no helmets) came sliding through a corner on my side of the road. We both turned to our right-hand sides in time to barely avoid the collision. Despite the traffic, the scenery was beautiful and I was treated to majestic views at the overlooks at the top of the ridges. After lunch in Hector, I passed through the Illinois Bayou and Big Piney Creek areas of the National Forest. The scenery here was even more spectacular, and the riding was great. I finally wound my way down to the little town of Oark (no Z) which is home to a cool old 19th century grocery store (now convenience store, gas station and diner). I stopped here for some fuel and was immediately approached by a patron who loved vintage bikes and used to own an Ace 100. (How many of those things did they sell?) After talking about Hodakas, this kind gentleman warned me about a Toby Keith concert that was happening that evening at Byrd’s Campground a few miles down the road. He said that the crowds would soon clog the road out to Ozark (with a Z), so I might want to get going soon. That was good advice, as the road looked like I-285 in Atlanta at rush hour. A short time later I met Donna at the Aux Arc Campground run by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Arkansas River in Ozark. This is a beautiful, clean, cheap and wonderfully maintained campground and has my highest recommendation.
237 miles, 4.3 gallons of gas, one close call and the Toad rolls on.

The Scotland, AR Post Office

ABee screwed with this post 06-11-2013 at 06:17 PM
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