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Old 10-16-2010, 12:10 PM   #1
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Weekend in the Ozarks & Arkansas Elk

October is the best time of year for a ride through the Arkansas Ozarks. The leaves are starting to change and in the Buffalo National River area the Arkansas elk can usually be found grazing in the open in the early morning and late afternoon in the remote areas of the Buffalo River valley. I've ridden this area a number of times and don't always see elk, so I'm hoping to get lucky this time.

The VStrom is loaded and I'm ready for a solo trip through the Ozarks for a couple of days. First stop is at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier to visit a couple of buddies who were camping out.



Wooley Hollow has an old single room log cabin from decades past in the park.



After I left the park I take a short cut up to Hwy 25 and stop in downtown Guy, Arkansas, for a picture. Seems not much going on downtown this time of day.



More to come . . . .
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Faulkner screwed with this post 10-16-2010 at 12:41 PM
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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I left Guy and cut through Pinnicle Springs road to Batesville Mountain on US Hwy 65 and made another stop at Hutch's General Store and Auction.



Looks like Hutch buys and sells about anything. Glad I didn't need any fuel 'cause not sure I'd have known how to use the pump.



There is also a place set aside for weary bikers to stop on the way to camp out. US Hwy 65 is the main path going north for those wanting to experiance the country music meca of Branson, Missouri, which is about 130 miles north of here. I've seen riders set up camp for the night here a number of times.



Not far away is the US Hwy 65 bridge over Cadron Creek. I have floated this creek a number of times in a kayak during the spring when it's at level III rapids. Today, it's but a trickle.



More to come . . . .
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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The goal for the day is to end up at the Cliff House Inn outside of Jasper, Arkansas. Right in the heart of the Ozarks and the Buffalo National River. The roads are twisty, often steep, and overall seem to be well maintained.





My Wee Strom and I love to see signs like these . . . .





I have my Nikon pocket camera on a lanyard around my neck so that I can snap quick pictures, but drop it when I need both hands. Sometimes I almost miss the window of a good picture.



They put guardrails on these roads for a reason . . . miss a turn and they won't find you 'til spring.







Cliff House Inn, here we come. I just hope the elk are out in the morning.



More to come . . .
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:42 PM   #4
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Nice ride

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:11 PM   #5
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I make it to the Cliff House Inn later afternoon. Good thing I have reservations as they only have 5 or 6 rooms and the parking lot was full.





Went to check in and it turns out a group of Triumph riders were passing through and stopped for a bite to eat at the Cliff House resturant.

The view from the Cliff House is just plain awesome.



After I check in I find me a rocking chair on the veranda to rest my weary legs a spell.







Tomorrow I'm heading out before daylight to Boxley Valley in search of the elusive Arkansas elk herd.

More to come . . . .
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:02 PM   #6
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Just as a teaser, here's a few pictures I took last year in Boxley Valley. It was one of those winter days where it warmed up enough to pull the bike out of the stable for a day. I wasn't looking for elk, but as I rounded a turn I came face to face with cow elk standing in the road, probably as surprised to see me as I was it. It was only when I stopped that I noticed the bull elk just off to the side.




I pulled over to the shoulder and snapped a few pictures as the small herd came out of the woods on the right and crossed the road and then jumped the fence to graze in the field on the left. It's amazing how graceful they can be and they jumped the fence with no effort whatsoever.







This trip I'm actually looking for elk for picture taking.

More to come . . . .
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:28 PM   #7
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The Ozarks is a wonderful place to ride a motorsickle. Gonna try to get down there soon myself. We are lucky to live so close to it. Great pics of the elk.
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:41 PM   #8
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Ozarks

Came down through Arkansas on a trip I took in '08. Your picture above reminded me of this one I took on hwy 7 just south of Jasper.


Looking forward to more of your report.
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:58 AM   #9
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Thanks for checking in guys. The Ozarks seem to be a well kept secret for motorcycle riding and Highway 7 is definitely one of my favorites.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:03 AM   #10
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:09 AM   #11
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Got up well before daylight Saturday morning to make the ride over the mountain to Boxley Valley to see if I could locate any elk. It was still dark and foggy as well in the Ozarks. It is about a 45 minute ride from the Cliff House Inn to Boxley Valley in the daytime, so I'm figuring a little longer in the pre dawn fog.





I've made the ride over the mountain from Jasper to Ponca through Lowgap many a time in the daylight and know the road is mostly curvey and steep, both up and down. The fog cuts the distance I can see in front of me in half with the headlights and I'm constantly on the watch for deer.

It took longer than I anticipated so it's after daylight when I decend off the mountain into Boxley Valley. What I didn't consider, though, was that the valley is on the west side of the mountain, so the sun won't be up over the mountain for another 20 minutes or so . . . I may have timed it perfectly after all.

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Old 10-17-2010, 06:35 AM   #12
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I hang a left at the bottom of the mountain and I figure I'm getting close. I pull the Strom to shoulder and shut it down to see if I can hear any elk bugling. Nope, natta. I crank it back up and ease on down the road a quarter mile and figure I must be getting close since the highway department has put up signs . . .



There is a good bit of fog, a lot of it generated by the nearby Buffalo River, and it's still a ways off before the sun will pop up over the mountain to burn it off. Still, this is beautiful country.







I stop by an abandonded and dilapidated old farmhouse and barn to listen for bugling. The fog is thinning out with each passing moment and I think I see something moving in the field . . . .



. . . yes, I've found them!



No, no, sorry. It's cows, of the bovin type. Hard to tell in all this fog.




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Old 10-17-2010, 06:42 AM   #13
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Okay, so I didn't get up before dawn and ride all the way out here in the dark and fog to see cows. I've seen cows galore for the past two days. My neighbor raises cows, I could have stayed home and watched his if I wanted to see cows. Where are the elk?




Just then I hear a bugling, and it's close! Then a answering elk bugle that seems to be even closer. The fog is lifting some more . . . wait for it.

Yes! I think I can see some elk, maybe a whole heard of them!





More to come . . . .
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:23 AM   #14
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Great RR my friend... Keep it coming!
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:36 AM   #15
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CottonTop, wish you'd been with me on this one. Last time you and I were here we walked right up to the elk.

******************

Okay, we have a little problem. The elk did not turn up where I thought they would. In between the elk and where I am is a beaver pond where a family of beavers have dammed up a small stream.





Even with maximum zoom on my camera I can't quite get the elk shots that I'm looking for.





This ain't gonna work, it's time for plan 'B' . . . okay, let me think, exactly what is plan 'B'? I need to figure out a way to get a little closer without running them off. One thing is for sure, I'm not doing any ATGATT wading through that beaver pond.

Stand by for more . . . .
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