Recommendations for a trip to Arkansas - Honda Goldwing Forums
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  • 2 Post By Randy Hawes
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Recommendations for a trip to Arkansas

I am considering a solo camping ride. I took one to Lake Superior a couple years ago and had a blast. Since then I have had a few health issues and my wife doesn't want me going so far away if I am going solo.

I love solo camping trips on a bike. It is really close to the top of my most favorite things to do. So to appease her and still find some riding and camping adventure I have agreed to stay closer to home.

From my home I am looking at approximately 1000 mile round trip.

My potential camp sites will be
Talimena State Park (OK)
Mt Nebo State Park (AR)
Bull Shoals State Park (AR)

If you have experience with any of these state parks or areas of the state I would welcome the feedback.

I plan to ride to Talimena and camp (Hwy 88 in AR to Hwy 1 in OK). On my way out I will back track on Talimena Scenic Drive and hit Hwy 7 out of Hot Springs.
Take Hwy 7 north to Mt Nebo (spend a day or two)
Take Hwy 7 up to Bull Shoals (spend a day or two)
And travel back home.

It would be a short trip, mileage wise, but would offer some relaxing quiet time.

Just a way faring stranger
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 04:46 PM
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I would consider camping at Lake Ouachita State Park. That will give you easy access to HWY7 in Hot Spring Village, avoiding the slow traffic and high prices in the larger city of Hot Springs.

From HSV, go north on HWY7 and make your way to Petit Jean Overlook and Gravesite. Good area for a rest stop but NO services. Not even a vending machine. Bring what you need. From there, Mt Nebo is an hour west.

Another nice stop is Mt Magazine State Park. It includes the highest point in the state, some a very good view points and the states most popular launch site for hang gliders. If they're flying you might get addicted.

Being from SE Missouri, you're probably familiar with Lambert's Café in Sikeston. If not, they have another location in Ozark, Mo due north of Branson, without the crowd.

You might want to save Bull Shoals for a later trip. Go to the Ozark Folk Music Center just north of Mountain Home. Although it is a state park with camping, just make it a stop. My main interest would be getting info on next years music festival for that later trip
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 05:45 PM
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Ouachita National Forest Run -

Hey Wayfarer, I lean more toward solo camping myself. There are lots of scenic rides through the Ouachita National Forest area and along the Talimena Drive. I've found the Winding Star Campground to be a nice place but a little rustic.

One off the wall type stops you might be interested in visiting is an old 1850's cemetery on the top of Rich Mountain (Hwy 88) on the Ok-Ark line. Although long gone now, in the civil war period there was a church and small community of pioneers struggling to survive some tough times.

Ride Safe - Michael
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 07:38 AM
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You have mapped out a wonderful road trip. I live near the Oklahoma end of the Talimena Trail. I've ridden it many times as well as Highway 7 north from Hot Springs. I would suggest staying at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, which is on the TT closer to Mena, instead of Talimena State Park. I've camped there a couple of times (when I lived farther away) and it is swell. There's also a lodge there that serves buffet meals. On the northern part of Highway 7 near Jasper, Ark, there's an elk herd which can occasionally be spotted (I never have, but c'est la vie). Highway 7 is still a very nice ride, but a few years ago so moron decided to widen it, so the curves are a little less curvier, but it is still a breathtaking ride. I have camped on Mt. Nebo during a "Fools on the Hill" rally which happens on the last weekend of winter. It is so freaking cold then. I suspect this time of year it would be wonderful. The ride up Mt. Nebo has several switchbacks. You could also swing by Harrison, Ark. on your trip, which is the home of David Duke.Otherwise it is a nice little town. If you end up doing the TT on a weekend, let me know and I'll try meet you on whichever end you want to start from and ride a ways with you. You also might look into getting a copy of Arkansas Riders Guide by Mario Caruso. It is a great resource and it is well written and witty as well as having lots of great rides mapped out. I don't think you can go wrong on this trip. Sounds like you have done some research and excellent planning.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 11:55 AM
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Looks like you have all the information I could give already. Enjoy the trip.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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For those of you who know the area well, if you were choosing between camping at Mt Nebo or Petit Jean which would you choose and why? Remember I'm traveling by wing so I would prefer avoiding any gravel. I can ride gravel if I have to but I don't enjoy it.

Thanks

Just a way faring stranger
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 04:55 PM
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Arkansas has a great WEBSITE for motorcycling in the state.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 06:14 PM
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Little Jean's Mountain -

Hey Wayfarer - In my opinion both the Mt Nebo or Petit Jean park's are nice but if you are planning to camp in the heat of summer I'd lean more toward staying at the Petit Jean Park. Not sure about the warmer months, but in the spring and early fall there are creeks everywhere. I prefer area D for the shaded tent camp sites and bathrooms.

This was originally an old French trappers territory (Little Jean's Mountain - later a minor, short lived fort and trading post was est..) with a few mixed settlements in amongst the many Indian tribes. The Quapaw, Cherokee and the Choctaw were considered the most powerful. The Louisiana Purchase quickly opened this new frontier to the American trail blazers, mountain men and their families. History Geek....

It will be difficult to find any location in Arkansas that isn't a nice area to ride. I think the only drawback is that the old trails (now modern roads) between the mountains tend to funnel all traffic down through the middle of some towns.

Ride Safe - Michael
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