September 27th-30th, 2006
FOGG Rider Report
Fall Ride To The Ozarks
|Leo Bell||David Johnson|
|Paula Bell||Rhonda Johnson|
|Bob Buckner||John Willis|
|Carla Buckner||Richard Dickerson|
|Amanda Johnson|| |
We left on time and the weather was wonderful. After a short ride to Cleveland we stopped and topped off our gas tanks. As we passed through Diboll, Texas we saw a number of police giving tickets to mostly truck drivers. We stopped at Wendy's in Marshall, Texas for lunch. We made much better time than we had thought we would. At 3:00 pm we were unpacking our luggage at the home of Elvin and Ann Johnson, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The Johnson's provided a great meal for us and afterwards some of us sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the nice evening breeze while the others played chicken foot in the house.
We left the Johnson's home early to met up with Kerry and Angela Baxley for breakfast in Hot Springs. We parted ways and continued up scenic highway 7 to Harrison, Arkansas. This is on a great stretch of road. Lot's of scenic overlooks along the way. We arrived at The Cliff House Restaurant after 3 pm to learn that they normally close at 3 pm. But, the owners felt sorry for us and offered us some sandwiches and pie for a late lunch. This is a great place to stop for a meal. The Cliff House Restaurant is built on a cliff that overlooks what some call the Arkansas Grand Canyon. The view and the food are fantastic. After thanking the owners for letting eat, we continued on through Harrison and on to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We went to The Great Passion Play and enjoyed a great show. At a pivotal moment when Christ disappears there was dead silence in the crowd except for one lone "Whoa" from Amanda Johnson. To be honest, the effect of Christ's disappearance is quite impressive. After the show we stopped at a local restaurant and had a bite to eat before going to the hotel.
The general consensus was that we shouldn't pass up the opportunity to take-in a few more sights before leaving Eureka Springs. We paid a visit to the Thorncrown Chapel and then went to see the Christ of The Ozarks statue. Then our course turned towards the Pig Trail (highway 23). Just before hitting the famous Pig Trail run, we stopped off to eat a bite of lunch. The Pig Trail was not all the ride I had remembered it to be. It was fun, but there was a better stretch of road that laid ahead of us. We left highway 23 and took I40 west. Taking highway 271 out of Arkansas we once again turned south through Oklahoma. Our destination was highway #1, otherwise known as the Talimena Scenic Drive. This is on ride you don't want to pass up if you are on a motorcycle. The long sweeping curves and deep dips through the hills and valleys are perfect. You want a slow scenic drive, this is it. If you like a little excitement, then just twist the throttle and hang on. No matter what your perfect riding road is, this one will exceed you expectations. We arrived at Queen Wilhelmina State Park lodge at dusk and were enjoyed a great dinner before taking a much needed rest.
After breakfast we left for home. We took highway #8 west over into Oklahoma and then turned south on highway #259. The ride was a little further than the highway #59 route we had taken the year before. However, it was much better scenery and well worth the extra miles. We stopped at Nacogdoches for lunch, before making our final push home. It was dusk when we arrived home safely and ready for our own beds.
The weather for this trip was nearly perfect. We never got into any rain and the temperatures were above the forecast.
We all wished the stay in Eureka Springs had been longer. There is so much to see at Eureka Springs and the Great Passion Play that several days wouldn't be too much.
There were 5 motorcycles and 1 chase car on this ride. The chase car was the Bell's four door Doge Ram truck. The total trip was over 1,200 miles. On a trip of that distance it's a great comfort to know you have a way to haul a bike back home should one break down. The Bell's truck was very much appreciated by all.
After the fact, I learned that we were invited to dinner at Third Street Baptist Church. in Arkadelphia, Wednesday night. Perhaps next time we will think to check on that before hand.