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Old 05-02-07, 10:03 PM   #1
jstrick38us
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Touring the Arkansas Ozarks

I am really wanting to take a tour in the Ozarks sometime this summer and was wondering if anyone here has experience in that region. I have looked at some of the recommendations from the maps and the state, and I've driven the area a few times. They are routing the bikes on the most heavily traveled highways, which are all two lane, curvy, and NO shoulder at all.

Notice I didn't say planning as my family situation prevents much in the way of long term plans. I can probably get a week or two at some time though.

Would anyone be interested in traveling with me? I don't bite. Much.

John
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Old 05-02-07, 10:12 PM   #2
fscopa@uark.edu
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I am also really wanting to take a tour in the Ozarks. I am well into the planning section. This is my first tour so I don't have a clue if I am making good plans or if you will all be reading about the moronic bicyclist who was trampled to death by a herd of wild chickens. I am graduating and commissioning into the Air Force on May 11th, and I have to report on the 29th of May. So I don't have much time. I am planning a 5 or six day tour with a departure date of the 17th from Fayetteville. This probably does not give you enough time, but your welcome to come along if you would like. Other wise I would be happy to share my rote with you. I am open to any and all suggestions.

Frank
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Old 05-02-07, 10:35 PM   #3
jstrick38us
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Wow! That sounds like fun. I don't think I can make it that quickly.

I went to UofA and made many tours out of Fayetteville, though none more than three or four days. That was a looong time ago and the traffic patterns have changed substantially, but you should be fine once you get away from the city. The chickens aren't too aggressive - its the rednecked ****birds that I worry more about.

I was in that area 2 weeks ago and went out to Crosses on hwy. 16. It was a really beautiful drive and made me wish I had my bike and a few days (or months) to kill.

I'm thinking of somewhere around the Buffalo River area, maybe Jasper as a starting point. I'll drive there from Kansas City so I don't waste my whole time fighting the south wind to find the mountains.
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Old 05-02-07, 11:05 PM   #4
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I took Highway 74 east from Fayetteville to Jasper and beyond in the 90s.
Fayetteville is a college toan and quite nice - with bike shops, etc.
You'll ride thru Buffalo National River - very nice.
Jasper is one of the best small towns in all of America.
There's a short stretch of Hwy 74 east of Jasper that is unpaved -
Maybe that's why the highway overall has so little traffic.
The only busy section is heading out of Fayetteville.
You can combine Hwy 74 with Hwy 14 and ride all the way to Batesville.
Bates Motel?? Batesville is another college town - nice.
If you're going to do a loop - consider Hwy 16 back to Fayetteville.

Mostly light traffic 10 years ago - lots of up and down - constantly.
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Old 05-02-07, 11:53 PM   #5
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I've canoed out of Ponca on the Buffalo River. Absolutely gorgeous area! Since I've taken up biking I've thought of returning to bike that area. I'm not in the shape for those hills yet though! The Buffalo Outdoor Center is an outfitter there that rents some very nice cabins.
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Old 05-03-07, 06:03 PM   #6
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Frank, what route are you using now? Here's mine:

Day 1 - Bentonville to Elkins
Day 2 - Elkins to Ozark
Day 3 - Ozark to Morrilton/Petit Jean SP
Day 4 - Morrilton to Little Rock
Day 5 - Rest Day
Day 6 - Little Rock to Hot Springs
Day 7 - Hot Springs to Murfressboro
Day 8 - Murfreesboro to Mt. Ida
Day 9 - Mt. Ida to Mt. Magazine
Day 10 - Mt. Magazine to Van Buren
Day 11 - Van Buren to Bentonville

If you haven't toured before, the Ozarks might be rather difficult for a first go. You may want to look at the Katy Trail in Missouri which can be completed 1 way in 3-4 days. Also, what kind of equipment are you using?

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by fscopa@uark.edu
I am also really wanting to take a tour in the Ozarks. I am well into the planning section. This is my first tour so I don't have a clue if I am making good plans or if you will all be reading about the moronic bicyclist who was trampled to death by a herd of wild chickens. I am graduating and commissioning into the Air Force on May 11th, and I have to report on the 29th of May. So I don't have much time. I am planning a 5 or six day tour with a departure date of the 17th from Fayetteville. This probably does not give you enough time, but your welcome to come along if you would like. Other wise I would be happy to share my rote with you. I am open to any and all suggestions.

Frank
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Old 05-03-07, 10:40 PM   #7
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I am riding a Surly LHT complete with a blackburn rear rack, water proof nashbar front panniers for my rear panniers, and a Jandd handlebar bag with a Jandd frame bag.

The more I look at everything the less firm I am about my route. I have two I am looking at.

The first is

Day 1 Fayetteville to Withrow Springs
Day 2 Withrow Springs to Lost Valley camp ground (Near Boxley on the Buffalo)
Day 3 Lost Valley to St Paul
Day 4 St Paul to fayetteville

The second route is

Day 1 Fayetteville to just north of Alma (mostly on 71)
Day 2 Alma to Natural Dam (not on 59, through Uniontown and Barcelona)
Day 3 Natural Dam to Shores lake
Day 4 Shores Lake to Red Star (through Oark, and Arbaugh)
Day 5 Red Star to Fayetteville

All these stops are either campgrounds or within a National Forest, so I should be able to find a place to camp each night. I am concerned that the second route is a bit long each day while the first route seems short most days. Its a lot harder to match up good distances with places to sleep than I expected. Thanks for any and all advice.

Frank
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Old 05-04-07, 08:41 AM   #8
kbabin
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I know this is a bit off topic, but if you have the ability to ride dirt roads. You could link up routes with the Trans-America Trail (http://transamtrail.com/). This is a mostly back roads route across America intened for a motorcycle, but I would be it should work with a touring bike setup with the correct tires. It passes though the northern part of Arkansas.

Kevin
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Old 05-04-07, 10:22 PM   #9
jstrick38us
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Frank,
Both of those routes will be beautiful. I've been around the area enough to know the towns you are talking about, but I don't really know the distances and how they will go with a bike.

Depending on how much training you've been doing, I would go with the shorter days and if the ride is easy, then do some extra loop just to enjoy the scenery. Or stop and take some extra time at nice places. That's really what its all about.

Good luck! I envy you.

John
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Old 05-05-07, 05:42 PM   #10
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Be careful on those curvey roads. My cousin was killed on those roads some years ago (in a car...not on a cycle). Lots of blind curves and vehicles will not be looking for a cyclist. Those roads also have a lot of big truck traffic (logging and rock haulers) which can make the roads really nasty.
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Old 05-05-07, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fscopa@uark.edu
All these stops are either campgrounds or within a National Forest, so I should be able to find a place to camp each night. Its a lot harder to match up good distances with places to sleep than I expected. Thanks for any and all advice.

Frank
Slightly OT:
About 5 years ago my backpacking buddies & I did 50 miles on the Ozark Highland National Recreation Trail. It was beautiful but warm & muggy for late May. I was amazed that poison ivy had completely overtaken thousands of acres of the National Forest - we hiked for miles & miles through the dappled shade of oaks with beautiful poison ivy beds stretching like a solid green blanket through every hollow. The trail was easy to follow since it was the only break in the ivy.

We knew when we reached a campsite because it would be a 20 x 30 foot space with the poison ivy cleared away. Weirdest thing I ever experienced...probably on a bike you'll have better luck with good campsites.
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