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Old 04-28-2012, 03:56 PM   #1
TroyWolf OP
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Overland Park, KS (Kansas City)
Oddometer: 425
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Let's start with a photo. This is the coffee mug at the Ozark Cafe in Jasper, AR. It became our mantra for the ride.


The morning caffeine was accompanied by the $2.99 special. Sean & I enjoyed this Fri, Sat, & Sun morning!


Plenty of bike-only parking in the forest:


A typical, quiet backroad:


Why did the chicken cross the river?


I spent roughly 73 bazillion hours pouring over the ride reports, photos, and tracks posted in the Arkansas Ride Reports thread. Huge thanks to the inmates who reached out to help!

I downloaded and examined all the tracks I could find for Arkansas on DualsportMaps.com, including all the SLAP tracks. Thanks for posting your stuff, all!

We are very familiar with the West side of this forest because we've ridden our street-legal dirtbikes for several thousand miles in that region. This ride was to focus on the area E of Hwy 21 from Hwy 40 all the way North to Jasper, AR. The plan was to spend Fri through Sun riding our big bikes through as many of the best roads as we could find.

Sean came from East of St. Louis, and I came from Kansas City. We headed out after work on Thursday meeting for a burger, fries, and shake at Billy Bob's Dairyland in Branson, MO.

We reached the Dogwood Springs campground in Jasper just after dark Thursday night. Nice toilet and shower rooms. They have RV spaces, cabins, and a swimming pool. They have WiFi if you get close enough to the office. We unloaded the bikes and I set up my little tent. Sean aired up his mattress to sleep in the back of his SUV. If you want quiet, remote camping, Dogwood aint it, but if you want convenience to town--especially the $2.99 breakfast special at the Ozark Cafe, then it works quite well.


Almost everything I planned worked out--which is surprising. Our tracks look like this. Red=Fri, Blue=Sat, Green=Sun, 460 miles total.


DAY 1: Friday, April 20

After breakfast, we headed S out of Jasper. We quickly hit rough gravel and snaked our way SE to Mt. Judea where we picked up the the twistiest bit of Hwy 123, the "Arkansas Tail of the Dragon". Unfortunately, it wasn't very fun because the fog was terribly thick with a light drizzle. I had a death grip and laser focus trying to navigate through the corners without losing sight of the road. I was nervously crawling through. The last time I came through, the weather was perfect--a much different experience.

Near the top of the mountain, we turned E onto a dirt road--this road was more dirt than gravel, and I imagine would be messy in a real downpour. It was tacky and sticky, but not gumming up the tires. Thankfully Sean & I both put on brand new knobbies for this ride. We'd have been in a world of hurt with the factory "dualsport" tires.

Along this section of road, we came across a Metro Bus Stop!

We waited for at least 45 minutes, but the bus ne[IMG][/IMG]ver came by! The folks up the road walked down to see if we needed anything--really nice folks. They got a real kick out of us stopping to see the bus stop sign. Turns out they sold the 50 acres to the guy and stuck the bus stop sign at the end of his driveway. Apparently he thought it was funny because he has kept it.

Finally we gave up on the bus and decided we'd better just ride our motorcycles. We spent the first half of Fri riding under heavy cloud cover and an occasional tiny sprinkle. I missed these cliffs somehow, but Sean made me ride back to see them.


They've finally repaired the part of Co-1 taken out by the landslide. You can get a bit of a feel for the enormity of the slide in this photo.


We came across the falling waters area. The creek along here was beautiful.






...and what I assume is called "Falling Waters":


Fri was our muddy day with the light rains seen overnight and off and on during the day. Some of the mudholes in the Ozarks hold water for months since the ground is solid rock under the relatively small layer of dirt.


The good news is that even nasty-looking mudholes USUALLY are nothing to worry about. Problem is, you just have no way of really knowing, and I've seen more than one bike almost disappear in mudholes out here!

We rode many miles of one-lane, no-maintenance roads--primo adventure bike stuff.






Somewhere along a great, rugged Jeep road that I think is named Linsey Mountainway, we ran into a group of Jeeps and Land Cruisers at the East Fork Illinois Bayou river. We had to cross here, and it was the biggest crossing of the trip up to this point. I had expected to get turned around at creek crossings plenty. I'm no stranger to burying a bike in a river and usually not afraid of them, but it was spring time, had been raining, and we were on our big bikes--not the dirtbikes. We spent a couple minutes working up the courage, and then I was the first to cross.


Sean had a small, handheld video camera, and I had the still camera. My camera takes crappy, 10 second videos, but here is Sean crossing the same river.


Now since Sean saw my line and therefore realized the bottom was relatively smooth, he had the luxury of keeping his legs up. While my boots were full of water, Sean's boots weren't even wet!


Thanks to zecatfish, we ended up taking "road" 1810. This thing was gnarly! It was more like the stuff I like to find on my KTM. Lots of bouncing on large rocks and multiple rough creek crossings. This one was short, but had a deep pocket. As usual, turned out not to be too bad. My F800GS is heavy to pick up, and I don't really want to drown it!








Then we came to this crossing...and it looked deep with a large tree across the path.

We found a better, slightly less scary place to cross, but the ATV trail on our side kept going along the river, and Sean wanted to try to make it W to the road using this trail rather than cross. We followed the ATV trail for some time, but it kept getting gnarlier and muddier...a handful on the big bikes. Again, we were both very glad we put fresh knobbies on the bikes before the trip. I finally convinced Sean that the creek crossing was quite doable. We backtracked and crossed without incidence. Sean did not post a video of this crossing, so perhaps we did not take one. The road on the other side looked more like a dry river bed with small boulders. The forest road was a short jaunt up this rough section.


At the end of 1810 we saw the forest road, but guess what? Yes, another river crossing. Sean still has dry boots at this point. In fact, I think he reached camp Fri night with dry boots.


From 1810, we ran up Indian Creek Rd. It is a narrow and enjoyable road. It had a tree down across that looked like it had been there some time. This was a road I could drive in my 2WD truck, so I was surprised it had not been cleared. We had to bushwack around the tree--there was no existing path.




Once up to Hwy 123, we cruised E to Hwy 7 then up to Jasper. We stopped at the "Arkansas Grand Canyon" overlook. It's an impressive view, but my crappy point & shoot camera does it zero justice.


Days 2 & 3 to come...
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TroyWolf screwed with this post 04-28-2012 at 04:11 PM
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