In search of exciting mountain roads in the OK and AR National Forests!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by EnderTheX, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Hey Guys! I just got back from riding some cool roads in the national forests and mountains of OK and AR! This is my first trip for the year and I am already getting excited to go out again! My F800GS is definitely turning out to be exactly the bike I wanted it to be. :clap
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    I’ve got a bunch of pictures here and a few maps. I tracked myself through my new SPOT page and my Garmin 276C GPS. I’ll tell you the Garmin is really awesome. This is by far my favorite and most powerful GPS to date. Not only did it record my entire route very closely but it’s helped navigate on the fly, get out of sticky situations and plan future trips. :wink:
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    Since I’ve got the tracks and the SPOT I can tell accurately where each picture was taken. Please send me a PM if you would like a copy of the tracks or more info on any of the pictures!!!
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    Lets start off with a map of the route, these are my actual tracks for the whole trip.
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    This is a close-up of the day two riding in the Ozark National Forest.
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    For this trip I was supposed to go with my buddy Chris (child is his name on this site) who has a KTM 640A but he had family obligations at the last minute. I decided I would go ahead myself since I planned to be completely self-sufficient anyways. While we were planning the trip we practiced up at an off-road park near the Red River on the border of TX and OK. This was definitely helpful to get my confidence up on the bike and get us both in the mood for some tricky trails. :evil
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    To see a backwards helmet cam video from Chris that shows me riding the F800GS in some tight trails at the off-road park check out this thread:
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    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=583220
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    Let me introduce you to my ride! This beautiful beast is set to go and ready to haul up to the mountains!
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    #1
  2. briangorrell

    briangorrell Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Great pics...


    I am trying to decide between the R1200GS/ADV, or F800GS... Have you ridden the 1200 as well? What is your main reason for getting the F800GS?

    Thanks - looks like fun!

    Brian
    #2
  3. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    I am very familiar with these types of roads… Gravel, flat, strait, super fast and looong. These are the Texas back-roads, the endless grid of dirt you can find off the highways and in your backyard. Unfortunately many of the interesting roads have been closed or are on private property. I am constantly searching for new roads close to DFW and I’ve probably ridden most of them already.
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    Here is my GPS, well worth the effort and money to set this baby up. This picture was made to remind me about this road… It dead-ends at my pointed into a completely overgrown wilderness (I guess the lonely people who live on this road only travel in one direction) but it doesn’t seem to be fenced off. So if you have some time and bug spray this might be interesting.
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    Always a pleasure to find roads like this, less used and not maintained by the county or state. In Texas at least there usually are fences on both sides, where I am heading I
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    The roads can be quite sublime though, especially when they are just perfect! I know my friend Chris is adverse to traveling long distances cross-country but this is what he is missing!
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    So I stop at this gas station as I enter into Oklahoma, my gas gauge indicates 20 miles to empty and I knew I shouldn’t tempt fate below this point.
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    I could have sworn the F800GS is rated for 4.2 gallons of useable fuel!? Either something is going on here or I was truly running on fumes as I pulled up.
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    I head out into OK and come across a cool bridge.
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    I try my hand at a couple at speed shots. This is much harder than it looks!!!
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    Props to the peeps who can perfect these shots!
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    Getting into some deeper side roads, never know what is around each corner! I think a lot of these have been newly graded to prepare for summer.
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    Finally! The beginning of the really interesting roads! This is the famous Talemina Scenic Drive (State Highway 88).
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    From the Google Earth image you can see I stay on this road for a little bit but then take off on an offshoot where there is interesting dirt to be found!
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    #3
  4. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Hi Brian! I too had faced the dilemma of choosing between these great bikes. Several factors weighted in at the time but I chose to explore the more dirt oriented options. I'm not a big guy and the 1200s are huge! Since I do a lot of solo riding I have had to pick up my bike by myself many times. Also, the F800GS has more potential to clear obstacles. Mine is fitted with protective gear as well as suspension upgrades! :freaky


    Oh yeah, and serviceability in the field was a big one for me too. I carry tons of spare parts for emergencies (it comes into play on this trip). The spokes wheels (21 inch) and chain are big differences from the big 1200s and are features I desire.
    #4
  5. briangorrell

    briangorrell Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I understand - love these pics - happy riding!!
    #5
  6. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Up top on the Talemina Scenic Drive! There were tons of motorcyclists and of course the F800GS got lots of attention but I had little time to chat since I had to put some miles under my belt!
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    Note: You can get a good look at my luggage setup. I’ve got the Giantloop Great Basin bag and the Wolfman waterproof duffel. I am also using the Wolfman Expedition Lite tank bag. I couldn’t be happier with this setup. In a previous trip the soft luggage saved my leg from certain injury in a fall in deep sand. All of these are waterproof as I have proven on almost all of my long distance trips!!
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    I saw more bikers than cagers on this road. Good for them to be out an about on such a nice day!
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    One more picture then I’m outta here!!! This is an awesome road though…
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    #6
  7. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Now we are getting somewhere! I bet 99% of the people on this road never notice this side road. I had it in the back of my mind the whole week, the first mountain dirt for the trip.
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    Descending the mountain…
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    First (and very easy) water crossing of the day! I had heard rumors of slimy river crossings but this one was fine. Beautiful area, beautiful day, what more could you ask for? :thumb

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    I almost ran over these fellas! Who ever heard of fish road hazards!? :eek1

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    Here is where I get to the scenic-side-of-mountain roads I love. The mountains in this region extend for miles and miles as long ridges. The roads ride along the side of them and you usually have a steep slope on both sides. The shoulder on the right side of the track is just as steep as the wall on the left! And trust me, there are places you are almost vertical!

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    In case you are wondering where I am in the above picture.
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    Beautiful graded roads in the valley. On this road I stop to check out a party trying to un-stuck a 4 wheeler that is buried past the top of the tires. I offer medical supplies and tools if they need them, they don’t and I go on. (sorry no pics)
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    I always offer help to people I meet because the karma may help me in my solo travels. I don’t always take things easy and if the shit hits the fan you may need a helping hand.
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    These roads are fast!!!! They may be no challenge to most dual sport riders but I find them quite exciting especially when I pick the speed up. I find myself riding in 3<sup>rd</sup> and 4<sup>th</sup> gear most of the time making good time.
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    #7
  8. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
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    Some moto-porn in the forest for yall. :clap

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    #8
  9. briangorrell

    briangorrell Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Absolutely awesome pics - keep em' coming!! :D
    #9
  10. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
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    Back on the roads, a view from the cockpit. Actually I usually sit relatively high but I can see my GPS from the sitting and standing position.
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    Stopping at a nice viewpoint on the trail.
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    More pictures of the bike, I just can’t get tired of looking at it!
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    Testing out the macro feature on my camera and trying to be “artistic”. The flowers were everywhere and in full swing, definitely the tail end of the rainy season.
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    #10
  11. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Alright, back to the road. You know how I was saying I stop to pick up good karma where I can? This is where I use it all up. :eek1
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    I am riding like a bat out of hell on smooth roads with small hills on them. I am probably doing around 35mph when I crest over this hill (yes I know, stupid to ride faster than you can see) and I come to some deep ruts. I yell “oh shit!” in my helmet and hang on. My front tire gets caught in a rut and my rear is locked up and I almost go completely sideways… By some luck I manage to stay on the bike and come to a stop. :huh

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    Shaking, I grab my camera, point it backwards and get a shot of the carnage. The dust hasn’t cleared from the top of the hill, you can see the surface (and the rut) that caught me by surprise on the left side of the photo in the sunlight.
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    After that I take it a little easier but soon come to some more cool roads and forget about the scare.
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    A quick bridge picture is always fun! This particular road had a bit of 4x4 traffic that was throwing up dust but I put up my own dust storm keeping the pace up.
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    #11
  12. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    After the bridge picture, it began to get dark and I rode on to find a place for the night. During that time my main headlamp went out! The bike was fine but displayed a “LAMP” warning on the computer. I rode with the bright bulb on until I stopped.

    That's it for day 1 of the ride!!! I'm gonna post the rest of the days as soon as I can.
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    Here are some stats for day 1:
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    #12
  13. wswartzwel

    wswartzwel Unsafe at any speed

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,055
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    I always enjoy your ride reports! Looking forward to more great pics of your ride!!!


    Bill
    #13
  14. waltwhitman

    waltwhitman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    :D
    #14
  15. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Thanks guys! It means a lot to me because I am always thinking about taking you along on my trips and how to document it!
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    That night I dug out my spare headlight bulb and began the transplant. Luckily the headlight bulb replacement on the F800GS is so simple and intuitive I didn&#8217;t even need any instructions or tools!! :clap

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    Just remember&#8230; Don&#8217;t touch the bulb no matter how much you want to!
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    Woot!
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    The next morning I inspect my tire situation. These tires are basically brand new! I&#8217;ve only done about 500 mile total on them&#8230; The Metzler Karoos might have awesome traction and stability but the durability is definitely lacking. Good thing I have a set of Heidenau K60s in the garage waiting for my return!
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    Oh yeah, I do ride like a bat out of hell though. :lol3

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    #15
  16. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
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    The next day I spent exploring the Ozark National Forest. I love this forest because there is all type of terrain and lots of cool roads. Here is a sign on the highway leading into the forest.
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    Then we get on some National Forest Roads…
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    Does anyone know where these roads go? Most of them are not on the map and almost all of them are closed with these gates. I’m assuming these are fire roads but some of them look really fun!! :jump

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    Those fire roads appear as tiny trails off the sides of the main roads. I wiz by seemingly hundreds of these small trails and inspect a few. This one leads me to a gate and a nice camp site. I log the camp site on my GPS, intending to use this remote site later. I think during the trip I logged about 10 potential camp sites that were semi cleared with fire rings etc. No facilities of course!
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    Riding up the awesome mountain roads, I take a look back. I feel these ridge roads are helping me prepare for some serious riding when I get to Utah and Colorado! :evil

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    I come across a small trail leading off the main road. It’s not on the maps but it is noticeable more traveled and right on top of the mountain! I am sure I have seen this in previous ride reports and I take a picture at the bottom before powering up the rocky trail.
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    At the top I am sure I have seen this in other ride reports. This look-out point is famous and hell of a lot of fun to get to!! There are a couple fire pits and a couple small slabs of concrete (who knows what they were originally?… This is a place I would camp if the conditions were right, definitely could get windy up here! :rofl

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    This is where I am on Google earth (camp 4+). Sorry the image is so poor, I expected better from Google!
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    So I also uploaded a picture from my MapSource… This should get you there easily if you search for these roads in the picture. :freaky

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    #16
  17. wswartzwel

    wswartzwel Unsafe at any speed

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,055
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    If you are talking about these kind of concrete pillars... That used to be a fire tower, where the forest rangers would spend time looking for forest fires years ago.


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    #17
  18. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Neato, it sure felt like a perfect fire tower spot. Now it's just a picnic spot and potential extreme camp site! :clap
    #18
  19. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    Continuing on my way, there are some roads out here the let you forget every burden and allow you to go with the flow. This was one of those roads…
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    I was headed (of course) to the famous Oark Café! The legendary hamburgers and pies had not escaped my research on a previous trip and after sampling the delicacies last year I was destined to visit this holy spot. :dg

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    A fancy shot on the way:
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    A quiet babbling brook… Until I rev up the finely tuned 798cc German engine and speed away in a shower of gravel and dust!! :lol3

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    The road on my path to Oark is smooth and fast (with the occasional giant pothole I fly over!!) all the better because I am beginning to get dehydrated drooling over the thought of the ½ pound burger with bacon and cheese…
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    I do take the time to think of all the people who might read this and appreciate another picture of a nice river.
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    #19
  20. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,815
    Location:
    DFW Area, TX
    I made it! I envisioned hordes of motorcyclists at this location during this weekend but none in site? The locals hanging on the porch barely give me a glance. A stranger on a fancy BMW covered in dust is a familiar sight, almost like they expected me…
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    I park around back and find some cute puppies playing behind the store. :D

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    More proof that I was there! (Also another good look at my setup)
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    This however is where it’s at. Note the “beef pro” sign and the pies!
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    The best burger I’ve had in a long time! :yum

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    I asked the young waitress which pie she recommended. After taking me through a wonderful tour of all their pies (they had a few back-up pies for the real popular ones) she was enthusiastic about the peanut-butter pie. Having never tried one of these I dove in head first (no helmet needed!).
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    After re-fueling (low octane fuel but the only source if you are in the middle of the forest) I head out on the trail again!
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    #20