Riding The Talimena National Scenic Byway

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by nogutsnoglory, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. nogutsnoglory

    nogutsnoglory Adventurer

    Joined:
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    North Of Dallas
    If you want to enjoy fall colors and you live just north of Dallas, TX, you can either go to the hill country and see the Lost Maples area or you get out of Texas altogether. The Lost Maples area in the Texas hill country is an amazing area - between the Texas Red Oaks and the Bigtooth Maples the fall colors are spectacular. Here is the url to the state park website (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/lost-maples) if anyone is interested. It is called Lost Maples as it is far removed from any other maple forest and no one is really sure how all those Bigtooth Maples ended up there. If you need a fall color fix in mid to late November this place is hard to beat.

    But that's not what this ride report is about. Instead of heading south to hill country, three of us headed north to ride The Talimena National Scenic Byway (www.talimenascenicdrive.com). The Talimena National Scenic Byway is very unique as is runs atop of the ridge of the Ouachita Mountains, which is one of the few mountain ranges in the USA that runs east-west, instead of north-south. It is approx. 54 miles long and runs between Talihina, OK and Mena, AR, hence the name Talimena. Both towns are nice but I prefer Mena so we rode north to Talihina to start the trail there and then spend the night in Mena, AR.

    This road was designated as a National Scenic Byway in 2005 and since it runs on the top of the mountain ridge it provides spectacular scenery along with plenty of twistys and elevation changes. This short 54 mile stretch includes 22 scenic vista pull-outs and 13% grades - it's an amazing ride!

    Getting the Wing ready to go

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    Watching the sun rise

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    Here my friends are arriving, a husband and wife who both ride.

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    As is usually the case, my friends wife is always ready before we are and this time is no different.

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    We ride out of Plano and head northeast to Paris, TX. From there we take Hwy 195 towards the Red River and the Oklahoma state line. This little stretch of road is populated with some stunning farms and ranches and old growth trees covering the road as you leave Paris. It is a great ride that I wasn't expecting as we were still in the flats and can't even see the mountains yet.

    Here we are trying the find Hwy 195

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    Still trying to find Hwy 195

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    After you cross the Red River - sorry, no picture, living only an hour away we cross it so many times that it is anticlimatic so I didn't take a picture of it this time - you go through Idabell and end up in Broken Bow, OK. At this point it's time to stop and have an early lunch and fuel up as there aren't too many fine dining establishments in Talihina. Turns out there aren't too many fine dining establishments in Broken Bow either. Either that or our GPS and cell phone apps both found all the out of business restaurants in the entire town. So the one restaurant we found that was still in business turns out to have great Mexican food - thank goodness we all like Mexican.

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    After a leisurely lunch we head north past the Beaver Bend area. We are finally getting into the hills with lots of pine trees but too much color yet.

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    As we continue north finally we hit some color as we head towards Talihina

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    Just outside Talihina is where you pick up the west end of the Talimena National Scenic Byway.

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    This is what we came here for!!! It is an amazing road and we hit the colors at almost full peak on a gorgeous day to be alive and riding motorcycles.

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    #1
  2. nogutsnoglory

    nogutsnoglory Adventurer

    Joined:
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    As we head east and start climbing up the ridge, the colors and scenery changes and gets even better. The colors are more frequent, vibrant and the vistas are beautiful.

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    Lots of fellow bikers enjoying the day

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    Stopping to get some better pictures off the bikes

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    More moving pictures from the bike

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    Two of my favorite pictures from the trip

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    The pictures say more than I ever can

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    Arrived in Mena, AR for the night

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    A few pics on the way home the next day

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    Coming back from Talihina heading towards Broken Bow we have to stop for gas and ask the Park Ranger who is also there getting gas where a good place is for lunch. He says right here, at the gas station, and I say really? He ways yes they have the best BBQ around. OK, so they are the only BBQ around :D and yes it was very good. The shed to the right of the bikes is the smoke shack. Smelled wonderful and tasted even better!

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    We had a great time doing this trip and planned to do it again this year. My friend’s wife however recently had major foot surgery on one foot. Once that heals she gets the distinct pleasure of having the same operation on her other foot. So she won’t be riding for the rest of the year. Maybe I’ll grab the Triumph and make a day trip out of it. It’s about 500 miles RT but if you leave early it makes for an incredible trip!
    #2
  3. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

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    Nice ride report, and great pictures!

    :thumb

    Heading off on that route in April. It will be my fiancé's first long trip on our new Wing, so very excited about it.
    #3
  4. nogutsnoglory

    nogutsnoglory Adventurer

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    North Of Dallas
    Thanks MaddBrit,

    Depending on how long you want to ride with your fiancé, I've mapped out a 3 day route through southern Arkansas for our springtime group ride. 1st day ride to Mena for lunch with an overnight in Hot Springs. 2nd day ride to Petit Jean State Park and spend some time enjoying the beauty of that area, lunch in Russellville, ride Mt. Magazine and back to Mena for the 2nd night. 3rd day ride the Talimena then home. Each day is an easy 5-6 hours riding time and you get to see some beautiful country. Did this in the cage with the family and it's a great route.
    #4
  5. hairsmith

    hairsmith Been here awhile

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    Nacogdoches Texas
    Riding the HILL as some of us call it is wonderful with the fall colors.
    Seeing some of the restraints in your ride report you owe it to your self to stop by Pam's Hateful Hussy in Talihina, great food and fun surroundings !
    #5
  6. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

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    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Cool writeup!

    I rode the Talimena just by chance a couple of summers ago, by virtue of picking the squiggly lines on the map. :D It was the highlight of my day. That was part of an 18-day cross-country excursion on my Weestrom. Had lunch that day at the Hateful Hussy Diner in Talihina and as a bonus was treated to a parade as I ate my burger.

    Here's the relevant section of my RR:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=16143074
    #6
  7. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

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    cool report, I was there about a yr ago, the gratefull head in broken bow is really good
    #7
  8. AfricaAdventurer

    AfricaAdventurer Adventurer

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    Minneapolis, MN
    Great pics! A good buddy and I rode up from Longview, TX and had a grand time on that road last spring. Cheers.
    #8
  9. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

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    Very cool!

    :thumb
    #9