Spring Break with Petit Jean

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by txplants, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Cliff-77

    Cliff-77 Lost Adventurer

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    Me&wife spent a wkend-anniversary there 12yrs.ago enjoyed it,gotta go back,thanks for sharing.
    #21
  2. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    Made the short ride from my camp ground to the Rock House Cave trail head, just off of Red Bluff Drive.

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    According to the park interpreter, Petit Jean lies within what was the territory of the Mississippian culture; a civilization that flourished from 800-1500. The people left their mark in this rock shelter in the form of artful and often abstract pictographs.

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    The park interpreter gave an interesting presentation on the Mississippians. Following his talk, we hiked to the rock shelter and he positioned a flexible reflector in such a way that it made the fading pictographs “stand out” so they could be appreciated and photographed.

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    <o:p>Some are abstract&#8230;

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    This yin-yang motif is common at other sites and on pottery left behind by the people. The interpreter said it has spiritual significance.

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    And some recognizable like this &#8220;teosinte&#8221;&#8230;

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    &#8230;and this paddlefish and fish trap.

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    What do you see?

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    On the hike out, I paused to marvel at these &#8220;turtle rocks&#8221;, which result from a weathering process that&#8217;s poorly understood&#8230;

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    #22
  3. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    Great report! That park is a real hidden gem. Ive been in the Mena/Oden area several times mountain biking but not on a road trip yet.
    Wow, really dipped into the 20s at night? Did you bring all your warmest gear? Cold front blew through Austin today.

    Thanks for the great pics, would love to check this out on a road bike some time!
    #23
  4. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    :clap:clap:clap Thanks for sharing your trip out to Petit Jean. Had so much fun there the first time I happened on the place about 20 years ago. Was attempting to teach the rangers the proper way to say the Name of the Place. It's French, so pronounce in French. LOL! Lots of fun memories and I still run by the place when in the area. Arkansas is so vast, fun and beautiful. I never get tired of roaming it. :clap:clap:clap
    #24
  5. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Nice report and pix. Sparks my interest in the area.
    #25
  6. Bug Dr.

    Bug Dr. Extroverted Loner

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    Great report and pics. Petit Jean has some unique geologic formations. It is a great place to explore, hike and do some bouldering.

    I have not been to the lodge since it has been reworked. It looks very nice. They were unsure if they could save it or if they would have to tear it down and rebuild. I'm glad they got to keep it and have it restored. There was a large CCC camp up there with remains of several of their buildings still standing. The stories of the men that came there to work is humbling. The CCC workers gave Arkansas several nice State Parks.

    Mt. Magazine has a very nice lodge but fewer hiking trails to enjoy. It is worth going to see if for no other reason than the ride up there (recommend going up from the south and down the north side).

    IMO, Arkansas State Parks are as good as anywhere in the country and I'm very proud of them. To me, they are the crown jewel of Arkansas.

    Sounds like you enjoyed your trip.
    Mike
    #26
  7. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

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    Great RR so far!

    My wife & I love seeking out new parks and going on big hikes, and Petit Jean SP will be right on our route for our fall trip down to Key West...so this RR is perfect timing!! :clap

    Beautiful scenery!!
    #27
  8. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    It’s a gem indeed! I knew it would be cold at night, and I had warm clothes and my cold-weather riding gear; but the days were clear and crisp warming to the high 50s… perfect!
    #28
  9. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    My neighbor is from Arkansas, and she schooled me on the correct pronunciation… something like “Pedda gene”… right?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #29
  10. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    It's a sweet park!
    #30
  11. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    I can see why, great park facilities and staff! And yes... I enjoyed myself immensely!
    #31
  12. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    You’ll love it! I hope you can spend at least a few days there!
    #32
  13. Bug Dr.

    Bug Dr. Extroverted Loner

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    It's more like "Petty Gene".

    I worked in Tifton, Ga for a year and couldn't figure out where the hell All Benny was located that the locals kept taking about. It finally clicked.....Albany, GA.
    Mike
    #33
  14. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    Stopped on the way back to the campground to admire more of the CCC&#8217;s handiwork. Craftsman to the highest degree to be sure.

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    It was after four by the time I got back to my campsite. Gave my bike a once over and checked tire pressure for my departure in the AM. Returned to my book for awhile and made dinner.

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    As the sun set, I began to prep for a camp fire. Lounged comfortably by the fire for hours, listening to someone strum a guitar a do a fine job of it, the happy sing song voices of kids, the lonely calls of an occasional small flock of Canada geese&#8230;

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    My Facebook status reads&#8230; &#8220;Enjoying the stars and a perfect campfire&#8221;.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p>Mementos of a perfect day.</o:p>
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    #34
  15. luckychucky

    luckychucky Long timer

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    Thanks my wife has told me she has always wanted to visit Petite Jean. I better not forget this one.
    #35
  16. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    I was still undecided what route I would take home when I turned in Tuesday night. I knew I wanted to ride state highway 7, and I wanted to pass through Hot Springs. In the morning, after breakfast and breaking camp, I decided to back track to Ola, and pick up Hwy. 7 there and take it all the way to Interstate 30 near Arkadelphia, from there I would take a direct route back to Caddo Lake State Park to spend the night.

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    I have few pictures of my ride from Ola to Hot Springs on Hwy. 7 because it was a glorious road and I just didn&#8217;t want to slow down! <o:p></o:p>
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    I made a pit-stop at the National Forest campground&#8230;<o:p></o:p>
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    &#8230;and one other to catch a roadside shot&#8230;<o:p></o:p>
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    &#8230;but otherwise just enjoyed the ride until I rolled in to Hot Springs and stopped at the first eatery that looked promising. Lox and bagel and an oversized homemade cinnamon roll.

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    After a nice break, I was back in the saddle and really didn&#8217;t slow down until I reached the state line.

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    I was sad to leave Arkansas behind. But, I can come back, and I was headed to Caddo and was looking forward to another night there.<o:p></o:p>
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    My routine; check in and find my site, back in&#8230;

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    &#8230;unload&#8230;

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    &#8230;tent goes up, gear goes in, relax&#8230;

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    Thursday morning I headed back to Houston and experienced the only mishap during an otherwise perfect trip. South of the town of Livingston I felt a slight jar and sudden declaration as I was topping an overpass. By the time I got off the road and came to a stop the rear tire was completely flat, and upon inspection I found a gash about an inch long. I&#8217;m not set up to patch a tire from the inside, so I gave a plug a try. Inserted the plug with an ample coating of cement&#8230;

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    Waited about ten minutes, and then connected my little Slime pump and put it to work.<o:p></o:p>
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    It held! I carried on at a cautious pace to a BMW dealer in South Houston to make good on my tire warranty.

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    Stripped the bike and piled my gear on the showroom floor, and while it was and service I browsed and began to imagine how an F800GS might look parked next to my R.

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    In less than two hours I was headed home on a new Metzeler Z8, quite content and feeling restored from spending Spring Break with Petit Jean.
    #36
  17. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Petit in French is Small or Little. Pronounced Pee Teet Jean is Pronounced Jon like combining J and on together.

    as the story refers to the small girl that dressed as a cabin boy and got away with it intil she took sick.

    After a little bit cutting up with the Rangers , every time they saw me , they would yell at me Pee teet Jon . with a thumbs up.
    #37
  18. Bug Dr.

    Bug Dr. Extroverted Loner

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    If you ask for the Pee teet Jon in Arkansas folks will point you to the small outhouse in the back. That may be the proper French way of pronouncing the name but it will confuse the Hillbillies 'round here.
    Mike
    #38
  19. HPTuner

    HPTuner Been here awhile

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    Great report, txplants! Thanks for sharing.
    #39
  20. ChazW

    ChazW Adventurer

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    Hey, I'm an Arkansas transplant living in Kansas City. I get down to Arkansas usually twice a year and always try to make it to Petit Jean mountain. My absolute favorite trail is the Seven Hollows trail. A hollow is what old time southerners pronounced as "Holler", or gorge. The seven hollows has tremendously cool rock formations, like canyons and even a rock amphitheater (the Grotto).

    Great Place!! Well worth the trip by itself.
    #40