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Ozarks and elsewhere inbetween...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Laboratory Rat, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. Laboratory Rat

    Laboratory Rat böser meister geist Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,999
    Location:
    Bar Harbor, ME
    I have almost forgotten how to login to this place. Therefore, I've made my return with what will be a much need time hiatus from work and obligations... So from this working stiff who has little more than a week to play, this ride report will be somewhere between epic and day tripp'n.... with myself and my bud, @B-ManFX4

    No particular agenda, other than riding and camping around the Ozarks.

    My steed - 2009 FJR1300 ready and packed up to head out tomorrow AM, post Delta, and head north to Nash-Vegas to meet up with my riding bud @B-ManFX4

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    #1
  2. Laboratory Rat

    Laboratory Rat böser meister geist Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,999
    Location:
    Bar Harbor, ME
    Breakfast in Lawrenceburg TN

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    #2
    SwampyDeadHead likes this.
  3. Laboratory Rat

    Laboratory Rat böser meister geist Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,999
    Location:
    Bar Harbor, ME
    Waiting for said bike to arrive

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    #3
    TonyKZ1 likes this.
  4. Laboratory Rat

    Laboratory Rat böser meister geist Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,999
    Location:
    Bar Harbor, ME
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    #4
  5. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,807
    Location:
    northern Arkansas
    Come on down!
    #5
  6. Cav47

    Cav47 Look, Lean, and Pray!

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Oddometer:
    342
    Location:
    Midwest
    Just got back from the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. We had 4 FJRs there camping at Shady Oaks north of Jasper. Had a great time with our buds. Lots of Food and Beverages around the campfires. The area is just a great place to ride. Oh yeah, tires were punished

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    Have a great time. Wish I could go back this weekend.
    #6
    TonyKZ1, RedDogAlberta and Suncoaster like this.
  7. B-ManFX4

    B-ManFX4 2 Wheels Are Better Than 1 Or 4 Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2017
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    East TN
    So a great time was had by all...

    After reading dozens of ride reports here I know that the most common advice is that packing too much stuff is not good. I was unsure if I packed too much - I thought I needed most everything I brought. As it turns out what I brought wasn't the issue - how I had packed it was. I ended up re-packing all of my cases at camp the 2nd day and it dramatically improved my access to the most often needed items and lowered the center of gravity on the bike as well. I started out like this and ended up with just the bag on the seat. The green folding chair ended up in a side case, along with my cot, a bottle of Jack, etc. The other side case had my clothes - I could have brought a few less T-shirts but otherwise I planned that portion properly. We spent so much time in the saddle I didn't wear "street clothes" very much at all. The top case ended up with my sleeping bag, a JetBoil and fuel canister, heated riding gear, my toiletry bag and a hoodie. Nice and light and much better access to the most needed items.

    Bandit Loaded Posting.jpg

    It was an interesting trip for sure. Our original plan was to meet in Nashville and slab it on I-40 to Memphis then head northwest on backroads. Looking at the map the day before I suggested we meet in Pulaski, TN which would put me on Interstate for a much shorter portion of the trip. The Rat found a breakfast joint in Lawrenceburg so the origination point was altered to meet there. US-64 took us all the way to Memphis and was a very nicely maintained, low traffic highway. Still slabbing it but better than a semi-truck infested jaunt across I-40. We arrived in Tumbling Shoals, AR and camped for the night. Day 1 (Monday) was 547 miles for me.

    There were plenty of great roads to ride where we were, which was north of I-40 and west of US-167. Most of the roads were in decent shape, although I did notice that most of them were very rough in the center track and smooth where car tires usually ride. Seems backwards from everywhere else - usually the trucks / cars tear up the travel lanes and the center stretch is smooth. There was also just enough gravel present to make a few ass puckers occur throughout the trip, but thankfully nothing more than that. A curiosity we observed is many of the speed limit signs are wildly conservative for the corners you are about to enter. Many were listed as 25 - 35 MPH and you could easily double that without much effort or drama. Overall I found the riding enjoyable and there was very little traffic to deal with. Most of the curves were nice sweepers - easy to ride and not as tiring and technical as the roads where I live.

    I put 1,847 miles on the Bandit this trip and I was very pleased with how she performed. I will admit that leaving all of the luggage / bags / etc. at camp and riding her naked improved the handling dramatically but even loaded she was smooth and predictable - just a little light on the front end under hard acceleration. She averaged right at 40MPG for the trip - not too bad considering she was carrying 270 lbs. of rider and gear and has been given the Dale Walker Stage 2 treatment. I will say this - I HATE the stupid fuel gauge on the Bandit. Whoever came up with the whole LCD segments display instead of just an ACCURATE analog level meter should be kicked in the nuts repeatedly until they fix their evil deed.

    We put ~750 miles on the backroads in AR on Days 2-4 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). Not too bad - around 250 miles per day of riding with no destinations in mind, other than food and fuel along the way. Made for a great trip and for a relaxing time away from work. No cell coverage is awesome for quality PTO. :1drink

    Day 5 (Friday) was 550 miles for me - backroads to I-40 in Memphis, I-40 east to Nashville and then backroads to the house in east TN.

    I will agree - it was easy to punish the tires. :ricky

    Punished Front Tire Posting Size.jpg

    A few observations - overall mostly terrible cell service and very limited fuel and food stops in the Ozarks themselves. With COVID many of the small town restaurants and such were closed. Fill up when you can - there were some pretty good stretches of empty roads between very small towns and gas stations were not always where you might expect to find them. If you navigate via cell phone be sure to download the maps for the entire area to your phone - there was very limited data connectivity on AT&T or Verizon for many of the areas we traveled through. As expected, GPS maps are not always accurate and there were a few closed roads to deal with as well.

    Overall I would go back in a second. Beautiful country, quiet little towns, plenty of great riding roads. A true hidden gem, right out in plain sight !!
    #7
    Detroit#2, severely and TonyKZ1 like this.
  8. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,323
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Where is that artisan well?
    #8
  9. ktmdude2002

    ktmdude2002 Lost in transition Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    Springfield, MO
    You should take ADV bikes next time...the gravel in AR is even better than the blacktop!
    #9
    camgregus and B-ManFX4 like this.
  10. Cav47

    Cav47 Look, Lean, and Pray!

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Oddometer:
    342
    Location:
    Midwest
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    #10
  11. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Thanks
    #11
    Cav47 likes this.
  12. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,345
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Here's the exact location Eddie.
    36°10.312'
    92°40.841

    Gray Spring is just a bit West of it.

    Nice ride guys !!!!
    BD
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    #12
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  13. Donniejoe

    Donniejoe Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    The Arkansas Ozarks
    I'm glad you enjoyed my back yard. Y'all come back now, ya hear?
    #13
    Cav47 likes this.
  14. Detroit#2

    Detroit#2 pavement chaser Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    MotorCity
    #14
  15. Detroit#2

    Detroit#2 pavement chaser Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    MotorCity
    I've always wanted to get out that way.
    Looks beautiful. I've done the smokey mountains, blue ridge mountains, Poconos in Pennsylvania. Never had the luxury of heading down that way, ill have to make plans to make it down there.
    #15
    B-ManFX4 likes this.