Sunday May 16, Heber Springs AR to Ava MO
Another short day with heavy fog this morning, standing water on some roads, deep dark clouds, showers, and heavy rain. It has not been Biker Trash Paradise for way too many days now. But on a positive note, I did discover some most excellent roads.
My original concept for these parts was to ride North, turn left for a while, and then ride South and working gently ( yes, gently, not generally ) Westward in this manner. The original plan is no longer operational. There are lots of roads and countryside here that we’ve not checked out. It’s looking like another Moto Road Trip will be necessary in order to accomplish the original objective. The country side here is beautiful and the road surfaces are generally very good to excellent. But because the mountains here are not all that mountainous, there are many more wide sweepers than tight twisties. Many of the roads ride the top of the ridges so there are many opportunities for long views.
Sitting here looking at The Real Time Moto Road Trip Planner and writing those words is making me kind of sad. So many roads, so little time. I guess I could use a day or two after checking in at the dealer and cover some more territory. Next time we’ll hit AR about half way up instead of hitting the State so far South, and implement the original concept. Or, maybe on the way home.
My initial plan was to ride in the Ozark Mountains and then head North into MO. I use Mountains because that’s the official designation. Lots of hills might be a better description. Basically AR 5 would be the main way North, with long-cuts taken as roads of opportunity.
Met a group of five bikers in Mountain View, AR, not many miles after leaving Heber Springs. I had just ridden AR 5 over some mountains in the heavy fog. They had just ridden down from the North in heavy fog, some on AR 5 and some on AR 341. AR 341 is by far the better road, but those that came that way suggested that it wasn’t fun. I noted that my ride wasn’t fun, either. This is a group of guys making a two-day loop ride from Memphis. They’re on a schedule and are taking the fast roads back.
I decide to use AR 5 and save AR 341 for better weather times. It turns out that the fog is lifting and the ride from Mountain View to Mountain Home is wonderful. The road is in very good shape for the most part, but that varies by county. Mostly wide proved-up two-laner with mostly wide sweepers. Lots of beautiful views across the valleys and from the ridge tops.
I’m way deep in the boonies again and there are some interesting villages and fishing camps and fishing resorts along the way. It’s Sunday, and nothing is open.
Met Billy at a gas stop in Mountain Home AR. Billy is riding a ’92 Gold wing that has 86,0000 miles that he’s put on it. He is waiting for a few legal things to clear and then he’s heading for the West Coast. Billy has June 7 set as the departure date. We chatted about the wonderful opportunity we have. Billy says that we in the 50 plus age group have worked our butts off and deserve to be able to do whatever the hell we want to. He used ” 50 plus ” and I did not elaborate on the magnitude of the plus in my case. Billy didn’t offer that info for his case, either. I think he’s going to be on the fast track to get to the coast, so it’s not likely that we’ll meet.
I continue North on AR 5 aiming for MO. But not 10 miles out of Mountain Home, the rains hit. I pull into a service station to get out of the rain. A lady pulls in driving a big ole diesel and pulling a horse trailer loaded with horses. She has two flat tires on the trailer and she’s not happy and she shows her ‘tude by cussing like a sailor, as they say. I offer to help her and it takes about ten minutes for each tire because the little air compressor at the station is not quite up to the huge tires and high pressures. All the while she’s cussing while I’m working with the tires. About the time the tires are back up to pressure the rain stops. No major severe weather this time.
I continue up AR 5 and the road gets better, but still no twisties. I hit US 60 just across the MO line and turn West to pick up MO 95 to ride into the Mark Twain National Forest. Now we’ve found a most excellent moto road. I don’t have a MO map yet, so I’m not sure where I’m heading, but I ride on. I see all these local roads off MO 95 and as usual wonder where they go. I decide to take one and it’s a beauty. I arrive back at a main road and soon I try another unknown road. But this one starts to become a faint trail so I turn around and head back to that main road. Soon I find that I’ve arrived back on MO 5 and soon get to Ava MO. The skies are threatening again so I ask about motels down the road. The nearest reliable motel place is Springfield and it’s too far under the weather conditions. So I stop here. Not long after stopping, the rains starts and not long after that the heavy rains start.
Met George and Kim, log home builders. But that’s another long, long story.
All in all a pretty good day. This is very a good touring area and I hope we can make it back some time.
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