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UPDATED WITH RIDE REPORT Arkansas first weekend in April?


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I'm starting to plan a ride to Arkansas in the first weekend of April. 
I'd like to do 4 days (Fri - Mon), but I might have to settle for 3 with my family's schedule (Fri - Sun). 
Aiming for 400 - 500 mile days, but that can be adjusted.  I have track day and riding school (parking lot and track) experience, but, on the road, I always have chicken strips. 
Starting from Memphis. 
I'm sure I'll hit Push Mountain Road then probably head west on 14 and 27.  I want to ride 123.  Might cruise on 7, too.  Probably head back home via 16.
I've usually hoteled it, but I could be talked into camping (especially cabin camping :D ).  Rooms are pretty affordable in Eureka Springs.  Can look for affordable lodging along the way or can make reservations ahead of time.  I HATE camping in rain, though.
Severe weather will cancel or curtail plans.  Light rain won't.
Let me know if you're interested in coming for all days or part of the trip.
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  • 4 weeks later...
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3/26 update: Route is planned. I can e-mail a gdb or gpx file. Always open to suggestions, too.
4/1: Lunch in Searcy, AR around noon. Heading up to Mountain View, up 5 to Norfork, down Push Mountain Road, east from Big Flat on 14 to CR-504 to Bruno. South on 235 to Highway 65 to Bellefont to 265. I have a room with 2 queens at the HUB. Total mileage ~ 200 miles from Searcy.
4/2: 7 south through Jasper to 123 north to Mount Judea. Back to Jasper via 74. Continue west on 74 to 43 and south on 21 towards I-40. Head west to 103. North on 103 to Oark. West on 215 to the Pig Trail. Up and down the Pig Trail. Head south through Mt Magazine. Head south from Danville on 27, east on 84, north on 128 and over to Hot Springs. Highway 7 north to Russellville and finish the day on top of Mount Nebo. Total mileage ~ 460, but there are ways to cut some mileage out.
4/3: 123 north out of Russellville (actually Hagarville) to 16 east to Shirley. Northeast on 9 to and loop back toward Mountain View on 58. I'll head home from there. Total mileage ~ 250.
PM me if you'd like to go. There are still rooms available at the HUB. I haven't looked for rooms in Russellville yet (should be plenty).
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  • 2 weeks later...
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Good weekend. 2 of us: @javashot from this site and me. Just under 1200 miles from home. The Ozark ridges run east-west so the best roads run north-south. You can connect good north-south roads through the valleys (straight, boring, more traffic) or with route 16, which runs along a ridge north of Little Rock for about 110 miles.
We rode the Ozarks in a box with roughly Heber Springs in the southeast corner and Huntsville in the northwest corner.
Moving from east to west, routes 5, 14, 21, 215, 23 (Pig Trail) were nice but all had a fair amount of traffic.
Push Mountain Road, 16, 7, 123, and 103 were much nicer AND had much less traffic. I think we were lucky to hit 7 around Jasper first thing Saturday morning to have as little traffic as we did. For folks in Los Angeles, 103 brought me major flashbacks of GMR but it's a little steeper and half the length.
We got a little sample of the Ouachita mountains and some individual mountains Saturday afternoon. Mount Magazine was great and lightly trafficked, but the pine beetles have devastated the trees at the top. Very sad. 27 (north-south) was nice. 314 was nicer. 7 south of Russellville was good but we hit more traffic. Mount Nebo is always fun, but crazy steep.
Russellville is a good base, but I think Eureka Springs has more character. Eureka Springs opens up more in south Missouri, too.
The first night we stayed at the HUB motel, http://www.hubinfo.com/ . It's actually the old motel for the Dogpatch Amusement Park (Google it). I'd recommend the restaurant there for good, basic road food - good beef and nicely marinated chicken. The motel is fine, but needs a little updating.
There are other funky motels and hotels around Jasper worth looking into. We talked to the owner of the Cliff House Inn, http://www.cliffhouseinnar.com/ , on the south side of Jasper and he seemed like a nice guy.
The Oark Cafe on the north end of 103 near the Pig Trail has very, very good burgers. Great road house.
Arkansas works hard to attract moto-tourism, and I recommend it to anyone in the midwest, Deep South, or Texas. North Carolina has more good mileage, but if you only have 2 - 3 days, AR is every bit as good.
It's well worth riding through if you're riding cross country, too. I did the drive in 1995 and made sure I came back on my cross country motorcycle trip in 2006.
The FJs were universally popular bikes.  Lots of people stopped to ask about them.  Most of them knew about the bikes and had read about them.
We really enjoyed seeing the variety of bikes.  A dual sport group was staying at the HUB last weekend.  WRs, DRZs, KLRs, smaller GSs, a couple of KTMs, a Ural, and a V-strom with a hack!  Saw a few KTMs, a few BMWs, a few Goldwings, a few sportbikes (but those seemingly least of all), plenty of cruisers.  Almost everyone was nice.
The gear worked great.  A little cold first thing Saturday morning, so I ran up to Harrison Friday night and bought a $4 Walmart sweatshirt.  I should have brought my heated jacket for the mornings.  The bikes worked great.  Room in the luggage for 3 days.  I could get maybe 2 more days without having to add a tankbag, tailbag, or do laundry.
Thought I'd add the links and the info in case anyone else wants to head out there.  Do be aware that, regardless of what your map shows, all of these roads are paved (except 215 east of Oark, but we didn't try to ride that).  Most of the pavement was very good. but PMR and 16 were patchy.
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