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Kemp

Nice ride through the Ozarks

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I've had a busy month of work, which was nice after a year of uncertainty, but felt like a blast through the Ozarks was much needed yesterday. As a motorcyclist, the nice thing about living in Arkansas is how blessed we are with fun roads to explore. So the problem I faced was which roads should I ride?

I decided to head to Mountain View, a sleepy town where I spent a good bit of my youth visiting my grandparents and hanging out with my cousins. It's a beautiful area and a gateway of a multitude of fun roads. My main target was Highway 9, a serpentine section north of the town that wound over a few of the Ozark mountains and would let me test my mettle on some pretty technical turns.

I had a few stops in mind for photo ops, but this day must have been the clarion call for spring events, as every stop I had mentally mapped out was taken over by an event. The first one in Clinton was a sign proclaiming "The Ozarks," but it was blocked by cars parked in front of it for a farmers' market. So, I moved on.

Further north in Shirley, I did find a guy who wanted to race:

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I kept the motorcycle pointed north, enjoying the stretch of road leading to Mountain View, which was mostly devoid of traffic. Making the decent into Mountain View from Dodd Mountain, I made my way to the courthouse square where I planned on taking a photo of the Tracer in front of the historic courthouse. Unfortunately, a car show was underway, and all the spots were taken or roped off. So, I kept moving.

I worked my way further north to Allison, where the divergence of Highways 5 and 9 split, which was the meat of my ride. The 20-mile stretch between Allison and Melbourne was extremely crooked, which most of the road consisting of 25- to 35-mph rated curves. I took my time to get used to the constant stream of curves, and caught a gentleman in a pickup truck who was even more cautious than I. After a couple of miles, he pulled over to let me ride, and I waved my thanks to him and continued on.

This road really doesn't allow much gawking, as the curves are tight and constant, and the trees limit your sight lines. However, one particular curve offered a stunning view of the beautiful Ozark landscape.

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I stopped and admired it for a few minutes before continuing my ride. After this pull off, I began to find my rhythm and was able to flow with the curves much more smoothly and confidently. It all seemed to end much too quickly as I made the descent into Melbourne, where things came to a sudden stop.

There was a festival of some sort going on in the town square, and when I got to my intersection with Highway 69, I caught the tail end of a parade. I should have cleared that town in five minutes' time, but instead was stuck for probably 30 minutes. It gave me time to work on my slow speed skills, if nothing else.

As quickly as possible I blasted out of that mess to find my next turn on Highway 58 which would loop me back to Mountain View. Again, very little traffic, awesome curves and beautiful views on the tops of the ridges. It was fun to feel the temperature variations as I went through different elevation changes, which occurred constantly over the rolling Ozark mountains.

I decided on a different route home via Highway 5, with curves that tended to be sweepers rather than switchbacks and made good time getting back to Conway. Once I returned, I realized another valuable lesson: I can get at least 200 miles out of a tank! A couple of miles from home, I noticed my low fuel light trying to get my attention. I had forgotten all about fuel stops during all my fun.

All in all, I did about 225 miles and had a great time on the Tracer. It's still new to me, but I hope to get many more fun rides like this in as we get to know each other.

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Nice write up.....Arkansas is one of the few states that actively support motorcycle tourism. 

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Duckie, they do a pretty decent job of it. I think other states do try it, but I feel like Arkansas' approach is a prime example of how it should be done. I'm impressed that they not only publish routes but have gpx files that are free to use.

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@Kemp - Thanks for the write up!  Northwest Arkansas used to be an annual pilgrimage for me, but unfortunately I haven’t been up that way in several years.   This inspires me to get back up there this season...  it’s great riding, spectacular scenery, and friendly people.  

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1 hour ago, texscottyd said:

@Kemp - Thanks for the write up!  Northwest Arkansas used to be an annual pilgrimage for me, but unfortunately I haven’t been up that way in several years.   This inspires me to get back up there this season...  it’s great riding, spectacular scenery, and friendly people.  

You should! I rarely travel out of state because of the time involved, and honestly I can be on some fun roads in just a few minutes, so why go anywhere else?

Having said that, now that I have the Tracer, I'm ready to see what other states have to offer.

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Sounds like a nice day ride, Kemp. Arkansas/Ozarks is about the only part of the US that I still haven't ridden. I once lived in Quincy, IL and made a weekend trip down to southern MO and the great alphabet soup of roads there, but didn't get over the state line into AR. I figured I'd get there on the next trip but unfortunately my time in Quincy was shorter than expected and I never made it back down that way. Now I live on the left coast and would have to travel far to get there. Some day...

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2 minutes ago, Kevin R said:

Sounds like a nice day ride, Kemp. Arkansas/Ozarks is about the only part of the US that I still haven't ridden. I once lived in Quincy, IL and made a weekend trip down to southern MO and the great alphabet soup of roads there, but didn't get over the state line into AR. I figured I'd get there on the next trip but unfortunately my time in Quincy was shorter than expected and I never made it back down that way. Now I live on the left coast and would have to travel far to get there. Some day...

I would like to ride on the left coast sometime. Although, I have driven in LA, and have no desire to get caught up in that hot mess! The Pacific Coast Highway is a bucket list ride for me, and I know there's plenty more roads near there that would be a blast.

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Ozarks is excellent riding, often overlooked and usually underrated. 

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'15 FJ09

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