Today was hot, humid, and sunny. Temperatures reached 91 close to Mena, Arkansas this afternoon but they were cooler in the mountains.
Day’s distance: 253 miles
Total trip distance: 9,541 miles
At dinner last night, my new friends suggested that I not miss the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Of course, heading south meant that I would not spend more time in Missouri. In the end, I decided that while I was only in Missouri a short time, I would visit again next year on my intended Northern States Tour of 2016.
Deciding to head south today, I wanted to end up in Mena, to set up an early ride along the Talimena Byway.
Hwy 23 is a well maintained two-lane road passing through hills and farmland.
The Arkansas Pig Trail was closed, the road being washed out from the recent heavy rains, so I chose a route that went through the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway, aka Hwy 21.
I stopped at the Ozone Burger Barn, a few miles north of Clarksville for a quick lunch.
Crossing the swollen Arkansas River,
and headed up Mt. Magazine …
which treated me with some pretty views …
and nicely maintained twisty roads.
The rest of the ride was uneventful and hot, as the temperature climbed into the low 90’s. I was happy to land in Mena and take a cool shower.
At one point today, I was only 20 miles from Dardanelle, the place where I hit the rock in the road. I covered quite a bit of Western Arkansas and its roads over the last three days. I did get into Missouri, but only for a short time. The time spent in Bentonville getting the bike repaired really threw me off my schedule and I feel like I lost two days. But I rode some great roads, I have a whole bike with new tires, I met some great people, and I have another story to tell.
I’m ready for Oklahoma.