Using the Ozarks on Large Singles | Favourite Journey

Riding the Ozarks Kawasaki KLR650 Husqvarna 701 Enduro
Our massive Singles on a one-lane bridge over Little Piney Creek close to Freeway 123.

Because the saying goes, it’s the journey and never the vacation spot that makes the journey. However how does one describe a vacation spot that’s nearly as good because it will get and a good higher trip? With autumn upon us, it was one of the best time – and perhaps our final likelihood – for driving the Ozarks earlier than winter.

Riding the Ozarks

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As an alternative of our traditional massive bikes, we rode our thumpers – Invoice on his Kawasaki KLR650 and me on my adventure-kitted Husqvarna 701 Enduro.



Large Singles are an effective way to journey, particularly should you’re not in a rush. That made them excellent for our journey as a result of the route I selected calls for backing off the throttle to see the sights and make the corners. 

Our counterclockwise route started in Clarksville, Arkansas, driving northbound briefly on Freeway 21 after which turning east on Freeway 292 to attach with Freeway 123, an awesome street that climbs into the mountains via the Ozark-St. Francis Nationwide Forest. Freeway 123 follows Little Piney Creek after which Hew Creek, and there are scenic waterfalls alongside the best way.

Riding the Ozarks Blanchard Springs Caverns Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
Water pouring out of Blanchard Springs Caverns close to Mountain View, Arkansas, within the Ozark-St. Francis Nationwide Forest.

At Sand Hole, Freeway 123 connects with Highways 7 and 16. We continued east on Freeway 16, which is a pleasure to trip, with the type of tarmac that gives confidence-inspiring traction in its many curves, even with our dual-sport tires.

At Clinton, we rode south on U.S. Route 65 after which adopted Highways 92 and 16 across the south aspect of Greers Ferry Lake, turning north on Freeway 5 close to Heber Springs.

Riding the Ozarks Husqvarna 701 Enduro South Sylamore Creek
My adventure-kitted Husqvarna 701 Enduro close to South Sylamore Creek, which is a well-liked trout-fishing stream.

Our first day’s vacation spot was Mountain View, a small city of two,900 people who’s surrounded by the Ozark Mountains and near the beautiful White River. It’s also called the “People Music Capital of the World.” Through the summer season months, folks and nation music teams collect within the metropolis park, offering household leisure nicely into the evening, particularly on Saturdays. Within the spring and fall, when the nights are too cool for the musicians’ fingers to pluck their stringed devices, they play within the afternoons. It’s a preferred attraction, so make your lodge reservation nicely prematurely. As you would possibly anticipate, there’s not a lot pickin’ and grinnin’ within the winter.

From Mountain View, we rode north on Freeway 5, and simply earlier than the junction with Highways 9 and 14, we turned left on Swinging Bridge Highway, named after the cable-suspended picket bridge over the crystal-clear South Sylamore Creek. Simply west of the bridge, mountainous Freeway 14 took us to the Blanchard Springs Recreation Space with its springs, caverns, and cliffside mountaineering trails. Mirror Lake, well-liked for its rainbow trout, is fed by the chilly water from Blanchard Springs. Close to the lake, one can hike a picket walkway and down stone steps to the place the spring comes out of the caverns. Fairly cool. Under the Mirror Lake dam, one other path takes you to the stays of a corn mill constructed within the early 1900s and the underside of Mirror Lake Falls.

Riding the Ozarks Mirror Lake
Mist rises off Mirror Lake at dawn.

On the map, Freeway 87 regarded like it might be enjoyable, so we rode it again to Mountain View. It was a sensible choice!

From Mountain View, we once more rode north on Freeway 5 alongside the beautiful White River and thru charming locations like Calico Rock, Previous Joe, and Norfork. A brief hop west on Freeway 201 took us to the sweeping curves of Freeway 341 (Push Mountain Highway) into the Leatherwood Wilderness space.

Riding the Ozarks Kawasaki KLR650 Husqvarna 701 Enduro Swinging Bridge South Sylamore Creek
Swinging a leg over the tall Husky on the cable-suspended picket Swinging Bridge, which spans South Sylamore Creek simply north of Mountain View.

At Freeway 14, we turned west once more and crossed Large Creek and the Buffalo River. In the event you trip via right here throughout sizzling climate, the Buffalo is a good place to chill off, with parking and entry at Dillard’s Ferry.

Simply south of Yellville (should you cross Crooked Creek, you’ve gone too far), we turned west on Freeway 235 and rode south till it ended at U.S. Route 65. We continued west, turning onto Freeway 123 once more close to Western Grove and driving south. We crossed the Buffalo River once more simply earlier than we obtained to Piercetown.

Riding the Ozarks Blanchard Springs Recreation Area Mirror Lake Waterfall
Positioned within the Blanchard Springs Recreation Space, Mirror Lake Waterfall pours over a dam constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps within the Nineteen Thirties.

Quite than trip a brief 10 miles west on Freeway 74 to Jasper, we continued south on Freeway 123 via what’s referred to as the Arkansas Grand Canyon, taking the lengthy option to Jasper by way of Freeway 7. After just a few miles on Freeway 123, my Husky’s low-fuel gentle lit up, however we had been nonetheless some 45 miles from “good” fuel in Jasper. I requested myself, Ought to I cease on the one fuel station on 123 and put low octane in my thumper or likelihood it and go for the great things? I selected the latter – and ran out of fuel simply 7 miles south of Jasper. Subsequent time I’ll know: A gallon of low-cost fuel is healthier than none in any respect! Invoice’s KLR had simply sufficient gas left to get him to Jasper, and after a brief roadside nap, we had been off once more.

Jasper is a stunning little city, and simply north of it, after crossing the Buffalo once more, is Freeway 74, an typically missed however unbelievable motorcycling route. We rode it west to Freeway 43 – well-known for elk sightings – after which west on Freeway 21 and south on 74 once more.

Riding the Ozarks Mirror Lake Waterfall
What appears like a portrait on a stone wall is Mirror Lake Waterfall as seen via a window.

Freeway 74 linked us to the well-known Pig Path Scenic Byway (Freeway 23). Feeling bolder than I ought to have, I attempted to make use of the Husky’s superior energy to drag away from Invoice’s KLR, however he stretched the KLR’s throttle cable and hung with me. As quick as we dared go, some man on a multi-cylinder crotch rocket blew by us and out of sight. One advantage of driving a thumper is that you simply really feel such as you’re going quick if you actually aren’t.

Riding the Ozarks Husqvarna 701 Enduro Buffalo River
The Buffalo River and an journey bike go collectively properly, don’t ya suppose?

Freeway 23 dropped us down out of the Ozarks onto Interstate 40 after which again residence to Oklahoma.

Using massive Singles for 650 miles in two days wasn’t unhealthy in any respect. Actually, within the mountains of Arkansas, it was massive enjoyable.