433.2 miles. Tulsa to Oark to Tulsa.
Sometimes ventures start with a picture. In this case it was a picture in a thread a friend(Gary) of mine and I have been watching on advrider.com, it’s mostly pictures of Arkansas and various things in Arkansas. In this picture was a general store in the town of Oark, AR, it was rumored to have good food and some great riding to get there and back. Thus on that picture and the good word of some internet people that have been there Gary and I decided to go see if the rumors were true.
Thus started the planning of “Oh hey, this Saturday what are we doing? Whoa yeah that store in AR? Ok sounds good. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN LEAVE AT 8 IN THE MORNING!? That sucks. Fine, 8 then, I’m pretty sure I don’t like you anymore”. Yeah I wasn’t totally pleased with the 8am meeting time. As Gary and our two others that joined us Sam and Jim found out, I tend to bitch a lot. Eh, it’s just what I do ya know.
Now I met this ride with a bit of morbidness in all actuality. I think that was due to Sam on Thursday talking about how our company would be hosed if we all wrecked and died this weekend(Sam, Gary, and I work together). Yeah thanks for the good thoughts Sam. As well as Gary deciding to scour the internet for wreck movies as well as stories of target fixation that same day and linking me to them. Needless to say for some reason I was starting out the ride in gloom and doom mode. Honestly.
8am, it’s early, I haven’t had any coffee. I roll into QT grab gas and cruise over to my friends, with Sam going “You’re late” I can’t recall exactly, but I’m sure that comment was met with more then a few comments that contained vulgar words, maybe even a vulgar expression or two. We gas up, rap a bit, and hit the road.
Meanwhile I’m in deep thought mostly about wrecking and dying or something. It was weird. The thing about it though was that I did not have that *gut* feeling that you get sometimes. I was just thinking about it. Probably to much, but alas, still it was running through my brain. Now the gut feeling is something that I try to adhere to as much as I can. If you get out on the road going for a ride and feel like you are out of place, or should not be on the road, or just have that gut feeling that you should not be riding at this time. GO HOME. Because you more then likely shouldn’t be riding. I have gone out on days sometimes that I get out on 244 and I’m heading out to go ride, but it just doesn’t feel right. I’m off, that *gut* feeling gets in the way. I turn around and head back to the house. Today wasn’t like that though, I was thinking about it all, but I didn’t have that feeling. Enough about that, I’ll abbreviate the ride some as the pictures I have are mostly Oark.
Stop 1: Quick pee break because we all drank water/coke or something at QT and didn’t pee before we left. Actually, we = Jim and myself.
Stop 2: We have done 51 and I have now seen the “trail of tears”, that’s a new one for me so chalk it up. I ask Gary if he doesn’t have enough HP to pass cars and not pack us up(bitching) as it seemed that in passing cars, which normally I hit 95/100 or so, he was passing and parking it. At this point, Jim has left his turn signal on for about 10 miles out of the 100 that we have ridden.
Stop 3: We get gas, we were going to a KTM shop that was in Fayetteville but we have passed through Fayetteville and are in another town. Route change and we’re running to 412 and down 23. 23, pig trail, another new one for me. Was very fun but didn’t get really twisty till we were almost to our turn off for Oark. Also it didn’t help that we had some guy in a pickup in front of us burning up his brakes trying to keep us from passing. The typical speed way up in the straights and toss out an anchor in the corners type guy.
Stop 4: 215. Wow. Very very smooth road. My pucker moment on this road was from a looooooooooooonnnnnnng right hand U sweeper that I accelerated out of to find a quick switchback into a TIGHT left hand turn. Little bit of brakes then you flop your bike on it’s side maintain throttle and “GOOD LORD THIS CORNER IS TIGHT” type moment. Was a great corner! Now we get some pictures from 215.
The bikes Sam/Jim.
The view from the top.
The turns to get where we were.
The crew +1 harley guy.
Sam is looking for bears or rattlesnakes I think.
Jim ready to go.
Quick Photo stop.
Where we were.
This particular road, fixing to be repaved by blacktop(that’s further on) turns to gravel for about 1500 feet or so. At this point in time(200miles) Jim has had his turn signal on for at least 40 of it.
It also has a one lane bridge that takes you from the dirt back to something kinda sorta resembling concrete or asphalt. It’s supposed to be widened soon.
Ahhhh, the Oark, AR general store/gas station/restaurant. Take it or leave it.
I have to say that Oark is an amazingly welcoming town, very small and very cool. I went outside after we ordered to smoke and there was some big red dog laying on the bench. I was “Hey, sup dog, gonna chill with you on the bench for a bit” I don’t think he cared. He bailed out a few seconds after I sat down patrolled the perimeter and came back for some petting to which I obliged. Good dog all around. Then as I was sitting a couple of locals came up and were asking about the bikes, which one was mine and whatnot. We rapped and I got information on the river as well as the various roads we were going to ride. Very cool dudes all around.
Ok, know you guys have been waiting for the food posts. My bacon cheeseburger and fries.
Gary’s catfish platter. I was plotting to steal a hushpuppie as they looked awesome, but forgot to.
The previous owner and the new owner came over to talk to us and give us information about the place. The Oark General store was built in 1870, it’s been around a hell of a long time. They have canoeing, camping, rentals, some air coaster thing that has a big fan and a parachute on it to which Sam was like “NOWAY” but I was more of a “That’s gotta be cool”. The school house for Oark is noted as the most isolated school in AR. Also they said the population is like.. I think they said 27?? Anyhow the ones that live across the river sometimes get flooded and blocked in, so the general store owners have to go out and tie their smokes to a rock and throw them across the flooding river. No I don’t think they were joking. The road is going to be repaved and the 1 lane bridge is going to be widened as well. Also we learned the local wave. To find out what it is, I guess you’re going to have to go there. We’re now in the know though.
Oark General store.
We were also told of this huge suspension bridge. I figured it would be super long or something. It wasn’t. I was unimpressed and I’m sure I bitched about it some.
On the way back, 103 has some crazy stupid 15mph cautionary switchbacks. I mean go to the apex put out your kickstand do the pick the bike up on the kick stand and turn it so you’re going the right way stuff.
2 parts, not going to put them together cuz I’m lazy.
After 103 it was I-40 superslab time. About 60 miles of this and back to rural roads that Gary knows as his dad has a place out here. Gary took us on some different back roads that ended up at this bridge. Which was right smack dab in the middle of no where.
That’s the last picture I have, camera ran out of memory. Anyhow the rest is pretty much here or there, 51/onto the BA and whatnot. I had a great time, and don’t fret, Gary and Sam also took pictures and will be posting them possibly tomorrow or Monday or something. Overall was a great ride. Roughly 12 hours on the road, we obviously weren’t in any hurry. Thanks Gary for the route and various excursions. Thanks Jim for coming and having your turn signal blinking(forgotten) more then I do because normally I’m the one doing that. Thanks Sam for rolling with us as well, always a good time Bro.
Parking at the general store.
Me but I don’t know what the fuck.
Yay! Suspension bridge!
I’m dicking with my camera, and Sam is a photo whore.