Day 0- Saturday, May 30 we gather in Brentwood, TN near Nashville for the traditional pre-ride briefing, getting to know new riders and meeting up with old friends. As the sun sets we’ll dream of winding curves and spinning wheels.
The traditional pre-ride briefing is important on many levels, as we learn how the group functions on the highways and at gas stops, and hopefully we’ll get the full-on instruction of how to properly park for photos from Brooklyn! Hand signals, CB channels, road etiquette, moving as a group through intersections… there’s a lot to cover!
The master ride map is here: http://tinyurl.com/m6t9j4dUpdates will be made as we fine tune the route.
Day 1 May 31st – The Ozark ride will begin in Brentwood, TN, where we’ll head south on the Natchez Trace, once the path of Indians and explorers, and now the intrepid Long Riders. For those of you who have been on the Blue Ridge Parkway you’ll feel right at home with the sweeping curves and 50mph speed limit. We dive farther south into Alabama, stopping in Florence for lunch. Back on the highways, we cross over into Mississippi through Tupelo, and land in Oxford, MS, home of Ol’ Miss. 268 miles.
Day 2 June 1st will take us through Clarksdale MS where we may pop in at the Delta Blues Museum. We manage to skim the outskirts of Little Rock on our way to Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, AR. This will be our home for the next two days. There are wonderful cabins, starry skies, and scenic views of the surrounding bluffs (Geography tip: The Ozarks aren’t actually mountains, but dissected plateaus.). 272 miles.
Day 3 June 2nd we’ll be light on the bike as we start out on the first of two run-out days. Travel light, bring water, and be prepared to work your bike hard and put it away wet. We head up AR23, otherwise known as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, with plans to lunch in Fayetteville with friends. The Pig Trail runs through Whitney Mountain and across the Mulberry River; super curvy, super fun. So much fun, we will likely head back the same way, with a slight jog across AR213 to follow the Mulberry River. Day 3 is also a weekday (Tuesday), which we hope will reduce traffic and allow us some freedom on the road. 302 miles.
Day 4 June 3rd is where we get serious. We’re about to go deep into the Arkansas Ozarks and get into some challenging twisties. We head into the Magazine Mountains and through what is known as the Ozark Dragon. Then it’s up AR21 to Jasper, and down AR7, through the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Day 4 will be a challenging ride, but since we’ve no packing and unpacking to do, if we take our time, we should be fine. 268 miles.
Day 5 June 4th we venture out of the Arkansas and head up to the Missouri Ozarks; the route will be scenic and curvy as well. We’ll have a somewhat nondescript stop in the little town of Hardy Arkansas that night. Along the way we’ll do our best to strap on a decent feedbag, and maybe a stop at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. 205 miles.
Day 6 June 5th we leave Hardy and head up just north of absolutely nowhere. This day’s ride is intentionally short; our final destination will be the rustic cabins of Wilderness Lodge near Lesterville, a family owned resort. Later in the day we have some options; wander about the Missouri Ozarks, perhaps up to the Johnson Shut-ins, or laze around the Lodge and enjoy the scenery. Eddie—don’t forget the guitar! The cabins at Wilderness are calling for music under the stars, gathered around the campfire pit. 127 miles.
Day 7 June 6th we find ourselves winding our way out of Missouri Ozarks on MO72, through Fredericktown and Cape Girardeau. For lunch we’ll drop in at Lambert’s Café in Sikeston MO, where the waiters throw rolls at you. Literally. We’ll cross back over the Mississippi and stop in Kuttawa, KY. 211 miles.
Day 8 June 7th as we head back to Nashville, we slip into the Land Between the Lakes with a stop at Fort Donelson National Battlefield to explore. We’ll have lunch in Clarksville TN, then it’s back to Brentwood where we’ll raise another glass to another wonderful ride. 162 miles.
Another link to the full map: http://tinyurl.com/m6t9j4d