Today’s Mileage: 279 miles
Total Trip Mileage so far: 7274 miles
I am listening to: Nothing today – still windy – also need to concentrate on road along the Talimena Scenic Drive.
I got an early start to ride down to the start of the great 54 mile Talimena Scenic Drive that dances along the ridge tops of the Quachita Mountain Range. It is still hot and windy but not so bad now that I am back in the land of greenery and rolling terrain. I arrive at the start of the scenic drive before noon so I have plenty of time to enjoy the ride. I also get out the video camera, mount it, and get it going. Like a number of other good rides on this trip, I am recording video but it will be a little while before I get it edited and posted. Before I get even a mile into the ride I see a “mowing ahead” sign and grass all over the roadway. I think that this can be bad if they have mowed very far and grass is on the road. As I go further, the grass is spread out even more all across the road due to the wind. Recall that this road goes alone the peaks so that there is nothing to stop the wind on either side. But the day has good karma after all as I catch up with the mowers about 3 or 4 miles in. It is clear sailing after I get ahead of the mowers. There is some new pavement (nice), some repairs (ok but watch for gravel), and two sections of new chips and tar. One of the sections is run in and has excellent traction but the other still has a good bit of loose gravel – I take it really easy here. The wind is really strong at times as you are right at the top of a peak with little in the way of shoulders – a little disconcerting at times.
About 25 miles in I have not seen a single vehicle since the mowers – the road is all mine! In fact, I do not see another vehicle until I am 3 or 4 miles from the end. Does not get much better than that…as long as you don’t need a car to come along. It is a great road though, I even ride a couple sections twice.
The ride on down to Hot Springs was not as awesome as the Talimena Drive but good back roads nevertheless. I check into a downtown hotel, clean up, and then take advantage of the restaurants nearby to walk out and get dinner. The hotel manager lets me park my bike close to the front door since rain is predicted for tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s plan is to get to the east side of Memphis. I would like to go down and cross over the Mississippi River at the Helena, AR bridge rather than the Memphis, TN bridge. I decide to wait until tomorrow to make plans as the weather may be a factor.