The next morning we had to book it to McIllroy WMA in NW Arkansas, I think the closest city/town is Kingston AR. Man that ride was tough, we got to the Wildlife Management Area late, had to take the bike down 2 miles of rocky dirt roads, then set up camp and cook dinner in the cold dark. With the frost approaching, we decided to forget about cooking the next day’s lunch like we usually do, rinsed out our dishes and jumped into our sleeping bags. I know theres no place for bellyaching but man it got cold and I was waking up every half hour.

-K

The cold meant everything happened more slowly than usual
The cold meant everything happened more slowly than usual

Crossing the Mississippi from Memphis TN to Arkansas we could definitely see a change in landscape! The first 80 or so miles were just agricultural farm land – rows and rows of fields, most either empty or just harvested. At first it was so windy (literally from the moment we got off the bridge) that we were constantly riding at a 70degree angle to the right just to stay on the road; when the wind died down a bit the flat similarity of the landscape very nearly lulled me to sleep on the back… 😱 Kiernan jabbed at me a couple of times when he thought I was going a bit slack in the backseat. However, once we got to Route 412 we started climbing through the Ozark mountains – beautiful roads and really gorgeous vistas that open up next to the state highway. We saw so many birds of prey and the sun was finally shining! Riding during the day was not all that cold, but yes… it got colder than we expected when the sun started sinking. I think we did a pretty good job of making a warm camp dinner πŸ™‚

-M

Gonzalo did better than expected on the dirt road, weighed down by our bags
Gonzalo did better than expected on the dirt road, weighed down by our bags

Information stockpile
To Arkansas I remember us taking the AR-17 and US-412
This is the free campsite on the McIlroy Wildlife Management area with directions etc
This is definitely still on the list – Whitaker Point trail, directions and trail information If you go there and look for county road 5, it doesn’t say county rd 5, but it’s a stop street in front of a bridge, crossing a little river; the dirt rd goes up the hill quite steeply
I’m pretty sure we rode a bit of the Talimena byway too, but either way it’s a great one to check out; we’ve heard about this scenic byway from other bikers too.

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