The Road Less Traveled

Iron Bridge on U. S. Highway 67

Iron Bridge on U. S. Highway 67

There will be a lot of people on I-30 between Texarkana and Little Rock on any given day. If the goal is to eat up miles as fast as possible, then that is the best route. Highway 67 between Texarkana and Little Rock offers a very different travel experience than that found on I-30. Less than a mile to the east of the controlled access, four-lane corridor, a more leisurely and scenic journey awaits.
Before I-30’s construction in the 1960s, U.S. Highway 67 was the main route between Little Rock and Dallas. Most of the old highway remains between Texarkana and Benton. It’s amazing that these two roads, so close together can be so different. For one thing, taking the older route will add almost 2 hours to the trip. Google only calculates an additional hour-and-a-half, but that is actual rolling time. I say two hours because of the many stops you will have to make going through small towns. Google fails to adequately take into account the time you’ll spend stopped at intersections, stoplights and other attractions that will stop you for a few seconds or minutes.
And those small towns are part of the charm and appeal this route offers. You can find little main-street and road-side cafes offering food and atmosphere you won’t find along the interstate. Even the chain convenience stores are different here. Clerks greet patrons with first names and genuinely friendly smiles.
I’ve had the opportunity to take that route several times on trips to Little Rock and Cabot. One of the most memorable was a circular day run starting out on U.S. Highway 71, and going through Hot Springs. (Ride report and photos here.)
My wife was riding two up with me and my son was with us on his bike. We’d planned to spend the night in Hot Springs, but the weather was nice and we just weren’t through riding. So we left Hot Springs about 11 pm and headed south down 67.
A beautiful full moon came out and rode with us. As the temperature dropped, mist rolled out of the ditches creating dancing wraths that disappeared as our bikes ran through them.
As we pulled into the driveway at 2 a.m., we were exhausted. But I could have continued this beautiful ride for a few more miles.
If you haven’t been on this stretch of road for awhile, give it a try the next time your out on a lazy run.

— Guy Wheatley

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