Last year’s Great Motorcycle Vacation turned into a rain-soaked house remodeling vacation. This year it started out in a similar fashion. I’d reserved a cherry picker for the Memorial Day weekend because I got it from Friday night through Tuesday morning for a one day price. Then I got the opportunity to buy the motorcycle I’ve been wanting for several years. I picked it up a few hours before I got the cherry picker. So while my new-to-me Valkyrie sat in the garage, I was perched in the basket of a cherry picker fixing the eaves on my house and painting.
But fortunately for my vacation, the cherry picker had to go back Tuesday morning.
We’d been planning to run Arkansas Highway 7 from the Louisiana State line to it’s northern terminus at Lead Hill recreation area on Bull Shoals lake, north of Diamond City.
Wednesday morning the wife and I ran over to El Dorado, then down to the state line. From there we headed north to Camden, then back to Texarkana to get the southernmost leg out of the way.
We took Thursday to replace the passenger pegs with floorboards on the Valkyrie. I ran a 12-volt adapter so I’d have power to the GPS. We did a little bike maintenance, got gear ready and headed out with another couple Friday morning for a three-day run up and back.
Most of Highway 7 was everything I’d been promised. On the way back, we decided to see what else Northern Arkansas had to offer. We took some smaller roads over to 65 and followed it into Conway for the night. Leaving Conway the last morning we took 60 west over to 27 and rode it down through the Ouachita National forest into Glenwood.
Just south of Glenwood, we took 84 west to Langley then followed 396 north for 6 miles to Albert Pike recreation area. After a quick dip to cool down and wash off a little road grime, we finished the trip by following 396 south to 70 west where we picked up 71 south back to Texarkana.
The weather was kind to us being cool most mornings and offering a little cloud cover during the day Friday and Saturday. Sunday was the hottest day and I got a little sunburned on the final leg.
I’m not sure you can find a bad motorcycle road in Northern Arkansas. I plan to head back up there in the near future and find some more of the good ones. I especially want to run the Pig Trail though the Ozark National Forest.
— Guy Wheatley