I will ride and ride and ride if I have the time. This past weekend was no exception. With spring servicing, new tires, a new friend introducing me to the wonder that is Sena, and talk about Southeast rides, I woke up Saturday morning wanting to ride to Cowley State Fishing Lake near Ark City, Kansas to see the waterfall. I threw some essentials for the day in the tank bag, gassed up at the QuikTrip, and headed out around noon. I found random people to take my pictures, but most of the trip there wasn’t a soul to be found at stops. Kansas isn’t known too much for it’s scenic views so I took the fastest route the Ark City, stopping to photograph what Kansas does best: WIND Traveling down the turnpike (cost: $1.25) then taking 166 east landed me in Ark City. Cowley State Fishing Lake is a tiny watering hole just east of the city but contains a 25’ magnificent waterfall. There was a small hike down to the bottom and it was well worth the trip. I could have easily stayed down there all day listening to the falls, hiking, and relaxing. Several people were visiting at the same time and they were happy to take some photos of me. After hiking back up the cliffs to leave, a couple of men with a boy pulled up. I asked them to take a photo of me and my bike. One spoke Spanish and the other was better at English. My Spanish is broken, but I was able to communicate some. The little boy was ooogling the bike. I asked him if he wanted to sit on it and he was thrilled. Cute photo of him and his dad. I then rode 166 back to Ark City, KS to access 77 South to Newkirk and Kaw Reservoir. I stopped to take photos at the Oklahoma state line. I found the monuments to give me the feels. I’m Cherokee and Menominee and seeing these things makes me wonder about my ancestors. I also noticed a cute little hitchhiker. I’m not sure when my friend arrived, but she lasted all the way to Kaw Reservoir. After making a nice loop east around Kaw Reservoir, north, then west back to Newkirk, I stopped for gas and hydration. My friend was gone. I hope she got away safely. But I was happy as could be...in my element riding around, no schedule to follow...yet. Teeheehee I traveled down to Ponca City, OK and further south down 77 to the Cimarron Turnpike (cost: $1.25) to reach 412 East . The riding became a bit more interesting and beautiful on this stretch of highway. I could tell I was heading east!!!! From this point on, I traveled 412 East into Tulsa. I loved using the Sena for music and the occasional navigation. It’s so nice to not have to look down at a map or GPS. Although I did have a map and waypoints written down the entire trip just in case my phone navigation went out because of service coverage. When I reached Tulsa, I had to make a decision. Do I keep going or turn back? I stopped at a rest area. Hungry. I sat, ate, researched routes, and checked weather forecasts (I didn’t bring my rain gear). Knowing I was free until Sunday night, I figured out how far I could go before I had to turn around. The decision was made: I would just keep going and ride into Arkansas and ride around Ozark National Forest. I did not pack anything for overnight or any extra clothes, but having little and packing light has never bothered me. I like to feel pretty, but I’m not high maintenance. LOL. With a Wal-Mart around every corner, I knew I could pick up some basic toiletries at my evening destination: Siloam Springs, AR. I hopped back on 412 East, paid $2.00 at the exit, secured lodging for the night, and enjoyed a phone call with a friend who suggested I ride to Mount Magazine near Paris, AR. His suggestions have worked out pretty well so far, like the Sena I bought. He said it would change my life. It has changed my riding life even though I only listened to music and the GPS lady the whole way! So I trusted his suggestion of Mount Magazine would be just as amazing. I made it to Siloam Springs, AR at about 8:30 pm. I stopped for gas, switched my buggy visor, cleaned out the Sena, and pinpointed the location of the Wal-Mart and lodging I secured. Went to the Wal-Mart to grab some food and basics to take a warm shower. Settled in and started researching if I had time for Magazine Mountain. I did just that and decided to leave around 5:00 am so I could do the mountain. I wrote down all my routes and waypoints again just in case GPS failed, cleaned up, and turned in. I felt so guilty leaving the bike outside, dirty, uncovered, and alone. My friend suggested I park under an awning which worked well. I woke at 4:30 and headed out at about 5:15. I considered leaving at 4:00 am, to reach the mountain at sunrise, but I didn’t want to drive through Ozark National Forest in the dark and mis the views. I traveled East on 412 a few miles then connected to highway 16 to Fayetteville. The views on 16, long sweeping curves, the moon and stars to the west of me, and the sunrise to the east made for a moving and enjoyable ride. I was even treated with a beautiful tunnel and tall bridges spanning rivers and valleys. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND 412 East and the remaining routes that follow. Highway 16 connected to 49 South then to 40 East. These two highways were just as amazing as 412 and 16. I enjoyed many giggles and laughs of sheer joy traveling these roads, enjoying the curves, hills, and breathtaking views of the landscape (especially after coming over a hill). 40 East connected to 23 South for a bit which connected to 309 South. After a small mountain climb, there was a descent into a flat valley before another ascent up Mount Magazine. The views were amazing. The cows loved the alien in the helmet. They were so brave! As soon as the bravest cow started creeping towards the fence, the others followed. They got soooo close! When reaching Paris, AR, the 309 turns into Mount Magazine Scenic Byway. Again, AMAZING rides. There were many hills I call the roller coasters. As I come up on a hill, I love to gas it really quick then let off the throttle as I crest the hill. This gives me that stomach leaping into my throat feeling and I cannot help but laugh and giggle. I choked on several bugs on this trip because of my giggles, but it’s worth it. I was moved to tears of marvel when I came upon the first scenic outlook. Mount Magazine was AMAZING!!!! I can’t believe I made it and I kept thanking my friend in my mind for mentioning this place. It is the highest point between the Rockies and Appalachians. There are cabins, a HUGE beautiful lodge, rock climbing, hang gliding, hiking, camping, you name it. I reached the mount at about 8:00 am and spent almost 2 hours riding around and enjoying the views. There was also no soul in sight when I arrived. When I was leaving, I finally saw some bikers and an elderly couple enjoying a Sunday drive. Go there early to enjoy the mount. I had every single scenic pull off all to myself. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN HERE YOU NEED TO GO TO THERES! Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. Nature was abundant in butterflies, turtles, tons of cardinals and bluejays, and green green green green everywhere! Weather was perfect 55 degree morning and mid 70s afternoon. I’ll just leave these pictures here for you to enjoy. GO TO THERES! After leaving the mount and gassing up, getting a protein bar, and water in Paris, my next destination was Highway 23 North. This stretch is also called Pig Trail Scenic Byway, the Arkansas version of Tail of the Dragon. I read that it made some top 10 list of must do rides in your life, so I was excited to ride it. The trail did not disappoint! DO IT! I must mention on all these roads in AR and MO, which are heavily traveled by motorcycle enthusiasts as many others know, the curve warning signs and suggested MPHs are very conservative. It seemed they were meant for riders who have never traveled those roads. I consistently traveled 20-30 MPHs over the suggested signs. More experienced or daring riders could have done more than that. The only signs I found I really had to heed were ones marked 10, 15 or 20 MPH. These were generally slanted switchbacks up or down hill. I really didn’t feel like flying off a cliff or hitting someone riding the center line if I didn’t make the curve clean. I witnessed a sport bike rider doing just that. I would have hit him if I was riding the centerline too around that blind switchback. So those postings I did not ignore. So many roller coasters, beautifully set up sweeping curves, and some fun technical sets of pig tails made for a well rounded ride up Pig Trail…unlike the stress-inducing Tail of the Dragon. That was not too enjoyable for me, but Pig Trail was and gave me so many giggles and smiles. Highway 23 took me all the way into Eureka Springs. By this point, I was running out of time and only had about 5 hours to get home. So I only ran up to Christ of the Ozarks to see it an reminisce a bit when I visited as a child. Coming out of Eureka Springs, I connected to Highway 62 to Gateway, AR…another highly recommended ride on a top 25 list. I compare this directly to Pig Trail. AMAZING! There was barely anyone on 62 and motorists I encountered were quick to pull off to the side and let me pass. They must know the joy of riding these roads on a motorcycle! The beautiful grandeur that are hills and sweeping curves was quickly coming to the end. There was one more eventful experience leaving Gateway, AR. I could not take a picture of the Missouri sign. I was able to count 43 emergency vehicles surrounding a shady property. Many troopers and police were scouring the trees, ditches, and land. No one was allowed to stop for photos. We were forced to keep moving. The scene didn’t look good. Highway 37 to Cassville, MO is another recommended route and was enjoyable but not as fun as 23 and 62. The rest of the trip back west to Wichita, KS was pretty crummy. I did stop to take a photo of the Kansas sign and turned around to catch a photo of the Missouri sign just to have one. The trip back home was crummy because winds started to pick up and a wind advisory had been issued. I spent a good 3 hours on the left side of my tires riding back to DooDah. That’s all I’ll say about that. Kansas doing what it does best: WIND. But I am very thankful that was the only trouble I had. I went solo, with little tools, limited time, and not packing for an overnight. So all in all, everything went really well and the weather was spectacular. I got home with 921 miles down in 31 hours, tires showing the last 3 hours of riding sideways, a license tag that was ripped halfway off because of Kansas wind (notice in the Kansas state line photo that my tag was intact), exhausted face with a bit of a sunburn, but a HUGE sense of accomplishment and memories of a spectacular weekend! FIRST SOLO “LONG” TRIP ON MY VFR!!!! “Long” meaning for the time I had free. Long to me really means 2 to 4 weeks on the road. LOL I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Maybe this time I’ll do my penance through western Kansas to have some fun in Colorado. I’ve ridden plenty in the east, now several times, but never west. Or maybe I’ll go through Nebraska to South and North Dakota to see Rushmore and the Black Hills. I’ve never ridden up there either. In short, some time in your life you should ride: 412 East OK to AR AR Highway 16 East to 49 South AR Highway 40 East to 23 South to Mount Magazine! AR Highway 23 North (Pig Trail) to 62 West There are many more roads and places in AR I would like to ride and visit given I had more time. But this route made for a perfect weekend getaway. To slow it down next time: I could leave on a Friday night and lodge in Tulsa. Ride to Mount Magazine early Saturday morning. Explore the area and have a picnic and do some hang gliding. Maybe ride further down south to Petit Jean State Park (another highly recommended place, even having a Eureka Springs resident talk to me about it). Camp in Petit Jean State Park. Wake up early Sunday morning and loop back to Ouachita National Forest and picnic there. Then head home quickly on main highways to Oklahoma City and back to DooDah, Kansas. LINK to MAP ROUTE: https://goo.gl/maps/YdBmkXPwwA72 What recommendations do you have? Have you ridden any of these routes? What were your experiences? Have you had awesome weekend road trip you would like to share for others? Hope you enjoyed the report and photos. Comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!