Arkansas, March 2010: Headed South

My wife and I have a timeshare in the Eureka Springs, Arkansas area. We’ve had it for many years, and while we don’t get to go every year, I always enjoy my stay there.

I took my bike (a recumbent at the time) there in 2007 and rode a bit (see ride reports), but found that the ‘bent really couldn’t handle the hills very well.

Now that I’m riding the Long Haul Trucker, I was optimistic that the bike could handle the hills, both paved and unpaved. The area I was in is actually well known as a mountain biking hotspot, but I didn’t take my MTB; I figured the LHT would handle everything I wanted to ride.

Eureka Springs is about a five-hour drive from home, but it’s usually a longer trip, and I like to stop and explore along the way. This trip was no different.

First stop was Pittsburg, Kansas, home of several bicycling attractions.

The 23rd Street Bike Park in Pittsburg, Kansas offers several miles of single track mountain biking trails, a mountain biking skills area, a pump track, and dirt jump area. It’s one of the premier mountain biking destinations in the state. Unfortunately, the trails were way too muddy to ride, so this is all I saw of them.

Wilderness Park is located in Pittsburg, Kansas, and is a city park that features beautiful wooded terrain and several “coal pit” ponds. There are over 4 miles of trails in Wilderness Park, consisting of both gravel doubletrack fire roads and twisty dirt singletrack. Due to mud, I was only able to ride the gravel trails, but the singletrack looked fun, too!

Here are some of the gravel trails at Wilderness Park — there are a few steep little hills here, but nothing too major.

Andrew Powell is riding his bicycle cross-country on the Trans-America Bicycle Route. I met him as he was having his bike serviced at Tailwind Cyclists in Pittsburg, Kansas. You can follow Andrew’s progress, and donate to his cause, by visiting Heckuva nice fellow.

Next up was a stop at the Spokes & Spandex bike shop in Joplin, Missouri (no pictures). I spent some time talking with the folks who worked there, and learning about the cycling scene in the Joplin area. Their big ride is the annual Tornado Alley Bike Tour that offers a scenic and hilly route touching four states: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Sounds fun!

Roaring River State Park is located near Cassville, Missouri in the Mark Twain National Forest. Each spring the park is a popular destination for trout fishermen, who flock to the clear and fast-flowing waters of the Roaring River. There’s always quite a crowd, and I enjoy watching them fish. This time, I had my bike with me, so could explore the park a bit more than normal, although it was raining lightly, and quite cool.

This is a photo of the small spring-fed lake at the headwaters of the river. There are some huge trout in this little lake (which can be easily seen in the clear water). No fishing is allowed here. Located adjacent to this lake is a fish hatchery, where you can see thousands of trout of various sizes. It’s quite interesting, so if you’re ever passing through, check it out!

(Note the saddle cover on my saddle. This is a genuine Brooks Rain Cover, which is intended to protect the leather saddle from moisture. I’ve had this for awhile, but never used it. But since it was raining as I drove with the the bike in the back of my pickup, I’m glad I had it. Turns out it works well to ride on as well (at least for short distances); I couldn’t really feel much difference with the cover on — which is a good thing.)

This is a view from the deck at our timeshare — nice, huh? The water is Table Rock Lake. This is looking north, and we’re right on the northern edge of Arkansas — just around the bend is the Missouri state line.

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.