It all started out innocently enough. It was a typical Saturday morning, all the street riders sitting around the breakfast table in the local Cracker Barrel, waiting for everyone to show up for the ride. I kinda nonchalantly said that I would like to go to Arkansas tomorrow and ride the mountain dirt trails for a few days, and wondered out loud if anyone could go. My riding buddy, Kim, never missed a bite or raised his head as he said in a monotone voice, “I’ll go.” And so the adventure began.
The next day, with hardly any planning at all, we loaded his CRF450 and my KLX450 into the back of my truck. And off to Arkansas we went. We arrived at Mena that afternoon, and since it was already 3pm, we decided to go and ride mountain fire roads. A great warm-up for the next day. The Arkansas mountains are just full of these fire roads that can be ridden on the big adventure bikes as well.
We got up the next morning to tackle the trails. After a BIG breakfast, we asked the waitress if she could make us each a sack lunch. Sack lunches in hand, we drove to Wolf Pen Gap to start the day’s ride. It's one of those places that can be enjoyed by ATV's, adventure bikes, or dirt bikes.
|Black Diamond Trail|
Six hours later, concluding another great day of outdoor fun, and no bloodshed, we loaded our bikes up and headed to Ozark, AR for the night.
The next morning we drove 20 miles north to the Mill Creek trailhead, quite a different story. I have been riding Arkansas for a many a year and had never been to Mill Creek before. WOW, what a neat place to ride, but not for the inexperienced for sure. Mill Creek is one place you do NOT want to take the big adventure bikes. Light and agile dirt bikes are the weapons of choice in this location. I waited until we were half-way down one trail before I asked Kim if he had seen the sign that said Most Difficult, with a black diamond symbol. Uh, no.
Miles and miles of trails with one gotcha. We would be zinging along the twisty trail, through the creeks and over dales, when suddenly there would be a 1000-foot-long rock garden just to add spice to the day. Long, uphill, rock-covered climbs were the norm. Once, at the top of a mountain, Kim, in his non-excited way, said “It has been my experience that after any ascension there has to be a descent." So, down the other side of the mountain we went, rock garden after rock garden.
|Up and Locked|
If you study the pic of me and my KLX stuck in the trees, you will also notice that this happened on a smooth and wide part of a trail….in aviation we have a term called UP AND LOCKED, referring to the landing gear, but as the pic shows, UP AND LOCKED applied to me with a different meaning. You get the point, don’t you?
Overall, this spur-of-the-moment adventure was worth every mile, dollar and the pain involved. Thanks for dropping by.
The Little General