I picked up this morning where I left off yesterday on Arkansas 9, just south of I-40. I had a vague plan that included riding through Hot Springs, which I did. Beyond that, my goal was to get off the beaten path and hit the roads represented by squiggly lines on map. I have to tell you, in west central Arkansas there are a bunch of them! If I had to pick a favorite though, it would be AR 246 that skirts the southern edge of the Ouachita National Forest.
While not as technical in nature as AR 16 from yesterday’s ride, AR 246 has plenty of grin producing fast sweepers bending its red tinted pavement. The other thing is smells. The Ouachita’s, like all national forests is managed by periodic logging. The scent of fresh cut pine and cedar at times was overwhelming. When considering odors though, it is obvious that livestock production is also a major activity in this part of the country. I guess you could say the pine and cedar acts as a type of air freshener.
Tomorrow I plan to ride Talimena National Scenic Byway. It is one of the best runs in the area. The forecast is for rain late in the day, so I need to get an early start as the pictures to make the story into a Rider feature are on that particular loop.
The manager at Iron Mountain told me if the weather turned bad to feel free to move my tent under the canopy. Much appreciated. I think I might spring for one of the camping cabins one night as well. The $35 fee can be chalked up to research.