I rode what I’d envisioned would be my favorite loop today, Talimena Scenic National Byway. The Ouachita’s are rather unique as far as North American mountains are concerned as they run east to west rather than the more common north to south orientation. Since the route crosses into Oklahoma, I figured I’d ride it to the end and take in the Winding Staircase region of the Oklahoma Ouachita’s. My only concern was getting a tour of the fire watch tower on Rich Mountain, the road’s highest point at around 2700 feet. I shouldn’t have worried. A helpful ranger lady drove on ahead of me and unlocked the gate. She also let her husband, who works at Mount Magazine State Park know that I’d be showing up tomorrow. I understand the ride there is every bit the equal of what I experienced today.
Since I’m supposed to be doing research, I’ll offer a critique. Arkansas is on the ball as far as promoting their roads and resources, Oklahoma, not so much. Case in point: I need maps for both states to give the Rider map artist something to work off of. I have more than half dozen for the Arkansas side; they were everywhere. Motorcycle specific guide books were plentiful as well. I asked several times in Oklahoma, finally locating a 2010 version. The Department of Agriculture station did have some slick Talimena Drive stickers and patches, so I guess that counts for something. But they need to get with the program; the real estate they manage begs to be promoted to the fullest.