ARKANSAS: the OZARK MOUNTAINS and the best places to visit in Arkansas

ARKANSAS: the OZARK MOUNTAINS and the best places to visit in Arkansas

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(pensive music) Arkansas is not just worth a stop, it's a destination. Join the road trip to shady forests, peaceful lakes, and hidden treasures. A road trip through the beautiful and offbeat Ozark Mountains. Find out about the best places to visit when touring Arkansas and witness how I nearly ran out of gas in the middle of the Ozarks. (lively music) (motorbike roaring) (lively music) With my brand new tire, I started from Oklahoma City to make my way direction Arkansas.

First on Interstate 40 until Muldrow, where I turned off and followed Route 64B to Highway 101 that took me right into Arkansas. Finally, the first hills and curves I had seen since days. - Oops, this is already Arkansas. Hello, new state.

Wow, I nearly missed the sign. As soon as I arrived in Arkansas, the scenery had changed from the endless plains to beautiful rolling hills and lush green forests. - Guys, you know what is very funny and completely doesn't make any sense to me as a not native English speaking person: the name Arkansas. I mean, it's written like the state Kansas, only there is an A and an R in front of that, so why the hell do you pronounce it Arkansas but not Arkansas? Please, someone explain this to me.

In West Fork, I stopped to get petrol and to look for a destination to stay the night. - So I just met a super nice local here at the gas station, and he gave me a lot of suggestions what to do and where to stay. I actually wanted to camp but unfortunately, the two campgrounds that he suggested were both full.

And now I found a spot at a little cabin-like place, and I'm super excited and will go there now. - So I got this suggestion for a cabin-like place from a guy that I just met at the gas station and the place is supposed to have the best view in the whole area. And I'm going there now here on this Scenic Byway 71.

(lively music) Sky-Vue Lodge is a historic and cozy little bed and breakfast right on the edge of the Ozark National Forest that I came here to explore. The property sits near the top of Mount Gayler in the Boston Mountains, part of the stunning Arkansas Ozarks. And offers rooms with porches, a pizza service and views that money can't buy. (pensive music) (dramatic music) - Freshly showered and because it's so nice here, I'm gonna try to make a little fire now. (tranquil music) - So that's a pity now.

Because it rained so much the last days, all the wood and starters are wet. So I can't get it running. Instead of a warming fire, I enjoyed the burning sunset. (tranquil music) - It was nice meeting you. - It was very nice meeting you. Thank you so much.

- Be safe. - Yeah, you too. - Thank you so much, it's a lovely place. - It is time to hit the road today and finally time to go on some gravel and off-road stretches here in Arkansas.

I'm going to an area that's called White Rock now, and I hope it will be fine because it has been raining basically the last two or three weeks, and I hope it's not gonna be too muddy. (tranquil music) - Good morning, everyone. I'm starting the day right getting from paved roads to some dirt roads, and riding to the so-called White Rock Recreation Area.

And I was told that some of the roads that I hit here are part of the TAT, the so-called Trans American Trail. I had only one big plan for this day: to explore as much of the Ozarks as possible. (tranquil music) The biggest parts of the Ozarks that are also referred as the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau falls in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The Ozark region is known for an abundance of sparkling springs, waterfalls, lakes, caves, caverns and sinks.

The Ozarks represent the largest area of rugged topography between the Appalachians and the Rockies. They span over a million acres or 4,000 square kilometers and offer countless scenic paved and dirt roads to explore its endless forests. (pensive music) - Getting closer to White Rock now.

The sign just said eight miles and I really love this area here. (lively music) White Rock Mountain is 2,309 feet or 703 meters above sea level, and received its name from the appearance of the lichen on the sheer bluffs that appear white from a distance. White Rock Mountain is the hub of several national forest hiking trail systems, including the easy trail around the mountain top rim, the Shores Lake & White Rock Loop Trail, and the renowned 170-mile Ozark Highlands Trail. The White Rock Campsite even has a small general store and seemed to me like the perfect place to pitch a tent. - I am at White Rock now and this whole area is actually so nice that I thought if I should just stay here and camp a night. But then in the end, I don't have so much time until I have to be back in Miami.

So I guess I will continue, especially because it's so early in the morning. But it's so nice, so if you ride through here, make sure that you camp here at White Rock. It's really beautiful. (lively music) - So I'm enjoying a few more gravel roads here in the White Rock area, and I have actually not really a clue where exactly I am at the moment.

But I'm trying to head a little east all the time because that's my general direction. - I now left the beautiful gravel roads. I could have done this forever, but there is one special road here that I have to drive. And this road is route number 23, and it's supposed to be one of the best motorcycle roads in this whole state and in this whole part of America. And it has a very funny name that doesn't sound very flattering. It's called the Pig's Tail.

The Pig Trail Scenic Byway winds through the rugged and forested Boston Mountains region of the Ozark Mountains. These 24 miles on State Highway 23 is one of Arkansas' most beautiful rides and USA Today listed the route as the top two of the best rides in America. (tranquil music) - So here I turn off from Highway 23, so I'm not riding the complete length of the Pig Tail because the guy I met yesterday suggested another place here to me.

And since his suggestions have been so amazing so far, I will follow them again. If you are looking for a good place to stay in the middle of the Ozarks, Mulberry Lodge that is right on Highway 23 or Byrd's Adventure Center are the best options. They offer as well camping but were completely booked at my time of traveling. (tranquil music) - I am approaching the small town Oark now.

And yes, it is very small but I was told it's as well very famous because most people traveling and driving through the Ozark Mountains stop here to grab some food at this very special place that you can find here in Oark. (lively music) Oark may seem like a small sleepy town but it's very well known amongst people who travel the Ozark Mountains. Most famous is the Oark Cafe. Established in 1890, it's the oldest continuous operating store in Arkansas. And yes, people literally drive for miles to eat one of its famous burgers. The building has still its original floors, walls and ceilings, and the cafe's a great start or end to an outdoor adventure in the area.

I was just in time though to grab some proper lunch, and to judge if the hype is really worth it. - So this is it. I'm just doing this for you guys in the sense of research, to be able to really tell you if it's good or not. (lively music) - So here from Oark, I plan to continue straight east, and I will ride another gravel road 'til I hit asphalt again. But people at the Oark Cafe said that these roads here are very well and good, so I expect to be able to go quite quick. (lively music) - Is this a gas station? No, I don't think so.

I might need some petrol at one point. (lively music) Even though I had planned to follow paved roads to be able to travel east more quickly, I again ended up on a nice gravel road that took me straight to Falling Water Falls. Falling Beauty Water Fall, also known as Falling Water Water Fall is literally next to the dirt road in the Richland Creek area of South Newton County in Arkansas. It's a peaceful little spot to have a picnic, a swim, or to put up your hammock and enjoy the calming sounds of the water. - I am back on asphalt now and I guess that I will stay here on asphalt for now.

But I as well need to find some petrol, so I will just go to the next gas station that the map shows me. (crickets chirping) - So this lovely place here behind me, which is actually the second gas station that I'm now going to, is closed as well. And I'm on reserve since about five miles. And the next bigger village is 44 kilometers. I hope I will make it. I actually have no clue...

but yeah, I guess I have to try. - Oh my God, I think this is the punishment because I was too cheap to buy petrol at the Oark Cafe because it was completely overpriced compared to the normal gas stations. So now I try to drive stable in sixth gear in slow and low revolution. So I try to drive very steady now to make it hopefully to the next gas station. (suspenseful music) I was riding on reserve since about 38 miles or 61 kilometers when I reached the town Marshall. - Oh my God, hallelujah.

This is a gas station finally. (Lea sighing) So happy. But what the (beep)? How can that be? It's closed too. (suspenseful music) - Okay, next try. This time it really needs to work.

I'm literally scared now to stop the engine. I'm on reserve since 40 miles. - Thanks God, it's running. Oh my God, that was such a close call.

I'm so happy that we made it here. It turned out that 3.42 gallons are about 13 liters, so with a 15-liter tank of the Yamaha Tenere, I would still have had two liters in reserve even after riding on reserve since 40 miles. - I think I'm officially leaving the Ozark Mountains now, and I would have loved to stay in the Ozarks but with this great weather, I really want to camp today and all the campgrounds in the national forest were booked. So I try my luck somewhere else now.

(lively music) - What's that weird thing there on the road? I think it's a turtle? Oh my God, better stop and save it not that a car rides over it. (tranquil music) I turned off from State Highway 14 to some more gravel roads to make my way to the Barkshed Recreation Area that is hidden deeply in the forest. Barkshed is a primitive camp near a clear mountain stream.

It was the old Barkshed Forest Camp and is a serene little oasis in the middle of the forest. (tranquil music) (tent rustling) (tranquil music) - So that was a long day. I'm actually pretty exhausted and as you can see, I am ready to swim now because there's a creek right here next to the campground. - And how beautiful is this? (tranquil music) - This was an absolutely stunning day of riding. I didn't expect that.

This whole day was just absolutely perfect from the start to the end now. I rode much more gravel than I thought because there were a lot of surprises in this. And even that the weather is so beautiful. And it's just perfect temperature to camp now, so I'm very, very happy that I finally could get out my tent. And this, by the way, will be my dinner. A nice macaroni salad, a cucumber, (cucumber falling) oh, and a pepper.

That's basically the only things that I could buy before I came here but I think it will be delicious. Thank you for joining the ride through Arkansas. I hope you liked the beautiful surroundings of the Ozark Mountains as much as I did. If you have not subscribed yet, hit the bell button, and give this video a thumbs up and comment to let me know that you are a part of this travel crew.

The next episode takes me through Tennessee and to the Smoky Mountains, and it will come with some nasty and unpleasant challenges. Tune in next Thursday. (lively music) (motorbike roaring)

2021-10-09 10:32

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