It’s a deer (according to Tony, about a year -- to me, looked young). A wobbling deer. And there are cars going up and down the road. Tony pulls over and we get off. The deer isn’t really going anywhere, but seems confused. And not scared of us. And then cars pass (and not slowly). We don’t want her to get hit. So, we’re trying to figure out what to do because we don’t want her to get hurt. A big white pickup truck slows down and Tony explains why we‘ve stopped. The guy says, oh, that‘s the one with the bad eye. They live right there and they visit. And the woman gets out. The guy opens his gate and looks like there were going to get the deer back onto their property. Seems like this is a frequent occurrence.
And, it definitely has some curves. Weather is perfect since I’m wearing shorts and my jacket and not cold or hot. Stop at Mulberry River Outfitters for beverages (and beef jerkey) at Turner Bend (www.turnerbend.com ) and decide to change our course a bit and take 16 over to 21 and the Lost Creek with the elk I’ve been talking about. Unfortunately, we haven’t done any of these roads before and we’re relying on trying to rely on looking at 3 different maps and try and figure out where we’re going. Slight detour took us back toward Ponca and Lost Creek where we stop where others have stopped. A couple, Larry and Gail, tell us that this is where we’d see elk, but it’s too late in the day.
Site trip: Legacy Ridge golf course in Bonham is a trek, but looks like a good road trip. The course looked great from the road and it doesn’t look pricey ($40 on weekend and $30 during the week and if you sign up for their online specials, you get a free round on your birthday! Go to www.legacyridge.com
So, back to the stop with Larry and Gail (they live in Missouri and are down for a day trip). Larry’s a talker and starts telling us about roads and where to go and what to see and what not to miss. And then offers to let us tag along for a while. At least to Jasper (we find out that Ponka doesn’t have a gas station and we’ll need gas and it being Fourth of July, not sure if everything is open) to get us to the gas station. We take 74 over to Jasper to the Conoco. They offer to let us continue to tag along on this ride from 74 to 123 and then back to where we want to go. That we cannot miss. And that we also have to go to the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Tony and I are starving and decline, since there is a café (Arkansas House www.arkansashouse.net ) open right next door. They head on and we head in for a hamburger for Tony and elk burger for me (if I can’t see them, might as well have them for lunch, right). We were starving, but the food was good. Tony thinks that for the price, they were overcooked, but we liked that everything seemed fresh.
We know we need to get up to Eureka Springs eventually and the route Larry suggested takes us south and then back. After discussion, we realize that we can go to the Grand Canyon and then do this route on our way to Hot Springs tomorrow -- and also try to see the elk again if we get on the road early enough. So, off we go to this canyon about 3 miles from Jasper. Must stop. Beautiful. And while we don’t know where exactly Missouri is in the view, we know that we’re seeing Missouri.
We then decide rather than to head back to 21 and to that, to head up 7 to Eureka Springs so that we can do 21 in the morning, hopefully see the elk, and then head back towards Jasper, do this route that Larry and Gail were raving about, and then back onto 7 to head towards Hot Springs Village.
Good call. Up 7, cross over Pruitt Bridge, stop at Marble Falls that we think may have been a cult or nudist camp or something. We can speculate because it’s now this odd ghost town. And didn’t see any falls. In Harrison, we get on 62 (kind weird road markers to get you to 62). Since Tony has sunblock in his eyes that is burning, we have to stop at Wendy’s so that he can wash it out and we can have frosty’s in waffle cones (a trip without ice cream is not a trip). Harrison’s kinda “big time” -- and smells. But it has a Home Depot and Taco Bell and Wendy’s and Sonic and…. We don’t stay long and off we head towards Eureka Springs.
62 is pretty uneventful, but after all of the switchbacks and steep grades, a lot of it is 2 lanes and pretty relaxing for Tony since he has to concentrate, but not nearly as hard. We also see clouds and definitely would have been screwed if we were stuck in rain on 21. At least on 62 there are real “towns” to stop in and wait it out.
4.5 miles into Eureka Springs we see a billboard for the Pig Trail Harley dealership. http://www.pigtrailhd.com/ . Should be close to our Travel Lodge. Eureka Springs is definitely geared towards bikers in the part we hit first. Lots of bikers. Lots of inns that cater towards bikers. Even miniature golf for bikers! Stop at the Harley dealership and buy a couple of Pigs Trail shirts (and a golf ball) and grab a beer next door at a Hog bar (can’t remember what brand but it was an Arkansas Hefinfiesen (sp)) at a much needed time. Been a long day (it’s after 5 pm).
Tomorrow we think we're going to head down 21 to 16 to Lost Creek. If we get there early enough, maybe see some elk. And then Take 74 to 123 and then down 7 to Hot Springs Village, where we're spending a couple of nights with Larry and Deb on their lake.