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We are planning a ride next year to the Ozarks and I have a few questions for anyone that has experienced this area. First, what would be the best time to go, we're thinking September? Is there a prefered route from Florida, I don't mind inerstates? Do you have a place you have stayed and would recomend? Would riding in the Ozarks be similar to riding in the Smokies? We want to ride somewhere different from the usual (smokies) not that we don't like the smokies, just ready for a change. From what I've seen on the web, the ozarks seem like some pretty good riding. Thanks for any info.
 

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I will send you our last two routes this weekend. Both cut through SE Missouri and across the north side of Arkansas. Beautiful. Stayed in a lot of local non-chain hotels, all very nice and inexpensive. We rode first and last weekend of October. The last weekend of October we caught all the changing leaves, but keep in mind we started out each morning below 40 degrees. For a nice diversionary stop you can tour some of the caves located in Arkansas and Missouri. Some places have a map you can pick up that shows all in both states in case you find yourself nearby.
 

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If you want to see the leaves changing in the fall (awesome), I would suggest the 3rd or 4th week in October. If you look at the ride photos posted from this years 1800 event in Harrison, Arkansas on October 15th, you will see nothing happening with the leaves. September is pretty good if you just want good weather. Last year, we went Oct.15th and we were way early on the leaves, but still a nice ride. This year we went Nov 2nd and the leaves were awesome or maybe slightly over cooked by 1 week. I think maybe one week earlier would be ideal for leaves, but that changes year to year by a week or two. September is better for higher temps, longer days (more riding before the sun goes down), and slightly lower average rain. I am sure I will be back in Northwest Arkansas next fall.

Here is my travel planner tool I use to get average highs and lows, rain, etc. for any area you want to research. Look for detailed history and climate in this web tool.

http://www.weatherunderground.com/US/AR/Harrison.html
 

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If possible, work Eureka Springs, AR into your itinerary. It is a great place to visit and makes a better base (in MHO) than Harrison for exploring. I would heartily recommend the Edelweiss Inn. Its not new but it is immaculate, inexpensive and is run by a motorcyclist and his wife that are as friendly as folks get.
 

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Here's a good place to stay in Eureka. http://www.ridersrestmotel.com/ Bob and Ann are first class and go out of their way to please you. Clean rooms. We usually meet folks there in May and October. Both good times. Just down the road is the Iron Horse http://www.ironhorsestables.com/ A bit rough and mostly HD but Phil and Janie are fine folk.

Then there is the Cliff House Inn on Hwy 7 near Jasper http://www.mcrush.com/cliffhouse/#Rates I believe they only have 4 rooms and have always been booked when I tried to stay there, It is a great place to have lunch and the rates are very reasonable.

If you are into running twisties at elevated speeds, you can crank it up more in the Ozarks than the Smokies. Mainly because there is less traffic. And if you obey the limit on the BRP (45) it gets boring after awhile. Beautiful ride but a leisurely ride. The Gap has too many people on it, is only 11 miles and over rated IMO. There are areas in NW Georgia and TN that are indistinguishable from the Ozarks. You can run multiple loops of 100 miles or more in the Arkansas Ozarks. Then there is MO. I would recommend you hook up with someone that is familiar with the area if you want to do a high speed ride. It's easy to take the wrong road and I hate stopping to look at a map. First couple of times we were there, we had guys that got lost for hours. And seems like someone always crashes out because they over ride the curves. No names but 5 bikes totaled in 4 yrs. (only 1 Wing and it wasn't mine).
 

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We stayed in a cabin at Mt. Nebo State Park, about 60 miles south of Harrison, last September. The road up will challenge your nerves and skill (18% grade and upsweeping U turns). Our cabin backed to the side of the mountain and had great views and was $105 a night fully furnished except food (a 2 person Jacuzzi tub/shower to die for).

There are a lot of dry counties around there if you wish to partake BYOB.

I'll send you a couple pictures via e-mail.
 

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Hwy 23 that BIGBIKE mentioned has been designated at the "Pig Trail". Its a great ride, also Hwy 7 our of Harrison to Hot Springs is a dandy. Also a don't miss ride is from Mena, Ar to Tahilina, Ok on the Talimena (sp) trial (Hwy in Arkansas & Hwy 63 in Oklahoma. It follows the ridge and you can see for miles and miles both directions. There are some 13-14% grades so I wouldn't recommend pulling a RV but we pulled our Roll-a-Home camper riding 2up a couple of years ago with no problems.
 

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There are sooooo many great roads in Arkansas!!! Rt. 7 goes north to south is fantastic. Talimina trail, Mt. Magazine, roads around/into and out of the Jasper area, Eureka springs and Mountain View. Arkansas roads are EXTREMLY well maintained and there is very little traffic. We did three trips this year and have one already scheduled for the spring of 07!!!
The road going up Mt. Nebo is very hazardous and 1st and 2nd gear all the way up. I would not recommend pulling a trailer up and be verrrry careful 2 up!!
 

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Check links below. We've stayed at Mather Lodge in Petit Jean State Park. Beautiful
http://www.petitjeanstatepark.com/

And don't neglect this one.
http://www.talimenascenicdrive.com/
We've been over this drive many times and never a dull moment. If you are going over from Arkansas side, I suggest you stop at "Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge" at the top for lunch. http://www.queenwilhelmina.com/

Then, go on down to the Oklahoma side and flip a U at the bottom and return for a completely different view. Wonderful!
 

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AR. ride

Mt Magazine is a new Arkansas State Park in the Ozarks.It is on Scenic 309 (Havana to Paris). My son was a park planner on the park. We stayed there Oct 18, 2006. The Lodge is fantastic, all rooms have a Petit Jean Valley view. There are cabins with accomidations for small groups or large familys also. The ride was super.
 
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