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Easter in the Ozarks


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#1 hppants

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:33 PM

I had a great Easter weekend camping and riding the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. All told, it was just over 1400 miles for me, and I enjoyed every single one of them. There were no break downs, and no fall downs. My fuel mileage ranged from a low of 39 (some serious high speed slabbing) to a high of almost 47. Considering we were heavily loaded most of the time, that’s not too bad.

The weather was fantastic. Over the 5 days, we got 1 or 2 sprinkles, but it was hardly enough to even get us wet. Otherwise, it was sunny and around 50 degrees in the morning, warming up to the upper 70’s to lower 80’s during the day.

The roads in northern Arkansas are fantastic. It hardly matters which road you take, as they are all very well maintained, picturesque, and very twisty. The yellow curve warning signs are consistent, and it doesn’t take long to set a pace you are comfortable with and enjoy the roller coaster. I highly recommend the Ozarks. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

A couple of months ago, I bought new camping gear for the motorcycle. I did a 1-night shake down ride a few weeks ago and I was itching to go somewhere farther and longer. My friend Mike and I started kicking around the idea of going to Arkansas. Turns out that the ST-owners were having a shin dig at Lake Dardenelle State Park near the Ozark Mountains. I asked Mike if they would allow an FJR to join the group and the reply was “no problem”.

So on Thursday, we left Lafayette, LA at about 12:00 noon. Mike’s 2004 ST1300 is very nice – all setup for touring with plenty of farkles.

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I bought my 2005 FJR 7 months ago and have put 9,000 miles on it since then. Not too shabby for a weekender.

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Before long, we are on the slab heading North fast. VERY fast (thank goodness for radar detectors). Mike made arrangements for us to stay in Hot Springs with his friend Gary. We just need to make 1 quick stop before we get there.

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Then, it’s just a couple more miles to Gary’s. What a nice place nestled on the edge of Lake Hamilton.

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Ellie welcomed us instantly.

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After a couple of brewskies, we headed for dinner. That’s me, Gary’s wife Gay, and Gary.

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Swiss and mushroom burger – damn good.

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Then it was back home for an early night.

Gary rides a 2004 FJR and as luck would have it, he was able to join us for the weekend.

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As we get ready to head out, Ellie will be keeping an eye on things.

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So I proclaimed “Gary, take me to the mountains!” And off we went. Nice looking bunch of bikes.

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At our first stop, I get a sneak peak of where we are going.

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We rode up the roller coaster to Petit Jean State Park and stopped at the Cedar Falls trail.

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We are in good shape – all we have is mental problems.

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So down the trail we go…

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The creek is running nicely this morning.

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Soon we start to hear the waterfall, and it’s got huge flow today.

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We get closer and sit a while to enjoy it. Mike decides to walk behind the fall and feel its power.

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We walked back to the bikes, geared back up, and rode to Dardenelle, Arkansas for some vittles (or lunch if you are a Yankee).

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Chicken Berry Salad for everyone. I treated myself to vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. I am living like a king.

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Then we rode over to Mt. Nebo State Park. The views there are spectacular.

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I walked over to the other side of the vista – it’s all good.

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I caught Mike contemplating the meaning of life. He promised to share it with us whenever he figures it out.

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On the other side of the mountain, the view is just as nice.

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Hey Gary, are we having fun yet? Uh… that would be affirmative good buddy.

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Then it’s a short ride to Lake Dardenelle State Park, home sweet home.

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Once I settle in, I do a little bike watching. The ST1300 and the FJR are very similar bikes.

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Somebody’s been Dragon Slaying…

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This one is gorgeous – my favorite ST color by far.

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Mr. Dinky brought the kitchen with him.

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This guy rode down from the Twin Cities towing this wicked looking 1-wheel trailer.

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Gary and I weren’t the only non-ST riders. Bug Doctor rides this brand new RT

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This GT Beemer is a sweet looking ride. I’d like to ride one of those one day.

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Making new friends with adult beverages – it don’t get much better than this.

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Italian was on the menu for dinner.

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Then it was more telling lies around the fire. Bug Doctor, with all due respect, your fire making skills could use a little help – he he.

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My friend Gus (aka Loki) showed up about this time on his Nighthawk. He detoured on his way home from the Blue Ridge Parkway and it was nice to see him. Loki brought his laptop, so later in the evening; we watched a movie on his side case.

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The next morning after breakfast, Loki packed up and headed south to go home. Mike, Gary, Griff, and I took off for the twisties.

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Very peaceful

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Good times…

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Spring is in full bloom now and I can hardly control myself. In the valleys, the wildflowers produce a rainbow of color. Higher up, the dogwoods are peaking. What a treat.

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A 1,000 miles of this. Can you say “hell yeah”!!!

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At one stop, I decided to play around with my camera and take some high speed shots. Now let’s see, what “high speed” can I shoot?

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I like this shot of Mike.

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After more roller coaster, we stop for lunch at the Ozark Café in Jasper, AR.

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This is a town that time forgot.

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After lunch, Gary and Griff split off and took the quicker way back to the camp. Mike and I were still itching to explore, so we headed West. Or was it East? Maybe it was South….

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Edited by hppants, 09 April 2012 - 01:40 PM.

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#2 hppants

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

At one stop, we found this nifty setup for some serious star gazing.

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Then I declared “I want pie and I want it now.” So, 50ish miles later, we ended up at the Oark store. So many choices, so little time.

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We both picked hot blueberry with a slug of ice cream. We are living large, my friends.

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After pie, we rode another 75ish miles back to the camp. The light was just right, so I took a few shots of the lake. I really like this one.

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The ST guys cooked up a nice batch of brats for us.

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Then it started raining. As I was walking back to my tent, our neighbor in a huge camper shouted “Hey over there, why don’t you come sit a spell?” Cool!! Before long, Mike and I are being treated to some good music. Well done Becky and Tom!!

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On Sunday morning, Gary took off early toward Hot Springs. Mike and I left later, but opted for the scenic route instead. As we head south, the road gets less winding, but still very nice.

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We continued pushing south into Louisiana, and after about 400 miles, our butts had enough. So we stopped at the Kistachie National forest for the night. We’ve both camped here many times before.

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For dinner, Mike whipped up a can of asparagus topped with everything we could find. We also had a couple of fried pies we bought at the gas station and a chicken tender or two.

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I was still hungry, so I whipped out the Chef Boy-r-dee.

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We sat around the fire sipping on some tequila before dozing off under a star light sky.

The next morning, we broke camp and made some breakfast.

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Then we rode the last 140 miles home. It’s hard to believe that some people live their entire lives with no adventure. I’m very blessed to have the health and means to satisfy my need to explore. I can’t wait to do it again!!
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#3 zzzzip

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:57 PM

Excellent report, and good photos. That is a great area to ride. You should check out the Hooterville 400 in the fall. ;)
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#4 SouthernCruizer

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:59 PM

Great ride report! Thanks. :)

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#5 wheatonFJR

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:53 PM

Good report.

Hot blueberry pie with the ice cream. mmmm good!

I know of a lot of nice ST riders...but I think they look um, portly. I know they can get along okay...and the riders are nice enough. Just will not see me in one of them.

Sounds like a great trip!

#6 gixxerjasen

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:42 PM

Oh man, that trail brings back memories. My wife and I hiked down there and when we got there the stupid falls was nothing more than a trickle. I thought back to the several hundred people we passed on that busy trail headed back up to the top from the falls and not ONE of them said anything. I started to curse them and then I got a smirk on my face as I realized all the folks I'd be passing on my way back up that I wasn't going to tell. :D

Nice to see pictures of what it's supposed to look like, thanks for taking us along for the ride. I have the same top box as you I think that I got off my FZ1. I'm thinking about going bigger for the FJR though.

#7 not2shabby

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:18 PM

Excellent report! Man, I'm ready for a weekend trip.
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#8 HPTuner

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:56 PM

Great report and pics! I really enjoyed that as a prelude to our trip out there later this year!

#9 Niehart

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:45 PM

hppants, great RR and pictures.

Looks like you have that camping gear dialed in. Congrats!

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#10 SwollenRaccoon

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:14 AM

Great report. I'll be down there in less than a month with 2 riding buddies. We made the trip last year, and it was fabulous. Can't wait.
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#11 vabrzn

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:31 AM

Thanks for posting!
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#12 hppants

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:34 AM

Thanks for reading my report and your replies.

I know of a lot of nice ST riders...but I think they look um, portly. I know they can get along okay...


I assume you mean the bike. :rolleyes: The ST offers more wind protection than the FJR - the fairing is wider across the legs and of course at the mirrors. The bulky frame sliders on the ST add to it's stout look. Sine the v-4 is longitudely mounted, there is 1 less power turn in the drive train. So, the real difference in horsepower may be less than it reads on the spec sheet. Getting the plastic off and getting to the regular maintenance items under the plastic is TONS easier on the ST. Yamaha should fix that IMO. The ST holds a full gallon more, but under exactly the same riding, my bike gets about 2 mpg better than Mike's. The saddle bags on the ST hold more, but like the fairing, they look bulky. I'm told the FJR feels lighter than the ST when you ride it, but I can't comment intelligently. Bottom line - they are both great bikes.

Nice to see pictures of what it's supposed to look like, thanks for taking us along for the ride. I have the same top box as you I think that I got off my FZ1. I'm thinking about going bigger for the FJR though.


I saw that same waterfall from the road above in September 2011. It was bone dry then too. My friend Gus gave me that top box. It's the first top box I've ever had. They are bottomless to me. Really effective and useful luggage.

Hard to go to work this morning. Oh well, 5 weeks until I leave for Deal's Gap!!
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#13 Willie

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:49 AM

Thanks for the read...it was great and very timely for me. We are heading that way and should hit Little Rock, Hot Springs and turn north to Pea Ridge right around 5/20/12.

Willie

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#14 SkooterG

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:39 AM

Excellent Ride Report!

But I got to ask..............

What is the meaning of the silly hand gesture in this photo?


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#15 hppants

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

What is the meaning of the silly hand gesture in this photo?


That's my signature pose for just about any photograph I'm in.

I work for (and went to school at) the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL) - notice I'm wearing one of their shirts. That symbol stands for "UL"

I also learned that it's the sign language for "I Love You" so, during certain pictures, that meaning works as well. :rolleyes:
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#16 Surly

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:41 PM

What is the meaning of the silly hand gesture in this photo?


That's my signature pose for just about any photograph I'm in.

I work for (and went to school at) the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL) - notice I'm wearing one of their shirts. That symbol stands for "UL"

I also learned that it's the sign language for "I Love You" so, during certain pictures, that meaning works as well. :rolleyes:


Works for me. Good read thanks.

Best regards
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#17 Sharif

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:38 PM

Awesome! Ride that BMW GT if you get the chance, nice powertrain and goodies, but I'll take the ergos of the FJR any day!
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#18 escapefjrtist

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:07 PM

Nice looking weekend ride...haven't ridden the Ozarks yet!

Thanks for taking us along. :)

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#19 gixxerjasen

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

Yea, we discovered after hauling ourselves back up the trail that you can check it out from the observation deck by the road. We weren't all that happy, but hey, those make the best stories, right?

I need some more Ozarks. I had a ball at the FZ1 rally in the fall, which is where I got schooled on the FJR's handling. Too bad I'm going to miss the spring rally.

#20 Esteban

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:27 AM

Very nice report with excellent photos. Thx for sharing...
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