3 New Motorcycle Rides in Arkansas

Three New, Thrilling Motorcycle Ride Loops Ready For Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2014

Just in time for the 2014 version of Northwest Arkansas’ highly-popular “Bikes, Blues & BBQ” motorcycle rally (September 24-27) comes three new rides that bikers will “love to lean into!”  Starting and 1018_okCC_BikerEvents[ar_ok]ending in Eureka Springs, which is only 45 minutes east of Fayetteville, are the Peel Ferry Loop, the Arkansas Dragon’s Tail Loop, and the War Eagle Mill Loop.  Each offers outstanding curves, switchbacks, hairpins, scenery and panoramas.  And each loop is a day’s ride or less.

“When we started formulating motorcycle ride loops nearly four years ago, we took some great established rides, added the thrilling curves of the Arkansas Ozarks in and around Eureka Springs and Carroll County, and looped them into five great serious and exceptional rides so travelers could begin and end their day in the same place adding continuity to a multi-day motorcycling getaway,” said Amanda Haley, direct of digital marketing for EurekaSpringsMotorcycleRides.com.  “These three new rides are just as extraordinary, if not more so, than our first five.”

The Peel Ferry Loop takes riders north into Missouri; east through highways carved out of limestone and into world-famous Branson; then further east and south into Arkansas.  There, along the banks of Bull Shoals Lake, bikes will board Peel Ferry that runs during daylight hours the year-round and is the only existing ferry that plies any Arkansas river or lake.  Serpentine highways wind past Bull Shoals southward to U.S. Highways 412 and 62 leading riders back to Eureka Springs.  This ride is approximately a 200 mile / 5 hour sojourn.

The Arkansas Dragon’s Tail Loop takes riders south and east of Eureka Springs through the hills-n-hollers shared with such topographic notables as the Buffalo River National Park, America’s onlywar eagle mill river ever designated as a national park, and the “Arkansas Grand Canyon”.  At the bottom of the loop is the little historical community of Lurton that sits along the old wagon trail that was known as the Chisum (sic) Turnpike.  On either side coming down or going back up toward Eureka Springs, riders will be “passin’ thru” Western Grove; Mt. Judea (pronounced “Judy”); Ponca and its herds of grazing elk; and Howe Hollow valley.  Total round trip is 177 miles or approximately four hours of travel time.

The third “new” loop is called The War Eagle Mill Loop and times out at one hour and 16 minutes with 54 miles being logged to and fro Eureka Springs.  “The reason that makes this short loop so awesome,” noted Haley, “is that it leaves plenty of time to eat, shop or just relax in the rustic charm of one of America’s last operating undershot, burrstone gristmills that sits over War Eagle Creek.  Here you can watch product being made, taste some that has been baked up in the mill’s Bean Palace restaurant, and take plenty of product home… or have it shipped.”  The loop also takes riders in, around and through Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area, 12 thousand acres of pristine Arkansas woodlands.

Haley concluded, “To come to Bikes, Blues and Barbecue and not experience one or two of these loops is like going to Buffalo, New York and not visiting Niagara Falls.  These loops are iconic experiential rides.”

Bikes, Blues & BBQ Biker Rates in Eureka Springs:

Pre Party or Post Party in Eureka Springs-$79 in a Premium Room at the Crescent or Basin Park Hotels on 9/22, 9/23, 9/24, 9/29, 9/30, 10/1

Check Availability at the Crescent Hotel

Check Availability at the Basin Park Hotel

For more information about all eight of these loops designed for motorcyclists, one should go to EurekaSpringsMotorcycleRides.com

Biker Vacation to Eureka Springs

This time of year here in the “hills-n-hollers” of The Ozarks you can hear the breeze whispering through the trees, the sweet lilt of native songbirds, the chattering of scurrying squirrels and off in the distance you can hear the iconic gentle rumbling of motorcycles as they travel to and from this Victorian village.  What you don’t hear are the “Wow!”s that resonate in the minds of each and every biker as LeanIntoEurekaSprings_300_7x5he or she leans into yet another thrilling curve, staples of the highways that surround Eureka Springs.

“Eureka Springs has been so blessed with a topography that seems as though it was designed just for motorcyclists,” said Bill Ott, former board chairman of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce.  “What some might call our twisty, curvy highways are like tracks of a rollercoaster to those who venture out on two or three wheels.  Our neck of the Arkansas Ozarks is a biker’s dream come true.”

One of the most popular motorcycle rides in the country is a stretch of Highway 23 that has gained the designation of Scenic Byway.  Its natural beauty and grand vistas that run along its shoulder makes it a pretty drive.  Its hairpin S-curves and numerous steep switchbacks makes “The Pig Trail” (aptly named due to its resemblance of the corkscrew tail of a native razorback hog) a pretty thrilling ride.Hwy_7_Harrison_motorcycles_l

Sitting atop The Pig Trail is Eureka Springs,” explained Ott.  “That is why local residents have mapped out five great rides that start and end in a place known for its hospitality and for taking care of weary travelers.  They even secured a website to make it easy for bikers to discover these rides for an exhilarating multi-day biker destination getaway.  That way it’s ride by day, relax by night in a resort community with great places where bikers can put down their kickstands and then kick back.”

The website, EurekaSpringsMotorcycleRides.com, has put together a list of local lodging, dining, and attraction venues.  Ozark mountain resources, an events calendar and a chance for bikers to add their comments to a blog following their experiential excursion to the greater Eureka Springs area can also be found at this online site.  This is in addition to the well-mapped, and well-appointed five suggested mountain rides.

“Those five rides take you to or by some really awesome places,” Ott added.  “The first ride takes you into the Arkansas Grand Canyon and past the grazing elk near Boxley’s Lost Valley.  Ride ar126696298160718two takes you on The Pig Trail through Ozone and back through Withrow State Park.  Number three centers around water, taking riders over the Little Golden Gate Bridge and the dam that forms the popular Beaver Lake with the trout-filled White River just below.  The fourth ride is a sojourn to the Buffalo National River and across the famous Pruitt Bridge.  Ride number five travels north for about 10 miles into Missouri and its Roaring River State Park as well as Dogwood Canyon.  Each ride is both ‘outa sight’ and full of sights to see!”

Ott concluded, “As much as we want our friends on motorcycles to visit our area and have fun while they are here, we want even more for them to ride safely.  In fact, we want all of our visitors -no matter how many wheels they have under ‘em when they arrive here- when they return home to take with them nothing but lifetime memories that they can share again and again with family and friends.”

 

Eureka Springs Motorcycle Adventure

TWO-WHEELS, TWO-REASONS, TWO SEASONS:

A EUREKA SPRINGS MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE

All over the “lower 48”, men and woman who love their motorcycles are marking days off of their calendars as they count down to when they will pull on their leathers, fire mergedup their bikes and start their adventurous ride to the Arkansas Ozarks and one of “America’s Distinctive Destinations”, Eureka Springs.  The reasons are two-fold and it all centers on “pork” …The Pig Trail and Bikes Blues & BBQ.

               The Pig Trail is a not-so-straight ribbon of asphalt; in fact, the ribbon that looks like someone has scraped it across the edge of a scissor blade.  It stretches, for all practical and awesome purposes, from Interstate 40 near Ozark (AR) north along State Highway 23 to Eureka Springs, the gateway to northwest Arkansas.  This 80-mile route is universally praised in motorcycle magazines, on biker websites, and even by The Discovery Channel for being one of the best in America.  For example, MotorycleRoads.com has elevated the Pig Trail to the number eight position in their most recent “top 100” poll.  BikerBudz.com gives it a “highly recommend” while Motorcycle-USA.com refers to it as “my new favorite ride”.  The Discovery Channel has given the Pig Trail its highest mark yet: number two in the nation.

The official National Scenic Byways’ 19-mile portion of the Pig Trail starts as you enter the Ozark National Forest from the south and ends near Brashears (AR) as top-10-motorcycle-rides-2-pig-trail-625x450you exit the national forest to the north.  This route, which crosses both the Mulberry and the White rivers, has so many S-curves that motorcyclists are forced to make dozens of ultra-quick right-to-left-to-right and back again leans; perfect first-gear switchbacks.  But riders should not think the challenge of the ride is limited to “the forest”.  It starts once you exit Interstate 40 heading north and doesn’t end until you put down your kickstand for the night in Eureka Springs.

“The Scenic Byways section of the Pig Trail may be like the most thrilling point in a roller coaster ride,” one biker explained, “but like a roller coaster, the runs on either side (11 miles to the south; 50 miles to the north) are pretty exciting too.  For me, every year between late August and the Hunter’s Moon is when I enjoy the full 80-mile ride.  ‘Cuz if you’re gonna ride the Pig Trail, ya gotta go whole hog.”

“The highway going up to Eureka Springs and all those around that town,” he continued, “are one exhilarating rush.  I hub out of Eureka, a funky, biker-friendly basinmountain town with lots of places to stay, lots of places to play.  I’ll spend four or five days searching out new Ozark roads with new crazy curves and new breathtaking sights.  It’s like a rally every day.  Plus Eureka’s only about 45 minutes from Fayetteville and the ‘triple-B’, Bikes Blues & BBQ.”

For Bikes Blues & BBQ the aforementioned “whole hog” is dressed, seasoned, grilled till tender, slathered with sauce, and then served up razorback-style when more than 400,000 bikers converge on Fayetteville (AR) for the four fabulous days of this event in September.  This year this awesome fall festival goes from September 18th through the 21st.

“One of the best parts of Bikes Blues & BBQ,” a biker from Central Texas, who has not missed any one of the previous 13 annual events, proudly stated, “is that you 1aNWbikes4colCOLOR_t610don’t just get a festival, you get the Pig Trail and all of its Ozark side-roads.  Me and my group like to arrive a couple days early or stay a couple days late to make sure we have plenty of time for day rides to and around Eureka on their fantastically freaky yellow-striped trails.  We only wish we had routes like this back in Texas.”

To make it easy for those who attend Bikes Blues & BBQ to find new, thrilling nearby routes, both the event and Eureka Springs have online sites for maps and directions: http://www.bikesbluesandbbq.org/rally-info/maps-directions/ and http://www.eurekaspringsmotorcycleroutes.com/ .

If you are unable to attend the “triple-B event” do not despair, because “does Mother Nature have a deal for you” in October and often through early November!  imagesThere is no more lovely autumn color than the reds, oranges, golds and violets of the Ozarks when fall falls.  To help you with perfect timing, the State of Arkansas, beginning in September each year, has a “fall color updates” page on their very popular Arkansas.com website.

And speaking of the State of Arkansas, their Department of Parks & Tourism has developed a short movie that will whet your appetite and make you hungry for a motorcycle vacation to “The Natural State”.  It just so happens that a local motorcycle enthusiast who is also the Mayor of Eureka Springs, Morris Pate, narrates the movie.  His narration begins with him and his 2001 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic parked in front of the “Little Golden Gate Bridge” just a few minutes west from downtown Eureka.

“The Beaver Bridge is a landmark that must not be missed,” bragged Mayor Pate.  “This beautiful old wooden suspension bridge was built in 1949 and is 554 feet long, only 11 feet wide and has been painted a bright yellow.  Because it is so narrow, traffic can only move one way at a time across the span.  So hold your breath and grip tight, this is one bumpy and thrilling ride on two wheels.

So whether you ride the Ozarks in late summer, late fall or anytime in between, you will be glad you did.  “No matter how many other motorcycle routes you’ve been on,” concluded our Texas biker, “once you’ve conquered the Pig Trail and its web of side-roads, you’ll be happier than a hog in slop.”

Special packages just for bikers can be found at numerous web sites, such as EurekaSpringsMotorcycleRoutes.com and Arkansas.com/deals-coupons.

Lean into Eureka Springs

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS — San Francisco (CA) may have Lombard Street but it has been said by visitors who travel to Eureka Springs (AR) on motorcycles that the streets here are “Lombard Street” street after street after street.  These curvy streets inside this Arkansas village of 2,000 and the winding Ozark highways that lead into this community offer the appeal that make motorcyclists want to literally “lean into” Eureka Springs.

The spiderweb of highways that blanket this pristine part of the United States’ Midwest region seems to have been made specifically for motorcycle travel, especially with a destination like Eureka Springs, one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, at its center.  Supporting this is a factoid mentioned in a recent article by Ron Keys in Motorcycle Mojo magazine, “Eureka Springs is our springboard for riding the curvy, exciting byways of the Ozarks.”

Motorcyclists, whether they are on two wheels or three, will use this Swiss-like village as their hub for discovering and riding such provocatively named routes as The Pig Trail, Ozark Highlands and the equally as challenging connecting routes to stretches of roads as Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway with its awesome panoramas.  Along these routes are such notable mini-destinations as Buffalo River National Park, Branson (MO) and Bentonville (AR) with its newly opened, world-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  All are within a day’s round-trip ride from Eureka Springs.

Jack Moyer, general manager of two of Eureka Springs’ historic hotels, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa and the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, explains, “It seems as though the riders of today like to have a nice ‘home-away-from-home’ to enjoy each evening of their motorcycling vacation.  They seem to want lodging in a comfortable, full-service hotel from which they can travel out, like spokes on a wheel, each morning to see new places, experience new adventures and all the while enjoying the curves of The Ozark.  They enjoy returning each evening to a cold beverage, a nice restaurant, some evening attractions and a comfortable bed all in a destination community and all at an affordable price.”

“And those curves I mentioned are best described in that same recent Motorcycle Mojo article, ‘With more corners, closer together, than anywhere I’ve been, these are some of the greatest motorcycling roads on the continent.’  This is a pretty good endorsement and invitation to motorcycle enthusiasts to come and ‘lean into’ the extraordinary destination known as Eureka Springs, Arkansas,” added Moyer.

Eureka Springs has grown to embrace motorcycling visitors.  Restaurants themed for “bikers”, retail shops carrying a full line of motorcycling accoutrements, hotels and motels with special features just for motorcyclists, and so on are now common place.

“At the Crescent for example, we have formulated special parking areas exclusively for motorcycles,” said Moyer.  “To accommodate motorcycles and their owners even further, we have added to our websites pages speaking directly to the motorcycling travelers, designated a special on-property bike wash area including wipe-down towels, and have put in place increased security for our guests’ two-wheeled investments.  And these type of accommodations are being or have already been added at many of Eureka Springs’ other hotels and motels.”

For more information on what Eureka Springs has to offer motorcyclists, one should go to eurekaspringsmotorcycleroutes.com.  Lodging information and special motorcycle packages can be found at eurekaspringsonline.com .