Missouri Arkansas and Oklahoma
Searching for the Fall Colors
October, 2014


I always like to take a long ride when the fall colors start showing up.
I at first was going to go way out East---but changed my mind and headed Southwest into Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma
with a few things in mind.
I rode my 2014 KTM 690 Enduro and was packing camping and cooking gear.
I ended up the first nite camping with good friends George and Linda Siegfried at the Midwest Trails Riders Association Campground.
I set up my tent under this pavillion to avoid packing up a wet tent in the morning from the dew.
I made a fire and waited for George and Linda to show up.





October 17th, 2014
MTRA campground to Calico Rock, Arkansas

George and Linda had other ride plans and I headed off into the hills towards Arkansas alone.
The weather on this whole ride was just awesome--and I just got barely sprinkled on one time.
I headed Southwest with no route put together at all----I had no idea where I'd end up for the day.
An old ferry across the mighty Current river loomed ahead-----it's called Akers ferry and is very tiny.





I was just trying to ride on roads I'd never ridden on and ended up on the old Indian Trail Of Tears route in Missouri.
At road intersections I just kept following this route for miles.





When I got to the Current River there was no one to operate it---------a very young girl was minding the little store there where the operator
always is. But she was alone as her Dad was out in the bus hauling canoe'rs up the river.
I ask her is she could run it and it was funny---she said "well I think I can---but daddy won't let me".
So I was in no hurry and drank a gatorade and remembered there was an old spring very near here that I had never found before.
It was a bit of a hike and I went down this "single track" to it.
It was a half of a mile to it---but I really enjoyed it.






I was completely overwhelmed when I got to it---the spring was huge and there was the old Welch hospital on the other side.
Over the years, Ozark springs have been used as campsites, power supplies for grist mills, tourist resorts and even hospitals.

Hospitals? Yes, hospitals. Back in 1913, an Illinois doctor named C.H. Diehl bought Welch Spring for eight hundred dollars. Dr Diehl believed
that the spring water had healing properties and that cool, pollen free air coming from the adjacent cave would be beneficial for
people with asthma, emphysema, and tuberculosis, which together were called "consumption" at the time. He said that it worked
for him, helping him with a chronic case of hayfever. To tap this clean air resource, Dr Diehl built a hospital over the mouth
of the cave. Welch Spring, which flowed from the cave, was dammed up so that water would close off the entrance. This was to force more
air out through the cave opening into the hospital. In today's terms, it might be better called a "health spa" since there wasn't much
in the way of formal medical treatment, just an invitation to breathe the fresh air of the cave.





Dr Diehl was not blind to the scenic values of the region either. He hoped to run a thriving campground resort to supplement his
medical fees with tourist dollars. In time his healing resort expanded to a few small cabins, a campground, a show cave and he even had an electric
generator running off the spring. Visitors came from the local area and from as far off as Oklahoma and Illinois, but times were
hard and travel to such remote places still difficult.
I wanted to get over to the old hospital but the water was deep and swift---besides the rocks being slimy and slick---I
would have gotten wet for sure.





Here is the cave by the spring---there was a sign saying it was closed.
I"ve heard they don't want the bats in there to be disturbed---seems bats have more rights than humans now-a-days.





Unfortunately, the hospital and resort were not a big success. Roads in the Ozarks were rough and unpaved, making it difficult to get into the Current River Country.
Few tourists were willing to make the trip. The good doctor died in 1940, and his family did not have much interest in keeping up the resort afterwards, which soon fell into ruin.





Here you can see all the spring water flowing into the big "Current" river.
I have crossed the Current river on my motorcycle one time at Akers ferry---when the river was very low---this was much to the amazement
of the ferry operator who missed out on the $4 he was going to charge me.






On my return hike back to my bike---these horses were crossing another creek that went into the Current River.






I completely overloaded my butt today and kept riding and riding and ended out in the middle of nowhere South of Mountain Home, Arkansas.
It was completely dark now and I wanted to camp---and headed East down a dirt road towards the Little Town of Calico Rock, Arkansas.
It was a bit spooky as I rode about 12 miles East on this road in the dark-----I kicked on my LED lites which make daylight out of dark
but still could only do about 20mph thru the curvy road in the forest----I was constanly doing mountain swithchbacks and going up and down.
This picture was taken the next morning of the little motel I stayed in.
It is a 91 year old Motel in Calico Rock, Arkansas---this would be no ordinary stay by no means.
Welcome to the "River View Motel" right on the huge White river.








Built in 1923, the River View Hotel is situated on the bluff overlooking the beautiful White River one block from historic downtown Calico Rock, Arkansas.
The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.







Built in 1923, the River View Hotel is situated on the bluff overlooking the beautiful White River one block from historic downtown Calico Rock, Arkansas.
The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the railroad era, each train stop boasted at least one hotel near the depot and convenient to passengers who were on foot. In Calico Rock, that was the River View Hotel.
Most of these simple Ozark hotels have disappeared with age or been upgraded with fancy antiques and canopy beds. The River View Hotel is still a simple Ozarks hotel
where the halls are lined with quilts. Line-dried 100% cotton sheets and the old-fashioned rooms contribute to an Ozarks atmosphere that has led guests to compare a
stay at the hotel to visiting grandmother's house. The hotel is a non-smoking hotel, although guests may smoke outdoors on the porches, grounds,
and on Room 10’s private balcony. The indoor sun porches are non-smoking areas.

Common rooms in the hotel include the lobby, upstairs and downstairs sun porches, and a guest kitchen which is stocked with organic coffee and tea. The front porch with a swing
and ceiling fans is a favorite spot to relax and watch the river. There’s an outdoor swing overlooking
the river and a hammock in the front yard. There are no phones in the rooms, so you can get away and relax.






















Staying here was something I'll never forget---it brings you back in time to a day gone by--not only the motel did---the whole town did.
Notice the old shaving cup in the middle of this picture with the old shaving cream brush.
Mark and Linda were my hosts---I got the last room and everyone there just pretty much left their room doors open
and walked about the 2-story Motel visiting each other.
It was just like being at home.









I covered my bike up with my "Dingleweeds RP-3000 Multi-Purpose Adventure Tarp"
My brand new rear tire was looking pitiful already----would it make the trip ??????








In the wee hours of the morning before the sun came up----some of the other guests were going to breakfast at a local "Cafe" and invited me to
ride with them in their car----heck yes I said---we rode in the foggy dark to the restaurant and they wouldn't let me pay for my breakfast.
Such nice guys-----when we got back to the motel they dumped me off and went fishing in the White River.
Downtown Calico Rock---this is pretty much the whole town.
You can barely see the fog hanging over the White river at the end of the road.









Then there is the old part of town where all the old Mills and business's are standing relics to a day gone by.









This bridge has a lot of history---it goes into the old part of town over Calico Creek.
















There is a railroad going along the White river thru Calico Rock.
This is the old abandoned tresell---the new one is just beyond it.












The cement blocks a lot of the old building were built with---along with the river view motel were solid concrete and
I was told they each weighed about 70 lbs.



































The old City Jail.


















I sadly passed thru town one last ime and headed for the bridge across the White River.














What a neat view I had of the railroad---the bridge--and the low hanging morning fog.


Here's a short video of the day









October 18th, 2014
Calico Rock, Arkansas to Longpool camp in Arkansas

I re-traced my steps back West on the same dirt road I rode in the dark the night before
I think it was county road 74.









Heading pretty much West on any dirt road I could find I crossed creek after creek.























I turned down "Wildcat Spring" road------and looky what I found.
I got myself a drink and filled my camel back with fresh clean spring water.
There's no Ebola down here.



















The Spring water flows right into the road for a bit before it finally falls into a creek.
I made many creek crossing in here where there was no bridge or concrete.









I have finally after 2 years finally got into "Retirement" mode.
If I wanted to stop and jabb with somebody for an hour------so be it.
I had nobody with me to discuss what to do--when to do it--or how long to do it---I had to make that decision all by myself.
I bought 2 apples from this nice fellow in Marshall, Arkansas and asked him if I could sit-a-spell in the un-occupied chair by his truck.
We talked for an hour---I helped him sell apples and we had the best time relaxing in those chairs under his umbrella.








I didn't want to leave my new friend and headed West out of Marshall---why West you ask ?????
I don't know.------it looked good to me.











My gps said the town of Snowball was up ahead----population about 12 I think.
Lots of old abandoned buildings.































Look what they did with the old entrance to the old High School that was long gone.








I ran West then South from Snowball down a road I had been down before and I knew I'd have to cross the Richland creek.
Which about drowned me and all my buddies years ago.

This was the scene back in about 1995
Some of us made it--some didn't--I was on my 950 KTM and barely made it--my rear panniers were floating at times it seemed.

I seemed to have lost the picture of me crossing it this year--but have video.
The water was about 8" deep and was no problem---I was astounded.




Some Did This



I did this.





So after the easy river crossing I kept going South towards Richland Creek campground and crossed another creek or two on the way.










And lo and behold I run into some guys I know---and they are headed to LongPool Camground !!!!
Hey that's where I'm going------can I follow ???????
Don't remember names---------barely can remember mine.












KTM's and smiling faces--------let's ride !!!!!!!
It was getting a bit late in the day----so we beat it to LongPool campground where my good buddy "TRZCharlie" is.
I like Charlie------he ain't much to look at (neither am I)---but boy can he cook !!!!!!











On The way.









They stop here at this waterfall -----------thought I might want to take a picher---------well.........yeh.





















Left: Charlie------------TRZCharlie on AdvRider.
And he's cooking and starts barking out orders-----------he's ex-military you know.
And we all start jumping------as we don't want to piss off the cook.
So I get the fire started.













We had a hoot till the wee hours of the nite by the campfire---hell I must have went to bed at 9PM !!!!
Here's early morning coffee as Charlie cooks breakfast.

A short viedo of the ride today









October 19th, 2014
Longpool Campground to Muldrow, Oklahoma


They all had jobs and places to be and headed home---------me I just meandered Southwest some more--------kind of.......
Stopped at the TAT Shack for long enough to get a picture.
For those that don't know---a nice fellow here provides a place for TAT riders to hole up for the nite with shelter---or camping.
What a guy. It's not for anybody to use---------just Trans America Trail Riders.









You can stay in the trailer with heat, air, and a shower---------or camp on the grass.
Even shelter to put your bike under.










Now I'm going Northwest---don't know why ????























After gettin myself into a pickle on a ruff trail I had no business being on alone---I rolled into Oark, Arkansas.
Wasn't really hungry---but did have pie ala mode.











And headed West again.






















I must have gotten onto the TAT trail a bit here and there as I saw things I remembered.
Blew right passed this sign like it wasn't even there.









I think the last time I was here---the old bridge was gated off and was about to fall in the creek.
Didn't stop me then from going over it and it didn't stop me today either.
Looks like they are about done with it anyway.










I couldn't help myself to run down Warloop road again and see it things had changed.
Touted by some to be the toughest road on the Eastern TAT.
Bah.....................................but I didn't make it.









That tree is about 25" in diameter-----you can't go under it.
You can see where other riders made a ramp to go over it and even cut a notch in the tree to make it easier.
There was a 20' drop off to the left of that ramp--------no way I was trying this by myself.
This is very steep here---imagine how hard it would be going up the hill going East.
It was hard getting my bike turned around on the steep slope.
Stuff like this would be a reacurring theme on this ride.























I do believe I went across this.











Ended up in a motel in Muldrow Oklahoma as I was now---and had been for a bit riding on the Oklahoma Adventure Trail.
It rained a bit during the nite---settled the dust------sprinkled a bit on me as I left town and then the sun came out later.

Here's a short video of the day






October 20th, 2014
Muldrow, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas

I think this was at the Robert S Kerr Reservoir.









The Kiamichi Mtns. of Oklahoma come into view.












Heading South towards the famous K Trail on top of the mountain ridge.










But first had to pee off this bridge.
























This guy had neat stuff all over his yard.














This fascinated me---as it was in the middle of nowhere it seemed--don't know what it was built for ?????



















Still going South on the Oklahoma Adventure Trail--------from here forward called the OAT trail.
I crossed Wister Lake and the dam.



































The riding was really nice---------the temperature was perfect and I lulled myself into the nice riding--not knowing what was in store for me.
Seems the fellows track log I was following for the OAT was not accurate.
I think some of it was drawn out at home sitting in front of a computer---that is my guess.
But thanks for the good parts guys !!!!!























I crossed a jillion creeks---mostly on concrete low water crossings.























So--------I'm following this track log---something I know how to do very well.
The trail gets worse and worse and worse and worse---but a major road is not far away.
That keeps me going no matter what------but I should have turned back.
I was stuck in this deep mudhole and the bike wouldn't move-----with me on it.
I pondered and pondered what to do------and remembered my buddy High Five's slogan--------"Never Tap Out"
So I got off the bike---cussed myself for not turning around---stood on the dry ground on the right of the bike
and spun my way out of this 20' long quagmire----and when I got to the other side I realized if I got stopped again and had to turn back,,,,I'd
have to go thru it again---and wondered if I could do it.
But the main road was just 2 tenths of a mile further on---how bad could it be ???????
I surely could go 2 tenths of a mile no matter what the terrain ??????
After all---------I had 67 wheel spinning---wheelie pulling horsepower.









As the trail just seemed to disappear---I see why it did.
There was no way to get past this drowned tree---I had to re-treat----------thru that stinkin' mudhole.
The main road was just past the tree----------crap !!!!!!!











So----------------------I tapped out-------sorry High Five.






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