Ada, Oklahoma, to Mena, Arkansas
5407 total miles
Today's travel exposed us to something we never knew existed - the mountains of Oklahoma. Don't laugh. They're real mountains and they're quite pretty.
The Oklahoma mountains did not disappoint!
We left Ada with diminished expectations. Naturally, after the incredible mountains of Colorado, we expected to be severely underwhelmed by Oklahoma's Ouachita Mountain area, which also includes the Kiamichi, the Jack Fork and Sansbois mountains. Located in the southeastern part of the state bordering Arkansas, this area of OIklahoma turned out to be a real sleeper. The views were lovely and the roads were full of great sweepers. All in all a fine way to deal with the post-Colorado letdown.
What can you say? Found in a store next to Sardis Lake in OK
We also managed to explore two of Oklahoma's state parks. And we don't mean just old regular state parks. These parks had no gold courses, no marinas and no swimming pools. What they had was a singular focus on a specific phenomena.
Our first stop was Robber's Cave State Park, located off Highway 2 near Chili, Oklahoma. Robber's Cave State Park gave your friendly biker's an opportunity to explore the very same caves that once served as a hideout for Jesse James and his sidekick, Cole Younger. Apparently other, less infamous, outlaws used the caves on occasion to hide from the law, but without Jesse James, no one would have turned it into a state park. If there is a moral to this story, it's if you're gonna hide an outlaw, make sure it's a famous one.
Bo at the cave
8 inch centipede in the cave
Our next stop is a bit more controversial. The Heavener Runestone State Park requires the visitor to engage in what Hollywood calls a "willing suspension of disbelief."
A large rock discovered by a Choctaw hunting party in the 1830's near Heavener, Oklahoma, is inscribed with runic characters that were allegedly carved by Norse visitors to Oklahoma during the period of time between 600 A.D. and 800 A.D. The latest translation of the runic characters, done in 1986, indicates that the inscription says, "Valley owned by Glome." Glome is apparently a norseman who made his way from Norway to Oklahoma. We don't believe it either, but it was all very interesting, and unique.
We continued on our way, crossing into Arkansas on the Talimena Scenic Byway, which took us through the Queen Wilhelmina State Park. The Byway ran along a mountain ridge line that offered spectacular views and great riding. No, we don't why Queen Wilhelmina has a park named after her in Arkansas. We're not even sure who she is.
Mike and Brenda who are Model T enthusiasts and were staying at our motel. We learned a bunch about the cars. 1 million left on the road today.
We ended our day in Mena, Arkansas. We had dinner at our Motel, the Limetree Inn. Their restaurant was named restaurant of the year by the Mena Star newspaper. Once again, we know how to live.
Bo's cylinder head is once again leaking a bit of oil. We plan to visit a BMW dealership in Bentonville, Arkansas tomorrow. And tomorrrow we also ride in the Ozarks.Posted by Bill Thompson at September 25, 2003 03:40 AM GMT
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