15th May 2016 Ozark, Ar to Russellville, Ar 90.2 kms - 56 miles Up = 628m - Down = 644m
15th May 2016 - Ozark, Arkansas to Russellville, Arkansas.
After the surprise of my big brother appearing at the Ozark State Campground yesterday – it was back to business of putting the bum onto the bike seat for another 90 kms today!!
It was a crisp morning to start with – but very pleasant having breakfast at our campsite among the trees alongside the Arkansas River. I had been given a couple of super local maps from the guy in the camp office, and some advice for how to get to camp at the end of today – which differed from what googlemaps “bike” option had given. All being well - I am hoping to avoid the big climb showing at the end of the day!
We headed off about 7:45 am and headed back across the river to Ozark. I thought we may have been able to go over the dam right by the camp and save several miles – but since the terrorist activities of “9/11” this was now a secure area.
We turned onto Highway 64 in Ozark and stayed on it until Russellville. Once again, I can’t believe how many churches there are – so many – and seeing it is Sunday – different sizes of congregations!
Traffic was very light and the road, in the main a good surface to ride on. We rolled through several small towns – Altus, Coal Hill and Hartman before reaching Clarksville for our first stop – 40 kms into our ride. The towns were all small and well strung out – and each seemed to have a western, central and eastern church of various denominations, but predominantly Baptist churches.
Clarkesville was amazingly strung out and when we stopped for a coffee and bacon and egg “biscuit” – we were amazed to find we still had the town to come to! I thought we had been riding through Clarkesville pretty much as soon as we passed over the I-40 - but I was wrong!
Once out on the countryside it was rolling with lots of trees and very green and lush. We got barked at by a few dogs today and while some started off chasing us for a bit – fortunately for us they stopped!! We couldn’t help but stop in London – actually there is also a Paris on the other side of the river, but the folk in Ozark had led me to believe I may well have felt like I was in the film “Deliverance” there.
There is quite a long bridge and causeway across an arm of Lake Dardanelle just before Russellville and the wildlife alongside the edge was amazing. Tortoises and birds, and fish jumping.
There are huge power pylons marching out near the town and I thought hydro electricity from the dam, but signage revealed there is also a nuclear electric generating plant here. There is also a comprehensive "emergency evacuation" plan in place with signs and directions of what to do and where to go throughout the town, and also in the camp.
We negotiated our way through Russellville and to the Old Post Road State Camp – and managed not to use “Skyline Road” that Mr Google wanted to send us over. The way we took was maybe 1 km further – but much easier on the legs!!
The park here is another delight!! Super clean showers and toilets and BIG sites – with a covered table and fire-pit at each site.
Don and Annie are super slick getting the tent up now and this time we are right on the bank of the Arkansas River.
After showers and a cup of coffee we drove back into town to get some dinner - and also decided to drive the "Skyline Drive". Glad we did - it was certainly steep, but also a fabulous part of the town as all properties had wonderful views, particularly of the river. A very nice part of town indeed - and so much better in a van than on a bike!
There is a loch beside the dam, and a little paddle-steamer boat had trundled past our campsite that had obviously come through.
We did battle quite a head-wind during the ride today – but to arrive in a peaceful park like this at the end of the ride is a true delight. In fact – just as delightful as the fact that we have completed yet another day without a puncture!!