I started out my day in the Arklatex tri state area. In Texas, one mile from Arkansas, and about 30 miles from Louisiana. I took my time getting out of town as I went a little out of my way to find the post office and county courthouse for some pictures. As I headed out of town I realized that I was finally done with Texas chip seal. The road, US 67 that I would be on all day again, was sweet, smooth, asphalt. The first 13 miles out of town was a brand new shoulder, and the entire length of the trip was just in really good shape. The entire ride was just as nice as a ride can be. Perfect temperature, calm winds, puffy white clouds, very gentle rollers or totally flat.... Riding US 67 reminded me of US 40 last year, close enough to the interstate that I had only local traffic, and small towns along the way. Since it was Saturday, there were no work trucks. Judging by the bark along the side if the road, I picked up right away that there is some serious logging industry in the area. There were huge pines in the area that reminded me of riding through the Carolinas. That proved to be true later on as I came upon a huge Georgia Pacific wood products plant.
I got about 30 miles out of town when I realized I left my older pair of biking gloves in the Motel. Pissed me off. I have also left a bottle of Shampoo and a wall charger for my phone and Garmin. I hope I don't leave anything else.
I was surprised at the very low elevation of this area. I spent most of the day 2-300 ft above sea level. I have been gradually descending since rolling off the cap rock in Lamesa, Texas, from over 3000 ft to this. Now there is really no place to go but up. I started noticing the swampy or possibly bayou areas yesterday, but today I was in sight of water for a majority of the day. I crossed the Red River, which was running high because of heavy rain in Oklahoma a few days ago, and the Little Missouri River, which wasn't as high.
About 20 miles into my ride, a guy in a black pickup threw a can of diet Coke at me and hit me in the shoulder. That's only the second time that has happened in all the miles that I have ridden. I got it in the back with a bottle of mountain dew in North Carolina a few years back. U will have that in redneck areas, and Arkansas qualifies as that. A few miles down the road, in a town called Preston, the good side of Arkansas came through. I stopped in a little convenience store, and the guy gave me two free Polish sausage sandwiches because he had never met anyone doing what I'm doing. That's been a difference in coming this way, as opposed to the common routes I've taken in the past. People here have never seen the likes of me before! As I was eating my sausages, I sat with an older guy who filled me in in the local area, and chatted with a bunch of kids on bicycles. I love trying to understand the dialect of people in this area. Sometimes it's like a different language.
I rolled into Arkadelphia, eventually, to be greeted by a train, my fifth one of the day, as I was usually within sight of train tracks. I believe I am also still seeing remnants of the Bankhead Highway. I found a no tell motel in the middle of town, then found an 'island bar' and had the catfish and a beer or two, before proceeding to the Sonic for a half-price milkshake.
|A new state that I've never ridden in. I'd have to look it up but I think that makes 32 states!|
|The only courthouse and post office to be in two different states|
|The road to Nashville|
|Brand new shoulder on US 67 greeted me to Arkansas. No more chip seal!!!|
|The fields were alive with this yellow bloom|
|The Red River above flood stage|
|Lots of low lying swamp areas|
|Mr Larry Fisher, my lunch companion|
|Lots of trucks selling mudbugs on a Saturday afternoon|
|Georgia Pacific's logging storage. No trucks today though!|
|Lots of Confederate flags for such a diverse population|
|Train and a grain mill in Arkadelphia|
|Town square in Arkadelphia|
|The "island bar" in Arkadelphia|
|The bike is in two different states!|
|Downtown Preston, Arkansas|