crazyguyonabike 
Topic: Bicycle Touring [change]
About  Help  FAQ  Sitemap  Options  Sponsors  Donate 

  Co-Motion Americano Rohloff Touring Bicycle - Unmatched frame reliability with the amazing Rohloff Speed hub's 14 internal gears!
www.co-motion.com
  
  Schwalbe Quality INNERTUBES
15% OFF four-or-more!
www.wallbike.com
  
  One-stop Resource for Bike Tours Worldwide - Representing local overseas bike tour companies with 400+ tours in 70 countries. From $700.
www.biketours.com
  
  Ortlieb USA
US distributor of Ortlieb Outdoor Gear, Tubus Carrier Systems, and Ultralight Bike Mirrors
www.ortliebusa.com
  

 Home  My  Journals*   Articles*  Forums*  Reviews*  Resources  Classifieds*  Serendipity  Ratings*  Directory  Search  Website
 Contents  Status  Latest  Thumbnails  Slideshow  Author  Guestbook  Printable  Edit  Relation  Search  Bookmark  RSS  Ratings

First Prev Next Last (page 27 of 63) ContentsPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63

Southern Discomfort?
By Stephen Koerner - (contact)

Day #22: Fort Smith to Waldron, AR: Boulevard of broken dreams (oops, I meant highway of crappy pavement)

Monday October 4, 2010, 49 miles (79 km) - Total so far: 878 miles (1,413 km)

It was a very stressful ride today. US 71 from Fort Smith to Waldron is a very busy, major north-south route through this part of the country. We've ridden on similar roads before and while it is not a particularly pleasant experience, as long as there is a good shoulder there isn't a major safety concern. Once we left the Fort Smith area, for about the next 15 miles the highway was fine - a divided 4 lane highway with lots of traffic but a good shoulder. Then it got ugly. As the road wound up, down and around the hills of western Arkansas, the pavement narrowed to two lanes. The width of the shoulder varied constantly, usually from zero inches (no shoulder) to about 30 inches. To make matters worse, the geniuses at the highway department generally put the rumble strip* near the middle of the shoulder. So cyclists are forced to either ride on the remaining portion of the shoulder or in the traffic lane along with the cars, RVs and BFTs. ** Much of the time today we managed to squeeze onto the narrow remaining strip of shoulder between the edge of the pavement and the edge of the rumble strip, but it was a very tricky task. It would have been challenging for a solo rider out on a day ride. For us, riding a loaded-down tandem and pulling a trailer, it was like trying to cross a river on a narrow plank while carrying bags of groceries. When the shoulder disappeared or got so narrow that it was essentially 100% rumble strip, we had to ride in the traffic lane. The drivers were really good about not trying to squeeze past us, but it was still nerve wracking. And we frequently had to cross the rumble strip or were forced onto it for brief periods, causing an immediate and thunderous vibration to hit the tandem and ourselves.

After 5 hours of this ordeal, we were mentally shot by the time we finished the ride. A few beers will help take the edge off, I thought, so I went to a nearby convenience store here in Waldron to buy some. Not so much, the clerk informed me. Not only is the entire county dry, but so is the entire area from south of Fort Smith to north of Texarkana and east to near Hot Springs - an area roughly 10,000 square miles in size. Ouch. OK, can I have some more iced tea please?

We finally met some other cyclists today, after over 850 miles into our trip. On the 4 lane section of US 71 we met a couple on a recumbent tandem tricycle and a solo guy, both out on day rides. I wish I had taken a picture of the tandem couple. The bike was really cool (it had 5 wheels - 2 behind each rider and 1 in front) and the couple were dressed in matching lime green outfits, including lime green helmets. They looked like a couple of frogs sitting in lawn chairs.

*Rumble strips are a series of deep grooves in the pavement designed to make a great deal of noise when auto tires roll over them so that drivers know they are outside the driving lane. They are also known as 'drunk bars' for reasons that should be obvious.

**Big Friggin' Trucks, of which we saw a lot today.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link | GPX* JSON

Today's route

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

We have nothing good to say about the US 71 rumblestrip, which made an already narrow shoulder (where there was a shoulder) very difficult to ride on.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

Plaque placed by the Daughters of the Confederacy commemorating a Civil War battle.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

We think this is a walking stick bug. It blends in pretty darn well with the rust on the lightpole, doesn't it?

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

C-store in Huntington, AR. We didn't need biscuits but could have used some hugs today.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

Rest stop at National Forest site.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

Stress relief.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

The scenery was beautiful today. Too bad we spent virtually all our time watching the road surface and traffic.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

Bike display in yard of home near Waldron, AR.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit | | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

Halloween display with Arkansas Razorbacks flag.


First Prev Next Last (page 27 of 63) ContentsPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63


"Southern Discomfort?" Copyright © 2010-2014 By Stephen Koerner - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on October 4, 2010 15:30 PDT, last updated on October 4, 2010 19:36 PDT
Website Copyright © 2000-2014 by Neil Gunton Wed 22 Oct 2014 05:12 (US/Pacific) (0.144s)      Top    Link    Report    Terms of Service