Monday, May 29, 2006

Ft Smith, Arkansas to Conway, Arkansas

The second day of a two day trip is usually all about getting home to relax. For the second part of my Memorial Day trip I thought I would try something different. I got into Ft Smith on Saturday, got a hotel room early and did a little site seeing. I had a great day and any tension or anxiety I was experiencing from my non-riding life was completely out of my mind. My plan for Sunday was to get over to the Ft Smith National Historic Site early, when no one was around. I had a good night's sleep so I got up at 6:30, showered and headed the few blocks to the park. I walked the paved sidewalk trail that ran along the Arkansas River. The park is small and right downtown. It's okay but a pretty small National Park compared to most I've been to. There's not a lot to it. There is one part of the park that is really touching and sad however. The Trail of Tears overlook has five small signs explaining how many tribes from around the U.S. were herded up and forced into exile in Oklahoma. All of the tribes lost thousands of their people with one group actually losing half of it's member's. It's a pretty shameful story. the thing that stood out to me is to see a picture of the wealthy land owners who had been forced from their homes in Georgia. It just brought home the fact that these were productive, intergrated citizens that lost everything. It was not our greatest moment as a nation.

By the time I had done a walk around the park clouds were gathering to the west and I decided it was time to check out and get back to Conway. I picked SR 64 for the return trip. It runs parallel to I-40 but twists both north and south. It looked pretty fun on a map. It turned out to be fun on the 1:1 version as well. The great thing about the road was it went through enough small towns to keep things interesting but still covered a lot of secluded back country. Traffic was typically light, I guess as 64 runs along I-40 most people opt to take the boring route.

Maybe the best aspect of this ride was the fact that I came out in Russellville, where I usually head south. I got to see the park around Lake Dardanelle for the first time. It was such a nice area I turned around to stop and get some pictures of the bike. The return trip, instead of being a race back, was actually as enjoyable as the first leg the day before.

Second Day Mileage - 136

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