Saturday, October 7, 2006

Conway to Petit Jean State Park

Last Sunday I decided to take a ride after a way too long down time. Upon returning to Arkansas from my wedding in Ohio I've been absorbed in work and getting settled in to the married life. It hasn't been a difficult adjustment thanks to my wonderful bride. She understands my need to ride and always encourages me to get out. We have a lot of great opportunities to travel together on the weekends however and that tends to take up the motorcycle time. I had decided that it was time to get away on the Vmax.

I decided to keep it simple and thought I would ride to Petit Jean State Park about 30 or so miles west of Conway. I headed west on AR 60 and did a short stop at Toad Suck Park on the Arkansas River. I took a few pictures of the bike in front of the dam and continued on. I've travelled AR 60 several times and it never fails to please me. It's a relatively well maintained road with light traffic and eye pleasing farmland. It's sparsely populated which would normally be a blessing but this time my low fuel light came on about seven miles out. I had forgotten to get gas before leaving town. The Vmax isn't exactly stingey when it comes to gas consumption (especially the way I like to ride). In Houston I passed a gas station I thought was closed, which I later found out wasn't, and eventually made my way to Perryville just fine.

Perryville sits on the intersection of AR 60 and AR 9, another scenic route I've been up and down a few times. From Perryville you hop on 9 headed north toward Perry (not to be confused with Perryville) and travel 7 miles to Oppelo where it's a turn west again onto 154/247 toward Petit Jean State Park. The Park is a pretty park with some interesting history, good camping spots and scenic hiking trails. My destination today, however, was just to the top of the mountain and the scenic overlook. Lisa and I had taken this road just a few days back and I new it was going to be a steep twisty trip, I was looking forward to it.

The view from the overlook is magnificent. The Arkansas River runs along side the mountain and cuts through the lush green farmland for as far as you can see. The Park has seen fit to build an elevated walkway around the tip of the mountain but has left several access points for people to climb around on natural rock formations. On the day I was there it was a perfect, cool day and there were several site-seers out enjoying the last days of summer.

The ride was a good one that helped clear out the cobwebs and get me mentally fit for the coming work week. If you are from the Conway area and haven't explored Petit Jean I would recommend checking it out.