Swimming in Illinois in Oklahoma (7/1/2017): AR to OK, 283 miles (0 miles dirt)

I woke up to a dry tent. The rubber cement patch job worked pretty well, but left a few gaps for water to drip in. Fortunately, it was such a slow leak that even in the downpour most of the water ran down the inside of the rain fly. I caught a few tiny drops from somewhere higher up the rain fly, so eventually I will need to run seam sealer along all the remaining seams on the fly.

After packing up, the rest of the day was spent playing in the Ozarks. The scenery was amazing, but the best roads are pretty torn up. I saw a few locals blasting along, but without knowing where the pot holes were I had to ride cautiously.

To make things more interesting, Arkansas has decided to implement a citizen weed out program via the road signs on their mountain highways. Not all tight corners are created equal and the Arkansas recommended speed road signs don’t always match the corner. Four instances stand out. I rode through two very tight, first gear hairpins early in the day that were marked as 15 mph corners. No more than half an hour later I rode back to back corners marked as 10 mph corners in second gear. Good luck to anyone going the other direction on that highway, I suppose.

The road that was in the best shape with entertaining corners was Highway 123. It has some great S bends, but they’re separated with miles in between. Overall, I think the roads were fun but the scenery was much better. I think I would have enjoyed the tighter roads a lot more if I was a local and knew which corners were in good shape.

I wrapped up my day in the Ozarks with a late lunch and some supply shopping before hightailing it to a free campsite on the Illinois river just across the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. I took a short swim to rinse off the sweat from the last few days, but somewhere along the way I lost my camp soap and shampoo. In the end it didn’t matter because I was just as sweaty an hour later after making dinner and setting up camp.

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