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Wandering Biker

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost…

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Oct '09

Hot Springs, AR to Elk City, OK via Fort Smith National Historic Site, AR – 428 miles

When I got up this morning it was very overcast, but the rain had stopped and the parking lot was dry. It was a little chilly so I “installed” my jacket liner. I say “installed” because this one is a pain in the ass to put in compared to my previous one. I actually took it up to my room so I could lay the jacked flat and put the liner in. It’s like a 10 minute job. I hate doing it by the side of the road.

Went way past the Hot Springs National Park visitor center and had to ask for directions, but still made it to the front door before they opened. The visitor center is in the restored Fordyce Bathhouse. There are 26 miles of walking trails in the park as well as the Hot Springs historic district.

The roads out of Hot Springs towards Fort Smith are curvy and there was a good bit of truck and motor home traffic. It got even chillier than it was in Hot Springs and I ran through some patches of fog. Was glad I had the jacked liner in. It warmed up some as I got out of the mountains and close to Fort Smith.

Fort Smith National Historic Site is located pretty much right in modern downtown Fort Smith. Thankfully it was not too hard to find. There are actually two different locations for the Fort and both are accessible from the parking lot as well as a Trail Of Tears overlook. The fort was used as a federal court as well.

Between Fort Smith and Oklahoma City I ran through a couple of short rain storms that didn’t last very long. The sun came out for a little while so I stopped and put on my sunglasses.  Of course this jinxed the weather and things were looking pretty gray and nasty about 20 miles east of Oklahoma City. I stopped and took off the sunglasses, put on the electric vest and my rain jacket. From there on I was riding in a light mist and fog and it got cold again. I was glad when I got to Elk City and found a motel with an attached restaurant. I never really got very wet, just cold and damp.

National Parks Tour progress so far – 50 sites, 21 states.

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