Ride To Eat - Oark General Store
The alarm goes off and we are excited to get out of bed. We enjoy sitting out on the back deck, taking in the morning, watching the hummingbirds, and savoring that first cup of coffee of the day. Not a bad way to start the day if I do say so myself.
What makes it even better, is knowing that we will be gearing up and jumping on the motorcycle to enjoy the day. We are spoiled as we get to ride some of the best roads in America. Riding in Arkansas features beautiful landscapes, rolling hills, and tree-lined roads just to name a few. Throw in the lack of traffic and good road surfaces and you have the making of a fantastic day.
Today our destination is special. The Oark general store was founded in 1890, it is the oldest continuously operating general store in the state and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But, what makes this store special is that it has become a can’t-miss destination for motorcyclists, off-roaders, and car clubs who come from far and wide to visit this unique piece of Arkansas history. Besides that, the burgers and pie reward all that make this off-the-beaten-path ride.
One of the best things about today's ride is the roads that we get to experience on the way to Oark. As we leave our home in Northwest Arkansas we make our way down through Pea Ridge AR, on AR 94. Home of the Pea Ridge National Military Park. The famous civil war battle that took place here is known as the battle that saved Missouri for the Union. If you have time, visiting the park is well worth your time.
We drop down into Rogers AR and this is the most traffic we will see for the day. As we turn on AR 12 the fun is ready to begin. We feel the air cool as we cross over Beaver Lake. This is a big recreation area and is one of the reasons for some traffic. We like getting up and going early in the day, so the traffic is not a concern on this beautiful morning. The road gets twisty after you pass over the lake. The tarmac is pristine and the curves are laid out perfectly for a spirited ride.
We take a short detour as we turn right onto a small little tree-lined lane, we ride 1.5 miles and arrive at a working gristmill that has been in this location since 1832. The 4th mill was built on this location in 1973. The three previous mills were all destroyed during fires. In 1862 the union army burned the mill to ensure it stayed out of the hands of the confederates.
The current mill houses a working store and restaurant. The War Eagle Bridge is also on site. This historic bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This one-lane steel truss bridge is a great photo opportunity and a must-stop. You can thank me later.
We backtrack the 1.5 miles to get back on AR 12. This takes us to another fun and twisty road. AR 127. This is a quiet road, that defines what a great motorcycle road looks like. Beware as some of the landscape can take your mind off the task at hand. This is a challenging road that demands your full attention. You can roll into Chana's corner for a little break and some fuel if needed. The store is located at the intersection of AR 127 and AR 23 (part of the famous Pig Trail)
After a quick stop, we are back on the road. AR 23. This stretch of road is the tame part of the Pig Trail. It features sweeping corners along with some breathtaking views. After we pass Forum, AR we take a little jaunt down through Withrow Springs State Park. This small park is a put-in for the folks that like to take a float on the river. It is also home to a unique flower, the rare Ozark trillium, which grows here.
Back up on AR 23