#117 Talimena Trail and Wandering thru Texas

October 8, 2007
368 miles

RT to TX
Day 5

Today I head off on US270 in the direction of the Talimena Trail near Mena, Arkansas.

My first distraction: "Y" City. It's a bit out of my way, but when I saw the sign, I had to go. Makes me wonder if there isn't a whole alphabet of towns out there. Wasn't much to see, but there was a volunteer fire department to serve as a photo backdrop. Then I stopped to pay my respects when I saw this Scooter Graveyard outside Mena.
Mena has several prime photo opportunity sites. Back from the day when two pumps were for two grades of gasoline... Esso and Esso Extra.There were some old vehicles in the Studebaker Showroom
... I'm assuming they were Studebakers? I found the old Mena Train Depot right downtown where it belongs.The old police patrol car is parked at the old train depot.Leaving Mena to the west on AR88...follow the signs to Queen Wilhelmina State Park. View to the north from the Talimena Trail (AR hwy 88) to the west of Mena.Hwy 88 makes its way deeper into the Quachita National Forest and gains elevation to provide some nice views.
It's just the kind of road meant to entertain two-wheeled travel. Arkansas highway 88 turns to Oklahoma Highway 1 at the state line. The views continue on the Oklahoma side of the Talimena Trail. But today the skies turn threatening. There's not a lot (or any) shelter to be found until Hwy 1 meets US271 and takes you into the small town of Talihina. By the looks of these clouds it is unlikely I will be able to reach Talihina before the rain gets me. I use this scenic pullout to switch from my mesh to my textile jacket and put the rain cover over the luggage on the back seat. Good thing I did... The weather got real interesting less than a mile later as I start down the mountain.
First come the big drops, then strong winds, then a sold wall of water. Oddly, then the rain let up as I rode through a thick fog bank. Visibility was very limited as I made my down the twisty trail leading from the mountain. Fog soon gave way to rain as I learned that the heavy rain a ways back was nothing compared to the bucket fulls being dumped on me as I rode the rest of the way in to Talihina.
In downtown Talihina, I was fortunate enough to find covered drive through bank lanes next to a Subway. Since it was Columbus Day,a banking holiday, I took advantage of the protected area to park. I dismounted, shook the water off, left my gloves, jacket, and helmet dripping as I walked next door for a turkey sub and chips. I spent about 1 1/2 hours in Talihina watching the rain until it slowed up enough for me to take back to the road heading southwest to Texas.
Passing though Antlers, Oklahoma there's a couple of sites worth pulling the camera out for some photos.
Next to the Antlers train depot was this building being guarded over by a couple gargoyles.I don't think the person(s) that named this creek thought too highly of it and apparently couldn't make up their mind if it was more muddy or more boggy...About 15 miles south of Durant, Oklahoma... ...I crossed the Red River......which put me back in my home state of TEXAS!I'm sure everyone knows about the six flags that have flown over Texas...
Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, United States
I arrive at my friend Jaqui's house in Lake Kiowa, near Gainesville, and spend the night then ride into Fort Worth the next day.

Now that I have entered into the great state of Texas, my riding style changes dramatically. I spend my time doing more visiting and a lot less riding the miles.

The next few weeks:
Wandering around Texas ... spending nights with family and friends in Lake Kiowa, Fort Worth, Austin, Goliad, Magnolia, Houston, Orange, and New Braunfels.

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