Motorcycle Club Lives in the Golden Era

The Robson Ranch Motorcycle Club needs two things for a perfect trip: great roads with gorgeous scenery and somewhere fun to unwind after a day of riding. So with bags packed, we hit the road pointed north toward another time…to the Golden Era of Arkansas.

From the wide-open plains to the twisty mountain back roads, the riding was phenomenal and the scenery like nowhere else. We traveled a motorcycle heaven, the Route 7 Scenic Byway, a snaking two-lane highway that swayed along the gentle rise and fall of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, leading us to the legendary thermal springs of Hot Springs.

In the 1830s, Hot Springs, known for its healing waters, became a world-famous playground for the wealthy with its magnificent bath houses and elegant hotels. We overnighted in the sprawling Arlington Hotel, built in 1875. When stepping into the lobby, we stepped back in history. We shopped and walked along the streets of a town in a time-suspended state, relaxed in the rocking chairs on the bath house front porch and enjoyed drinks at the Ohio Bar (a clandestine club during prohibition).

After a day to work out the kinks from riding, we hit the road again along Highway 128 and the Pig Trail, one of the best rides in the country with a never-ending geographical diversity. The rugged and forested Ozark Mountains provided the setting for this route, dotted with brilliant wild flowers.

We reached our destination: the motorcycle-friendly town of Eureka Springs, again a town established for its bubbling springs. We stayed in the magnificent and historic Crescent Hotel, built in 1886 by railroad businessmen catering to high-end clientele. Here we enjoyed the Skybar for drinks, walks along the pathways into Eureka Springs and more dining and shopping.

Next, we traveled along the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway, through the forests on the slopes of Mount Magazine, then past rolling pastureland and hayfields dotted with hardwood shade trees. The byway and forest roads provided a winding mountain drive with sharp curves and “hairpin” switchbacks leading us over this flat-topped mountain. The last stop, Mena, was nestled in the Ouachita Mountains with its cascading streams, pristine forests and a magnificent mountain backdrop.

While we enjoyed six days of mostly perfect weather, as we came closer to home, we were greeted by thunderstorms. At one point, we became avid Whataburger patrons during a two-hour rain delay.

At the end of our thousand-mile journey, we looked back. Nothing was better than leaving our worries and woes at home and riding through a motorcyclist’s paradise. When it comes to great motorcycle touring, few can rival the beautiful scenery and endless number of twists and turns than the back roads of Arkansas.

Scott Baker

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