A pleasant trip to the Ozark's in the Venza

Joined
Aug 10, 2005
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3,726
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Kansas City
A week ago my Lady friend and I went on a 4 day trip to the Ozark Mountains in both S Missouri and of course NW Arkansas. The drive down from KC on Wednesday was in cool rainy conditions. We stayed in Russellville AR. It is a nice centrally located place to explore the Boston and Ouachita mountains. If you like the area there has been a lot of improvement to Scenic Hwy 7. Probably 70% of the road from Jasper to Russellville has been repaved, dangerous areas fixed and new bridges at the Buffalo River. As usual this is still one of the best 35 mile stretch of curvy roads, that have higher speed potential but yet not real dangerous. The Dogwoods were in full bloom (pink and white). The improvements are so nice I am taking my cycle down there this fall for a few days.

On Thursday(April Fools) we were going to Eureka Springs on both Arkansas Scenic Hwy's 21 and 23. While running the ridge at about 2000 ft elevation, we ran into a moderate snowstorm at the top of the ridge and rain the hollers. Where it snowed the grass was covered and the road was starting to get slushy. We walked around Eureka Springs but really didn't buy anything except a few trinkets. The curvy well maintained road leading into Eureka Springs from the south was recently repaved and was a blast to drive.

On Friday we went to the horse races at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. It was a beautiful day for the drive south to Hot Springs from Russellville. We had a wonderful breakfast at the Waffle House in Russellville. You know its a good Waffle House when people are parking wherever there was a spot. I left Karen at the door and parked behind the Exxon next door. On the ridge of the Ouachita ridge we saw a family of elk grazing 50 ft off of the road. Between Russellville and Hot Springs the road has about 20 miles similar to Hwy 7 up north. It is a more demanding drive as the curves are tighter, and many are off camber.

The day at the races was a blast and probably the best Beef Hot Dog of all times at the races.(it was hot) The day of entertainment was a bargain as it cost a whole $15 for tickets and parking. We both won some money on $2 bets. We went for the entertainment. Several races were close and I hit an Exacta,($36) which paid for dinner at the Red Lobster. On the way we stopped at the Coleman Crystal Mine and bought a couple crystal. Got a nice natural chunk of Rose Quartz for a buck.

On Saturday heading back to KC the morning drive heading North to KC on Hwy 7 was wonderful on a clear day. We stopped at the tourist traps around the Arkansas Grand Canyon. They had just all reopened April 1st and spent some time picking through the shlock. Had a real nice conversation with the owner of the "Who'da Thought It Gift Shop" in Pelsor AR. Two old fashioned non computerized gas pumps out front.

Back in Missouri we stopped in Springfield, MO and had a pizza at Arris' Pizza. They serve Greek style pizza. MMMmmmmm.

Haven't mentioned the Venza. It was a trooper in the mountains never lacking power when needed. Our 400 miles trips both coming and going netted no body pains at all. Most of our roads were 65 mph max roads. Were on interstates less than 50 miles the entire trip. The Venza averaged right around 40 mpg over 3 tanks of fuel. No oil was used during the 1400 mile trip. The cargo capacity of the Venza was very adequate for 2 medium suitcases and hanging clothes plus the schlock we brought back. The Venza has a different demeanor when you add a few hundred pounds. The ride softens some and the steering becomes more neutral. There were many times when heading down the mountains that the adjustable regen braking was all that was needed to keep speed under control coming the ridge. IMO all the Venza needs is better tires. These ECO tires have little reserve grip but did do well in the wet conditions we had for 2 1/2 days of our
trip.
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Joined
Jul 8, 2012
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Nashville, TN via Memphis
@Hermann

Great write-up!

I’ve ridden thousands of miles in the Ozarks on my R1. Love those roads!

Arkansas is a different kind of place. Flat as a pancake in the East, in the Mississippi River Delta, and in the northern hills, it’s nice because there aren’t too many people.

Have you eaten at The Cliff House, overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon?
 

Hermann

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
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Location
Kansas City
@Hermann

Great write-up!

I’ve ridden thousands of miles in the Ozarks on my R1. Love those roads!

Arkansas is a different kind of place. Flat as a pancake in the East, in the Mississippi River Delta, and in the northern hills, it’s nice because there aren’t too many people.

Have you eaten at The Cliff House, overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon?
I have on numerous occasions. We still had a belly filled with Waffle House pecan waffles 🧇 and bacon 🥓 😋. We did stop and showed Karen the canyon. That stretch of Hwy 7 is so awesome if you like driving.
 
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