2bit Talimena Tour

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2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:05 am

Hey guys, I realized have 7 days of vacation time available after my TnTTT gatherings and visiting my dad in Colorado in Sept and I've always wanted to take a tour of the Ozarks as well as wanting to do an extended camping vacation that was longer than just a long weekend where you camp-drive-camp-drive-camp. I just think it will be cool to break camp, drive a few hours over and camp some more. My whole reason for building my teardrop in the beginning was to have a camper that was affordable to go explore the US and now that I have a camper small enough again to do that, I am pulling the trigger and this will be my first outing. Reservations are not made but I figure if I leave on Thursday, I can time it where I have a three night stay at the first and last parks, and a two night stay at the two middle parks and all of the drives are only 2.5 or 3 hours long and still see a great deal of stuff. I figure add an hour to each one of those drives for stopping off wherever it suits me to explore whatever catches my fancy still makes it a very comfortable drive. To me the drive is a big part of the fun and shouldn't be too long or pressured so this is lays out very well for me. I am sure I will expand my loop on future ventures, but I want this first one to be easy breezy. I was also careful to be sure that I was checking into parks on low capacity days to ensure I can get a nice spot that I like.

So this is my 2bit Talimena Tour!! I haven't finalized the dates yet but I want to see the fall colors on the Talimena Scenic byway so it will be late Oct or Early Nov. (or both). If you have any ideas or suggestions for stuff to do or see please feel free to chime in. Plus the first and last stays are longer so if anyone would like to meet up, that's cool too.

Thursday: 2bit woodlands to Talimena State Park 3 hours
Sun: Talimena State Park to Lake Ouachita State Park via the Talimena Scenic byway 2.5hours (probably 4)
Tues: Lake Ouachita State Park to Moro Bay State Park 3 hours
Thus: Moro Bay State Park to Caddo Lake State Park 2.5 hours
Sun: Caddo Lake to 2bit woodlands 2.5 hours
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Re: 2bit tour of the Ozarks

Postby Nobody » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:08 am

You'll enjoy that tour Thomas. We've done similar on a couple of occasions. Just one thing, on that route you'll NEVER get to the Ozarks. The Ozark Mtns are ALL north of the Arkansas River/Fort Smith area. Your route goes through the Ouachita Mtns from south of Talimena SP to Lake Ouchita SP. Shortly after leaving Lake Ouchita SP you'll be in the Mississippi delta, & north/western Louisiana & east Texas (Caddo Lake SP) is of course in the Piney Woods country. We've stayed a time or three at Lake Ouchita SP & thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice campground with great facilities & you're not far from Hot Springs which has a myriad of things to interest almost everyone. We've visited Talimena SP in OK but never camped there. Looked nice tho. We've also visited Moro Bay & it was full of 'skeeters' but that was in spring & summer; may be different in late fall? MechMag'n can tell ya more about it; he lives near there. Think we've also stayed at Caddo Lake SP but that was many years ago & it's probably different now (most places are...).
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Re: 2bit tour of the Ozarks

Postby aggie79 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:06 pm

That area is beautiful. I loved living in Hot Springs. Linda and I used to mountain bike in the national forest. Lake Ouachita is stunning. You'll love the journey.
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:40 pm

Yeah, I've read that there is some kind of debate whether the Ouachita's are included in the Ozarks or not so in the interest of promoting world peace and stop the looting and social unrest, I shall rename my grandiose quest for the open road to the 2bit Talimena Tour! LOL :lol:

Yeah, I actually chose Moro Bay specifically because Jeff and Mickie live there, I've always wanted to see their place since Jeff first described it to me years ago. Makes for a nice roundabout too! My first camping trip ever was at Caddo Lake and I loved the hills in the park but have never been back so that will satisfy that one as well :D
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby Nobody » Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:57 am

Yeah Thomas, didn't mean to start any controversy. Some folks in NW Arkansas (& SW Missouri) may tell ya that the Ouchita Mts are just a continuation of the Ozarks. Folks in west central Arkansas & eastern Okloahoma will tell ya that for sure the Ouchitas are a separate range. I dunno, we just call 'em the mountains. Ain't much difference in the terrain/vegetation either place, & they're 'old' hills in geologic terms, similar to the allegheny or piedmont ranges in eastern US (Mt Magazine in the Ouchitas is the highest point between the Allegheny Mts & the Rockies, & has a really nice state park & campground). After spending much of last month in the mountains of New Mexico & Arizona, these look really small to us.

Hope you have a really enjoyable trip!
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:57 pm

Thanks Harvey! Yeah, I was just being silly but you raised a good point that the main focus of the trip is based around the Talamina and Ouachita (which is partly why I chose the first two parks, because of their name, as well as their location) so it makes sense to put a tag on it more around the Talamina. At any rate, I really wanted to do the Smokey Mountains until I realized where they were! :vroom: So I'll settle for a 1000 mile overall trip for my first long outing and build from there! 8)
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby M C Toyer » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:20 pm

Thomas -

I know you will plan your layovers well but I was surprised how small Talimena State Park is - only 10 RV spaces and 7 tent. Queen Wilhelmina State Park on the east end of the Scenic Drive is a bit larger.

A couple of years ago in the late fall I drove up from Beavers Bend crossing under the Scenic Drive on US 259 on my way to Mena AR to drive from east to west at dawn to view an approaching storm. I had kayaked on the lower Kiamitia the day before and it was near 80 degrees.

I actually accessed the drive from the northeast at Rich Mountain so missed the main entrance where the advisory signs are posted. By the time I reached the crest at Wilhelmina just after dawn it was fogged in and the temperatures had dropped to 24 degrees. After 50 miles of white knuckle driving (there is only one exit midway at US 259) with the trees and my hood iced over and the road beginning to I finally emerged on the west end and over my shoulder and saw the signs the road was closed.

I did not see much fall color that day - mostly gray. This is one of about 2 dozen hilltops the Scenic Drive goes up and over and that's 1/4 inch of ice on my hood:

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Enjoy your trip,

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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby ARKPAT » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:23 pm

Thomas looks like you are going to have a great vacation tour of the lower Ozarks area =) You might going a little farther north into the Ozarks National Trail area ( a bit cooler during the summer heat months ) some time in the planning =) I visited the "White Rock National Forest Park" http://www.whiterockmountain.com/Contacts.html area this last Saturday to have a get-a-way picknic / play radio day and yes there are Dry Camping small trailer / tent camping spots --- just great for the smaller size Teardrop length campers ---- just TIE EVERYTHING DOWN ---- bumpy roads to get there =) The roads are very rough for a few miles into White Rock area and crooked and narrow .... but worth the drive for the WONDERFUL VIEWS from the cliffs and cooler temps =) There is a easier to get to SHORES LAKE camp ground on paved road that is narrow and bumpy http://www.arkansas.com/outdoors/water-activities/lakes-rivers/lake.aspx?id=69 at the bottom that is a little rustic but nice =)

Picture as follows =)

134565

I'm getting ready for camping this year =)

Nobody trailer looking good =) We need a gathering again in Arkansas ..... planning and taking pictures and getting ideas =)
Last edited by ARKPAT on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:15 pm

Thanks for the tips guys! M.C, I actually liked the Talimena State Park because it was so small! I wanted to take a 4 hour drive up the the first park and stay a few days so when I embarked on the Talamina scenic drive I was fresh. That's a scary drive you took too!!

Pat, I am checking out those links now!
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby razorback » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:24 am

Hey Thomas. You are going to have a great time on your trip. Lake Quachita is a beautriful park a few miles outside of Hot Springs. I wanted to mention the Gulpha Gorge National Park campground almost inside the city. It is a small scenic park, first come first camp. Macy and I have stayed there a few times. A small creek with cold water ambles through the park. There are hiking trails that go from the campground to the top of the mountain where you can go up the observation tower. The trails also go
into the downtown on the famous Bath House Row. I think the overall hike is about an hour, not counting if you go up the tower. The Pancake House is an old, famous breakfast spot on Bath House Row that is open to 1:00 pm and only accepts cash. There are several places to fill water jugs with the World Famous Hot Springs water. Many consider it to be the healthiest water on earth. I stop there once a month to bring home 5 gallons of the water for us.
http://www.nps.gov/hosp/planyourvisit/campground.htm You can hike the Gulpha Gorge Trail up to the Hot Springs Mountain Trail which will take you by the Tower and then on down to Bath House Row. http://www.nps.gov/hosp/planyourvisit/campground.htm
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:38 pm

Thanks for the great info Larry!!

Well, I miscalculated my days off and I only have 6 left not 7 and that is going to make too many short stops and with all the stuff going on in Hot Springs, I think I need to readajust so I don't have a one day stay at each place, so I think since The west and East Ouachita parks are a must, and Caddo Lake is very important to me, I am going to need to remove Moro Bay just so I can be sure to have enough time to hang out at each park for a couple/few days. I think I'll make the first stop a two night, one day stay since I am going to be excited to drive the scenic highway which will leave me three days and four nights to stay at Lake Ouachita SP, then do the shorter stay again at Caddo Lake. That will keep each leg at 4 hours or less which is just right.
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:36 am

I just got the details from our new company owners and the vacation benefits aren't wonderful. I am losing a week of vacation and all the vacation is bundled with sick time so in all I lose a month of PTO so the Talimena tour is going to be condensed, but I had vacation time saved up so I still get to camp alot this season. Just made reservations, and it did work out kinda cool.... the first campground is right at the beginning of the scenic Byway, and the second campground is right at the end of the scenic byway and both campgrounds are just under 4 hours from home which is my goal for a comfortable drive.

Friday: Home to Talimena State Park Stay
Sunday: Talimena State Park to Queen Wilhelmina State Park via the Talimena Scenic byway
Monday: Queen Wilhelmina State Park to home
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby M C Toyer » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:06 pm

Bummer on losing all the vacation time. What dates for your weekend trip?

I stayed at Queen Wilhelmina SP on a Saturday night two weeks ago. The lodge was nearly full but the campsites only about 75%, however everything was fully booked for the Labor Day weekend because of a car show and cruise.

Talimena SP on the west end was completely empty. There is a nice improved Forest Service campground midway where US 259 intersects Talimena Scenic Highway. It has flush toilets and drinking water but no electrical.

I'm headed back this week to hike and motorcycle the Boardstand and Old Military Road Loop.
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby 2bits » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:40 pm

This trip is the weekend of Oct 23rd. Starting this coming weekend I am either camping or doing a camper related activity for the next six weekends in a row! I wanted to get this in before the daylight savings time change and I really want to see some new places this season. It's gonna be a busy next six weeks! This is all I am up to with weekends back to back... :twisted: :pictures: :vroom:

Rusk Depot
Tin Can Tourists canton, TX
Waxahachie Trailer show
Texas Vintage Trailers Fentress, TX
Loyd Park Halloween
2bit Talimena Tour

Time Change :thumbdown:
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Re: 2bit Talimena Tour

Postby caseydog » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:36 am

I wish I would have seen this thread before now. October 23 is probably going to be too early for fall color along the Talimena Trail. I've driven that road many times, usually at high speeds in fast cars with car clubs. I have also wilderness camped there at the peak of fall color. It is beautiful, and the roads are pretty fun to drive.

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