Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip N°7

Well, the final trip was somewhat of a bust. I was on my way to get beans from the local roastery, but they closed early because of the coming bad weather. In fact, on my way out there, I was being pelted with sleet. Kinda painful, but not too bad. At any rate, I had to detour and go to the grocery store, unfortunately. At least this particular has a bike rack, a rarity in these parts! I got my coffee beans and called it a day.

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Trip N°7: November 16th

Total Distance: 4.2 miles

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Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip N°6

This ride was truly cold. Cold and windy! However, with the right gear and the right riding partner, it turned out not to be so bad. Rode out to Piney Bay Recreation Area, some 18 miles from my apartment.

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Note to self: when it is below 40 and windy, maybe it is not a good idea to stop to make coffee. Tim and I didn’t ride the same after that stop; hard to get the engine warm again and ride with the same vitality as before. However, most any day on the bike is a good day so I can’t complain too much!

Trip N°6: November 15

Total Distance: 33.3 miles

Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip N°5

Lovely weather this past Sunday, so I packed the stove and jumped on the bike. Some 8 miles later, I came to Lake Dardanelle State Park. They were having a fishing tournament, and all of the boats were coming in for weigh-in. The sun felt good as I set up the stove. Shortly afterward, I had coffee all ready to go as I finished the ending of a novel I was reading.

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Trip N°5: November 9th

Total Distance: 14.2 miles

Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip N°4

Didn’t have a whole lot of time this past weekend, so I had to make a quick trip to Hastings to complete this week’s coffeeneuring ride. Rides in town are always fun. It seems like most people here in Arkansas are skittish about riding bikes, especially in town. I figure, the more I ride and the more visible I am, the more people will join in, hopefully.

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Late afternoon coffee is always good, especially with a window seat and a good book.

Trip N°4: November 2nd

Total Distance: 6.4 miles

Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip Nº3

Approach to Mt. Nebo Waking up on Sunday really early always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something with my day. I had hills to climb, and this time I picked the steepest one in the shortest distance. Mt. Nebo stands some 1,700 feet above the Arkansas River and it is a formidable climb. After a little over 13 miles of riding, I came to the base. From here, I texted my friends that coffee time was near!

Mt. Nebo 18

The climb to the summit is two and a half miles of 9 to 12% grades. It’s best not to think about the 1200 feet of climbing. Just give yourself to the mountain and accept the burning. According to the highway sign, there’s one section of 18% grade. It’s not very long, but you definitely feel it going up it.

25 minutes later, I was at the top! Soon after, my friends showed up and I started in on the brewing process. Fired up the stove and had some (almost) boiling water in short order. They were fascinated by the whole setup: the stove, the nalgene, the be-stickered camping french press. Even better, everyone enjoyed the resulting brew from the beans, freshly ground that morning and roasted less than a week before. The credit goes to Penny University Roastery in Russellville, though. Without their beans, coffeeneuring just wouldn’t be the same!

Coffeeneuring Mt. Nebo

The view from here is spectacular, especially on clear fall days with little humidity. A trip worth taking, especially with coffee in tow.

On Top of Mt. Nebo

Coffeeneuring Trip Nº3: 19 October 2014
Drink of Choice: Freshly roasted coffee from Penny University, Russellville, AR
Total distance: 31.6 miles round trip
Total climbing: 2197 ft

Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip Nº 2

Assessment and CoffeeneuringLong story short, I had been at work all weekend, had an ESL Assessment test to study for, then I realized at 9pm on Sunday that I hadn’t made my pilgrimage by bike for coffee. So, I loaded up the bike with the book and headed to Starbucks: coffeeneuring destination of last resort. Hurray for generator hubs and LED lights!

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Coffeeneuring Trip Nº 2: 12 October 2014
Total Distance: 5.2 miles round trip.
Drink of choice: caffeine free rooibos tea
Total Elevation: 83 (yes, 83) feet

Coffeeneuring in Arkansas: Trip Nº1

Piney Crossing

A little creek fording never hurt anyone.

Arkansas is full of little surprises if you know where to look. One of those special places lies along a relatively remote stretch of state highway. After an 45 minute drive, I parked the truck at the Ozark Highlands Trail access on AR 123.

Two miles in to the trip, Ben and I came across our first creek crossing. I managed to not get wet feet.

Stunning overhangs and potential bouldering problems lined the next three miles of the gravel road.

The second crossing of the Big Piney has an actual bridge. Followed by a long climb, the longest one of the day.

Creekside

Thar be boulderin in dem hills. I feel it in me bones.

After some thirteen miles of gravel, you come to Rosetta. Nowadays, it exists in name only, sharing the name with the USGS quadrangle it resides within. There’s no sign saying you’ve arrived. You’d go right through it without knowing it even had a name. In fact, it’s one of hundreds of places that dot the Ozarks where nothing but a cemetery and a small collection of uninhabited houses mark the place where a group of farming families once eked out an existence plowing the rocky ridge top.

Welcome to Rosetta

Welcome to Rosetta

Descending for two miles on loose gravel can be a test of one’s cycling ability. I never felt unsafe, but I wished I could feel more stable. Riding my brakes for two solid miles was not my idea of fun. I have never experienced a blowout on a downhill section of road before, but I wasn’t in the mood for testing these limits, either. Let’s just say that the heat buildup on my rims made me wish for disc brakes.

Some five miles after Rosetta, we came upon the Little Piney and the coffee I packed was calling my name. As I broke out the stove, Ben explored the creek. By this time of year, the creek had become a collection of small puddles. Ben, an avid fisherman, caught a moth that had landed on his hat and threw it in the water. Surprisingly, it took the fish a few minutes to find the moth struggling away on the surface.

Coffee Break in the Little Piney Creek Bed

Coffee Break in the Little Piney Creek Bed

Every piece of camping gear must have a maiden voyage. This little stove’s first trip was inside of a saddlebag. Fired up nicely and brought the water to almost boiling in short order. Couldn’t be more pleased!

Another four miles of gravel brought us back to AR 123. The pavement felt like a pool table, albeit unfairly inclined against us for 2 miles. We were rewarded with a descent all the way to the truck.

Coffeeneuring Trip Nº1: 5 October 2014

Drink of Choice: Coffee from Penny University Roastery, Russellville, AR

Total Distance: 28.1 miles round trip

Total Climbing: 2718 feet

RWGPS Link: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6148217