Trans America Trail Alva, OK. to North of Clarksville, AR.
New GPS unit loaded with tracks to follow and packing bags, getting set for an Expedition. Planning to drive the Trans America Trail from Alva, OK. to North of Clarksville, AR. The foliage should be at is best! Pulling a small trailer with an S-250 (Google it) setting on it so I don't have to pitch a tent. I'll try to post some photos along the way!
I believe I'll be going right through Mountainburg. I have not been checking the forums much lately, I've been spending every minute I have preparing for my trip. I live in Alva Oklahoma and four or five years ago we started noticing dual sport motorcycles coming through the area all packed up (gear attached everywhere).
I work at the fire department in Alva and the FD is on Flynn Street, the trail happens to go down Flynn Street and out northwest of town by my brother-in-law's house. We started flagging down the motorcyclists and visiting with them. There's a website called Trans America Trail. The fellow that put the trail and website together, Sam Correro, spent the better part of six or seven years traveling across America on back roads, all public access, mapping. The trail was put together for motorcycles but recently Jay Leno and a crew of folks from land rover took two Land Rovers from eastern Tennessee to Port Aurther Oregon. If you Google Trans AmericaTrail you'll find some maps but they're not specific enough to follow. Sam sells the maps, or roll charge for motorcycles and GPS coordinates. I bought the GPS coordinates for Oklahoma and Arkansas. they are like $24 a state, he has them copyrighted I guess he's trying to recoup some of his expenses for his years putting it all together. Ever since I learned about the trail I've been dreaming about spending two or three months, after I retire, going from Alva, Oklahoma to the West Coast of Oregon. A few weeks ago my wife expressed a desire to go spend a few days with my daughter and grandkids in Clarksville Arkansas while my son-in-law is out camping. She asked me if I wanted to go along, I said you go ahead I'll come along and take 3 or 4 days to get there. A friend of mine who was laid off from one of the aircraft manufacturers in Wichita, Kansas a few months back is going to come along. I intend to take a lot of pictures along the way and I'll post some of them here so you all can see what the trail looks like.
The Northwest Oklahoma portion of the trail consist of county roads. My first thought was to drive to Bartlesville, Oklahoma where the countryside starts getting more interesting, get on the trail there and go on to Arkansas. Then after some consideration, I decided if I was going to do it I was going to leave Alva on the trail and go to a point east of a Oark, Arkansas then take Highway 21 into Clarksville.
The sunvisors in my jeep were all folded up and broke over. While I was getting the jeep ready to go, my son Blake made me some new visors out of 1/8" thick aluminum. I really like the way they turned out! It was his idea to put the JeepForum stickers on them. Well it's to the dentist for a crown at 10 o'clock in the morning, then finish up a few things to be ready to go. The plan is to hit the trail about 6 AM Thursday morning.
My son-in-law was born and raised there pretty close to Clarksville he took me up to Oark a few years ago for one of those big hamburgers. Also his folks have a cabin somewhere south of Oark just literally a stones throw south of the Ozark National Forest. I remember learning that that Oark Store has been open since some time in the 1800's
For starters, here's a picture taken earlier this evening in the process of getting ready. I planned on leaving at 6 AM Thursday morning probably won't get away till 8 or 8:30 a.m. Got to put some taillights on the trailer, the taillights on the jeep are not visible are past the trailer. I probably would've had the taillights put on this evening but my 10 AM dentist appointment for a crown didn't work out so well. Got out of the Dentist chair at 12:30, about 3 PM I could kind of start feeling one side of my face, was hungry so I went and got a chicken sandwich, two bites into the crown broke in two. I went back to the dentist, he came at with with a needle and syringe, I stopped him and told him I really didn't have time to wait on his shot to deaden my already sore gum, I ask if we could just do it he did and said he just set a new record for a crown. More pictures and I'm sure stories to come. Oh the guy in the picture is my friend Randy
The next morning came and Randy and I met for breakfast at 7:15 and local café. By the time we got the lights on the trailer and other details taking care of the departure time was pushed to 11:30 a.m. This picture of the jeep and trailer just was taken just loading Randy's gear just before leaving Alva.
After driving for about an hour and getting far enough to be and territory that was less familiar to us, which was something I had been very anxious to do, we stopped and made a sandwich. Note the spare tire is still on the roof.
The trail consists of mostly unpaved county roads (backroads) across Oklahoma the following is an example of the trail between Alva, Oklahoma and Braman, Oklahoma which is near I-35 in northern Oklahoma.
We deviated a little bit from the trail at Braman and found a place by fuel. I topped the tank off with 93 octane it took 6.2 gallons at $2.89 a gallon, we had gone 94 miles. While pumping the fuel I happened to look up and notice the spare tire was gone! Randy had taken a few pictures of the jeep and trailer between Alva, and Baman, we decided to look back through his images on his camera to try to determine where we had lost spair. We determined it cam off far enough back that we would go on without it. We headed back to the trail and just as we were turning the corner and getting back on the trail where we had left off we started hearing a noise that alarmed us. Randy stuck his head out the window and said it was coming from the right rear wheel. The noise stopped but we were concerned that we were losing an axle bearing. We once again deviated from the trail and took the shortest route to Blackwell Oklahoma knowing that there was two parts stores there. In the parking lot of the NAPA store we took the right rear wheel off and pulled the brake drum, we found the noise to be brake related, the axle bearing felt fine. It was back to the trail and try to find a good camping place for the night as it was nearing 5 p.m. We decided to try to make it to a public camping area on the north end of Kaw Lake, it was starting to get dark.
After getting back on the trail we hadn't seen very many cars or people. We found our way to the camping area after dark and it seemed very remote.
After setting up camp we realize that we were far enough from civilization that we could not see any lights in a direction or hear any traffic, it was perfectly quiet and we were on the north east shore of the lake. At 5:30 a.m. I heard a vehicle approaching the vehicle drove past our camp and stopped a short distance from where we were parked, I slipped out of the trailer without turning on a light to observe. There were two guys in the pick up the dome light came on they got out and were wearing head mounted lights, they gathered gear and left their pick up. We determined they were duck hunters making their way to a blind before daylight. We fixed coffee and breakfast, packed our gear and broke camp at 7:29 a.m. The next few pictures are of today's leg of our trip from Kaw Lake to Adair, Oklahoma, Friday 11-8-2013.