There are several YouTube videos out there that showcase The Cat House in Eureka Springs, the pig trails, which are curvy, country roads that circle through and around Eureka Springs, and the various landmarks. However, little is known about what’s beyond the edge of town. However, a man can’t just strike out on an adventure on an empty stomach.
I know by now you’re thinking this is the second post I’ve made and still no motorcycle camping. Trust me it’s on the way. In the meantime, Here I am with all this camping gear and I haven’t even tried out my new Coleman two burner stove and utensils. While I’m quite cognizant of today’s compact camping gear I’m unapologetically old school. I brought a full-sized iron skillet, plastic plates and utensils, and a full-sized appetite. Off to the side of the Country Mountain Inn is a quaint little walking park complete with picnic tables. So, I took my cooking gear over to a picnic table, set up everything and commenced to cooking my scallops and veggie stir-fry. My only seasoning was a bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce, which was all you really need. After a hearty, healthy meal it’s time to pound that pavement.
Once you leave the limits of town and you’re out on the countryside. There is a je ne sais quoi about the topography that gives you the feeling you’re in Germany, particularly, when you pass road signs that have distinct German names. I continued to cruise down sleepy road 187 taking in the scenery until I come up on a one lane bridge with wooden planks. A sign warns that you must keep an eye out for traffic on the other side in case someone crosses the bridge before you do.
With the coast clear I proceeded to creep across. As I’m creeping the planks squeak and wobble like it’s ready to give at any moment. My heart racing I proceeded forward wobbling and reeling. I thought to myself as I crossed if cars are going back on this thing I definitely shouldn’t have any problem crossing.
Once the slight fear of crossing without the bridge giving way and plunging into the river below subsided a thought came to my head that I should be shooting this moment. So, here I am no helmet, one hand on the grip and the other carefully balancing my smartphone. The idling speed of the engine was enough to propel my bike slowly across the bridge as I performed a slow 360 degree rotation capturing this awe inspiring moment.
While I’m filming, I noticed down the river behind the tree line to my right what appeared to be a large castle jutting out above the tree line. It looked like a retreat for Swedish nobility. I learned later that the enchanted structure is Castle Rogue’s Manor.
A moment like this is truly captured best while on a motorcycle. Nothing else could compare. The old, weather worn planks shifting and wobbling beneath my feet, the sparkling river water flowing quietly below, a clear, unobstructed view of everything around me. It was like being in a virtual tour at Disneyland but for real.
As I suspected there is a lot more to Eureka Springs than a couple biker bars and hotels. As I’m exiting the bridge I came up on an inviting boathouse at the river’s edge. The Side Bar was its name and I couldn’t wait to park my bike and go inside. The place was packed and it was easy to see why. The view was tranquil as little sailboats glided by and birds flew casually by. already stuffed from my meal I chose to have a beer and move on.
Only a half mile down the road is a tiny area to the left for cars to park and a sign: “Scenic Overlook.” I have to let you know this whole area is very deceptive. While riding through what looks to be a quiet little neighborhood if feels like you’re at a normal elevation. However, as I walked down the little pathway to the scenic overlook my heart stops as I realize that little more than 3 feet ahead of me there is a drop off of what looks like 70 feet below. After I adjusted to the drastic drop off I looked out and saw the most beautiful stretch of a bending river. A view of this magnitude can only be captured in a panoramic mode.
What is so amazing about cruising down 187 is this entire area seems to be completely devoid of human existence. No one sitting on their porches or cutting grass, no one tending to their farmland and no cars traveling to and fro. It’s as if this entire area was staged for me to ride through peacefully at a steady 30 mph in the highest possible gear so as to hear that nice deep burble from my Vance & Hines Short Shots. Suddenly to my left what looks like a large country store emerges from the green pasture. I was so busy being lulled by my pipes and staring at the countryside that I rode right past it but curiosity forced me to turn around.
I pulled into the gravel parking lot off to the side. The place seemed completely deserted but you could tell by the upkeep of the yard that this place had to be inhabited. As I walked up to the entrance a lady greeted me. “Welcome to the Railway Winery.” She guided me inside and gave me the rundown of what they have to offer. I was smiling with glee because yet again I stumbled upon a gem. This is what it’s all about. The experience is way more impactful if you’re not prepared for what you’re about to experience.
I indulged on a flight of their wines and a plate of assorted cheeses. while I was enjoying their offerings the husband came out to greet me along with his wife. We had a pleasant conversation about their winery. When I brought up the fact that this entire area reminds me a lot of the Romanian countryside the gentleman told me about the history of the area. German Jews were so intrigued by the geography of the area they settled there around the area in the late 1800’s.
After a couple more days of soaking up all Eureka Springs had to offer it was time to continue my journey West. Before I turned in I conducted a little research of the weather forecast and found out that my next leg of the adventure was going to be a wet one.