Push Mountain — A Rider’s Dream
Many years ago, me and a couple of friends rode our motorcycles out to Deal’s Gap, and the Tail of the Dragon. This stretch of road cuts through the Great Smoky Mountains from North Caroline into Tennessee. The uninterrupted roadway with 318 curves in 11 miles was a spectacular ride. We also rode the Cherohala Skyway, a breathtaking scenic ride up to 5400 feet. The entire trip was absolutely fantastic. (That’s me on the vision in the back).
After coming home, I thought, “Well, that was great. I guess it will be a while before I can ride like that again.” It was a little depressing–maybe even a little pathetic. I slowly recovered with the loving and understanding intervention of my sympathetic wife. It’s amazing how some fantastic cooking can get you through anything.
Not too long after that, my same two friends started talking about this ride in the northern part of Arkansas called Push Mountain. So we decided to give it a try, despite our low expectations (maybe just my low expectations :). I mean, the Tail of the Dragon is…well…The Tail of the Dragon. It has it’s own website. People show off their Killboy pictures to people more than the pictures of their own kids. There are tons of YouTube videos of TOTD rides. How could this stretch of (practically) unheard of Arkansas highway come close to the amazing curves and awesome scenery of TOTD? It can’t. It just can’t.
I was wrong.
Simply put–this stretch of road was a BLAST to ride. I rode it on a Victory Vision, Matt rode a Kawasaki Vulcan, and Adam rode a classic Honda Goldwing (not the big decked out two-wheel boat, a late 70’s model). It was a great ride. The Ozarks provide as beautiful scenery as any other mountain range in the east half of the lower forty eight. The curves and elevations were just as challenging as TOTD. My expectations were met and exceeded. After taking a couple of curves in a lazy manner, I realized that this was no Sunday drive in the foothills. This was a road that needed to be respected and dealt with seriously. My mindset changed from lazy to alert, from thinking about lunch to thinking about entering and exiting curves, what line to take, and proper timing of brake and acceleration.
It was EXHILARATING! (that means a lot of fun)
Compared to TOTD: I would say that skill level required of the rider is about the same. It is not nearly as crowded. There are some really interesting historical markers. Check out the Wolf House when you ride through Norfork.
The local people are very friendly. You won’t see a McDonald’s anywhere close, unless you go into Mountain View, but there are some great little local restaurants. You will probably be waved at quite frequently. Most people around those parts treat their visitors like their neighbors. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with some of the older local folks, you might learn some things about Arkansas history.
Since that time, I’ve gotten away from the motorcycle riding business. Yes, I was sad to see it go. Once again, I recovered from my loss with the help of my loving wife. And gained 10 pounds, but that is beside the point. One day I might return to the motorcycle riding world, but I do have my little Bremen.
Although it doesn’t lean into the curves like my Vision did, it will still be a fun way to enjoy the Push Mountain ride. Now that Shelley and I are moving up to Mountain View, I can have my
TOTD Push Mountain ride anytime.
If you are thinking about riding Push Mountain and need a place to stay, check out the Wildflower Bed & Breakfast On the Square in Mountain View. A comfortable bed and delicious breakfast will get you set for a great day of riding.