There’s a long tradition of motorcycle riding in the South, with its heavy forests, farmland and generally moderate climate. South Arkansas has enjoyed its share of that tradition. Interestingly, the early oil boom in southern Arkansas of the 1920s helped fuel the two-wheeled touring that today is enjoyed by millions of enthusiasts.
What better place to start a ride through the Arkansas portion of the vast southern forests than on US 371 at a blip on the map, a tiny town called Taylor just north of the state line. The timberland of southern Arkansas lends itself to fairly straight roads with lazy sweeping curves. And that’s the way it is with the first two-thirds of this ride. The majority of the time, you will be riding alongside lush trees and tall timber. The road also runs through a patchwork of tree farms, cattle farms dotted with ponds and green pastures,
and stretches of farmland with rows of rice or soybeans.
As this ride pushes north to Hamburg and onto state highways, the curves tighten up. In a few places, they are almost of the knee-dragging variety.
AR 189 north out of Hamburg (Washington Street, then Milo Road) becomes more serpentine. Likewise, AR 8 from Johnsville north to Warren is a nice winding stretch of road through a thick checkerboard of woodlands. For a second time on the ride, you will again intersect AR 189, north of Warren on AR 8. This portion of AR 189 has the most dramatic curves you will encounter on the ride, which is an appropriate way to motor into Kingsland, birthplace
of Johnny Cash.
On AR 189 in Kingsland next to a Baptist church, there is a memorial to J.R. Cash. He only lived in Kingsland for three years before his family moved 218 miles east to the Historic Dyess Colony – now the site of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.
From Kingsland, the ride on US 79 west to Fordyce is fairly pedestrian. Fordyce, an important Cotton Belt Railroad center, stands in the middle of the timber area and is the terminus of this ride through the heart of southern Arkansas. Whether you are passing through or have reached your destination for the day, you will enjoy the roads, scenery
and history of the area.