Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Kick stands up and let’s roll! The winding roads through the Arbuckle Mountains beckon, bidding you to leave the day-to-day behind…escape. In this area, the eastern woodlands meet the desert-like, mixed-grass prairie and you will see the best of both. Take in the view, meet friendly people, see some sites and leave with a saddlebag full of memories.
Riders love that almost meditative state that comes from the drone of your engine and the hum of the road that blows your worries away.
“Riding is all about fantasy and freedom,” one rider confessed to me. “It’s easy to bail out of life, cut through the wind and enjoy God’s creation with no framework.” Freedom and fantasy – sounds like just the ticket.
Art and Mary Young are frequent Arbuckle area riders. Their wheels of choice? A trike. Their favorite drive? What we laughingly call the “Mountains, Mineral Springs & Manure Tour”. Seems it’s all about following the 7s.
“From Sulphur, go west on Hwy. 7 to Davis. Hop on Hwy 77, going south for about 22 miles to Springer. Go across there (on Hwy 53) to Hwy 177and head north back to Sulphur. Simple – 7 to 77 to 177,” explains Art. “You will see open fields of grazing cattle, curves and mountains and, at the right time of year, lots of color.”
“Scenic heaven on 77” is a term the locals hear. The route Art laid out runs about 59 miles with plenty of interesting stops along the way. South of Davis, visit Forgotten Wheels Museum. Sit a spell on the front porch, have a cold drink and browse the antique and gift shop. The Webb family has quite an assortment of unique finds.
A little further along 77, you will find the 777 Zipline. A quick zip will give you a bird’s eye-view of Turner Falls and get your heart pumping!
“It doesn’t matter if it is the middle of July, it’s always feels cooler when you ride into the Chickasaw National Park,” remarks Mary Young. “Riding the Park is always refreshing, maybe it’s the springs. It is just slow and curvy and laid-back.”
Charlie Wright agrees that the National Park is quite a place. He speaks from experience as he is a rider and an innkeeper. He enjoys hosting all types of visitors to the area, but feels a special kinship to riders that lodge with him. His place, sits across the street from the Park. The location is quite an advantage for folks looking for a sanctuary of peace, an opportunity to sit by the springs or walk a trail.
“I believe I would have to say my favorite local ride is to Dougherty. The hills, twists & bends, the trees and color, the view changes with the seasons. There are so many different roads that lead in and out, you have all kinds of choices,” Wright stated. He is correct on that. For a community with a population of 250, there is one state highway (110) and 3 county roads that will land you in the one-block center of town. Stop at the one-and-only Dougherty Store for a break and to “chew the fat” with a local.
Make that break from reality, get lost on a twisting ribbon of road and have an experience that will leave a lasting impression on your heart.