A couple weekends ago, a group of like-minded friends of mine - mostly from work - set off on our biannual weekend of driving the curvy backroads of northwest Arkansas. It’s such a good time that two of our crew came up from San Antonio and one even flew down from Canada to join us (a friend in Midland unfortunately had his Cayman rear-ended the week prior, and had to bow out). Instead of taking this trip last fall, several of us rented our local track instead; while that was a fantastic day, all of us were itching to get back on these fantastic roads in and around the Ozark National Forest.
We took off from Tulsa on Friday afternoon, and used the back roads to get to the cabin we’d rented on Table Rock Lake. Thankfully there were some fun roads to explore in eastern Oklahoma and southern Missouri on the way to our destination. A friend had brought along his new fisheye lens, which made for some unique photos.
Our lineup included a 700 rwhp supercharged C6, a supercharged and track-prepped Z4M roadster, a heavily modified Camaro SS convertible, a Shelby GT500, a freshly-acquired S2000 and my E90 M3. We also had two guys on motorcycles along.
Our cabin (found on airbnb) was better than I could have expected, even if the driveway was a bit too rough and steep for some...
Once we’d off-loaded our gear, we piled into a few cars and ran into Eureka Springs for supper (at Sparky’s) and filled up our coolers for the nights ahead. After playing some washers and imbibing a few adult beverages, we turned in (pictured below - the best and luckiest throws of my life).
The next morning we grabbed our maps and radios and headed out for the day’s drive. It had rained earlier in the week, but thankfully the roads were perfectly dry for us that day.
We had breakfast in Eureka Springs, and the bikes headed off on their own way while the last of us fueled up. It was a great day to be out and we were enjoying stretching our cars’ legs on the open road, but then we ran into a snag less than an hour down the road. Our friend’s C6 had a fuel issue (long story short, they ended up having to get a wrecker to tow him to the nearest dealer, and our friend in the Camaro went along - they met back up with us at the cabin that evening). The rest of us then went on, enjoying the weather and scenery and largely unoccupied and fantastically twisty and hilly Ozark roads.
We stopped at the Cliff House for a leisurely lunch - a great spot with a great view.
We didn’t get in quite as many miles as we usually do on a Saturday, but it was a truly fantastic day. The road pictured in my lead image is one of our favorites, south of a little town called Mt. Judea. It climbs rapidly and has switchbacks marked 10 and 15 mph, with close guardrails on one side to make your heart race just that much faster. There are just so many good roads in this area - you could truly spend a week exploring them all. Even though we’ve been out here twice a year for several years, there are still some stretches we have yet to sample.
We headed back toward the cabin a little earlier than normal, to meet up with our fallen comrade and the bikes. We found a nice restaurant nearby and enjoyed a good meal (steak and quail for me) and then went back for beers and a night by the fire. It was a clear night and we were out far enough that the stars shone brightly, even in the normally deep, dark recesses. A handful of us kept the fire going past 3 a.m. before finally giving in to sleep.
The next morning, a few of our group took off early after we cleaned up the place. The rest of us got some breakfast and took one last drive - down and back a sweet little stretch west of the lake in Missouri - before turning our cars toward home.
If you’ve never taken a trip like this, I strongly encourage you to find a couple friends to go with and do it. I can’t wait to go back.