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Day 31: Hot Springs, AR to Pine Bluff, AR

69 Miles - Cycled Through Malvern, Sheridan and White Hall; Arrival In Pine Bluff, Arkansas - March 22, 2011

Malvern Avenue Back on the road! The beltway around Hot Springs brought me to Malvern Avenue, which is also Highway 270. I'd take this road all the way to Pine Bluff today.
Arkansas Scenery A hazy and warm Arkansas morning.
Malvern, AR On the bridge over Interstate 30 in Rockport, Arkansas.

If you regularly drive this highway from Dallas to Little Rock, think of me when you cross this bridge! :)

Malvern, Arkansas
A traffic light in downtown Malvern.

Malvern, Arkansas

On the east side of Malvern, I slowly climbed a hill on a narrow two-lane road. A car behind me didn't feel safe passing, and for a short distance there was a hold up. Once that car passed, a few others passed including one vehicle with a young girl who yelled, "Get off the road!"

As was sometimes the case, I thought of a witty response long after the incident. "No, you get off the road!" Arkansas law establishes my right to travel on this road as much as cars.

Arkansas Scenery Onward I continued into thick timberland of south central Arkansas. The temperature increased. With the humidity, I sweated like crazy. The shoulder was about three feet - not as wide as I'd like, but it could have been worse.
Lumber Truck A lumber truck. :)

Sheridan, Arkansas Arkansas Razorbacks Fan

Sheridan, Arkansas

At 45 miles, I had a major break in Sheridan. I photographed the county courthouse, ate at a Hardee's and met this friendly guy outside of a convenience store. We had a good talk about my bike tour, the Razorbacks football team and Pine Bluff.

He warned me to be careful and suggested where to stay in the city. In fact, a number of folks admonished me to be safe in Pine Bluff, for apparently the place has a bad reputation for crime.

Anyway, I didn't catch this man's name, but he and his wife were returning to Pine Bluff. He said Pine Bluff was about "20 minutes" away ... by car. The distance in 24 miles would equal about two hours of cycling for me.

White Hall, Arkansas

White Hall, Arkansas

At 65 miles, I entered White Hall, a town directly northwest of Pine Bluff. I had a good ride and was willing to stop here if I felt good about lodging.

On the right was a Super 8, and I stopped and inquired about their rates. I told the clerk that I was biking across America in friendly fashion, hoping for some of the magic that happened in Snyder, Texas and Durant, Oklahoma, but there was no free room or greatly discounted rate. The Super 8's rate were way too high.

Well, I thanked her for her time and said I'd continue into Pine Bluff. Then, even this clerk warned me to "be careful" in Pine Bluff. I told her I would, but I was hoping she'd assure my safety by giving me a better rate, but it wasn't meant to be.

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
In front of my motel and looking at Dollarway Road in Pine Bluff, AR.

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

The lack of shoulder on Dollarway Road and the increase in cars had me very nervous, and I stopped at the first motel on the right. The rate with tax was $40, low for 2011 standards. I appreciated it!

Pay Before Eating

Although it's hard to make an assessment on just 12+ hours, Pine Bluff did seem like a rough town.

Numerous stores had things that indicated crime was a problem, including stern warnings against shoplifting with video cameras. Signs reading "no loitering" and "no loud music" at gas stations were common. I saw two people walking on the avenue with alcohol in brown bags.

Adjacent are two troubling things that set the mood for my night in Pine Bluff. The Chinese restaurant across the street had customers pay before eating at the buffet. Also, the motel clerk gave me this warning about the misuse of towels, washcloths and bath mats, evidence some irresponsible people were probably living there long-term.

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