What to know
Texarkana is a great place to start this loop driving south. The ride is across flat terrain and runs through a patchwork of trees in different stages of growth. In the first part of the 20th century, residents of the region cut the forests and tried to farm row crops like those in the Delta. But eventually, farmers realized that their future was in managing the timber of the area, its main agricultural business today. US 71 bisects the small town of Fouke, namesake for a bigfoot called “Fouke Monster,” a legend that brings a modest amount of renown to the small Arkansas town. After crossing the Red River on AR 160 near I-49, the wooded landscape changes, giving way briefly to the fertile river-bottom farmland. Since the 1,300-mile-long river cuts a wide swath, there is a thriving row-crop-farming economy in the area. The ride continues back to Magnolia, where a quaint courthouse square offers dining and numerous shops. The Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cook-Off draws thousands of visitors here each May. While Hot Springs receives fame for being Bill Clinton’s “boyhood home,” Hope is the actual birthplace of our nation’s 42nd president and the site of the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site. Travel US 67 from Hope back to Texarkana on what has been designated the “Rock ’N’ Roll Highway.” The southwestern part of the highway honors the early performers who played at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium in Texarkana. Stars like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison performed there in the 1950s and ’60s.