A weekend of bliss. There is no better way to describe S2KI.com’s Boston Mountain Tour (BMT) to a gearhead/twisty road addict. The BMT is not for the faint of heart, nor for the quarter mile at a time crowd. It’s a full day of driving an impeccably planned route throughout Northwest Arkansas on roads seemingly purpose-built for sports cars. Arkansas may get a lot of flack for missing teeth and moonshine, but it sure knows how to build a good road.
The BMT is a semiannual event held in the spring and again in the fall. The organizers surprisingly don’t charge a registration fee, so your only costs are for gas, hotel, and meals. While the BMT may only be a one day event, it is the entire day, so most stay the night before and after the tour. While a few participants may actually live in that area, the vast majority drive in from Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, with a good showing from North Texas as well. Many have taken it upon themselves to turn the travel days into an extension of the BMT. What would be the fun of taking the highway(s) to get there? Many a twisty road has been discovered between various states and Eureka Springs, Arkansas on the way to the BMT. Not surprisingly, many of these routes converge on the “Pig Trail”, a scenic byway which makes “Tail of the Dragon” less of a worthwhile trip for those of us west of the Mississippi.
Participants arrive throughout Friday. That evening many end up gathering at the hotel and hitting up a local restaurant and/or bar. New friends are made, old friends reconnect, a whole lot of bench racing takes place, and many jokes are made about the Rowdy Beaver, which has become almost as much a part of the tour as the driving itself.
For each BMT, Saturday morning comes early, with a distinct air of anticipation as everyone checks in at the registration table, receives the route maps, eats breakfast, and makes last minute tire pressure adjustments. Everyone is assigned to one of three groups, each with a lead car and tail car; both volunteering to ensure the group stays on the route. Soon the groups begin to form their lines. Honda S2000s naturally are the majority, but there is a splattering of R32, Corvette, 3-Series, G35, Viper, WRX, and others which vary from tour to tour. A few minutes apart, each group rolls out of the hotel parking lot, out of town, and into the mountains eagerly awaiting some heat to get into their tires. The real fun begins. I really can’t stress enough how great the roads are in the area. I also cannot stress enough how beautifully well planned the route is for the day. The combination of roads, some revisited and some new, seems to get better with each tour.
The day of driving is perfectly broken up by a mid-morning break, a lunch spot, and then a mid-afternoon break. The organizers do an impressive job in finding interesting and/or scenic stopping points. Generally all three groups briefly overlap at one of the stops for a group photo. Considering this is often 40+ cars, it is no easy task to find a photogenic scene to stage everyone. However those planning the BMT seem to do it flawlessly twice a year. The driving portion of the tour draws to a close around nightfall back in Eureka Springs as the group descends on a local restaurant. While 50+ people at once is a bit much for most small town restaurants to handle efficiently, somehow it always works out well. The conversation inevitably revolves around favorite sections of road, close calls, heel-toeing, and epic saves. Some head back to the hotel, and others make their way to a local pub to continue recapping the day.
Sunday may be just another day for those who live in the area, but for BMT participants, it’s another chance to enjoy their cars. Some sleep in that morning, and others wake and gather for breakfast in the hotel. For most, the fun then continues as various groups revisit a few of Saturday’s roads on their way out of the Boston Mountains. Some even retrace Friday’s route, completing three full days of driving excitement. While the fun factor may lessen with more distance from the mountains, the eagerness for the next BMT builds. The six month wait for the next Boston Mountain Tour feels entirely too long.
For more BMT photos, visit www.landrethphotography.com.