The Talimena Scenic Byway runs from Talihina, Oklahoma. to Mena, Arkansas. It was built to show off the beauty of the Ouachita Mountains rather than be a communication route. As a result, the byway is a road that goes over peaks rather than go around them. It includes the highest points found between the Rockies and Appalachians.
Talihina, at the start of the byway is around four and a half hours from Dallas and makes an ideal location for some off-season hill training. The hills are steep and include 2 individual climbs of over 1500 feet (and we just don't get many of those in Dallas). Day 1 - Talihina to Mena is just under 60 miles and includes over 10,000 feet of climbing. Day 2 - Mena to Talihina will take a kinder and more gentle route back in anticipation of tired legs. Those who have energy still to burn, can ride the Talimena Byway or do part of it by making a short detour from the planned route.
Each day we will have one vehicle running sag, the driver will either be a NRSO (Non-Riding Significant Other) or one of the riders. If its the latter case, we'll all take a turn driving. If we only have one driver the sag vehicle will also carry the bags to Mena. Plan on leaving vehicles without drivers in Talihina overnight unless other arrangements can be made.
Since this is the fall, plan on taking cold weather gear. It sucks to travel 200 miles and then not get to ride because its too cold.