Happy Father’s Day

Arkansas trip with my dad

I got an early start and made it to DeKalb for lunch at the local eatery. After that, we loaded up the car and headed toward Pine Bluff. We decided to take the slow scenic road. Good decision, the traffic was very light and lots of tall green trees to look at. We got to Pine Bluff about 4:30 and stopped in to visit my Aunt Frances. We had a good visit with her and she took us to eat at a Mexican place she likes.

After dinner, we drove on to Little Rock, the final destination for the day. Got checked in to the hotel which is right on the river and got a room with a fine view of a stucco wall. We got settled in and it was just about bedtime.

Woke up the next morning to a sunny day, very good breakfast at the hotel and then we walked over to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. They have a WW2 submarine called the U.S.S Razorback. No kin to the local college mascot. It is 80% still functional so you go down into it by way of a 12 foot ladder and climb out the other end on a 14 foot ladder. My father made both climbs without incident. I was impressed! Going across the river right by the museum is a former railroad bridge turned into a pedestrian bridge. As we were walking across the parking lot, I heard a voice from on the bridge yell “Holy crap, there’s a submarine down there!” Well, the language was a little stronger than that but you get the idea.

After that, we crossed the Arkansas River and went to the Arkansas Art Center and had a nice lunch in their cafe then walked around and enjoyed the exhibitions. They have several going and all were really nice. The center is in a park and we walked over toward a pond that had Canada Geese and some kind of domestic ducks around it and rested, enjoying the antics of the waterfowl. There were a couple dozen ducklings roaming around, they were so cute!

Got back to the hotel and after resting a while, we weren’t really excited about getting out and driving somewhere for supper so on a whim, I looked at the room service menu. There were sandwiches available for a very reasonable price so that’s what we had for supper. They were very good. Especially since there was no walking or driving involved. After supper, we walked back to the river and watched the sunset as it washed colors over a big storm cloud many miles away.

After a long nights sleep and a good breakfast we looked at the planned stops today only to find they didn’t open until 1 because it’s Sunday. We took a little drive to a small sculpture garden which had a farmers market going. I bought a fancy soap for a friend and sampled some local honey. Driving around, I realized the parking for one of the places we wanted to see was going to be taken up by Riverfest goers. Back to the hotel and wait until 1 o’clock rolls closer. I did a little looking and found the trolley cars we had seen went right over to where we wanted to go and in honor of Memorial Day weekend, they are free to ride. Quick step to plan B. So we rode the trolley car to the Discover Museum and had a great time and rode it back to be dropped off a short block from the hotel. Even at regular fares it would have been a bargain.

We walked over to the river after supper again and watched the evening come in after another room service sandwich.

Up the next morning for a good breakfast and on the road north. We’re spending the night in Harrison but taking a side trip on the way to Mountain View to visit the dulcimer shop there to buy a few things. We get there and it’s closed. The Ozark Folk Center is up the road a couple of miles so we drive there and find them open so we go in and look around. We both found things to buy and saw some more interesting things.

We got to Harrison and got checked in and after resting a bit went to find supper and found most of the places closed in honor of Memorial Day. Including the Italian place we had eaten at before and really liked. We ended up at Burger King. Not a fan.

The next day’s plan is to drive to Fayetteville by way of Eureka Springs and visit Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville. Turns out they are closed on Tuesday. So much for that.

No hurries this day, the whole day’s drive is about 2 hours. We take a scenic loop around in Eureka Springs and then stop along the way at War Eagle cavern and saw the cave which was interesting. Siri is guiding us along the way and she got quite perturbed when we got off the highway and then got off her map. She was sounding almost panicked by the fourth time she said “proceed to the route!” The cave used up a couple hours. It’s privately owned and we had a friendly and knowledgeable guide. The history is more interesting than the landscape inside. The resident bats had moved farther in to their nursery location so we didn’t see any. We got checked into the hotel about 4. We had a very late lunch and are tired so probably won’t go out again. I think we’re both about ready to be home again.

We woke up early again and on the road by 8:30. We changed plans this morning, which is why nothing was booked more than a day ahead. The original plan was to spend the night at Mount Magazine again but it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive from here and that’s taking the long way around. Then we would have half a day to sit and look at each other or look at the view. It’s a nice view, but. So, plans changed. Instead, we decided to drive to Hot Springs instead. It’s closer to home, so shorter drive tomorrow. And there’s things to do and see there. We are staying at the Alpine Inn where we have stayed before.

We took the scenic route and enjoyed twisty, tree covered roads with very occasional breaks in the trees to see the mountains. Slow but soul-nourishing. We saw several motorcycle groups out riding.

We got to the Alpine Inn and found out the lovely Scottish couple who had been running the place had retired and a couple of young men are running it now. The Inn is old but well kept. The room is small but looks fresh and comfortable.

It turns out the Inn cat, Al, has been passed along with the property. He has had a hard life in the last six years though. He’s an old cat now and lost about half of both ears. He enjoyed some pets and scritches on the back of his neck that I gave him. I actually got a purr.

Up the next morning and last day’s drive. Again we stay off the main highways with little to no traffic which makes it a pleasant drive. I have lunch in DeKalb and it’s a solo drive the rest of the way.

We saw good art, climbed into and out of a submarine, learned some things and had fun together and enjoyed spending time together. Another good trip with my dad.