Wednesday, October 31, 2012


5 states in one day.  Just a lot of driving today.  Mostly not on interstates until I hit Mobile, AL and got on I-10.  Hard to get across the panhandle in any decent time without going I-10.

Prettiest part of the trip was just south of the LA border where I followed the Mississippi River for about 20 miles so close that you could easily see the knees of the cyprus growing along the edge of the river.

Other than that, just a lot of driving - some easy with no traffic and lots of barren fields waiting for spring and some heavy traffic around cities and lots of different speeds from 25 in school zones to 70 on I-10.

Home tomorrow after probably another day of 7-8 hrs. driving but at least it's warmer so I could shed 3 of my 4 layers:)  Love it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

STILL in Arkansas!

Good grief, I left Eureka Springs at 8:30 a.m., stopped driving at 5:30 p.m. and I'm still in Arkansas!  And I thought TX was large.  But I've been traveling diagonally from NW AR and now in SE AR near the Mississippi River.

Of course I spent almost the first hour back tracking.  I used the map from the campground and obviously didn't have my bearings.  After driving about 1/2 hr. I came to an intersection I hadn't expected and even after looking at the map I couldn't find that route so I resorted to Gertie and after several tries she finally recognized one of the towns I gave her but she was having me go back the way I came so I pulled over, got my map out again, still couldn't find that route anywhere.  While pondering what to do next I looked down the road and saw, not too far ahead of me "Welcome to AR".  WHAT!!!  How could that be!!!  Oh shoot - I went north on 23 instead of south and was back in MS.  So, back to Eureka Springs and so about 9:30 left again.

Some times I wonder how I traveled all around the US this summer and didn't end up in Argentina.

Anyway, for 6 hours I wound, climbed, descended, braked, down-shifted, kept on the road as I wove my way down through first the Ozark Mountains and then the Quachita Mountains into Hot Springs all to avoid interstates and Little Rock.

The scenery was pretty and leaves very colorful (sorry, I'm at my limit again for pictures so use your imagination) but I might actually look forward to I-10 when I get to FL

Monday, October 29, 2012

Eureka Springs, AR

              Left behind 30 Roadtreks all parked in a horseshoe:

That's Rhoda on the left

and headed to Eureka Springs via a curvy, narrow road.  Went directly to the campground - Wanderlust (great name) and then directly to the trolley stop.  They have a great trolley system here and it's so needed.  The streets are very narrow, very steep hills and heavily traveled & parked on even though this picture shows none of that:)  - it's a side street.

One of the non-hilly streets
I first went to see (on a different trolley) "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times" and AIA have placed Thorncrown Chapel 4th on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century.  I present Thorncrown Chapel:

Inside the Chapel
consists of 425 windows and over
6000 square feet of glass

Walkway leading to chapel
It surprised me, I thought it was made of steel
but it's made of wood
in the woods and on the rocks
It was a beautiful structure and such a sense of peacefulness both on the inside and outside.  So glad I saw it.

I then had lunch back in town at "Local Flavor".  Everything was nice and fresh & beautifully presented but not so sure about the local part.

Then took a different trolley (it was 1 price for all day, all trollies) up to an old hotel high on a bluff - the Crescent Hotel.  It definitely was old but great that it has been maintained.

Walked the streets, found a Rocky Mountain store in the middle of the Ozarks.

Took the 4th trolley to an antique store a little out of town and then back to Rhoda to watch a beautiful sunset to the west (out her back windows) over the hills, through the fall foliage and admired the full moon to the east (out the front windows) - almost perfect for Halloween.

Heading south, southeast tomorrow through Hot Springs to the Mississippi River, crossing yet again at a different point.  Not sure how far I'll get but it's all about the journey, not the destination. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frost in Branson

Those aren't white leaves, it's frost from yesterday
but today it was more prolific - everything
was white

So, do you hear the whine in my description - you heard right!  It's cold.  Sun is nice and no wind and no hurricane so I guess I can't have everything.

But we're having a good time anyway.  Went out to dinner last night in Branson at a Cattle/steak place and saw a bit of the town.  Eating out is fun but my refrigerator is still full.

Sally will be happy to know that I now have running water in Rhoda.  Got some good help from Fred and Jane who reassured me that I could have water and luckily I still had water in my tank from this summer so could practice.  Chancey to use a hose to get our water with the temps being so low.

A bunch are going zip-lining today but not me!!

Tonight we're having a catered dinner with the whole crew and then tomorrow I'm leaving for Eureka Springs.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fun in Branson

Yesterday (or whenever it was I posted last) I said I'd tell you about out special treat today (well actually it WAS yesterday).  Several of us went to have lunch at The College of the Ozarks, also known as Hard Work University.  I'd had never heard of it but it consistently is ranked as one of the 10 ten conservative colleges or as one of the top 5 "choosiest" in the nation.  The students pay no tuition and graduate with no debt.  They offer 44 different majors but each student must work 15 hrs/wk on campus and may work the summer term to pay off their room & board fees.  The campus is gorgeous and this Keeter Center, which is a resturant and lodge is magnificent!  I think the statistic was that it was 70% built by the students.  Anyway, the lunch was raved about by everyone.  Another group went for dinner and a third group is going for brunch on Sunday.  They have a dairy making their own dairy products, grass-fed beef, grow their own veggies, etc.  Well, have you heard enough - anyway, a real treat.
All natural stone fireplace and a
tree pulled out from the bottom
of a lake which they
Our group in front of the
Keeter Center

"Smallest" of their rooms

My lunch - mac & cheeses with
their own smoked ham & bacon
cooked in a cast iron skillet

Then last night we went to a show:  "Best of the 60s".  It was fun, lively, and reminiscent and guess what - just about everyone in the audience was about my age - go figure.

Unfortunately, most of the big shows are dark right now as they're getting ready for the big Christmas season so we haven't had much to choose from but that's ok, there are enough of us here to keep each other occupied with stories, hints, tips, food & troubleshooting our Roadtreks.

Later I'll try to keep back up-to-date with another surprise:)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Freeze Warnings in Branson

And why did I retire to Florida!  So I wouldn't have to freeze ever again.  And not only are there freeze warnings in the forecast for here in Branson but I'm living in a tin (well actually a fiberglass) can.  But hey - there are 35 others just as crazy as me and we're all single so no one to cozy up to.

But we're having a good time despite.  

So, first let me back up since my connection seems to be better at this Ozark campground just outside Branson.

Last night, as predicted, the smoke detector started chirping again but I fooled it because I hadn't gone to bed yet since I'd gained an hour.  Ha, ha, it thought it was going to wake me up like all my ones at home do.  You know it's like why does your tooth break or your kid get an ear ache on a weekend?  Why do smoke detector batteries always go bad in the middle of the night - always.  I leave that for you to contemplate.  Oh, and I had to get the manual out to find where the bloody thing was.

Where else but in Alabama are you likely to find:  a Coon Dog Cemetery or a National Bird Dog Museum or towns with names like Arkadelphia or Muscle Shoal or a church called "Fellowship of Encouragement"?  But I do like to wrap my tongue around the town name of Iuka.

OK, back to today.

I was traveling just as fine as could be with about 2 other "cars" and 82 trucks when there appeared a flashing sign "Severe Congestion ahead.  Consider alternate route".  So I pulled off to consider that and Rhoda was game but Gertie had other ideas - like "make a U turn", repeated every mile for about 15 miles until she got the idea that I wasn't going to do that so she got her maps out and found another way to go - right under the largest flock of geese I've ever seen.  They just kept coming and coming right over Rhoda's clean roof.  Thank goodness we got a hard rain later in the afternoon.

I have that book "Off the Beaten Path" but I don't think this alternate route would be found in that book. 

I did find out though that they grow a lot of rice in this very, very flat part of Arkansas.  In fact there was a Riceland factory I passed - that's what gave it away.

I wondered if back in the ole, ole, ole, ole days all of the earth was this flat before she opened up and spewed out all the indigestible rocks and boulders to form our magnificent landscape.

And speaking of magnificent landscape - the northern part of AR is so unlike the central part.  I guess it's referred to as the Ozarks but I'm not sure I'd call them mountains but they're much more than hills.  Beautiful vistas and the trees were still quite colorful.  I'd say this area rivals the Blue Ridge Highway for sure.  And, BTW, for those of you who followed my blog this summer - I DID use tow load while driving through this area:)

Potluck dinner tonight with everyone and plans in the works for a special lunch tomorrow which I'll tell you more about tomorrow and then maybe a show tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

FLW, Mighty Mississip, AR

This is what I woke up to this morning - a beautiful sunrise over the Mississippi River with a barge heading down river and no mules or men pulling it, just a tug.

This is the 2nd time this year I've been able to camp along the River - last time near Natchez, MI and this time in W. Memphis, AR at the Tom Sawyer RV Park.  It was nice last night to sit by the river and watch the barges go both directions and I think they travel all night as I could hear them as I drifted off.

But, back to yesterday.  I decided to go to The Rosenbaum house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) instead of waiting to do it on the way home.  Of course I was in awe!!  This is the only house solely inhabited by the original owner and even though by the time she gave it to the town of Florence, it was riddled with termites.  The town raised the money to take the whole structure down and rebuild it according to original plans and help from Taliesin West.  It was so bad that even the books in the house were being eaten by the termites.  It was a great tour because there were only 3 of us so we could take as much time as we wanted and ask all the questions we wanted.

OK, I'm in McDonalds near Little Rock and the internet is WAY TOO SLOW & the food is pretty disgusting so I'll fill in the details from Branson - I hope.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heading to Branson

     Heading to Branson, MO to meet up with about 37 other "solo-trekkers".  We are calling our gathering "Meet in the Middle" because solos are coming from all corners of the US to meet in the middle of the US.
     There'll be lots of chit-chat, eating, sharing, shows, and wanderings.
     The gathering begins Thurs. afternoon and I'll leave on Monday to go to Eureka Springs, AR with a few other "solos" to explore this "Swiss Alps of the Ozarks" - a Victorian town with lots of Painted Ladies, shops, mountains, forests and supposedly one of the most architecturally beautiful churches in N. America, set in the woods.
     On my way home I'm hoping to swing by Florence, AL to see a Frank Lloyd Wright house - the only one in AL

So, I got an earlier than expected start today which was a good thing:

  • before I got to Orlando there was an accident so had to detour out of my way to stop at Lorraine's to get some of Buzz's famous pasta fazool, Lorraine's famous banana bread and to help her get rid of some over-done (for them, not me) chocolate chip cookies - dinner tonight!!

  • "check engine" light came on while on the detour so after hugging Antonia & getting my goodies, I had to go to the Roadtrek dealer:  Leisure Time RV in Winter Park to see what was going on.  The NICEST young tech gave me a lesson in filling my gas tank, turned off the light and we're hoping that's the issue.  So an hour later I'm on the road again.
  • and you know how annoying it is when your smoke detector's battery dies and it starts chirping?  Well, try that in a vehicle driving down a highway & there's nothing you can do about it until you stop.  I got a new battery from Lorraine but was going to wait until I got to Leisure Time to put it in but of course it then didn't chirp anymore - probably in the middle of the night tonight.
  • So, that's my 3 strikes for today and that better be the end of it.
I'm at Deer Run RV Park tonight in Troy, AL after passing Malone, FL when I got off I-10 to get on Rt. 231.  Only stopped 3 quick times - gas (cheapest it's been since last presidential election) at Loves which I loved, loved, loved because they had long-handled windshield cleaners so I could actually get all the way to Rhoda's middle, then once for lunch and once for you know what.  Gained an hour - Central Time (the hour I lost at Leisure Time) so was able to get to my planned-to-stop-at place.

BTW - if you need a typewriter repaired, there's a shop in Cottondale, FL that can do that for you.  Can't miss the little town - right in the middle of many cotton fields.
BTW - what do you think they do at a "Bull Testing" place?