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Travel Log - Arkansas
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Arkansas, May 25 - 26

Sign in Tennessee:  "Davy Crockett Motel & Body Boutique Tanning Salon"  Do you remember the words to the "Davy Crockett" song?  "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free, killed him a _______(what?) when he was only ____ (how old?)"

One last parting observation about Elvis--he may have been into drugs because of the interior decorating at Graceland.  You see it, you'll need drugs too. 

Sign in Loneke, Arkansas:  "Fleamarket and pageant wear." (You can't make this stuff up.)

Sign on country road (Arkansas):  "Toltec Baptist Church" (Isn't this a bit of a contradiciton?  The Toltecs were pagans and into sacrifices, etc.)

Was traveling behind a pick up truck when one of the tires on his trailer exploded.  Not much of an event if you're in a normal passenger car but sort of interesting when rubber schrapnel jumps 20 feet in the air and then starts to come down in your cockpit.  Dodged the stuff and continued on asking the driver if he needed help.  He looked bored, like this happens all the time and shook his head.

Outside of Carlisle, Arkansas you can find a real life drive in restaurant complete with car hops.  This is Sonic country for those of you who thought that drive ins were just for nostalgia.  Met Josh from Hazen, Arkansas who was unabashedly in love with Seno and said the one thing people should know about his state is:  "the weather is never the same...you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it'll change."  I also found a food thing I haven't seen before:  PANCAKE ON A STICK.  So next time you're hungry and on Highway 40 or 70, stop by and see Josh (he's the one in the red shirt) (they all wear red shirts, it's a Sonic thing) and tell him Alyce sent you.  He waved and said "take care and God bless".  Now isn't that a nice Southern thing to hear?

Making that sharp turn from Highway 15 onto 165, I narrowly missed a big turtle in the road!  Cars and trucks were whizzing by him and also missing him by fractions of an inch.  I HAD TO SAVE THIS TURTLE--since so many folks have been saving me lately I felt I needed to return the gesture.  Did you know that turtles pee when they're frightened?  I didn't either.  And did you know that they're frightened when you pick them up?  This guy was as big as a dinner plate and dark green like a Honda.  After he endured a photo session on the hood of my car, I found a nice spot for him near a creek and left him part of my breakfast banana.  Hopefully he is off enjoying a mud bath today. 

1,300 years ago a native people built a mound that is still 50 feet high.  They did this a basketful of dirt at a time.  And not just one mound--many.  The Toltec Mounds Archeological State park is the place you want to go to see what is one of the great mysteries of prehistoric America.  Robin Gabe will show you the film and point you in the direction of two paths to get up close and personal with the mounds.  She said that this group was probably not related to the Moundbuilders of Ohio and Wisconsin.  The largest mound here was probably a ceremonial temple and it took generations to build.

I am fascinated with the idea that these people who had their hands full with SURVIVAL would take valuable manpower to build such a structure.  If you had a pile of dirt in your backyard, in 5 years it would pretty flat.  So how big would you have to build a mound to have it be 50' high in 1,300 from now? 

Learned something else at the interpretive center--these Indians tanned leather using deer brains and human urine.  My questions are:  who is the Indian who came up with this idea and how did they come up with it?  was it an accident?  and how does the park service know this?

The mounds line up for solstice and equinox and if I were anywhere near this park on June 21, I would definitely be at the park for sunrise!

Zipped right around Little Rock and was developing a hunger.  Thought I'd be a good kid and take the exit for Subway but I got sidetracted by the BROWN'S Restaurant signs.  Says seating for 400 and buses welcome, so I figured they might have room for me.  What caught my eye was "catfish" as I intended to have this Arkansas delicacy while I was here.

Well, this place is the stuff of legends, actually.  The buffet is 100 feet long and has 150 items most of which have seen the inside of a fryer.  Wait until you are I'm-Gonna-Faint hungry before walking into Brown's.  Most people waddle into Brown's I noticed but no matter.  The catfish was truly wonderful as was the moist chicken but the HUSH PUPPIES were the BEST I've ever had!  There was something stuffed in real crab shells and then the whole thing fried together, I'm assuming that was crab cakes. 

If I lived near Brown's Seno would have to have a bigger engine to haul me around in.  A paper on the table read:  "We continue to expand."  So do the customers.  I left there with enough grease in me to lube a Cadillac...and I enjoyed every single morsel and I'd do it all over again in a minute. 

We Oregonians sometimes like to give the impression that we invented trees but I'm here to tell you that I have never seen thicker forested land than here in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.  Without my glasses on the trees look like brocolli, they're packed in so tight.  Highway 5 looks like the Blue Ridge Parkway, gentle curves and hills and so much green--it is wonderful.

So now I am here in the safe clutches of my friend Marilu who lives here--a lady I met at an Oxford class nearly two years ago.  Marilu has got it "goin' on" as they say--she can nail human behavior and motivation faster than anybody I know.  She is bright and funny and informs me that 97% of the people who live here have college degrees.  A few feet from here is her deck which looks out over the lake and I am trying to videotape the thieving squirrels at the bird feeder while she is at church. 

Seno has the great luxury of being inside a garage and we are both breathing big sighs of relief to be here in an actual house. So I think I'll stay.  For a few days anyway.  Wednesday the local Red Hat Society is having a luncheon and then I'll head north.  That's the plan if I can find the fortitude to continue (what's the alternative?)  There is a thin line between courage and insanity; I have erased this line.

Will she make it the 3,000 miles to home in Oregon?  Stay tuned.
 

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Yes, drive-in restaurants are alive and well -- this is the SONIC near Carlisle, Arkansas Here's Josh who says come visit and expect a weather change.
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Sign near Lonoke, Arkansas.
Oh, yeah, like this is a choice ...
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My hitchhiking turtle friend.
Toltec Mounds State Park.
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The 50' mound probably used for ritual ceremonies. Robin Gabe, Arkansas park interpreter, shares some humor at Mounds State Park.
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Seno gathered a crowd at Mary Lee's Memorial Day morning Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Marilu Grose, my patient and generous hostess with her buddies Vera Liermann and Sara Willis.
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Jim Davis and his truck with the baritone engine --  can it sing! Marleen Davis with an antique dirt track racer -- I would love to have this car!
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Jim shows Marilu the 1957 Issetta -- the single door opens like a refrigerator. The 3-wheeled 1957 Messerschmidt -- the top lifts up like the cockpit cover of a, well, a Messerschmidt Airplane
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The famous John Hollansworth and his famous Green Dragon, a 1917 Peerless that has been in the Great Race four times.  The engine sounds like an orchestra and John gave Alyce a wonderful ride thru the countryside in this vintage racer. The Fred Astair of the collection -- graceful and elegant, this 1950 Jaguar Mark V is getting ready for a show in Kansas City.
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