Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri Trip ~ April 2010 ~ Part Two

One foot on the brake and one on the gas, Well, there's too much traffic, I can't pass, no!
So I tried my best illegal move
Well, baby, black and white come and touched my groove again!
Gonna write me up a 125
Post my face wanted dead or alive
Take my license, all that jive
I can't drive 55!
~Sammy Hagar~

Ozark National Forest ~ Rotary Ann

Eureka Springs, Arkansas to The Woodlands, Texas

April 21 ~ April 25, 2010

After our wonderful meal at the Crescent we headed back to the Home Sweet Best Western Inn of The Ozarks to rest up for our adventures the next day. Since Lorraine and I didn’t make it to the Thorncrown Chapel on our ill-fated trolley ride that was to be our first stop on the way to Branson. We met for breakfast the next morning and I had my first taste of Yellow Grits. Now this may be something the rest of you know about, but I’ve never heard of them before. Jack said I wouldn’t like them, but me being the ever adventurous connoisseur of food that I am, lol, I just had to try them. I should have listened to Jack. Ugh! Yellow grits? Grits should only be one color – white. The rest of the breakfast was great and gave me the stamina needed for a good ride. Yay food!!!

 We rode the short way to the Thorncrown Chapel and it was worth the wait. It is so very gorgeous. Just the walk up to the chapel is grand as you can see it in front of you and can enjoy the view as you are walking up. It truly is a wonder in the woods. From the highway you would never know this beauty awaits you if you just took a turn in your travels. The Chapel is basically wood and glass. I would say more glass than wood. At the front of the chapel it looks like you could walk straight out into the woods, except you couldn’t because you would hit glass.

If you look closely in the picture on the right you will see the yellow crosses in the grass.

That is how non-inhibiting the glass is. The posts on the glass have a lighted cross. If you look into the woods you will see small crosses that are yellow. They look as though they are mysteriously in the woods. However, it is the reflection of the lights from the posts. It is just gorgeous. A must see if you are in the area. I would love to see it at night with the lights on inside as I’m sure it is a wonder.

As we decided we had ogled the church enough, especially me as the roof had not caved in when I walked through the doors, we were heading out and guess what was waiting for us? Rain! Our most welcome friend on this trip. Off we went to retrieve the rain gear we thought would be stored for the rest of the trip, well, we had hoped. Jer and I found a small shelter in the woods under a small office type of building the chapel had and started the task of adding a layer. That accomplished, we headed off for Branson, Missouri. Home of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!!!

Branson is not far from Eureka Springs so it was not a long ride. And of course, after all of the wrangling with the rain gear the rain lasted just long enough to make it worth putting on, then left. But with the rain we had already had we weren't going to be caught with our rain gear down, lol.  Since it didn’t take long to get there we had time to go to the downtown area and look around.
Okay, I will confess now. As we were checking into the Home Sweet La Quinta in Branson we saw the first Starbucks in days. I just had to go and get us one. So off I went to the Starbucks at the Osmonds Theatre. As I was walking up the steps I fell flat of my knee and elbow. Oh, yeah. If there’s a place to fall I’m gonna do it. So, after checking in and deciding to go Downtown I decided to ride bitch that night – my knee wasn’t feeling too good.
Check this one out cause you ain't gonna see it too often!

Now Lorraine made sure to get plenty of pictures of that little scene as she thought it was so funny. I don’t think I look too bad back there, do you? It actually worked out pretty good because I got to take some good pictures of the strip area of Branson that I never could have gotten on my bike.

There are so many food stories in Branson. But I will share the best one. In two words  ~ Chocolate Soda! I had never heard of a Chocolate Soda before but Jack introduced us to the wonderful creation at an ice cream store.

They take a glass and coat it with chocolate syrup; they add soda, then scoops of vanilla ice cream. It foams up, they add real whipped cream, add more chocolate syrup, and top it with a cherry. Oh, good golly miss molly! That is the best thing I’ve ever had as far as ice cream goes. OOOHHH Doggie! I want another one as soon as I can find an ice cream shop that makes them.
After inducing a sugar coma I decided to take a trip next door the the fudge shop.

 Hey, they did advertise a foot of chocolate and the Dolly Parton Chocolate Bar. Inquisitive me just had to check it out. I mean, why not get my full weeks dose of chocolate while I had the oportunity? The foot of chocolate turned out to be a chocolate bar in the shape of a foot. And the Dolly Parton Chocolate?  Well, I'll just let the picture speak for itself....

Hey someone had to do it, and Big Daddy wouldn't so I had to pick up the slack....

Jer and Jack where we could always find them....

We saw some cool shops downtown with everything under the sun. One place we checked out was the German Clock shop.
 Some of the clocks in there reminded me of my sister. She lived in Germany for a time and she brought back some of the clocks and they had them there. Lorraine and I had a great time in the clock shop. We had to drag Jack and Jer in there to look at a couple of them.

After our shopping it was time to saddle up the iron horses and find some dinner and head on over to see the Oakridge Boys.
Promptly after arriving Lorraine and I had to take the requisite picture by the bands bus.

The Oakridge Boys were a real treat for me to see. I did not expect them to be that good, actually.

They certainly have not lost their vigor for life, singing, and performing. Their voices are spot on and the inflection in their voices just shows how much they love their songs.

The next morning we were heading to Russellville, Arkansas. The thing I was most looking forward to that morning was Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. I'm sure everyone else was glad we were at the Krispy Kreme doughnut stop in the trip so they could stop hearing about the damn things!

 While we all got ready Big Daddy headed to Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts and got 2 dozen donuts.
We went over to the breakfast room with our warm aromatic donuts to the stares of the envious diners. Yummy!
After the doughnut feast we saddled up for Russellville.
This was a very beautiful pull over along the Arkansas Highway 7 Scenic Byway . The mountains in Arkansas in the Ozark National Forest are so pretty. Everything was so green during the trip. Although at times the fog was heavy it was still gorgeous.

The rock I'm standing on was behind a rock barrier wall. I just had to climb over it and stand on the edge of the mountain.

We stopped at Rotary Ann.  It is one of the few place in the Ozarks where you can get a panoramic view of the mountains. And what a view it is! It's 850 feet to the valley below. Imagine that hike down.

As Lorraine and I were enjoying the view and trying to dodge the chiggers, oh yeah, you read that right - actual chiggers - Jer and Jack were talking to a guy who had driven up on a brand new Honda Goldwing. Yellow.  He had bought the motorcycle in McAllen, Texas and was riding it home to Canada. He just happened to make the rest stop that we were at and of course they started talking. He didn't know how to work the radio or the CB radio so they showed him how to do that.  He also had to check out the trailers and all of the goodies on the other bikes.  Once he was on his way we finally got them over to take a photo, which is the one at the top of the blog.  Finally!  A pic of all four of us that didn't involve food!

Russellville was basically a stop-over before heading to Hot Springs. We took advantage of the hot tub and the Cracker Barrel where we had a very relaxing late lunch.
The next morning after a nice rest it was time to start heading for one of the last stops on our trip, Hot Springs, Arkansas. I was excited and looking forward to the mineral baths.
Along the way our old friend Mr. Rain would join us once again. However, we wouldn't let that take away our ability of taking a pretty photo.

Ouachita Trailhead

The ride to Hot Springs was not a long one – about 2 hours.
 As were driving into town there were a lot of rock shops and crystal shops.

Downtown Hot Springs has many bath houses and as we drove through we got to see all of the old buildings.

 They were gorgeous.

The photos above were actually taken the next morning. Because as you can see with the photo below, when we arrived at the Home Sweet Clairion Inn in Hot Springs, there was rain. It wasn't raining like this when we arrived though.  We got all of our things inside and it waited a while before it came down like this. The view from the balcony was very nice with the lake there though.  Ah, I do love a good balcony with a good railing...
  We had planned on having a mineral bath and massage when we got there. After checking into the hotel and unpacking for what seemed like the hundredth time I started making calls to find us the best place for our spa treatment. We chose to go by taxi both due to weather as well as the after effects of a good soak and a good massage.

The spa mineral bath was so relaxing and seemed longer than the 20 minutes they said it was. The massage afterward was wonderful. As it was once again time to eat we went to a mexican food restaurant. Great food once again!
 Our original plan was to have seafood out on the deck of Fishermans Warf, but due to the rain we decided to wait until the next night. That night it rained so hard it was a sideways rain. I have never had water in my saddlebags. The next morning the things in my saddlebags were wet. That must have been some really hard rain to get into my saddlebags. Lorraine said it woke her up in the night, but I slept like a baby!
There's nothing like waking up to a full rainbow! And we had a wonderful one that morning.
 Since it had cleared up we went downtown to explore all of the shops and I guess you know what that means ~ Fudge! Have you ever had amaretto fudge?  Well, we have, and we can attest, that shit rocks! Well, Jack can't because he doesn't eat fudge, :( I had to give the rest of my fudge to Lorraine the next day just to get rid of it. (no nasty comments here, yes, i did buy that much of it!) And Jack found another chocolate soda. It was not as good as the one in Branson, but it was still good. (yes, i had another one!!!)

At the Harley Store that morning I met a guy called Rooster. He and his friends just happend to be from Cut and Shoot Texas. There were 100 of them in town for a weekend run. He invited me and Lorraine over to the Best Western that night for a get together in the parking lot. We passed on that one...Wonder why Big Daddy and Jack weren't invited?
There are such pretty views from the downtown area.
There are huge parks and alleyways cut into the rock. We rode out to a rock shop so I could get a crystal and a rock mined in Arkansas.
Guess what? I'm not sure if you've ever been to Arkansas in the rain, but if not I will let you in on a secret. Your bike gets dirty with red muddy nasty stuff. And if they happen to have construction on the Pig Trail you will get some black oily stuff on it too. So as Jack and Lorraine headed out for a mountain run we went over to the car wash and then to enjoy our balcony a little bit more.

Lorraine gave me her photos so I could use some on the blog. I had to laugh when I was looking at them and came across the photo below of Jack washing his bike at the car wash. His washing his bike is not so funny, it's the fact that she and I both found it photo worthy, lol.
P. S. Snakebite got his bath first, Big Daddy just didn't take a photo of it.

All shined up and ready for dinner the bikes with us tagging along pointed handlebars for Fisherman's Wharf. Just a short drive away we arrived and took a seat at the bar. Yummy! More food, just what the doctor ordered.
It was gorgeous outside.  I'm glad we waited out the rain so we could sit on the patio. The ducks swam by and there were turtles.
Now that there is one huge, long crab leg!!!
It was hard to believe that our vacation was actually coming to a close. That is always a sad realization. We had already added one additional stop on the way home.  Nacogdoches. Lorraine had remarked that Hot Springs had the most beautiful azaleas she had ever seen. What?  Well, two weeks before we had been to the Azalea Trail in Nacogdoches so we thought she just must see this site for herself.
This is the largest bloom of plants we could find that day

 Little did we know what a difference two weeks makes in the bloom of azalea life. There were still a few blooms but nothing like the flood of color we saw a couple of weeks before. But our first stop was going to be Texarkana, Texas or Texarkana, Arkansas, whichever you prefer.

Have you ever stood in TWO states at the same time? I mean really stood in two? I've done that at one of the state signs on the side of the roadway, but this is a real and true two state situation with the city name in each sate being the same.  The courthouse serves as the same for both the cites of Texarkana Texas and Arkansas. 
 How cool is that?  I'll tell you just how cool it is.  Jack drove that big bad Goldwing right up on the sidewalk of the courthouse to get his picture of him and the bike there, and I just had to follow.
Monkey-see-monkey-do, so Big Daddy was next. 

Whew!  Glad the state troopers were not there at that moment.  Wonder what state we would have been locked up in? I like to think it would have been Texas.

After finishing all of the picture taking we had to drive around the circular road of the courthouse a few times just to say we went to Texas, Arkansas, Texas, Arkansas, Texas, Arkansas, well, you get the idea.
Our last stop - Clear Springs Restaurant in Nacogdoches. 

Now do you think that is enough onion rings for four people?
 We said our goodbyes on Highway 59 and the 242 exit via CB Radio. It was good to get home. But it wasn't long before Big Daddy and I were planning the next adventure.  We've made our final decision for our summer vacation.  We are going to Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. I can't wait to see Bryce Canyon National Park, the Tent Rocks, and The Grand Canyon. So, after Jennifers wedding we'll saddle up again, pack the trailer and be off for places unknown and adventures not yet had, miles not yet driven, and memories not yet made. No matter where we are I know we will have a good time because we will have each other. And, let's face it, when your ass is planted on the seat of a Harley, how can you not have a great big smile on your face?

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