I type this as we are bumping along down I-70, Kansas, in the wind and rain.
Since I last wrote, we traveled through Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and now, Kansas. Today our destination is Louisville, Colorado to visit my aunt and uncle. We are in our last week, our 7th week, and hopefully, with good weather, we will be home on Friday after 54 days on the road!
West Monroe, Louisiana
From West Monroe, we drove into Arkansas, which for me, was a sweet relief for a few reasons. One, we were finally heading north and two, we returned to the “real fall” season; the Ozark Mountains were stunning with every color of autumn and I was most in awe of the bright reds and burgundies.
Arkansas is the one state that Dale has wanted to visit for years. He read about the lovely state parks and in particular, Crater of Diamonds State Park.
We arrived at Crater of Diamonds on Monday, the 28th. On Tuesday, we put on our grubby clothes and Dale rented equipment to dig for his wealth. He dug and shifted in the morning, took a break for lunch, and back out for the afternoon. Well . . . . needless to say, he didn’t come away with a thing but he had a good time. I, however, found sitting right on top of a mound a bright, eye-catching gem;a planted, store bought quartz crystal!
The state park campground was lovely at Crater of Diamonds. We weren’t camping on top of each other, the sites were perfectly large enough. The park also had nice walking trails down to the Little Missouri River which the dogs and I enjoyed more than once.
We traveled onward and northward to our next Arkansas state park, Bull Shoals/White River State Park. Now this, I believe, is our overall most favorite state park and campground. Again, the camping sites were large and spacious, the park was clean and it had a lot of open area; it was just beautiful, especially in the fall. The autumn colors were the most spectacular I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to be there at the peak weekend for the brilliant colors. As a matter of fact, while we were there a storm passed over and blew a great many of the leaves off the trees.
The day we arrived at the park, it had just stopped raining creating mist on the river.
Dale tried his skill at fly fishing and that he did, he fished (meaning no catch).
Dale and I without any hesitation highly recommend Bull Shoals/White River State Park. The park is nestled in the Ozark Mountains near the boarder of Missouri. I am sure in the summer it is booked to full capacity with camp side fishing and the lake up the road. The autumn offered us a camp site on the river and maybe a third of the campground was in use.
After our time at Bull Shoals, it was a short drive to Nixa, Missouri. Dale’s cousin, Sheri, and her family live in Nixa and the last time we visited with the Weters was 20 years ago when our kids were little.
Nathan, their son, recommended that Dale and I spend our Saturday at Silver Dollar City, an amusement park in the Ozarks. That weekend was the opening weekend for An Old Fashioned Christmas. I know it seems early, at least to me, but it sure made me begin to think about the Christmas season! We decided rather than go on the amusement rides, roller coasters in abundance, we would eat our way through the park – and that we did! We left the park fat and happy and uncomfortable!
The next morning, we ate some more. We had a delicious breakfast at the Waffle and Pancake House, where the locals eat. And after breakfast Ray, a county commissioner, drove us around showing us his district and surrounding areas and his boyhood hometown, Sparta, a small, rural community. Then in the evening, we ate some more! The Weter’s daughter, Erin, and her husband, Phil, came over for dinner which was finished with a key lime pie . . . so yes, indeed, we not only ate our way through the park but Nixa as well!
We left that area with fond memories. Arkansas was surprisingly beautiful and Missouri was all about family – oh, and eating! And yesterday Dale and I had our last “Cheeseburger Monday”. Go ahead, say, “Gross.”