From Harrison, Arkansas, we drove south on Hwy 7, a state scenic byway. It was a 2 lane road, very hilly, very winding. Not the sort of road to make time on. But that wasn't what we were after.
We really saw the local flavour. I tried to get a snap in passing of some colourful cabins with everything sort of imaginable debris scattered in the yard. Too fast by, to catch anything interesting.
We did stop at the very beautiful overlook. Most of the time we were surrounded by hills and trees, a lot of oak and pine, with just a few maple and sumac bushes to give that flash of red in the landscape.
We also stopped at Nellie's Quilts and Crafts, a humble little building with oodles and oodles of quilts, along with baskets, and gewgaws. There was a beautiful, white, whole cloth quilt there, kingsized, with lovely handstitching, scalloped edges--a real work of art. At $600 it was a buy! I seriously considered it, but when I thought of how a plain white quilt would look in our bedroom, I decided not to splurge. I'll remember it, though.
Some time after 3 p.m. we reached Ouachita State Park, and were able to rent a "cabin" for two nights (for $400!). It was super nice new and beautiful, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, spacious living/dining room and well equipped kitchen (Cuisinart appliances). All the furniture is top notch, craftsman style.
There's a large balcony overlooking the lake, surrounded by tall pines and oaks. By a little after 4 p.m. we were sitting on comfy wooden deck chairs, relaxing with beer, cheese and crackers, lulled by the sound of the wind
in the trees, the crows cawing. As we watched two hawks (or maybe eagles) circling on the updrafts, oak leaves and pine needles drifted down onto the balcony.
I could stay here all winter!!! (But not at $200 a night!)
After a bit I cooked some supper: spam, potatoes, canned beans with mushroom soup and french onion rings. Vanilla yogurt for dessert.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28
We walked over to see the Three Sisters Springs, famous in the early 1900's as possessing curative powers. People came, camped nearby, drank gallons of the water, and were cured (apparently) of stomach
and kidney problems. When the Corps of Engineers took over the area mid-century, the water was deemed "not potable."
Later in the afternoon we hiked the Caddo Trail. It was very primitive: narrow and very rocky. In places the trail was concealed by fallen leaves which made the footing treacherous.
This is the view from the point of the peninsula, and was a beautiful view.
After 2 3/4 miles of a 4 1/2 mile trail we decided we'd have enough, and left the trail, came back to the service road and trooped on home.
This is a view of the trail on the north side of the peninsula. It's actually fairly easy to see here, but in many places was difficult to find. We did rely on the yellow blazes many times to see where we had to go.
Had a lovely supper: potatoes, carrot and sugar snap peas, chicken breast with fresh mushroom sauté with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Spent a quiet evening reading and knitting.
By the way, Ouachita is pronounced: wash´i taw.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29
Yesterday an icon on the dash lit up, meaning "check the engine." Jim checked everything possible, but couldn't get rid of the warning light. So we decided to go to Little Rock, find a Toyota dealer and get it checked out.
By noon we were trying to check into a Motel 6, with a totally incompetent, but sweet young woman who said she was new on the job, only two weeks. It took over half an hour. I've never seen such a "dipsy-doodle"! But we did get a room.
By looking on the web, we found a Toyota dealer, and drove out there. What an excellent business they were! Huge place, well organized, friendly people, competent mechanics--it was a good experience all the way round.
Everything checked out fine. The problem may have come from a gas cap not screwed down tightly enough. But for $50 everything was checked, even the brakes, etc. So we are all reassured that we're good to go!