|My wife wanted to take a roadtrip to the Ozarks this year. I didn't know anything to do in the Ozarks, but we went anyway.
I had never been to the Ozarks before (perhaps driving through at night, but never as a roadtrip).
First, if you didn't know you were in the Ozarks, you'd think you were in the Smokies (or at least the Appalachians). Beautiful.
It is not nearly so crowded (although this might have been due to COVID-19), nor commercialized. If you go to Cherokee, NC, you find gift shops and other such things lining the roads. In Tahlequah, OK, the capital of the Western Band of the Cherokee Nation, it is just a small town. I couldn't even find gift shops, although their were several historical museums associated with the Cherokee (but closed due to COVID-19).
Due to the heat, we decided to do more riding then getting out and walking around. I had wanted to get in some of the creeks up in those parts, but they were all just trickles for the most part, so we didn't do that.
We visited the Crystal Bridges museum in Rogers, Arkansas. It is supported by one of the Walton family. It was very nice, even though it took a liberal view of America (i.e., how American heroes were actually racists or hurtful to indigenous peoples, etc.).
Also visited Eureka Springs, AR. This was something like Gatlinburg, TN. That is, it was pretty commercial and oh-so-special. We were not particularly impressed, but I can understand why some folks might really enjoy it. It did have a little grotto/cave/spring that, so help me, was only about 10 steps down, but suddenly took about about 30 degrees of Fahrenheit in those 10 steps. That was worth the trip alone. I was impressed with that place. They also have some really nice homes. Many Victorian/antique. A lot of Gay Pride flags (which probably explains the nice houses, since decoration/design is often something that gay men do particularly well).
It was southern Arkansas and western Oklahoma that impressed us the most in terms of scenery. Big mountains/big prominence. Etc.
On the way back, we stayed one night in Texas (Texarkana--no facemasks required there--but pretty much everywhere else). Then drove through Louisiana. We purposely headed to Slidell, LA, to eat at the new Middendorfs. Their specialty is thin-fileted catfish. I'm not a big fan of catfish, but it's so thin, and thus so well counter-balanced by the breading, that it is delicious! My wife ordered shrimp--which were a thick as a thumb.
But I did make two culinary mistakes on the trip. I was saved in the Keys in 1968. I feel assured that I am God's man when it comes to Key Lime Pie. Many restaurants offer it, but while the pie is good, it's not good KEY LIME PIE. I hope that makes sense. If you're a Christian, I'm sure it does.
Anyway, they had Key Lime Pie on the menu at Sparky's in Eureka Springs. While my son said it was the best hamburger he'd ever had, I made the mistake of ordering "Miami" pork or something like that. It was likely a very good dish, but I was expecting Cuban pork like at Pipo's in Tampa. Nope.
But I ordered the Key Lime Pie (after questioning the waitress who assured me...that never works, trust me). It was really cheesecake with some sort of attempted Key Lime flavor, but while it was good pie/cheesecake, it was poor KEY LIME PIE.
Then I did the same thing at Middendorf's in Slidell, LA. My wife and son said I ordered it at their other restaurant when coming back from the Rockies on our 2015 roadtrip, but I had forgetten (or perhaps hoped the new restaurant had improved on it).
NOPE. First, it was about a 16th of a pie, instead of the 8th to which I think I am deserving if I'm paying more than $4 for!. And it was not good Key Lime Pie--and not even particularly good regular pie. But the fish was great! My son and I shared a large order, along with ordering an extra side of fries and a salad for him.
CHURCHES OF GOD. We saw exactly ONE in our sojourning through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. Yes, I know we have churches out there, but I was surprised that we didn't see any more than that on our travels. Yes, much of it was on old backroads or interstates, but I had hoped to find one, perhaps take the pastor out to dinner or just give a little offering, etc. But alas! (Of course, I know that we are far better known in the our corner of the South, but I hoped to see some along the way. I think we were in Louisiana when we saw our first one.
In any case, the Lord was very good to us, keeping us safe, etc. I am sharing these things just in case you might want to take a trip out there. I really enjoyed it. The scenery was wonderful.
LAST THING (for now): Just as there is a Four Corners area, there is a place where Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri come together. It's it an old monument, sitting alongside a very rural, sparsely traveled, back road. There is an old country store sitting across the road. It was apparently not considered anything special, but it was special to me. Due to the way the monument is designed, I couldn't be in all three states at once, but I was in two states at once. Further, I was able to travel from MO to OK then to AR in just seconds!
If you do go, plant a Church of God somewhere out there.
|Hon. Dr. in Acts-celeratology
7/27/20 2:18 pm