After 3 quick over nights, we arrived in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. On the way we had two overnight stops, where we were at near freeway RV parks, and didn’t even unhook the trailer from the truck. The last stop, in Oklahoma City, we did unhook and drove to Guthrie’s Summit View Cemetary, where several generations of my relatives, including my Mother, are buried. Later we had the opportunity to have dinner with my Aunt Maxine and her daughter Sarah. Then the next day, we arranged to meet our friends Patty and Phil for lunch in Tulsa. I have known Patty since high school we try meet Phil and Patty whenever we pass through Tulsa.
So traveling with a travel trailer requires some foreplanning to stop for lunch. First, convenience to the freeway is helpful, and space to park the pickup and trailer is essential. And, of course, we have to consider temperature, since we leave Mouse in the truck. Luckily, with temperatures in the mid-sixties, that was not an issue. I chose Casa Tequila, a well-known Mexican restaurant right at the 51st and Harvard exit off I-44. With adequate parking we were set. As always, our time with Patty and Phil was enjoyable. We all share an interest in travel and enjoy sharing past travel experiences and future plans.
After lunch, we had another 3 hours before we reached Eurkea Springs. The first hour and half was along US-412, an easy, 4 lane controlled access route, that was a quick drive. But after Springdale, Arkansas, we traveled the last hundred miIes on narrow, winding and hilly highways. By the way, I could have used windy here, but the heteoryms windy and windy are confusing even to native English speakers. I know my husband is rolling his eyes as he reads this.
US Highway 412 stretches the entire width of Oklahoma and Arkansas, through the boot heel of Missouri, as well as parts of New Mexico and Tennessee. It is one of three anomalous numbered US Highways, along with US 400 and 425, that do not conform to the US Highway numbering system. All three are 3 digits and not spurs or loops off of one of the two digit US Highways. I know US 101 is three digits, but in the highway numbering system, 101 is actually only two digits and the 10 is considered a single digit. BTW, when proofing this, Bill said, “enough with the highway numbers!”
Back to Springdale. Did you know that Springdale is home of Tyson’s Foods? Tyson produces over 20 percent of America’s poultry, pork and beef production, although poultry is what they are most known for. No we did not tour a chicken production facility. I am fairly certain that would turn me off chicken forever.
After our windy (long i) road, we arrived into Eureka Springs. Eureka Springs has an interesting history. The area was known for its mineral springs by Native Americans and over the years those waters have been the basis for spas, hotels, the Ozark Spring Water Company. Today, due to over-extractions, most of the more than 120 springs no longer produce usable water. It is interesting that all of the springs were cold water, so no soaking in steaming hot mineral springs. During its heyday, in the late 19th century, Eurkea Springs was the second largest city in Arkansas and during this time, the extant Victorian homes, hotels and commerical buildings were built. Today, the entire city is on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Eureka Springs Historic District. During the 60s and into the 70s Eureka Springs attracted artists, hippies, gays and lesbians, all intent of taking advantage of the city’s remoteness to live their lives without the normal cultural restrictions of the time. Today, evidence of all are still visibile and the city is known as the most gay friendly city in an otherwise conservative Arkansas.
Bill and stayed 3 nights at the Magnetic Valley Retreat, a gay men’s resort just a mile out of town. It was quiet and secluded, but was close enough to town for us to spend time enjoying the uniquness that Eureka Springs displays.
Even though we were in our travel trailer and could cook dinner there, we elected to dine out while in Eureka Springs. Our first night we ate at a local Thai restaurant, called simply Thai House. Bill and I have tried Thai restaurants in many cities and this one rates right up with the best.
The next night we wanted to try some local flavor and we did just that at the restaurant called Local Flavor Café. Recommended by our hosts at Magnetic Valley, the food was great. I had pork ribs and Bill a steak. Service was good and the food excellent. The only issue, was during the entrée we realized the baked brie appetizer had been missed. This resulted in a free dessert, which neither of us needed, but we graciously accepted.
For our final night we tried, arguably, one of Eureka Springs’ best, Rougue’s Manor. Anthony, the new partner at Magnetic Springs, suggested this. He said it was the best restaurant in town,a little expensive, but worth it. He also offered to text his friend that manages the restaurant to get us a table. Apparently he has some pull, because this was our table.
The food was very good and as Anthony mentioned, pricey. In fact California pricey. But we enjoyed the whole experience. Afterwards, Bill went back to camp and I checked in on the Drag Show at the local gay bar, Eureka Live. Not usually my thing, but Anthony had offered us VIP passes and seats at his table, so I thought we should make an appearance.
Our time in Eureka Spring was fun. It was someplace I had always wanted visit, but due to its remoteness, a place we are unlikely to revisit. But, I am glad we did.
Next up, Missouri, but I will leave that for the next post. Stay tuned!