Thursday, June 4, 2009

MO, AR, TN, MS and AR again

It's a long way from St Louis to Alabama.
I could have flown into Memphis and got a jump on a few miles, but St Louis is the easiest airport for my parents to get to. The plan was for them to join me here and we'd take a road trip to two of my five never-been-to states. Right through Mississippi on to Alabama, then turn around for their place in Mountain Home Arkansas.
The plan has been changed. Mom is getting over a mysterious illness that may or may not be Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. She's getting better, but she's not up for all the miles. So Dad's here and we have to be home by Sunday night, which means Alabama is too far. Well, we could get there if all we wanted to do was drive like maniacs. But we don't do that any more. Yes, we're going to Mississippi just to see it, and we'd like to get to know it a little, not just blow through.
Alright. I'll just come back and we'll visit Alabama some other time.
Cutting through a bit of Arkansas on US55 we stopped for a snack. Good thing Mom sends Dad off with a cooler full of apples and cheese sticks and grapes and suchlike, because there wasn't much real food at the "store" in Turrell. I just wanted some crackers to add to our picnic, but the boxes of saltines looked so old the glue at the ends had given up. So we strolled with our cooler down the access road to Lake Wapanocco. Lots of birds out, and turtles in the scummy ponds, but we never made it to the lake. There were plenty of trains going by, too. We could hear them in the distance, sometimes rumbling by for five or ten minutes.
We cut through an even shorter bit of Tennessee, where we missed the exit to the visitors' center so we didn't stop there at all. Some day. I hear Memphis is a nice enough place. Mostly.

Stopping in Holly Springs, Mississippi, for the night, we went off and explored Wall Doxy State Park in the late afternoon. That's a nice little lake. The walk around it is only a couple of miles, and the camping and picnicing areas almost empty on this last Saturday in May. Where is everyone? So much the better for us to enjoy the peace and quiet.I was fascinated by the swampy end of the lake, where the trees are all out in the water. Usually when I see trees out in a lake it means they'll be dead soon. This is the kind of lake you've got to canoe on. It's a good fishing lake. Lots of lures and floats hanging from the trees.

Holly Springs looked festive, under its flags and grand trees, but was rather sad. Most of the shops on the square were closed or on their way, unfortunately. The viable area was the strip along the freeway, all fast food chains and Wallmart and riding lawnmower dealers. And our hotel. There were lots of really nice old mansions in the town, kept up, lawns mowed, prosperous - why was the interesting, personal, town center dying if these people were still here to make it live? Where did they go instead for a slice of good pie? There was nowhere to buy food we could see except for Walmart.
The people we came across were friendly as could be, smiling and saying hello and waving to us from across the street. At the one open restaurant on the square they promised home-made ice cream for dessert. The orange sherbet was ready, but we'd have to wait for the strawberry ice cream. They were just now cutting up the berries. Sure enough, at the back table by the stairs was a white-haired woman with red fingers, cutting strawberries into a bowl. I think I'll go with the sherbet.
Before heading for dinner, Dad asked the receptionist at the hotel where we could have a beer with dinner, and she told us - Oh, no, not in this county! So while we mulled over our softdrink choices, the waitress piped up with - and of course there's a full bar, beer, wine, well drinks, whatever you want!
Oh! Well, yes, a cold one would be great.
Sunday morning early we're off to a new lake. The mist is still on the water, and five or six boats are out fishing. Dad's been to this lake and knows it's too big to walk around in the time we have. And if we go to the right, there's an earthen dam to walk along for the view.

But eventually it's time to turn west and head for home. We've got a bit of Mississippi delta to cross. Dad knows where the bridges are so we don't have to go back up to Memphis, too. Good thing! Crossing at Helena the Arkansas welcome center advertises free coffee, which naturally draws us in. There's a short hike not far. And there's a good mexican restaurant about three miles up the road. It's early for lunch, but if we hike first and follow the unwritten "No Backtracking Rule", there may not be real food on a Sunday for miles and miles and miles. Let's eat now. Good idea!
Now for the walk, along an old railbed converted to hiking-biking. They've got 7 miles of the 73 ready for us. We only do 3. It's hot out suddenly, and walking the tree-tunnel flat featureless trail, after a mile we've pretty much got the idea. We'll just get to that road crossing up ahead and turn around.
Enough messing around. Time to hit the road.
Since I live in the region of Auvergne and there is an Auvergne Arkansas more or less on our route, if we insist it go that way, we went by there. Blink and you'll miss it.
That's all for this post (and probably way too much!).

1 comment:

gégé said...

super jolies ces photos. LEs paysages sont super. PS tes cerises sont prêtes.