Book: ‘Travels with Charley’ by John Steinbeck
Just To Say We Were There
After a while of driving we found ourselves crossing through the corner of Texas. Part of our goal for this day was to drive into Texas and Oklahoma (which were both out of the way) just to say that I were there. So we made our way toward Texarkana and by early afternoon found ourselves in the Northeast corner of Texas. We stopped at a gas station to get a postcard, and then continued on our way. When we got to Route 8 we headed north on the backroad highway searching for a place to take a picture. There were a lot of fields, cattle and back roads on route 8 so eventually we pulled off onto a dirt road and quick got a picture with the book ‘Holes’ by a herd of cattle. Antonia stepped on some ants and got bit – she wasn’t happy about this.
Before crossing the Red River we stopped at some historic picnic spot near Woodstock, TX. Hobbes loved watching the tractor-trailers speed by as he stood in the grass. It was quite entertaining to watch. We soon got back in the car, and before we knew it we were in Arkansas. One of my regrets is that we didn’t stop at the pull off by Red River it looked so amazing driving across it! But we probably wouldn’t have had the time anyway.
We weren’t really in Arkansas all that long actually before we got to Oklahoma. We drove into Foreman and then headed west on route 32 for about 15 mins until we saw the sign for Oklahoma. We pulled over and took a photo by the sign and then thought it’d be a good idea to get a photo by the Arkansas sign too. We ran across the street and I realized I still had ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ as a book so it wouldn’t have worked. Being there were big trucks flying by us on this small back road we decided to skip it and head back into Arkansas.
We got gas in Foreman, looked for a postcard (to no avail) and got back on the road again. After a little while of driving through some beautiful woods and discovering some unexpected views we looked for a place to eat. (Side note: On our way I saw a place that had a firetruck standing end-for-end in a field with a flag on it, as well as a mail box that was shaped like a right-side-up firetruck – it was kinda weird and kinda cool). Eventually we found a place called ‘Ari’s Little Italy Italian Restaurant’. We ordered a large pizza (so we’d have lunch for the next day as well). It was amazing! And yet again, the whole time Hobbes watched and pointed at cars that passed by on the road.
That night we drove through Hot Springs, but it was too late at night to stop at the National Park, this was a bummer, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. As we made our way east on route 70 a cop decided to mess with my mind. After driving slowly in front of me, and alongside of me, he decided to pull me over when I merged into his lane in front of him. He said I merged too closely, but I think he was just finding a reason to pull an out-of-stater over. He never gave us a ticket, but just asked about our trip and let us go – I’m sure having Hobbes crying in the back helped. (The next day another cop tried to do the same thing, but I decided not to speed up or move until I reached my exit so he wouldn’t have a reason to pull me over).
That night we slept in Searcy, AR. The next morning, we looked at a map and determined that instead of passing straight from Arkansas into Tennessee that we would head south down to the Mississippi River State Park / St. Francis National Forest, get a picture on the banks of the Mississippi River, and then drive through Mississippi as we made our way toward Nashville. It took us an extra hour, but we soon found ourselves watching a barge move up river on the banks of the second longest river in the United States. We took a picture with ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, talked with some locals, walked around on the shores, and then drove back through the park to find a less buggy spot to eat lunch.
Earlier, before we had driven down the 3 mile dirt road to the Mississippi we had noticed that there was a dam and little beach by a lake. So on our way back through the little bayou we determined we would stop there for lunch. The lake was called ‘Storm Creek Lake’. We got out our pizza, from the night before, and ate while sitting on the breezy banks of the lake. It was a nice spot to take a break before crossing the Mississippi River on our way back north.
- For some reason it was really memorable just watching Hobbes turning back and forth to watch the big trucks pass by in Texas.
- The view crossing the Red River.
- The pizza in Arkansas was surprisingly good.
- It might not be a positive highlight, but getting pulled-over sure was interesting.
- Watching the barge on the Mississippi. The timing was really cool because it just made its way into view when we got there and made the experience even cooler.