Ely, Minnesota – An Up North Experience

We left the Upper Peninsula, drove through Wisconsin then on to Minnesota.  After driving very narrow and winding roads for who knows how long we finally arrived in Ely.   Everything is south of Ely.  You don’t to go to Ely unless 1) you live there 2) you are purposely going there.  You would never get lost and end up in Ely.   John came to this small town with his brother and other friends when they were just kids on a canoeing and camping expedition and had always talked about returning.  So when we arrived, I noticed that, albeit the town had obviously grown some, Ely gave the appearance of being just like the town on the tv series Northern Exposure.  It is just too darn cute, hilly with lots of log and wooden buildings.  While there, we visited Rockwood Cafe, a really cool restaurant where a band happened to be playing really fun music and where we met several people at the table across from us, some of who had lived in Ely for many years.  We met the producer for the local tv station who was sitting with Sven, a Swedish guy, who brought with him his alphorn.  The alphorn is an instrument I had never seen and it was by far the biggest horn ever.  It had beautifully hand painted decorations.  Sven suggested I try to blow the alphorn and it truly was a blast.  This instrument is really big in Sweden and must be amazing to hear as it echoes through the alps.  


We’ve been traveling with our friends, the Wests and the Waltmans and the big thing in Ely is to enjoy the wilderness experience.  While the girls stayed behind, the boys charted a guide and a small motorized boat and off fishing in the boundary waters they went.  They had to carry their boat over a couple of portages and that was pretty arduous for the old geezers, however, they were hoping for rewards at the end.

They caught just enough fish for a delicious shore lunch and some sides provided by the guide but had no luck catching anything worth bringing back, so back at the ranch we ended up having burgers in the evening.

What I later learned was that John was having chest pains radiating down his left arm since he underwent strenuous activity, the pain although managed with nitroglycerin pills, would just not go away.  We ended up leaving early the following day and drove to St. Cloud where he was seen and immediately taken in for a cardiac catherization.  After incredibly speedy medical care, he now has 4 cardiac stents, but most importantly he has now used up all of his 9 lives.

After recuperating from the procedure we continued our trip, however rather gingerly.  We are on our way to Sturgis, SD with stops at Wall and Mitchell.





  




Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

We left Traverse City and on to Cheboygen we went.  We purchased tickets to get on the ferry to Mackinac (silent “c”, pronounced Mackinaw) Island. 

Front row: Richard Waltman, me and Linda West
Back row: Bonnie Waltman, Walter West and John



Going to Mackinac Island was pretty exciting as it has a quaint, charming, historic and pre-automobile ambiance dating all the way back to 1898.  You need to travel either by foot power, either walking or peddling or you can choose to use horse-drawn carriages. 

The Waltmans and we opted to take our bicycles on the ferry and once docked right on Haldimand Bay, adjoined to Main Street.  Main Street is a bustling business district filled with hotels, restaurants, souvenir  stores and tons of fudge shops.  We rode our bikes to the Arch Rock and thought we could not make it, as the roads are pretty steep.  Once there, we were amazed at how pretty the views were.  Through the rock formation you may view the incredibly blue waters of the Straits of Mackinac.

We opted to ride the road around the island which is Highway M-185, the only state highway where cars are banned.  This road is eight miles in circumference and takes you past the Arch Rock and provides fabulous views of the Strait.


While driving around the island, one of the most striking visuals is how clean and clear the water was, albeit very cold.  Since we had not been in any body of water for a long time, so we opted to at least dip our toes on this one. 



Along the shoreline, we saw many cairns of various sizes.


When we completed our ride around the island, Bonnie and I  visited the Grand Hotel.


We had much fun here and it was time to leave and since there were many things left undone, we will return.

Bonnie and Rich and Linda and Walter joined us in our journey to Sault Saint Marie, (pronounced Soo St. Marie) so we could see huge vessels pass through the Soo locks.  This was an experience that cannot be seen anywhere else in the US.  I believe they are in the process of building yet another set of locks to accommodate even larger ships than they do now. 

This particular vessel has only inches on either side to pass through the lock.


When we got our fill of watching the locks and umpteen number of vessels, we continued on to Taquamenon Falls.

While at Tahquamenon Falls we hiked to the lower falls and then took a tour on the Toonerville Trolley, which is a train ride that took you to the Taq River where you would board a large double decker boat for a several hour trip up the river, viewing occasional wildlife, if lucky, to view the upper falls.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, the viewing platform was not functional and thus we were only able to see the falls from behind.  This was rather disappointing and had we been told, we certainly would have opted for a different adventure.  Oh well, lesson learned. 

We also drove to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point.  We learned about the many ships that have sunk in the Great Lakes but especially about the mysterious shipwreck of SS Fitzgerald back in 1975.  Her 200 lb. brass bell was recovered and sits in the museum.

Back at the campsite however, each evening the mosquitoes anxiously awaited our return from our activities so they could have their dinner.  I have never seen more vicious creatures.  If they could organize, they could literally take us for a flight!

We continued our journey to Munising, home of Pictured Rocks.  We took the sunset tour on Lake Superior to see these rock formations and it totally gave us the wow factor.

We were taken into a cove.
Turned around and what a view!

While in Munising, we decided to visit Marquette.  The Marquette downtown area is very artsy.

Beautiful tree – real or fake?

St. Peter’s Cathedral



We visited Miner’s Falls

The Upper Peninsula is a very pretty place to visit.  What was most spectacular is the pristine waters of Lake Superior.  Next on our trip is Wisconsin.




Michigan – from Ann Arbor to Traverse City – What a Trip!

When we left Goshen we drove straight to Ann Arbor, MI.  We drove around town and went to see the University of Michigan’s football stadium.

Walking around downtown Ann Arbor we came across Graffiti Alley, which is the only place where street art is permitted.  It is an ever changing platform to established and emerging artists yearning to showcase their works of art.


We have very long time friends who live in West Bloomfield.  They own and run Sposita’s, a fabulous Italian Restaurant, so we stopped in for a long overdue visit and were joined by friend and co-worker, Gary Young and his friend, Shelly.  The meal was superb but the company was even better and it was fun to reminisce about stories of years past. 

Gary Young, Shelly, Lois Sposita, Joe Sposita and us.

While in the area, of course, we had to go to the Ford Museum and we could not forget Motown.  Ford Museum is huge and to fully appreciate it, you must allow at least one full day, that is not taking into account going to Greenfield Village.  Since we knew we did not have the full day, we opted to take a tour of only the museum so we could get a good sense of its collections.  The museum is not all about cars, as I had thought.  It is more about innovation and how it has allowed us to progress in history.  It is simply an amazing place!  Sadly, the assembly line had stopped operating only a few hours before we arrived, so next time we will have to better coordinate and to allow more time to revisit.

Lincoln’s chair:

What caught my eye, was that I was never exposed to this type of segregation and to actually see it displayed was thought provoking.

Below is the actual bus where Rosa Parks made her point.  Actually, she was seated on the right side in the middle between the front and the back, not the back of the bus as is commonly stated.

We had lunch at the snack bar of the Henry Ford, which is an old fashioned diner with jukeboxes at the tables.



We made a quick visit to Motown.



Took a quick drive through Detroit

and happened by GM’s corporate office:

We had a fun time in Detroit and will definitely return for more!  Our next stop was Muskegon, MI.  We enjoyed the drive over and found a beautiful campground in North Muskegon.  While in Goshen John went to a store where a mandolin was being demonstrated.  The sales person explicitly mentioned that the safety knob was to always be used otherwise to expect a trip to the emergency room.)  After setting up, John said he would fix dinner and wanted to use the mandolin to slice some potatoes so I went outside to set the table.  I heard him scream and immediately knew he had not used the safety knob.  Sure enough he had cut off the tip of his thumb so off to the emergency room we drove and there went the rest of our trip of the area.  We will have to return to see the western part of Michigan.

We made reservations at Traverse City and met up with six other couples. Bonnie and Rich Waltman, Linda and Walter West, Ann and Ron Parish, Linda and Tommy Sexton, Mary and Doug Sloan and Linda and Joe Shibalt, with whom we had recently spent time at the Goshen rally.  Also, we were happily surprised that as soon as we arrived our friends, Mary Frye and Rick Gnich, from Torrey Oaks, who happen to live in Traverse City, connected with us.  Two of the couples, Bonnie and Rich Waltman and Linda and Walter West (bless their hearts) decided to accompany us on our UP adventure.

While in Traverse City we drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an incredible sweep of towering dunes on the western shore of Leelanau.  My friend Bonnie and I amazingly were able to climb only one of the dunes.  It happened to be the coldest day of our stay and also the windiest so while the rest of the crowd remained in their vehicles, up the dune we went – weenees.  Notice the tremendous slopes of Sleeping Bear Dunes and it turned out to be a tremendous workout.  No wonder people told us it would take us a few hours to climb the dunes.

We drove up to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula all the way up to Northport and visited the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum, stopped along the way at various spots, such as the villages of Glen Arbor and Leelanau and picked up some yummy fudge at Suttons Bay on our way back to Traverse City.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse

   

The following day we also drove to the northernmost point of the Old Mission Peninsula, referred to simply as the Peninsula by the locals, and on its tip is the Old Mission Lighthouse, which also happens to sit on the 45th parallel.  We stopped at the Old Mission General Store which originally was a fur trading post back in the 1840’s and now carries a bit of everything. 



The 114 foot Schooner Manitou cruises Grand Traverse Bay.


We had made plans to meet Mary and Rick at their beautiful home for a fabulous homemade breakfast made by Mary.  After we caught up, we left to visit yet another couple we befriended at Torrey Oaks, Edie and Steve Hindman, who are likewise traveling the country and happened to be in nearby Petoskey.  Wouldn’t you know, as luck has it, our truck broke down and again, we had to call Good Sam Roadside Assist and had to get towed to the nearest dealer, this time for a broken belt.  Unfortunately, because a part had to be ordered, we had no transportation for a few days and so we missed catching up with them.

The cherry trees were in bloom and the Annual National Cherry Festival in Traverse City was in full swing during our stay.  We visited Cherry Republic, a store where you could find from cherry wine to cherry pie and everything cherry in between (no joke).  On July 4th, also our 30th wedding anniversary, we went to a great airshow provided by the Thunderbirds on the shores of Traverse Bay and since John bought us a new Nikon camera, I began using it right away.  

This guy was actually standing on the plane.


After watching the airshow we returned to the campground and returned to the waterfront later that evening for a fireworks display.  All was going well until it was time for the finale and wouldn’t you know, the barge where the fireworks were being lit caught fire, so they had to end the show.  Fortunately, there were no injuries.

We had a wonderful time in Traverse City and will definitely return.


Indiana – home of French Lick, Goshen and Elkhart

From St. Louis we drove to Mitchell, Indiana, a small town south of Indianapolis and bummed a parking spot at our friends, Richard “DA” and Marsha Young’s driveway, whom we met while in Torrey Oaks in Florida.  They took us to a nearby town, West Baden Springs, named after the famous mineral springs in Wiesbaden, Germany.  This town is were Larry Bird, the basketball player was born and raised.  We visited the French Lick Resort, an absolutely gorgeous hotel with an amazing dome for its roof.   Nearby is the Pete Dye Golf course, host site for the 2015 Senior PGA Championship, which we missed by a week.  

All the rooms of the French Lick Resort face the lobby, which is just grandiose and definitely has a Roman flair to its decor.   (Bummer – The picture of the four of us showcasing the dome on the background was just too dark to post).  Its gardens are beautiful and the golf course, designed and named after Pete Dye is spectacular.  This course is atop the highest points in Indiana and offers beautiful views of the countryside.


When we left Mitchell, we drove to Goshen where we stayed for at least two weeks.  Goshen and nearby Elkhart are two cities in Indiana, probably also known as RV country.  Almost every RV manufacturer is housed in one of these two cities, so you could probably find anything and everything related to the rv’ing industry.

Heartland, the manufacturer of our RV, held its national rally at the Goshen Fairgrounds.  We enjoyed full hookups, which means, water, 50 amp electric and sewer connection.  We also got to see many old friends and make many new ones.  What we didn’t bargain for was the incessant rain and mud thereafter.  According the campground management, our site, unfortunately, happened to be one of the worst in the park, so they mulched it for us so that at the very least we could go in and out of the RV.  We had the opportunity to tour the factory and see for ourselves how our homes on wheels are put together.


We later visited the RVMH Hall of Fame Museum and was amazed at how far the industry has come.

We took a drive out to Shipshewana, which is truly Amish Country. We visited a grocery store called Yoders and was amazed at their meat and cheese selection.  The meat was very fresh and of course, the cheese???   Oh my!!!  I should’ve been born a mouse.  We  ventured through their bulk store.  Almost EVERYTHING is packaged in see thru bags, all labeled, weighed and priced.  Just so not Publix.  The entire store was decorated with old fashioned toy riding cars and trikes.  That was really cool to see.




Before we left Goshen, we had an independent suspension system installed on the RV, along with disc brakes, bigger tires, and replaced our king mattress with a new Denver mattress.

Our next stop, Michigan. 



We Arrived at the Gateway to the West

We arrived in St. Louis, MO, also known as the Gateway to the West around Memorial Day weekend.  We stayed in East St. Louis at the Casino Queen Campground, which is probably the only safe place be in East St. Louis.  It was actually a very nice park, with 24 hour security constantly driving around the parking lot and we felt very safe although just to be sure, we did not leave anything outside and for what it was worth, kept the RV locked at all times.  Security also provided transportation to and from the Metro and to the Casino, which was next door to the campground, in the event we felt lucky.  You can actually see the Arch from the campground.  Unfortunately, it was mostly overcast while we were in St. Louis but had the sun wanted to make an appearance, the sunset behind the Arch would have been pretty to see.  Maybe next time.

We had a delicious dinner sponsored by the St. Louis Local at Prime Steakhouse, the Casino Queen restaurant.


We have been sending postcards to our respective mothers so they too can travel vicariously along with us, as neither have access to the internet.  I really needed to go to the post office and didn’t want to drive across the river to downtown St. Louis so we decided to go just down the street to the nearest post office located in East St. Louis.  Upon entering I immediately realized this was not your typical post office.  It had 2″ thick bullet proof glass on the counter separating the customers from the postal workers with small openings similar to those of some banks for small transactions with a voice and listening amplifier.  It also had an interesting passthrough access for large parcels.  Since I also had a box to mail to Ashley, I had to use the large passthrough.  I had to lift the thick bullet proof hatch and once the package was placed inside it, shut the hatch close and lock it.  Only then would the postal worker unlock his hatch and open it to access the package.  He then retrieved the package and locked his hatch back up.  To provide me with a receipt, he then again unlocked the hatch, lifted the glass door, placed the receipt inside and proceeded to again relock his hatch.  Only then, was I able to unlock the outside door hatch and gain access to the receipt.  There was no possibility of ever having both panels opened simultaneously at any given moment.  Flashback – it reminded me of tv episodes where attorneys and detectives move throughout jails whereby only one door opens and the door behind shuts with a very loud clang.  Once I completed my transaction, we left quickly and uneventfully, but with a serious thoughts on our minds of how dangerous East St. Louis must be.  It’s the first post office I have ever visited with this type of security feature.

On one of the many rainy days, we opted to take the train to visit the Gateway Arch and walked from the station to the Arch following clearly marked painted directions on the sidewalks.  Now those are truly moron instructions, but so appreciated!


The Arch is the nation’s tallest monument standing at 630 feet in the air and made completely from stainless steel.  We took a journey to the top of the Arch and experienced unforgettable views of St. Louis and of the Mississippi River.

As we were walking toward the Arch, we wondered how many lives it had taken, only to learn that 0 lives were lost during the two years it took to build this project and it made us feel proud of the fact that it was built completely union.

How the tram works:


A view of an actual tram used to climb the Arch

Going up feels like an elevator until it begins its curved ascent and descent, then it just feels like a ferris wheel without the wobbling.

View of the entrance to the top of the Arch

5 seats to a tram


View of RV park we stayed in – ours is fourth from the top (or third from the bottom) on the left.

View of the city from the top of the Arch


While downtown, we stopped at the Old Courthouse which serves as the centerpiece of downtown St. Louis.  This was the courthouse where Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom from slavery and where Virginia Minor fought for women’s right to vote.


The detail of the architecture is magnificent.

Courtroom where the Dred decision was made (freedom from slavery)


Courtroom where the Minor decision was made  (Women’s right to vote)

Later in the week we visited Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play with Pat and Mary Kellett.  We were treated like royalty and sat in club seats at the Champions Club, where we were fed endless amounts of food and drink.


We also visited the Vine, a Middle Eastern Restaurant in St. Louis which is owned by our friends, Tina and Isaam El-Khatib.  It was wonderful seeing Tina and “Sam” as he is referred to by his friends, and their three lovely children.  I had the best hummus ever (I even learned to make it myself), labna with bread, which is akin to  yogurt, kibbeh, veggie grape leaves, fallafel and lamb chops. 

Kibbeh

Fallafel

Veggie grape leaves

We also visited the City Museum, which is a hands on jungle gym/play area constructed primarily with repurposed architectural and industrial material.  Kids and kids at heart (albeit they better be nimble and not quite as round if you follow my thoughts) climb in and crawl through a maze of tunnels making for a really fun experience.


Several days later we again met up with Pat and Mary Kelley at a really cool bar called Fast Eddie’s for lunch.  Fast Eddie’s claim to fame is to have really cheap food and really cold beer and both claims were true.  The bar was huge and it was packed.  Not an empty seat was available when we arrived and it stayed packed for the duration of time were there.   Live bands play all time, people dance and of course, it’s extremely loud.  No one under 21 is allowed (chronologically of course).

Looking for John, can you find him?

The following day we drove to St. Charles.  St. Charles is an adorable little town north of St. Louis with old style homes and cobblestone roads.  It was there that we were introduced to Michelob Golden Light.  The most delicious light beer ever!  Hard to find as it is only sold in a select market in the midwest.


I absolutely loved St. Charles and would return on a dime (but sorry, not in the Springtime).

Next on our horizon – Indiana.




Kansas City – Nascar, Golf and Baseball and Yes Even a Little of History Too!

We have left Arkansas on our way to Missouri.  We got tickets to the Spongebob Squarepants 400 Nascar race.  When we arrived, we were guided to our RV site.  We had a corner spot in one of several campground areas and thank goodness the spot in front of us was not purchased and we were able to pull right in.


There we met up with Ken and Renee Diaz, her cousin Rachel and husband, Curt.  We originally met Ken and Renee in Key West last October during our stay in the Keys.  They are Nascar fans and so it made the experience much for fun for us.


As you could see from the clouds, the sky was pretty ominous.  It rained quite a bit and because we were parked on grass, it got really muddy.  The area was so muddy that we had to bathe Jackson several times when he would return from his walks.   However, the races were actually fun.  We had tickets to go to the infield via the underground tunnel.   Now that was something I had never done before.

Below is a rooftop shot from RV parking spot.  Ken and Renee’s Motorhome was the brown one right next to the blue tent with the two cars parked in front, so we were actually pretty close to them. 


John, me, Curt, Rachel, Renee and Ken in the Infield
  


Infield tunnel 

Warmups:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


The day after the race everyone was trying to get out, but there were more RVs stuck in the mud, than those who successfully got out.  I was incredibly surprised that considering our weight, we were able to get out without any mud or tire spinning.  We had no mud in the fenders either.  Yeaaa!!!! 

Afterwards we decided to stay in Peculiar, a small nearby town, so we could tour the area. 

We were aware that the area was under tornado watches, so when we arrived at the campground I asked the attendant what we should do in the event of a warning.  He just laughed and said they did not have a shelter in the campground.  So when I inquired further and told him that we were obviously not from the area and really wanted to know what to do, he hesitated and told me that tornados were actually fun.  Huh?  He then pointed to the south side of the campground and informed me that there was a ravine behind the trees and that we would see a rock wall as it used to be a quarry.  He said that if we needed to go somewhere that we could go into the ravine, stand against the rocks and that we would not feel any wind there, or perhaps if we preferred we could drive to the nearest shelter which was about 1 mile away.  REALLY?  Fortunately, we had no warnings, and all was well.  I would imagine you get used to living with watches

Last year, while wintering at Torrey Oaks in Florida, John bought me a rather gently used set of ladies’ golf clubs and since our friends, Cindy and Steve’s driving range was within a mile of the Peculiar campground, literally on the same road, we both took golf lessons and decided to hit balls as often as we could.  I apparently got so excited that on one of my swings the club left my hands and just flew backward only to get stuck above the garage door on the front of the building.  Oops, fortunately, no one was behind me or they would have gotten seriously injured.  I think in the future I might have to install a small lanyard to each of my clubs, “just in case”.   Darn, I just can’t seem to find the picture.  Oh well.

While in Peculiar we also connected with our friends, Gary and Sherry Davis, who also live nearby.  We went out to dinner and had fabulous bar-b-que meals in various establishments.  Since they had never been to the Harry Truman Presidential Library, we all decided to visit together. 

President Harry S. Truman

The different angles of The Oval Office during Harry Truman’s years in office.   Remember the cabinet tv’s?

If you look carefully, you might be able to see the US emblem embossed onto the carpet.  My how things have changed!

Truman’s saying:


Our friends Gary and Sherry had the good fortune of securing tickets to the Royals v. Yankees baseball game.   The seats were incredible.  We had a lot of fun watching the game, especially since the Royals won (sorry Yankees fans).  We even got to watch fireworks after the game.

Ugly sky but no rain!


We really enjoyed our stay in Kansas City but it was time to continue our journey so on to St. Louis we went.





Central and Northwestern Arkansas

From Hot Springs we drove to Petit Jean State Park.  This is probably one of the most beautiful state parks we have visited yet.  Our site was humongous and it had a very pretty view of the lake.


We hiked the small trails and came across Bear Cave Trail, which was rather intriguing.  We walked around, over, through and over these gigantic rocks, formed by tremendous forces of wind and water.




The “Eye of the Needle”




My imagination runs away from me.  What do you see?  I see the face of a cat.


The most popular trail in the park was Cedar Falls Trail, however, we both knew that if we went down we would also have to come up  and since the ranger considered it to be a strenuous hike, we opted to just do the overlook.  Cedar Falls cascades more than 90 feet to the canyon floor.




While at Petit Jean, John received a call from Dave Damian, a friend with whom he had gone to high school.  After catching up a bit, we decided to meet with Dave and Lida Damian, for dinner at Petit Jean’s Mather Lodge, which is a restaurant right at the park and we enjoyed a very beautiful view of the sunset. 






We then drove to the highest point in Arkansas known as Magazine Mount.  There is a lodge on the highest peak which sort of reminded me of the ski lodges out west.  The view from there, of course, was also quite nice.  The mountainous terrain gives off a peaceful aura to your surroundings.





As we were driving around, a deer literally just jumped over the road right in front of us, naturally getting Jackson very excited.  The deer, who probably was aware that Jackson was secured in the truck or perhaps it was just waiting for its mate, stopped and turned to look at us, as if posing for a picture.  Soon after, a second deer caught up to the first one and off they both went deep into the woods.



Driving back, we drove though Havana and noticed its population of only 375.  Oh my, it must be true!  All the people are now in Miami!



We traveled to Table Rock, AR to connect with Cindy and Steve Keith, friends whom we met while wintering at Torrey Oaks in Florida.  They own a golf range in Peculiar, MO.  We visited Branson and attend the Shoji Tabuchi show, which was a bit corny but entertaining nevertheless.  Bathroom break was a treat though.  Check it out for yourselves.

Entrance into the Ladies’ Room:

View into the hallway that leads to the stalls:


Lavatories:


My understanding from John was that there was a pool table and a seating area in their bathroom.  Silly boy, didn’t take pictures.

We had the opportunity to attend the Legends Golf Tournament also in Branson, MO.  The Tournaments were held at two different courses, so together with Steve and Cindy, we went to both, Buffalo Ridge and Top of the Rock.  It was pretty exciting to see these golf legends up close while they played in such beautiful surroundings.  

Buffalo Ridge had herds of buffalos roaming around and actually, it was the first time I had ever seen these animals out of captivity.


When we left Branson we went to Mountain View, AR for the Heartland Arkansas Chapter.  We had the opportunity to meet a completely new group of people.  Mountain View is known for folk music and people gather everywhere and at anytime to play instruments such as fiddles, dulcimers, banjos, etc. and it was quite an experience.  Also, we were unaware that the park was in a dry county and upon arrival management advised us that we were told that we were welcome to consume alcoholic beverages but they were to be consumed inside our RV.   Now, that was certainly a new experience for us.  Oh well, I guess we needed to dry out anyway and we did have some “very” nice meals (as if we needed any).

We took a tour to a nearby cave known as Blanchard Springs.

Do you see a ship?

The black stuff pictured below is bat poop.  When the cave is closed for off season, bats roam the cave.
Blanchard Springs is very picturesque.

From Mountain View we drove to Eureka Springs, AR.  Eureka Springs was my favorite town in Arkansas.  It has about 270 roads and none connect at 90 degrees, they all went up, down and around.  Most especially what stuck me the most was that there were no box stores, all were mom and pop stores and that is such a rarity anymore.
On the outskirts of Eureka Springs, we visited Thorncrown Chapel, which is a non-denominational chapel which has won numerous architectural awards.


Eureka Springs has beautiful homes, most of which are bed and breakfast establishments, as tourism is their main source of income.  Notice the gingerbread – 

We had lunch at the veranda of the Basin Park Hotel, built in 1905.

We took a tram tour of the small town and were taken to the Crescent Hotel, which is known as the most haunted hotel in America, built in the 1800’s.  There is aparently about 8 spirits floating around.  


Lobby Fireplace:

Front desk:

Dining room:


From the hotel’s rooftop though you have a beautiful view of Eureka Springs and far in the distance, if you look carefully you can see the Christ of the Ozarks sculpture above the treetops.  


I really enjoyed Eureka Springs, AR and vowed to return and next time, stay longer!  Next stop …. Kansas City here we come.