Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ozarks Trip Day 6 and 7 (Headed Home!)

Day 6 was the beginning of the end for our trip, it was time to make our way towards home!  It took a while to get the girls out of bed, they had been staying up late and actually slept in.  You probably don't understand how monumental that is.  I have seen these kids stay up until 2am, sleep in a windowless hotel room and STILL pop out of bed at 7am like clock work.  The last time I saw them sleep like this was our trip to Disney.

After eating breakfast and getting everything packed up, we started making our way out of town.  First, we made a quick stop for a park and grab geo-cache.

We also drove over to the downtown/main street area to grab starbucks for the road and t-shirts souvenirs.  The five and dime shop was INSANELY packed.  Merchandise everywhere and crowded with people. So grandma and the girls waited outside while I checked out.  I came outside to discover the girls trying out the Dixie Stampede trick riding skills. 
We did eventually really get on the road. I want to swing by Fort Smith National Historic Site, so we took Hwy 65 south and then Hwy 412 west towards Springdale.  We saw a billboard on the road for Osage Clayworks and I'm a sucker for handmade pottery, so we stopped in for a visit.  There was a little bit of drama at first.  Sedona remember the last visit to a pottery store and started crying as soon as we pulled up.  I promised her it wouldn't be the same and thankfully I was right.  She calmed down right away when she saw the dog and cat roaming the store.  She immediately set to work loving on the (very sweet and calm) animals.  Then the lady asked the girls if they wanted to make some pottery!  This is a brilliant move, it teaches the kids a little bit about art and sharing and gives parents time to shop.  She gave each of the girls a piece of clay and showed them how to make a pinch pot.  Then she explained this little system worked on a "make one, take one" system.  Kids make a pinch pot and leave it behind to be fired.  In return, they get to take a pinch pot out of a basket that another kid has made and left behind.  They were so excited that they were getting to create something and getting a treat for themselves.  I didn't get pictures, but it was a cool little system. 

I had picked up a gag gift for Josh, but we got him a real souvenir while we were here, a new coffee mug:
I also picked up a butter dish
They also had t-shirts.  They were a place I'll happily advertise for and the shirts were cheap, so I came home with one of those instead of a Branson shirt. If you're in the area, stop in and shop!

We picked up a late lunch in Springdale and listened to Sierra beg to stop by the Duggar's house (she literally wanted to just go knock on the door).  I'm pretty sure we did see their old car lot, but we did not stop to Duggar-sight. 

As we neared Fort Smith, we ran into another directions snafu.  We ended up in Van Buren, thinking it was Fort Smith and being all sorts of confused because the directions weren't working out.  I pulled over to take a look at the map and got even more confused because I knew we needed to be right on the bank of the river, but we WERE right on the bank of the river in Van Buren because there is a big switchback in the river in that area.  So word to the wise, if you're looking for Fort Smith, but sure you're actually IN Fort Smith.  We did figure it out pretty quickly, but the longer than necessary drive through town streets ate up a little bit of extra time and we ended up arriving at about 4:50 (the visitor's center closes at 5)
It was enough time to run in for a bathroom stop, get passport stamps and buy a few things in the gift shop

Much of the site is out in the open and you can take your time visiting that stuff, so we did still get to walk around the grounds and talk to the girls a little bit about the fort and the Trail of Tears. Closest to the visitor center, there is all of the stuff about the Fort

The commissary
Replica flag pole
You walk to a separate part to learn more about what was just outside the fort and the Trail of Tears
I took a picture of this because I just thought it was kind of funny, I wonder how true it is.
The Arkansas River
At the edge of the river, there are a lot of informational plaques about the different tribes that moved through the area

We had a short conversation with a couple from Australia and a guy who happened to be from Sedona, AZ around here too.  The Australian guy saw my A&M t-shirt and asked if I was really a Texas Aggie...he talked a bit like we were mythical creatures, it was kind of funny. 

We also spotted a gaggle of geese moving to the water.  There were 3 or 4 adult pairs and a whole bunch of goslings between them.

By now, it was getting late and we had another 3 hours to drive, so we hit the road.  Just outside of the park, we entered Oklahoma
The girls had gotten prairie hats at Fort Smith.  Sierra wore hers for the rest of the day

Near sunset, we saw a big rainbow.  It was actually a double rainbow, but the pictures didn't show the second one.
We were planning to stop in Sherman, TX, but as the day wore on, we decided to push south another hour and stop north of Dallas.  It made for a late night, but a short driving day on our last day. 

The last morning, the same friend we'd met up with on the first day came over to visit with us a bit at the hotel before we had to check out.  My girls love being around babies and were missing their little sister quite a bit by this point, so they had fun playing with her baby, Abigale. 
 Abigale thought the big girls were pretty cool too
Looking up to Sierra (literally), doesn't she have gorgeous eyes?
Before long, we were back home!  Josh and Secora were waiting for us and helped unload the car, then I gave Josh his gag gift.....Bacon Soda!
Which smelled absolutely awful, but he tasted anyway for some reason
It didn't taste any better than it smelled.  Don't buy bacon soda unless you just want it for decoration
And that brings us to the end of our trip!!  The next morning, I woke up and packed for another trip...yes, really.  We got home on Thursday, and left Friday evening for triathlon I was registered for.  Race report coming soon!

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