Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Ride Home

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, Jen flew out to Oklahoma to see the park and to drive home with me. I really, really appreciated her company---and we had a blast on our road trip!

We made several decisions early on:

1. To visit as many parks as we could;
2. To just see how the day goes;
3. To get home by Saturday (I knew I would be antsy by that point....).

After we said goodbye to Lauren we headed east across Oklahoma and stopped for the first time (if you don't count the side road pullovers to check the bike and bike rack) in Fort Smith, AR. We decided to grab lunch first and then headed to the park.

Jen hadn't been to the famous Mazzio's yet and so we dined there---a treat for both of us---love that lunch buffet! We even got the dessert pizza---butter and cinnamon sugar on a crust with chocolate chips---YUM!

Then, it was off to Fort Smith National Historic Site! It was hot, but it didn't seem as hot as when Mark and visited in 2006--thank goodness!

Our first stop was to the visitor center to get stamps! Unfortunately, one was upside down. :(
Then on to a tour of the museum---there are definitely some shots here that were not included--only on Jen's camera! But suffice it to say that we had a good time being interactive with the exhibits!
We both loved visit Judge Park's courtroom and deciphering what was authentic and what is a replica....

I could not resist pretending that I was a pioneer headed west! Those wagons are much higher than you might think! If only I had a team of horses!

Our trip would not have been complete without our border picture....
We also visited the gallows---for our friend Eric! :) Rather morbid but fascinating and an integral part of the story at Fort Smith--especially since Judge Parker was known as "The Hanging Judge" for his intolerance of crime and terrorism in the frontier!

We had such a good time at Fort Smith that realized we would not make it to Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site that evening...so we made the most of our daylight and went to visit the Capitol building in Little Rock (remember Jen's fascination with state Capitol buildings?). :)
Jen even found an orange cone within our first minutes out of the car!

And we found the Little Rock that Little Rock is named for (just kidding).....

It was a great time to be on the Capitol grounds---really beautiful with the setting sun. We found the statue of the Little Rock Nine and couldn't resist taking a photo with them!

After a great self-tour of the exterior of the building we headed to dinner--PF Chang's! The same one that Mark and I first ate at! Loved it! Had a phone call home to our guys...and enjoyed some tasty Chinese food!

The next morning we got up early to visit High School--but first had a stop at Starbucks for CAFFEINE! Thanks to Lauren and Chris I had a gift card for my morning brew! Thank you!!!! :)

Last time I was there the new visitor center hadn't been started yet and the visitor center was in the gas station (historic building) across the street. It was neat to see the new visitor center--absolutely beautiful!

We both loved being at the school! We couldn't go in because only registration was happening...but we did maximize our photos outside!

The exhibits inside of the visitor center were beautiful....

and of course there were more stamps to get!

After we left Little Rock we hit the pedal to the metal to get to Tennessee in time to meet up with Jen's friend Susan for dinner. We made it and had a great time! Susan ended up staying with us for the night and we had a little bit of a slumber party! We all went for coffee together the next morning and then Jen and I headed off....

I dropped her off at her house around 3pm and drove the rest of my short ride home reflecting on our road trip, my summer, and thinking about the coming school year....but foremost on my mind was getting home to see Mark and Soba....


Mark H said...

I love the Ft. Smith photos! I don't seem to remember too many interactive exhibits when I was there with you? Also - the picture of you in Little Rock with the statues of all the kids - there seems to be more than 5 kids in the picture???