I apparently looked frazzled enough on Tuesday that my boss granted me a comp day off for today in exchange for overtime already worked this past week. So being the insane road tripping person that I am I did not catch up on some much needed sleep. Instead I opted for the open road and headed to Arkansas.
I took Highway 3 through Louisiana which turned into Highway 29 in Arkansas. In perusing the Arkansas State Parks website I kept seeing Conway Cemetary State Park. So I decided to follow the road through the small town of Bradley, Arkansas that the brown signs provided by the state of Arkansas suggested. Each road progessively got smaller until I finally turned down a road and saw a donkey standing at the corner looking at me inquisitively. My first thought, was - well the instructions probably would have been easier if they had just said to turn left at the donkey. At the end of that road was the park, which was in fact a cemetary where the remains of the first governor of Arkansas are. I didn't stay long. I kept feeling like I was being watched and got creeped out. I was getting into my car when I realized that I was being watched by about 5 cows in the field next to the cemetary. I got back in to car and made my way back to Highway 29, but when I got to the donkey corner, in his place was a really ticked off chicken that was bowed up like a cat. Not sure what I did to make her mad, but...
Next I took Highway 258 into Washington, Arkansas and the Old Washington State Park. This was a rather cool place. For $8 I was given a guided personal tour of 5 different buildings in the town. All were nicely restored and there were some interesting stories about each building. The best part, however was a working blacksmith shop built as a replica of the shop owned by the guy that made the first Bowie knife. I stayed there for 45 minutes listening to the blacksmith talk about Jim Bowie, the knife and many other topics. All the while he was working on a knife that he was making out of Damascus steel. Very cool to watch and listen to.
I left Washington around 12:45 after eating at the park and headed west on 258 until I came to Higway 70, which I took west until I hit Highway 71 North. These roads lead right through the farm country of Arkansas and into the Ozark mountains. I heard more about the Future Farmers of America (FFA) on the radio today than I had ever heard in my life.
I took Highway 71 into the Quachita National Forest and Queen Wilhelmina State Park. The best part was Highway 88 into the park. It's probably one of the best mountain roads that I've ever traveled. The views are magnificent with scenic turnouts every mile or so. I kept wondering how gorgeous it must be in the summer when all of the trees are in bloom. I knew I was in for a good drive when the base of the mountain had a large sign proclaiming that I was proceeding at my own risk and that the road was steep with many curves. Magnificent!!
I looked around the park briefly, but it was almost 3:30 and I had a 3.5 hour drive home down some roads that are not the best. So I took Highway 71 south until I reached Shreveport and pulled into the driveway in Keithville at 7:15. Overall it was a good trip and I think I'll be a little calmer at work tomorrow. :)