So for everyone following us out there, here's the quick recap from the road:
From Dallas we headed north into Oklahoma and the 2010 Arctic Blast. Just before we started our week of camping and climbing, mother nature was kind enough to dump a half a foot of snow on Oklahoma and Arkansas. Thanks for nothing mother nature!
Before we headed up to do the camping, we stopped in and spent the afternoon with my grandparents in Marietta, Oklahoma visiting with them and shoveling as much fried catfish, hushpuppies and french fries into our mouth as we could without exploding. Paige was doing such an inadequate job at this that my grandfather's wife kept adding food to Paige's plate despite her strenuous protestations. In the end we decided that it was ok to engage in such a gluttonous affair because we needed a thick layer of blubber to protect us from the arctic blast while we were camping.
Shortly after leaving Marietta and exploring the offerings of the Oklahoma state parks, we quickly decided to scrap the camping. At least we still had our blubber layers! I can do cold camping. I can do wet camping. I can do snow camping. However I am not really up for cold, wet, melting snow camping though. Especially not when there's a perfectly good super scary, cheap motel. While Paige was in the restroom at said motel discovering red splatter all over the walls and shower curtains, I was reinforcing the door with a chair under the door handle. Can't be too safe in a motel with bloodstains!
The next morning we made the drive into Fayetteville, AR where we spent the better part of the day visiting with Ms. Vicki and her sister Michelle, Paige's best friend's mom. They were kind enough to let us play with Michelle's adorable children as well as getting us a fajita lunch. After a teary goodbye, we bid them adieu and continued our journey through the scenic Arkansas countryside to Eureka Springs.
We had heard Eureka Springs was supposed to be a charming town and I'm sure it would have been, had anything in the damned town been open. We didn't realize it, but we were visiting during the off season. This fact, combined with the still-not-melted snow meant that just about every restaurant, shop and attraction in town was shut down. On the upside, you can't beat $35 motels that are stain free!
The best part about Eureka Springs? The only restaurant open was called the "Rowdy Beaver." We took a picture of Paige in front of the sign.
Yes, that's right, she's pointing at her "rowdy beaver."
The next morning we beat it out of town and headed to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, AR to try to do a bit of climbing. The weather was good enough to squeeze in one pretty good day of climbing. Since we were the only ones in town in the middle of the week at the ranch aside from the staff, I had to put my well honed bumming skills to work. I managed to convince the guy who ran the ranch's shop to close up and come climbing with me. This was both good and bad. He showed me a lot of fun routes, but also showed me how weak and out of shape I've gotten. Damn you blubber!
The next day's weather called for sleet, snow, ice and crud so we hightailed it south where we spent two days in Heber Springs with my Aunt Nette. Because of the ever faster deterioration of my figure and the non stop freezing rain, Paige and I decided to sneak into the local gym to whip ourselves back into shape with one massive workout. The sneaking into the gym was facilitated by my Aunt Nette having taught kindergarten to every man woman and child in Heber Springs. She phoned one of her myriad friends who just happened to own the gym and suddenly the sneaking into the gym became phenomenally easier. Unfortunately the one workout didn't do the trick and we've decided to start sneaking into gyms on a more regular basis.
After our tour de Arkansas we hightailed it south to Shreveport, LA to meet up with Benjamin Luck, the priest who married us. Under his guidance, we experienced every indulgence Shreveport has to offer. I think the highlight of the weekend was the Mardi Gras parade. This eight hour festival consisted of six hours of flip cup, a walk around the neighborhood (where we got called redneck potheads), slushies, black and milds, crawfish, cake balls, macaroni, hamburgers, sausage, cookies, camo, and more food. Hello blubber! It was amazing.
The real highlight of the weekend was yesterday when Paige and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. Being on the road, we celebrated in a low-key fashion with pizza and a beer during the SuperBowl. It has been an incredible year and I consider myself a very lucky man.
Right now we're about to get our stuff together and head into New Orleans. I hope my liver makes it out of there in one piece.
Here are a few more pictures from the trip so far:
Eureka Springs covered in Snow
Keel Creek Winery in Arkansas: I'd recommend the $5 wine tasting, but not actually buying any bottles. There's just something a little off about Arkansas wine.
Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
Our wedding officiant, former roommate and good friend, Benjamin Luck.
Thanks for showing us such a good time!