Wednesday, January 2, 2008

We hit the road to Arkansas - and Louisiana!

With a few days of vacation to use up before the end of the year, Dennis and I hit the road for a holiday visit to southern Arkansas. We invited ourselves as guests of his dad and stepmom for a few days. Pat is owner of The Stitcher's Workshop and Bill is retired ( at least retired from a real job - he stays very active and busy !). They just finished building a beautiful new shop and enjoy keeping up with online sales and local customers. If any of you are stitchers - needlepoint, cross stitch, beading etc, be sure to check out her website as she as a great selection of threads, canvas and such. (Check out Pat's apron - one of several I made as Christmas gifts this year!) On Friday, we visited the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, Arkansas. We didn't realize that the history of the area is really quite interesting. With the discovery of oil in 1922 the village boomed from less than 100 people to over 25,000 in just a few months. Though the boom is long over, the oil industry is still vital to the economy of the area.

Many of you may have heard of the El Dorado Promise and the scholarships offered by the Murphy Oil Company to graduates of the high school there. The city of El Dorado evidently is known for their Christmas light displays. After dinner we drove around to view some of them. This is a photo of the Murphy Oil Company office building with Santa peeking over the edge of the roof.
As I wrote in my last post, we had loaded the Harley in the trailer and pulled it along hoping we would find some warmer weather so we could do some riding. Of course, the week before had been warm and pleasant but when we got there, so did the rain. Finally by Friday around noon it stopped raining and warmed to about 50. After bundling up in several layers, we bravely started out on a little overnight trip. We hoped that traveling south would mean warmer temps - we were wrong. Not only was it not any warmer than Southern Indiana, it was damp though it finally became sunny. But crazy that we are we made it to Natchitoches, Louisiana by 6:00 that evening. We should have planned a little better and we could have reserved a room at one of the many pretty B & B's in this interesting town. By the time we found the Holiday Inn Express, we were pretty cold but did have a pleasant dinner of southern food at a local restaurant.

Photos from our trip to Natchitoches include a cypress swamp along the road and some of the buildings typical of the town. Natcitoches lays next to the Cane River and there are lots of cute shops and restaurants as well as several plantations to tour outside of town. As we wanted to head back to Arkansas by noon on Saturday, we didn't have time to explore much. This is a place we would definitely like to visit again someday. We did have lunch at Lasyone's before we left. They are known for their meat pies. Sorry, forgot to take a photo again but it was very yummy - as well as the red beans and rice! The book Cane River by Lalita Tademy is set in Natchitoches so I added that to my Barnes and Noble order today.
The trip back was just as chilly but we stopped at Bossier City Harley Davidson near Shreveport and tried to warm up with their complimentary hot chocolate. We've decided we will try to take a photo at any Harley dealership we visit on the bike. Thanks to my sister-in-law we now have a Harley scrapbook to fill ! We finally made it back to Dad's by supper time - but it took me all evening to warm up. I'm not sure if we'll be making any more long trips unless the temp is above 60 ! But we did discover that we can pack enough on the bike to easily stay out for a couple of days. We always enjoy seeing different parts of the country and may have to make this trip again some day.

Our trip home spanned two days with a stop in Paducah, Kentucky for a visit to the National Quilt Museum. I've always wanted to visit Paducah but since it was New Year's Eve, not many places were open. The museum was great though and I recommend it to anyone whether a quilter or not. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed inside. I still would like to come back for the quilt show held every year in April. Maybe another road trip ?

If you need some entertainment, check out some of the links under my favorite sites on the sidebar. I've added a few more that may interest some of you. One of my new favorites is Anna Maria Horner's blog. She is a designer in Nashville, I think, but her blog always makes me smile.

Now I think I'm caught up on my posting - at least for now! Thanks Bill and Pat for a great weekend !


sarah said...

you forgot the BEST part of natchitoches: steel magnolias was filmed there! :) it's such a fun town. my friends and i stopped there on our to way to nawlins and i need to go back.

glad yall made it back. next time just drive a little further west on i-20 or i-30 and head to dallas.

Janet said...

I forgot about that - I need to watch that movie again.

As we crossed I20 we commented that we could do just that!

pat said...

What Janet didn't tell you is how excited we were to have them here for part of the Holiday! They made it much easier to be so far away from all the family at Christmas. Thanks to both of you for coming and sharing part of your holiday with us.

Dad and Pat