Friday, December 14, 2012

Miller Road Trip 2012...Arkansas (the finale)

My list is long today...feels a bit like Groundhogs Day.  When is that list not long?  Today, I need to start the laundry, pay bills, finish addressing Christmas cards, and work on my "pile".  I am also working on a list for the next 10 days.  I am writing each day on the left hand side of my notebook and next to it, I'm writing down all the things that I need to bring to that event.  (somebody's house (dessert/gift etc.), the wrestling match, church, small group, piano recital etc).  That way I can check the list before we leave the house and make sure that I have everything.  I'm hoping that helps me out for the next 10 days.  I think I only have 2 more gifts to buy!  A gift card and some stocking stuff.
So, this is the 5th state that we visited on this trip.  At first, I thought, "what in the world is there in Arkansas???"  Oh my...I LOVED Arkansas.  The topography of that state is gorgeous.  Mountains one minute, rolling hills and rivers the next.  Then all of the sudden, you think you're in the Grand Canyon.  A really beautiful state.  I want to go back and spend some time in (historic) Hot Springs.  There was a Craft Show while we were there, but the family vetoed it, so I didn't get to go in and peek.  Though, in their defence, it was going to be a rather long day.

We started our day in Dallas, Texas.  We were all in the mood for donuts, so we found a little place called Fantastic Donuts.  Ha!  A little hole in the wall place that sold..."fantastic" donuts.  Mediocre coffee, but great donuts.  The guy even threw in a free bag of donut balls!  Then, it was off to Crater of the Diamonds State Park.  We were going to dig for diamonds!  This place, and the beach, were in a tie for the kids favorite things to do on the trip.  Kids just want to be outside in nature.  It was a gorgeous sunny, cool fall day in Arkansas.  A great day for rock hunting!
Crater of the Diamonds State Park is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public.  We got to search on a 37 acre plowed field of an ancient volcanic crater.  You get to keep whatever rocks/gems/diamonds you find.  Almost 30,000 diamonds have been found there since 1972. 
We dug, scraped, picked...looked and looked and looked.
We found lots of little sparkly things!!!! 
Sweetie ran out to the car and grabbed our "lunch".  A cooler full of healthy snacks that, frankly, we were all getting a little sick of.  But, the kids did not want to leave this place.  So, they sat and had their lunch, and got a little more digging in.  I really enjoyed searching for cool rocks...Sweetie would have rather watched paint dry (but he put on a good show for the kids).  The kids were in heaven!
We each filled a little glass tube of our treasured rocks.  The other rocks went into a little brown bag.  Then, we took our treasures up to the rock expert.  Any diamonds???  We totally thought so...Sweetie was ready to quit his job!  Nope.  Lots of quartzite and calcite.  Lots and lots of other pretty rocks too.
Off to Hot Springs...
We drove down historic Bathhouse Row and went to their visitor center and watched a video on the bathhouses.
Lots of Hot Springs fountains around...the kids loved touching the slime.  There were some cute little shops in this town and I would love to go back and do the spa.  I was hoping they had some spa options for families...but, pretty much the kids need to be 12 to do anything cool. 
Then, we drove to Little Rock where we were spending the night.  Sweetie and I saw a sign for The Purple Cow restaurant and couldn't think of anything else.  The kids wanted Mexican again...come on, what kid doesn't want to eat at the Purple Cow???  Sweetie and I trumped them and took them to The Purple Cow...what a cute little diner!  We pounded our food and then ordered our purple ice cream.
Our server only brought 2 spoons (really???) and he was super busy, so we made good use of our forks and knives.

The next day we woke up and made our way back up to Kansas City.  We decided to stay at a water park hotel.  It was our last night on the road.  We had done and seen it all.  We were getting tired and things started bothering us.  Like that butterscotch/urine smell in the hotel room?  Ish.  I wanted my own home and my own bed.  We didn't even leave the hotel for dinner.  The kids didn't want to go anywhere (neither did I).  There were so many drunks around b/c we were right next to the Kansas City Chiefs football stadium...and, it was a Sunday...and, it was cold.  We were going to go out for BBQ...but ended up eating pizza, chicken strips, and mac and cheese down in the hotel restaurant (blech!).  I usually only like to eat breakfast at hotels (more out of convenience).
The next morning...heading back home!  It's fun to miss home.  We were all ready to get back.  Hindsight, we probably all would have rather drove from Little Rock Arkansas all the way home.  It would have been a long day in the car (13+ hours), but I think we would have been fine.  When the trip is done, it's done.

Overall, we had a blast and of course, I'm already planning our next trip.  I would either like to head out to Seattle and drive the coast down to Oregon and work our way back.  Or, I really want to hit the coast of North and South Carolina and Georgia.  Or, maybe do Kentucky and Ohio.  We'll see!  20 States down, 30 to go!

Time to get busy...

XOXO Tiffany

"...darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it".  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (I'm reading this to the kids). 

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