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View from the Rock House

View from the Rock House

Our second day of vacation was nowhere near as exciting as our first. There were no plumbing emergencies, and there were no texts from panicky people. It was a good day for exploring the non-Interstate highway system of roads that would lead us to our ultimate destination.

Our motel was on the north side of Cairo and the bridge across the Mississippi River that we wanted was on the south side. We drove through Cairo and were surprised by the number of empty buildings. Many of those buildings were architecturally beautiful to my untrained eye. I would like to go back some day to take pictures of those abandoned buildings. It seemed that a once significant town was dying. It was sad to see.

We crossed the bridge and drove into Missouri. There is something about being west of the Mississippi River. The sky seems higher and the horizon further away. There is a sense of gaining elbow room. I get this feeling every time we drive west and cross the river. I’m not sure why, but I don’t have that experience when we fly west. Also, when we fly, we miss seeing all the good bits between home and the destination. I am never in that big of a hurry.

We drove to Mansfield, Missouri where we went through the museum and toured the two homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rocky Ridge Farm and The Rock House. These were her final homes and where she wrote her books. I believe that just about every home she lived in has become a museum/tourist attraction. Certainly every town she had lived in claims her as their own. Cindy and I were both surprised to learn that Laura’s daughter, Rose, was an already famous author when she encouraged Laura to write about her life. Thus were the Little House books born.

I hadn’t read the books, so I was also surprised to find out that some of them were illustrated by Garth Williams. He was the illustrator of the first book that I can remember getting as a gift. The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies was a gift from my Aunt Louise. I still have it. It is a bit battered after all of these years, but I have enjoyed for as long as I have owned it.

From Mansfield we drove to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. On the drive we decided to spend two days in Eureka Springs because we both like it there but hadn’t been there for more than ten years. It is located in a beautiful area of Arkansas. I would consider moving there, but Cindy will never leave the area where the majority of our grandchildren reside. It is just a fact of life.

After checking into a motel, Cindy struck up a conversation with other travellers who recommended The Rowdy Beaver Restaurant and Bar for dinner. That is where we dined. I told Cindy that I wanted to buy one of their T-shirts, but she didn’t think it was appropriate for a man of my age and distinction…I added the distinction part. So we returned to the motel and a good night’s sleep.

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