26 March 2015

road trip 2015: three three three days in one

The day started out kind of drippy as I headed out of Rogers, Arkansas, toward Pea Ridge National Military Park. The overcast skies and dampness were evocative though the fields were quiet. My great-great uncles fought on the Union side in the 1862 battles at Pea Ridge. We have a letter from Uncle Olcott Maxson to his nephew which my brother Doug has transcribed.
I wish that Doug could have been there with me and that the day had been more conducive to walking about. I drove the seven-mile loop and stopped at several of the historical markers. This is the view from the West overlook.

Doug was, instead, going for testing and evaluation with a medical specialist so I was sending him good thoughts and love. My second stop, at Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, designed by Fay Jones, was a special place for meditating about Doug and his love of nature.
The chapel is beautiful and beautifully set in the Ozarks but I think Doug would have preferred the unbuilt woods, especially after another dozen people came into the small space and because there was religious muzak playing. The space is small but felt strangely "high church." I did get a bit emotional with the resident pastor but she was kind and congenial.

From the simple to the overbuilt. Eureka Springs was not at all what I expected. Somehow I figured that it would be a small town with a central square. Well, when you build a town in the mountains, it's not easy to do a gridded street plan.
But there was a courthouse and plenty of eateries and souvenir shops. A pulled-pork sandwich at the Eureka Grill and latte and carrot cake at the Mud Street Cafe filled the bill for me. You may note that the skies had cleared though yesterday's rains had flooded a few shops in Eureka Springs.

I took off after some walking about (and eating). Several towns along U.S. 62 had good old stone buildings. Build with what you have, they always say.
Sadly, most of the stone buildings seemed to be in need of some tender loving care. From U.S. 62, I turned North on U.S. 65 toward Missouri. I drove past Branson without stopping but the highway goes straight across hills and valleys, perhaps a dozen times we went up and down a few hundred feet in elevation. Interstate 44 East toward Saint Louis continued through the mountainous terrain.

I am now in Rolla, Missouri, for the night. Uncle Olcott's letter mentions that they would be faring better because a supply train had come to the Pea Ridge encampment from Rolla.

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