Monday, May 27, 2013

Riding around Arkansas: Day 2 in Hot Springs

Again, you'll be looking at these photos sideways since my netbook (no snarky comments about a netbook, but I like my keyboards). Sunday morning and we’re going riding up to Queen Wilhelmina State National Park. Neither of us slept particularly well so we had our free Baymont hot breakfast (read: breakfast sandwich), then gas up and go looking for sunblock that we both forgot. Kroger, finally.

Then off we go down 270 to 88, stopping in Mount Ida for a quick break before taking a left towards Mena on 88. Again, smells so nice. Curvy roads up and down hills. Not much traffic on the road. See a few bikes here and there. We get to Mena and 88 disappears momentarily, but then we see the signs to the park and take a right and head up the mountain, stopping at the visitors center on the way, picking up the map that tells you about some of the stops. Of course we briefly pull into all of them. But the pictures aren’t optimal because it’s on the foggy, cloudy, almost to the point of drizzly side. But if it were sunnier, you could definitely see how beautiful the vistas would be up here. The Castle in the Clouds (a 38 room inn) is closed for renovations, but would be a quiet place to stay.

The scenic parkway complete, we head to 272, to 270, trying to get to the north of the lake to ride over to route 7 and then down to Hot Springs. Somewhere along the way, either the 10 year old map I have has changed, or it isn’t well marked, and we end up back in Mount Ida, getting gas at the same place we stopped earlier. Decided to head back towards Hot Springs. We’re hungry at this point, but people don’t seem to be capitalizing on campers or bikers and there really isn’t a single stop to eat. But I did remember a place that I thought I saw bbq and bikers that may be on the way. Sure enough, near Crystal Springs, we ran into Burl’s BBQ at an old mill grist. Ordered our sandwiches with meat 3 ways and sat outside to eat.

I'm sure Tony wants to say something, but we're watching these four couples with their Honda Goldwings, some with trailers, all with little stuffed animals that ride on the back, lit up brakes, matching outfits, one man wearing an Ian Poulter wig and visor. Really? Couldn't imagine me and Tony being that way.

Unlike the BBQ we’re used to, these were cold sandwiches. But the meat was good. Stopped to get thrown into their jail afterwards. But, they let us out.

Headed back to the hotel, even though we did think about heading into Hot Springs. Glad we didn’t because not 20 minutes into watching Boo Weekley win the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth, kaboom thunder and kaboom downpour of rain.
Tired, we checked on this pizza, Rocky’s Corner, down the street (on Central Avenue by the racetrack) , by chance, from the Baymont. They deliver. Ordered Chicago style pizza (Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions). We’ll see. From the reviews, they gave it great ones online. And someone told Tony on Facebook to try it. All of that riding makes you tired. Learned something new about Arkansas: don't sell beer on Sundays. No beer and pizza for us.

I'm from Chicago originally. And know that there is more than just deep dish Chicago-style pizza. There is also think Aurelios pizza that is cut in "squares." Rocky's Corner delivered to us at the hotel (yeah), but I don't think we got the full taste of the pizza in the transit from the oven to our room so would have to try it again to let anyone know if it's the "bomb" like some of the reviews I read. It had good flavor (the house salad with the house viniagrette dressing was really good). Crust almost deep dishy, but rest more Aurelios thin and cut into squares. Interesting. Told Tony that shouldn't be his gauge for Chicago style pizza, but we didn't have to go anywhere (another note: Rocky's Corner, call me about a website. You need one).

Tomorrow we head back to Dallas. Think we're going interstate the whole way (sigh). Maybe that means a Waffle House or Cracker Barrel is in our future.

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