The Greatest Show on Dirt

Trip Start Sep 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Missouri
Friday, September 30, 2011

The day started, as some days do... in Arkansas!

We headed into Hardy which is super cool, but I am not sure why. The main street is a snapshot of another time.  Sadly, so many of the shops are closed and the ones that are open pretty much sell the same things which could broadly be described as 'collectables'.

But we still loved the meander through the town.  On the recommendation of a shop owner, we went to a park that was hosting a pow-wow.  According to the fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia ‘A modern pow-wow is a specific type of event where both Native American and non-Native American people meet to dance, sing, socialize, and honor American Indian culture.’   It seemed more like people sitting in a park.  So, Elwood played in the park and we pondered the pow wow.  We also had running races with Elwood and I invented a really cool game called ‘Push Daddy over and tickle him’.  The game was a roaring success and soon evolved into a game of ‘pile-on’ to the bemusement (and envy) of a nearby school group.

We then headed to the Downhome Country Kitchen in Hardy for lunch. ( ) Elwood was immediately at home there, wandered in asking a waitress if they had chicken and dumplings (this may well the new sausage – I will keep you posted...).  I had a plate of mixed vegetables (You’re kind of vegetables Justin - there was bacon in every vegetable dish) and Noah, having decided to give the vegetables a wide berth, drank his body weight in root beer.  The food was fantastic and we just so enjoyed being there.  They had a white picket fence inside the diner and photos of all their grandchildren we chatted to the lovely waitresses and Elwood and I left with full bellies and generally feeling content.  Noah left feeling quite weird from too much root beer and in a weird sugar induced panic took a take away root beer roughly the size of Elwood.  (Later in the drive I asked Noah if he was feeling tired, he looked at me wide eyed and said, ‘have you seen how much root beer I have had, I won’t be sleeping for days.’)

In the car park of the Country Kitchen we met a really lovely man whose ancestors come from Essex, England.  No kidding.  So, we exchanged details, and we are planning to get in touch and find out exactly where in Essex his family is from and then send the Mothership out to take some photos for him.  (Surprise Mum!)

So then we started our wonderful, wonderful journey through Arkansas and back into Missouri.  We were on the road for about 5 minutes before Noah had to do A Dukes of Hazard style maneuver when he spotted ‘Dear Crossing Antique and Flea Market’ (!/pages/Dear-Crossing/136384836426474 ) He went and spoke to the bloke and asked to take photos and then we did not see Noah again for quite some time.  The owner was wonderful, warm and really interesting.  Elwood and I had a quick look around (they had the houses from the Flinstones movie film set!) until we had to deal with the chicken dumpling aftermath.

We continued our journey with the big fella watching the Incredibles in the back, me trying to snooze and tan my legs on the dashboard, and Noah making crazy sugar induced conversation.  Some examples, ‘Do you like dogs?  I am not bothered.’ And ‘ Do you know where that tree is from the Shawshank Redemption?’  Apparently, he thought he had seen it.  Really.

Other noteworthy things from our journey include; a sign which read ‘The greatest show on dirt’, an elderly man walking along a deserted bit of road in the blistering sun in a Life Guard t-shirt, and a massive sign which read ‘Guns-4-U’- catchy, huh?  Noah’s favourite part of the journey was all the yard sales.  It seemed like around every corner, even in the most isolated places, someone had set up a trestle table and was selling bric-a-brac.  We did not stop, it all looked too random – even for us.

The colours of the sky and sun in this neck of the woods constantly take us by surprise with just how beautiful it is.  We did not see many cars, and we were on tiny roads - and sometimes we questioned if we were going the right way.  But we were just so enjoyed the landscape. We had been driving for 3 hours today, and even at the end of it, Noah and I were just grinning – and I think that is about more than just the root beer.

So, at about 5.30pm and we meet up with our old friend Route 66 after our amazing ‘southern detour’.  And Route 66 does not let us down.

We arrive at our hotel in Lebanon, the Munger Moss.  It is like stepping back in time.  On the recommendation for the hotel owners we head out for Catfish and Popcorn Shrimp at Gary Dowd’s Catfish and BBQ.  Fantastic food and atmosphere.  (Noah had a side salad and fries and tried desperately hard not to think about ugly fish with whiskers).  And then, as if things can’t get any more brilliant, we got ten pin bowling had some beers whilst we were playing.  That there people is a proper old school Route 66 experience.

Back at the motel, Elwood was grateful to get to sleep.  Noah and I realised that it is not the day we thought it was, we realised we had no hotels booked for the next few nights (and the town we were planning to stay does not have a hotel) and the internet is working intermittedly so we are struggling to get anything done. 

But we don’t mind at all.  We are on Route 66 and we are chewing cinnamon flavoured gum.  I highly recommend both.
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Leonie on

Bringing back a
suitcase of gum is An essential exchange for a bed with clean linen!!! I love that stuff and my stash is gone xxxx

noah_and_bree on

Deal. Much love bxx

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