May the Fourth be with you? Memphis, Hot Springs,
Trip Start May 03, 2009
11Trip End May 13, 2009
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We were not going to get to Dallas in time to do anything worthwhile so it was decided that we would stop somewhere on the way. Best candidate was Hot Springs Arkansas. It would be a good place to stop and eat some of the picnic that was created the day before.
I had driven from Memphis to Hot Springs. I needed daylight and good weather in order to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. It was difficult for me to do town driving, so we switched as soon as we got into the town centre. Man, do I love cruise control! It saves me getting in trouble for having a heavy right foot.
I had only driven 177 miles. I think I did scare Andrea a couple of times judging by the way she grasped the door at one point. Everything was always under control though.
Hot Springs is 55 miles SW of Little Rock. Bill Clinton apparently lived there as a boy. We took the scenic drive up the Hot Springs Mountain. About half way up we stopped for our picnic and I had the rest of the cheese sandwiches. The plan was to have a steak when we got to Dallas, so there was no point having a large lunch.
With just two hours planned for our stop we headed into town for the obligatory fridge magnets and a quick look around the shops. Best place to start was the visitors centre. Turns out the visitors centre was actually a spa back in the 20's and there was a free tour. It was called the Fordyce Bathhouse. Apparently in its hey-day visits of three weeks or more were common place. The men's Bath Hall was impressive with an amazing stain glass panel in middle of the ceiling and lots of Roman style sculptures.
After a quick look around the town I saw a Zoltar machine, the one that was in the film Big with Tom Hanks. It was only a dollar so I had a go. It said that there were wonderful things in store for me, so I look forward to that immensely.
We overstayed our two hours, so it was time to head off again. We left Hot Springs at 5:20 and our anticipated arrival in Dallas according to the sat-nav is 10:30pm, but that would be 9:30 local time as again there would be an hour time difference in our favour. I needed a power-nap, still struggling with the jet lag slightly. I had only been in the US for a few days and was still struggling in the late afternoon.
We got to Dallas at 9pm local time. I think the sat-nav thinks that all roads in the US are a 55 speed limit and fortunately they are not. My USA book said that there was going to be a hostel set up in Dallas and as my book was eight years old we thought it would be up and running. We put the address in the sat-nav but we couldn't find it. We stopped at a 7-11 and there was a police car there, so who better to ask. They didn't know anything about a hostel, but gave us some advice where it would be safe to stay and get a steak. So we headed to Arlington that was to the west of downtown Dallas.
The steak didn't work out either as it was too late. In the US people do not tend to eat late at night like the Brits do. It is probably better anyway to have the steak tomorrow for lunch anyway, so we shared a breakfast at the I-Hop instead.
Clocked our first 1,000 miles.
Checked into a Super 8 and tucked into some of our stash of wine that we had brought with us. The first bottle of wine opened with ease, the second cork was somewhat stubborn. We were using a travel corkscrew, so dexterity is required and after a bottle of wine between us, full dexterity was clearly lacking. In the end I had to try and hold the bottle firmly on the floor whilst Andrea tried to pull the cork out. I think it was one of those moments that you clearly had to be there to appreciate the comical nature of the situation, because we had to stop several times as we couldn't stop laughing at ourselves. So we spent the night drinking and either watching the Comedy Channel or listening to music and talking a hind-leg off a donkey.