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Going the Places You Probably Never Will

The time for me to head back west arrived at last, and two weeks ago I embarked on another 1,000 mile journey back to stop briefly in Boulder, just to make sure my condo hadn't burned to the ground. Well,  maybe to say hi to some friends too. I only stayed eight days before driving another 900 miles down to Tucson, Arizona where I am for the next six weeks, so I could have saved myself 750 miles of driving by going straight from Hot Springs to Tucson, but look at all the Americana I would have missed!


Ozark Highlands Trail. A 218 mile trail through northwest Arkansas. Tired old Trotsky and I only saw about a mile of it, but I'll go back someday. 
dog sleeping on a forest trail

Van Buren. A small town with a cute historic district and that still had a standing video rental store on the outskirts of town, though it was covered with "going out of business" banners.
historic buildinghistoric building

Fort Smith. One of many places in this area with a sad history of housing troops who forced American Indians off their land.
executioner's hanging platformcanon and old building


My 50th state! That's it. I've been to them all. Now if only COVID restrictions would end so I can get back to international travel.
woman and Oklahoma state welcome sign

Trail of Tears. I traveled along various parts of the trail, and it wouldn't have felt complete without stopping at the end of the journey for those on the Benge Route.
sign marking the end of the Trail of Tears

Tulsa. Much like when I drove all the way across Kansas several years ago, I found that Oklahoma is full of hokey tourist "attractions," such as the Center of the Universe and the Golden Driller. Well, when in Rome! 
feet next to a concrete and brick markerlarge statue of oil driller

Love's. As a long-haul road-tripper, I have a preference of gas station and it's Love's. I will watch the highway signs and hold out for a Love's over the other options. They have lots of pumps, clean restrooms, and generally have real food you can buy, not just a bunch of dried out hot dogs spinning under heat lamps or sandwiches that are 90 percent white bread. This one had a dog park too!
dog park


Original Pizza Hut. And...more hokey Americana from Kansas! Because I was an avid reader, the Book It! program was one of my favorite things about elementary school, right up there with the Scholastic book fair. I earned a lot of Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas. 
original Pizza Hut building

Mushroom Rock State Park. If this tiny state park in the middle of a whole lotta farmland isn't proof that the aliens have landed, I don't know what is.
woman, dog, and strange rock formation

Cheyenne Bottoms. Also an unexpected find amidst a lot of farmland is this marsh. Just listen to these birds!

Also, this. This is America. If there's only thing I've learned in my travels thus far, it's that America is mostly ruin and abandonment and poverty. And then I landed in the antithesis of that...Boulder. Stayed tuned next week.
abandoned house on a prairie