Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Ronnings 2

Black Friday - There is no better way to spend a day after driving hundreds of miles and eating hundreds of pounds of food, than to have a couple of big meals and go for a long ride in the car. So, Friday morning we downed a hearty breakfast of waffles and sausage and hit the road for some sightseeing. Although it's not at it's best this time of year, North central Arkansas is actually quite beautiful. It sports a National forest and two huge (man-made) lakes, Bull Shoals and Norfork as well as the White River and don't forget it's nestled in the Ozark Mountains. Our destination that day was Blanchard Springs Caverns. Once again we turned "Wanda" loose and away we went. Other than Harrison and I betting on how fast I could take the Honda through the curves along the scenic road, the ride was uneventful. One thing that always amazes me is the way Mistletoe grows in the trees down there. Mistletoe is very visible this time of year after the trees have shed their own leaves and the "balls" cling to the bare branches. I'm not sure if it's true or not but Jr. claims that the Mistletoe is "Harvested" by shooting it out of the tree. (I have my own idea of how it was done while Clinton was Governor.) A quick lunch at a place that boasted their "Monster" burgers and off to the caverns. The cave was one of the prettiest caves I've ever toured. It was full of fantastic formations and the one hour tour went by too fast. As I understand, we toured the upper level of three. The middle level is much more strenuous and requires stomach crawling, hard hats and a lot more money and the lowest level is restricted to Federal employees. After the cave tour we did some unsupervised touring on our own. We found the spring where the water that runs through the cave flows out of the rock walls forming, I guess, Blanchard Springs. A dam downstream creates, not only a lovely little waterfall but a beautiful lake (Mirror Lake) which I hear is stocked with some fine, hungry trout. A little farther downstream we found the remains of an old mill. We started getting hungry again so we rapidly negotiated the windy road home to a tasty pot roast which had been simmering in a crockpot all day. (Heaven forbid that we should go without a meal.) Because we seldom see Jr. on her birthday which is in December, we decided to have a surprise early birthday for her. (also a good reason to have cake) Seeing as how it was a month before her real birthday, the surprise was successful. Here are a couple pics from the day.
My next blog will be about the interesting places and things we ran across on Saturday's long drive home.

Mistletoe growing in a tree. Pretty tempting for a good shot.

Holly Bush.
Prettier than Mistletoe and you don't need a gun to pick it.

A few cave photos

Blanchard Springs

The dam waterfall

Mirror Lake
(How'd they ever come up with a name like that?)

What's left of an old mill

Birthday cake. Oh, and Jr.