In lieu of an 80th birthday party, Mom wanted us to take a family trip so we could spend some time together. Wendy came home from Ukraine in July, so I flew to Texas from Seattle and we packed up the cars for Arkansas. Why Arkansas? We were hoping it would be a bit cooler there than Texas usually is in July. It wasn't cooler, but it was less humid. And the scenery's pretty nice, too! This is the view of the Ozarks from a rest stop on Highway 7 in northern Arkansas.
More of the Ozarks view at the same rest stop. Seven people (Mom, Dad, Mark, Wendy, Jenna, Sheri, and me) and two dogs (Roxy and Oscar) traveled in two vehicles for two days to get here. We spent the night in Texarkana on the way.
This is the cabin where we had our "isolated togetherness." Wendy found this place for rent on the Web. We'll take a photo tour of it in a moment, but first you have to experience what it's like to get there. The closest town was a little spot in the road called Mount Judea (which we learned is pronounced by the locals as "judy").
You drive about five miles from Mount Judea (up and over a very large hill), and then you run out of pavement! The cabin owners had written up directions from this point, and I had to refer to them every single time we went in or out.
It's a good thing they did that because there were several forks and intersections along the way that were completely unmarked. If it hadn't said things like "At 2.3 miles, take the fork on the right," I think we would have gotten hopelessly lost!
This is the backside of the cabin. It was originally built in Kentucky, and it once had an open "dog run" in the middle. You can see in this shot that they filled in the open space. And note the air conditioner units--thank goodness for those!
The owners dismantled the exterior beams of the cabin in Kentucky and brought them here to rebuild. There was an album inside with pictures of the whole moving/re-building process. The 18-wheeler carrying the beams actually flipped over while making a turn on the gravel road! The chimney and other parts of the cabin are not original, but they blend together so well that you'd hardly know it.
The basement and foundation was all new construction. I was amazed at how tall it was! Except for the tiny windows in this room (under the living room) I didn't feel like I was in a basement at all. There were two identical sets of bunkbeds in this room, and I slept in the bottom of the other one (against the wall to the left).
Here's Jenna enjoying the swing on the front porch (those are the kitchen windows). Being the cityboy that I am, I admit that I wasn't that enthusiastic about the idea of staying here. But the reality turned out to be much nicer than I had imagined! It was comfortable, had nice amenities, and plenty of space for everybody. The one drawback was getting in and out on that road! Because of that, we spent more time at the cabin and saw less of the surrounding area than I thought we would. But we still had a great time and it was fun just hanging out together!
This is Jenna's dog Roxy. Isn't she cute? It was lots of fun having both her and Oscar (Sheri's dachshund) there with us. They were both good travellers in the car, too! It wasn't until I was back in Seattle that I realized I never took a single picture of Oscar this time. Sorry Oscar! I also wish I had taken more people pictures on this trip.
Right after I snapped this shot, Roxy tumbled into the upstream side. It was deeper than it looked and she went all the way under! She scrambled right out again and was just fine, but it gave Wendy and me a good laugh!