November 27, 2019
The day begins with a view of the lake right outside the hotel door, sun rising over the mountains illuminating it. I knew we were in the mountains, but it is obvious we are on a mountain side. I’m not sure, but I thinking the lake is manmade as a result of a dam somewhere on the mountain. (It turns out this is true!)
I’m up early, something I am trying to work on. Apparently getting to bed early can make the difference. I get out of bed at 6:30 and I head to Starbucks to journal, plan the route for the day and write that first blog entry. I looked for a local place close to Bath House Row, to no avail. How can a place like that not have a local coffee shop on the most popular street in the city.
The Hot Springs Spa that I want to go to doesn’t open until 10, so I hang out until about 9:30 and make my way downtown. It’s a sweet little town, reminding of some of the little mountain towns I was in while working in British Columbia. I got the National park office and exhibit and cruise through, seeing how people took to “the waters” over the history of the park.
Now, off to the Baths. It’s fantastic! $22 to use the hot pools, which is all I need. While there are other services one could avail themselves to, I am on a timeline and the pools will be enough. There are 4 pools, ranging in temperature from 95’ to 104’. I head to the 98’ pool and that’s fine, but I need more heat. I spend the next hour and a half alternating between the 2 hottest pools and intermittent cold shower. It’s blissful and my shoulder and lower back pain melt away. While chatting with a couple and their grandson, who are here for the holiday and travel to hot springs whenever they can I find out there is a steam cave that you can enter for another $10 fee. Note to self: check out the steam cave on your next visit!
I get out of the pools and after another cold shower, get dressed and head out. My body temp is way up at this point and the sun is out. I walk around in a t-shirt and check out the gift shop and a couple of stores. A couple of Arkansas quartz crystals are purchased at a store called All Things Arkansas. Its hard for me to pass on picking up a rocks from every city I go to, but I am circumspect and only get a couple of small things that I can give away on my travels.
Heading out of town, I stop at a local thrift store. I did not pack any shorts and I am headed to California. What was I thinking? And of course, they don’t have any out, but I grad a couple of short sleeved shirts for $3 each and get back on the road.
I didn’t realize how far we had climbed into the mountains, but as I exit the city it is apparent that we did. And at one point we climb even higher before headed down to merge back on the Interstate. Arkansas is beautiful. The last time I was here I spent a half day in Little Rock and went to the Clinton Presidential Library. It is a beautiful state and the stop at Hot Springs will be repeated.
I am headed to Fort Worth to spend Thanksgiving with my dear friend, Joan B and her partner Dwayne. Joan moved here a couple of years ago to take a job at Alcon as Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion. She is one of the smartest people I know and love spending time with her. We always learn something new about the work we are doing. She says she found me under a cabbage leaf at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, when she lived in Kalamazoo and worked for Kellogg. I was selling textiles and tuffa planters there at the time (I think I was just getting into beekeeping when I met her.) And a conversation about the light needs to succulents turned into a lovey friendship.
Having people in your life who get you, and find ways to encourage you to utilize your gifts is critical. I am lucky to have so many such friendships. Many new ones are emerging and yet the ones that have been maintained for years are most dear. So it will be great to spend some time just being together, cooking, drinking manhattans and enjoying the time together relaxing and reconnecting.
The rest of the trip is uneventful. The change from mountain to prairie to Texas hardpan is worth noting. I realize I should have taken more pics along the way, so you could see the change. I will work on that for the next leg of the journey. Of course, I hit the worst traffic ever as I come into Dallas. I’m sure it even worse being Thanksgiving Eve. Google maps saves me 20 minutes of stop and go traffic but I arrive later than I thought I would. The highway between Dallas and Fort Worth isn’t nearly as busy and tons of little sports cars speed past me and weave in and out of traffic. Apparently sports cars and giant half-ton trucks are the norm here. Who knew?
We are joyfully greeted by Joan and Dwayne, with a cheese plate and manhattans followed by mussels in a garlic sauce by Joan and a potato dish that Dwayne made. It sets the tone for the weekend. Leila is welcomed with open arms. Dwayne lost his Corgi, Taffy, a few years ago and they both dearly miss having a pup around. Good food, perfect manhattans, and lots of love and laughter. The perfect way to end this first leg of the journey.