Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Second Sunday Drive, End of the Road

The Magnetic Valley Resort
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Walking at night along the meadow way,
Home from the dance beside my sweetheart* gay,
Walking at night along the meadow way,
Home from the dance beside my sweetheart gay! Hey!
Stodola, stodola, stodola pumpa
Stodola pumpa, stodola pumpa
Stodola, stodola, stodola pumpa
Stodola pumpa, pum pum pum
--Czech folk song as we sang it at church camp*

I found many versions of Stodola Pumpa on YouTube, perhaps the most intriguing being a Korean men's choir singing it in barely understandable English, the most charming being a group of small children playing it on their violins at a music camp in Hot Springs, Arkansas (shades of Suzuki Violin Camp).  But only one version used the same lyrics I remember from my childhood, and that's this one played and loaded by kaburto1966.  Curiously, there don't seem to be any versions that give the lyrics in the original Czech.  Sorry, Mark.

(OK, I know you really want to hear the Arkansas kids playing it on their violins. Click here for that.)

We woke on the morning of September 5th to the news that we would have to return home.  A friend was having trouble with the police and needed us immediately, if not sooner.  Having packed the car, we said good-bye to our hosts, Alvin and Charley, at the Magnetic Valley Resort, and headed north into Missouri, stopping at Cassville for breakfast.  While we ate breakfast, Kevin was able to get in touch with our lawyer and was told the problem had been resolved.  We turned around and headed back to Eureka Springs as we had wanted to spend another full day at the resort, enjoying its pool and the company of the handsome men who came as day visitors.  (There was only one other overnight guest staying at the resort.)  Our original plan had been to spend two nights at Magnetic Valley, then head west into Oklahoma, possibly dip down into Texas, then return home via Kansas and Colorado, until we reached Denver and I-25 which would take us north into Wyoming and merge with I-90 for the rest of the trip home.  I had made reservations to stay at a gay campground (Circle J) in the Dallas area, but as we headed to Cassville, I called and cancelled those reservations.  I had met the owners of Circle J while staying at Roseland, and was looking forward to seeing them again in their home environment.  Oh well, that will wait for a subsequent trip.

In case you couldn't tell, this is the Missouri State Line

 Back at Magnetic Valley Resort, we spent the day in and by the pool.  A variety of men ranging in age from their 20s up into their 70s came by for a while to sit beside the pool or play in it.  The weather was beautiful, not too hot, but pleasant enough to warrant remaining suit-free.  Even Kevin, who normally won't consider stripping down, was naked in the pool.  

As we learned, a group of these men get together every Wednesday for Prayer Meeting (at least I think that's what they call it).  Instead of going to church, they meet for dinner at an area restaurant, and we were invited to join them.  This evening, dinner was to be at a Thai place in Eureka Springs, and ten of us enjoyed a very pleasant evening and terrific food.  One of the men present actually spoke Thai, and we listened in as he and the waiter discussed the dishes.  At least I assume that's what they were discussing.  My Thai is non-existent.  They could have been saying anything at all--or even just jibberish.

Table Rock Lake, Missouri/Arkansas

Back at the Resort, I stayed by the pool enjoying the company of our host Charley, while Kevin returned to our room in the Dudeplex, one of the buildings accommodating guests at the Resort.  Around nine p.m.  Kevin appeared at the end of the pool and called me away from Charley.  We had to leave immediately, he said.  Apparently all was not well in Missoula, and regardless of what our lawyer had told us while we were having breakfast, the police were not done with our friend.  In fact, they had arrested him, taken him to the Detention Facility in Missoula, and left Kevin's Expedition, which our friend had been driving at the time, on the side of the road.  What was worse than the situation with Kevin's car was that our friend had been house and dog sitting, and now there was no one taking care of our kids while we gallivanted around the country.

We packed the Saab for the second time that day, and once again bid adieu to our hosts.  Heading north in the dark, we left Eureka Springs, once again drove through Holiday Island, Arkansas, crossed into Missouri, crossed Table Rock Lake (I'm so glad I got my pictures earlier in the day), and drove back to Cassville.  North of Cassville, we caught a major highway which took us past Kansas City and St. Joseph, until we crossed into Iowa.  We bypassed Council Bluffs (and by extension, Omaha Nebraska which is right across the river), continuing north to Sioux City where we crossed into South Dakota.  The sun came up somewhere around Sioux Falls, and by now we were on I-90 heading west toward home.

It feels like it takes forever to cross South Dakota on I-90, and it didn't help that we'd been driving all night after having a full day in Arkansas.  I don't recall when are where we stopped for food and gas, but at a rest area along the way, I asked about the fires in southeastern Montana.  When I had left, much of Powder River County was in flames, and I wasn't sure if we'd be able to make it home taking our usual route.  I was assured that there was no longer any real danger of being delayed by fire, but construction was causing significant delays on US 212.  As a result, we chose to stay on I-90 crossing northern Wyoming.

Dinner Thursday evening was at our favorite truck stop outside of Laurel, Montana, still over three hundred miles from home.  By the time we reached Missoula, we had been driving for twenty-five hours, with stops only for food and gasoline.  We had driven over 1,600 miles since leaving Eureka Springs, and over 6,000 miles by rail and Saab since leaving Missoula over a month earlier.  I certainly got a feel for how my new car behaved on a variety of roads and under various conditions.  Much as I enjoyed the trip, it was good to be home, and waiting for the next adventure.

The Pool at Magnetic Valley Resort

*The words, as we sang them at church camp said "maiden gay," but "sweetheart gay" seemed more appropriate to me under the circumstances.

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