Oklahoma Road Trip: Day 2 (also known as The Day I Fell In Love With Arkansas)

Day two of our westward adventure began in Memphis (you can read about Day 1 here).  After breakfast and some sightseeing, Matt directed me to the Mississippi River bridge.  I think I squealed with childish delight as I drove across:

HOLY CRAP! I crossed the Mississsippi River!

And then we were in West Memphis, Arkansas.  It’s kind of dirty and full of trucks (although conveniently loaded with lots of gas stations and fast food joints), but I was fascinated by the the farmland and how it is all laid out.  This is the flood plain, after all.  It’s all been underwater a billion times before.

Ever onward…

Arkansas: After we made it out of West Memphis and hot-footed it towards Little Rock, this started to happen:

There were hills again, but they weren’t daunting…probably because I’d just survived Alabama and Mississippi and I was armed to the teeth with Dramamine.  I forged ahead and insisted I do some driving on this day.  Luckily, this leg of the trip is the only time we came across any kind of traffic jam.  As the three of us waited out the 15-minute(ish) delay, we decided to put the windows down and take in some fresh air.  It wasn’t very cold and, in fact, the air was fresh and clean.  This is my first real impression of Arkansas. I really like Arkansas.

We continued on to Little Rock and I couldn’t stop raving to Matt about how pretty it all was.  The trees were still full of fall color and the hills sat covered in a very fine mist.  You could actually see the sheets of rain coming down miles ahead of us.  In Conway, a town just west of Little Rock, I decided that Arkansas is my favorite state (outside of Florida, of course).  It’s apparently the gateway to Arkansas’ wine country and an absolute treat to one’s highway-weary eyes.

Not too long after we passed through Conway and across Lake Dardanelle, I once again had to concede to altitude sickness.  Matt pointed out a very insignificant looking exit for a small town called London and suggested we pull over there for the driver switch. Once I stopped the car, this is what Matt noticed was directly outside the passenger side door:

It may be hard to see as this photograph was taken with my phone, but there is an honest-to-goodness natural waterfall.  Oh, Arkansas, you just blew my sheltered little mind.

Matt, Elle, and I stood there for a few minutes taking pictures and talking about what an accidental find this little gem was when Matt turned around and noticed the view from the driver’s side door, which I had totally missed in my anticipation to ogle at tiny waterfalls and down more Dramamine.  Seriously, Arkansas just blew my mind.

As Matt drove toward Fort Smith, we could see the sun finally peeking through the two-day old cloud cover that followed us the entire trip west.

Oklahoma: As soon as we came to the Oklahoma state line, the sun finally came out to welcome me.  A few hours later, I watched the sun go to sleep over the town of Shawnee.  By nightfall, I was in Oklahoma City.

I must admit, I really do like it here.

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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