Well, for the first time in a couple years, Michael and the kids and I made it out to my folks’ house waaaaaaaay out in the boonies in Arkansas. I am not from Arkansas; neither are my parents. But they moved there 10 years ago, so if I want to see them, I have to make the trek into the wilds to get out there. Here is a journal of one such adventure.
Day 1 – Getting there is half the misery…
It’s a long trip from Virginia to Arkansas. How long is it, you ask? Sunday morning, we got up at oh-dark-thirty to scarf down breakfast, pile into the car, and make the hour-and-a-half-long drive to the Richmond airport. There are airports closer to us, but this one gave us the best price on a flight to Arkansas. The drive there wasn’t a big deal. I’ve driven to and around Richmond so many times, it seems like nothing to me.
But anyway, we got to Richmond early that morning and hopped on a flight to Atlanta, the funnest airport in the world!! Okay, maybe not the funnest airport in the world, but I kind of like it because it has more food choices than most other airports I’ve been in. Unfortunately, we were traveling with the kids, and they didn’t want to eat at Au Bon Pain or Moe’s Tacos or even Sbarro’s. Noooooooo, they had to eat at Checker’s, which is really Rally’s in disguise, and the burgers we got from there were D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G. I mean, the cheeseburgers were just dripping with grease. I picked up my burger and I could see the fat spatter on the paper beneath. GROSS! Even the kids didn’t finish their meals, although to be fair, the Princess had a temperature of 102 degrees.
Oh yeah, did I mention we were travelling with a sick kid? Fortunately, she didn’t puke during the trip, but she had me worried the entire time. I had me worried, too. We rode a puddle-jumper from Richmond to Atlanta, and an even smaller puddle-jumper (or should I call it a piddle-jumper, it was so small?) from Atlanta to Little Rock. Neither flight was good for me. You see, I have this thing about small planes. It’s not that I’m afraid they’re going to crash – I’m not. It’s just that I’m concerned about spewing the contents of my stomach every time we hit turbulence. And the flight from Richmond to Atlanta was a bit… turbulent.
So I was queasy getting off the plane in Atlanta. And then I ate the grease burger from Hell. And then I got on the piddle-jumper. And there was more turbulence. Not a lot. Just enough to make me green around the gills. But then we got off the plane, met my parents, got into their car and…
Made the two-and-a-half hour drive from the Little Rock Airpot to my parents’ house in the boonies…
Only we drove at a heart-stopping 70 miles-per-hour along the windiest, twistiest roads ever built in the history of civilization, so we could make it home even faster…
But first we had to stop in Conway and have dinner at the worst Japanese hibachi restaurant known to mankind.
How bad was this restaurant? Well, let me say this. I normally find hibachi food to be a light and refreshing repast. It’s usually lean cuts of meat grilled with fresh vegetables and served with rice. But this hibachi was cooked with LARD, lots and lots of LARD, and the chef (if you could call him that) was a nut case who threw bits of food at us while he cooked. Not only that, but he hosed down the flaming onion volcano (if you’ve ever been to a hibachi place, you know what I’m talking about here – the chef cuts up the onion into thick slices, stacks them largest to smallest, fills them with some sort of flamable liquid and ignites it)… anyway, the chef hosed down the flaming onion volcano with a (get this) squirter shaped like a little boy WITH NO PANTS ON. You can guess where the water came out of. It was classy I tell ya. Really, really classy.
So I was on two tiny planes flying in gut-churning turbulence, I ate a grease burger from Hell, I ate hibachi from some place even worse than Hell, and I rode in the passenger’s seat for a two-and-a-half hour drive on the highway to Hell (only Mom was speeding, so we got there a lot faster). Just in case you were wondering, the highway to Hell is not paved with good intentions. In fact, in some places, it is not paved at all. We were okay on the narrow two-lane highway that ran from Conway to Mountain View, except for the roller-coaster-style twists and turns, but then we got to my parents’ neighborhood (and I use that term very loosely, because their closest neighbor lives a mile away) and it was all dirt road. Except for the spots where it was chunks of rock. Or exposed tree roots. Or mud. And don’t ask me exactly which parts were dirt or tree roots or rocks or mud, because I had my eyes closed the whole way, to ensure I didn’t add vomit to the list of surface materials for that road.
Anyway, after all that, we finally ended up at my parents’ place, and I was never so glad to get out of the car and actually be in Arkansas, as opposed to being on my way to Arkansas.
And that was the entire first day of our trip.
My parents’ place, Gallowglass House in Arkansas (that’s my dad in the foreground)