Autumn in Western Arkansas is absolutely beautiful. I sort of look forward to it every year. I love the beautiful fall colors, but I really dislike cold weather.
Gina and I and our friend Deanna took a trip to Eureka Springs this weekend. I love Eureka Springs and we try to visit there a couple of times a year, but this time of year, the journey is as interesting as the destination. On the way up to Eureka Springs, we traveled on Hwy 23. The most beautiful part of Hwy 23 is called the Pig Trail. The Pig Trail is a very popular drive in the fall, especially with motorcyclists.
THE MINI IS A LOT OF FUN ON THE PIG TRAIL
When we arrived in Eureka Springs, we had quite a time finding a place to stay. There were very few vacancies. You couldn't tell that the economy is bad, it seemed like everybody was there. Our favorite place to eat in Eureka is the Mud Street Cafe. While we were eating breakfast there, we talked with the host and he told us that they had set a record for the most customers ever the day before.
BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN EUREKA SPRINGS
COLORFUL TREES IN BASIN SPRING PARK
We had a very relaxing time while we were there. We didn't really do anything. Well we did eat and do a bit of shopping, but mostly we drove or walked around this charming quaint little town. There is a lot to do in Eureka Springs, but we were just in the mood to chill out. The beauty of the fall colors was really the focus of the trip.
CYCLE PARKED ON A COLORFUL EUREKA STREET
On the way home we decided to travel a different route. It had been over ten years since we had traveled Hwy 71 between Fayetteville and Alma. Interstate 540 travels the same route and was opened in 1998. We had not traveled Hwy 71 over the Boston Mountains since the interstate opened. U.S. 71 snakes its way through the Boston Mountains beginning in Alma at the edge of the Arkansas River Valley and extending 42 miles across the Ozark Mountains to Fayetteville. The Ozark Mountains are made up of three eroded plateau surfaces with the Boston Mountain range being the highest. There is an amazing vista at Artist Point.
VIEW FROM ARTIST POINT
ANOTHER VIEW SHOWING LAKE SHEPHERD SPRINGS
A short distance from Artist Point is Lake Fort Smith State Park. We drove down to the lake to check it out. We had never been there before. The state park had closed in 2002, and had just reopened in May of this year. It was really nice, with a big new visitors center that is really kid friendly. We would love to bring our grandkids here someday.
CHECKING OUT LAKE FORT SMITH STATE PARK
Along with the wonderful scenic beauty that we saw, the weekend was filled with great food and great friends. Also notable was filling up the Mini with 2.17 gas. Two months ago, right before Hurricane Ike, gas was 3.99 in Mena. I hope to have time to take some pictures around town this week. The fall colors are very nice right here in Mena, but that's a blog for another day.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.