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Family Road Trip Adventures, Part 1

Well, I think it’s about time I checked in again here….you may have wondered why I haven’t been around.

We’ve been on a family road trip adventure.

And I’d love to tell you about some of the fun times we had this past week.

It won’t necessarily be in order…no, this time I decided to just give the details as they press themselves upon me to be shared. 🙂

I do need to do a few more book reviews this week, so those will be posted, kind of mixed in with vacation-y details.

As on any vacation, I often look back and wish I’d taken more pictures, but when you’re adventuring, who feels like snapping pictures all the time, right?! I’m still from the old school, and don’t like taking selfies… 😉

What I am about to tell you…this adventure happened on Monday.

Yes. We had quite the adventure.

Monday was our last day of vacation, not counting traveling home…we wanted to have one day to spend around Harrison AR. (Don’t worry–the full story will come out eventually, but I’m only sharing stuff on a ‘need-to-know’ basis)

Well. The way this all happened. You see, I am a person that plans things out. So, this vacation was the opposite….we decided to not plan anything. So, we had no plans. And then, when it was time to decide what to do on Monday, I really didn’t have any idea…because we were at Hillcrest Home (where my husband & I met, we were both in VS there, way back when…), we discovered they still had their trusty old “Day Off Book”, the very book we used to use back in those good ole’ days to plan our days off, and we chose a page out of there, snapped a picture of the directions to get there, and away we went.

We chose Erbie. A place we’d both been to, about 20 years ago…nice, way back in, an old church house and homestead, and we thought our girls might find it an interesting drive.

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Well, as we discovered when we were driving along…these directions…are very old (How can we be sure that a gas station that was there 20+ years ago is even still there today?!) and were extremely confusing. So. I typed in Erbie on my iphone, and was amazed that it showed up and gave directions on how to get there.

(Note here that this post could also have been titled “When NOT to trust the Google Maps app on your smartphone”)

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The Ozarks are as lovely as ever. Maybe even more green than most Augusts have been. And we had a lovely drive.

Then. We turned off the main road at the place we thought the directions might be referring to. Also known as the road that Google Maps told us to take to arrive at our destination of Erbie.

The road we were on turned out to be probably the worst road in the entire state of Arkansas. It really should not have been called a road (we kept wondering how in the world Google Maps even knew about it and considered it a road). When we first turned off the main road, it wasn’t bad, for a dirt road. Decently graded, not too narrow or steep. However. The further we went, the worse it got. And when we finally got to the point where we began to consider whether we might have chosen the worst route, we were kind of past the point of no return. The road got steep. It got narrow. It had grass growing in the middle of it. And yet, we were still on the road to Erbie. Not getting there quickly, but tenth of a mile by tenth of a mile, we were getting closer…Finally we got to a part that seemed so rocky and treacherous AND steep, I was absolutely certain that I made a terrible error by even suggesting that we might have wanted to go to Erbie. I was ever so thankful that my husband was the driver, and not me. AND that we were in our four-wheel-drive pickup. (We decided this would have made a good commercial for Chevy trucks 😉 )

I wish I would have taken more pictures of our route, but honestly, we were bouncing and rocking back and forth and up and down so much that it was almost impossible to take pictures….we were praying none of the rocks would be sharp enough to give us a flat tire, and that the truck wouldn’t bottom out anywhere…

The one thing that kept us going was the fact that there was one set of tire tracks in front of us…someone else had traveled that road, and not too long before we went through there…so we knew that it was highly likely there was another (better!) way out of there, if we ever made it to Erbie.

We finally, finally reached Erbie. We were so thankful to see a spot to park, and a trail sign. When we got out and looked at our truck, we were amazed at how dirty it was! (too bad it doesn’t really show up here…) What really topped it off was the sign they had posted at THAT end of that stretch of road (see below)! Why didn’t they tell us that at the other end too?! 😉IMG_2445

IMG_2441You have GOT to be kidding me!!

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So…we looked at the sign. We all knew that we didn’t want to hike too far. So, at random (again, no planning or anything here…) we chose to head toward the site of the Swinging Bridge. Something we had never seen, but it appeared to be a relatively short hike.

As we started on our way, it meant heading down a different dirt road, and keeping our eyes open for a trail. We happened upon two men–one looked to be a Park Ranger, and then there was a man on a horse. We told them where we were wanting to go, and they gave some verbal directions.

Well, we kept walking…and then, here comes our friend on his horse. (we decided later that he might have been an angel…) He told us he’d show us the way to go. He grew up in those woods, and knew them like the back of his hand.

Off we went. He had said it was about an eighth of  a mile…well, it turned out to be the awful longest eighth of a mile we ever walked…we finally got to some bluffs that overlooked the Buffalo River. (this included crossing it. Twice. Which involved removing shoes and socks, wading through the water, which felt AMAZING on such a hot day…putting them on again, hiking more, and so on. Well. We got to the bluffs. And that is when we finally realized we were only looking at the site of the Swinging Bridge. No more swinging bridge. Probably hadn’t been there for at least 50 years. So we would’ve never found it on our own! 😉

To top it all off, the cowboy let two of the girls ride his horse for a bit. It was a very nice, tame, older horse.

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We did enjoy the hike. Mostly. Sort of. Kind of…well..until our guide left us (he told us how to get back, “just ‘cross the river and then you’ll see that ol’ barn, and then you’ll know how to get back”)  But he took off and crossed the river where we couldn’t wade across…so then we had to find our own way across….

 

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We ended up walking a ways, and then finally making our way across. We then had to pull ourselves up over a sandy steep embankment, maybe about 6′ high (or even a bit more)…had to grab a hold of weeds and swing our way up, or grab a hand to reach the top. When we got to the top, we still had to walk across a field. He called it a hay field. It was easy walking, but made you feel rather itchy. We found one good thing about it–all that walking through the grass cleaned most of the red mud off our (mostly new before this trip) shoes. When we saw what kind of hike we were getting ourselves in to, we regretted not having worn our older shoes, and the youngest daughter went on this trip without any shoes…only had flip-flops along 😦 …definitely not ideal footwear for a hike of this nature!

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We took a break in the old barn–it was shady and had a nice breeze going through it. It was a hot and humid day there in Arkansas that day…We only had a few sips of water left in our water bottles, so had to ration that just a bit.

The barn was beside another dirt road, and we were pretty sure that one went back to where we had parked the truck. So we walked some more.

We saw this lovely old home there. It actually looks almost freshly painted. I would have loved to explore it, but there was a fence around it. IMG_2467

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We also saw this old church house. I wonder if it gets used today. It felt like such a remote area, but later we discovered there were people living not too far from there…IMG_2469

Just as we got back to the truck, it began to rain! And then we followed a DIFFERENT dirt (muddy) road to get out of those ‘sticks’. The other way felt almost like a highway, after what we’d driven on earlier… 😉

All in all, it was a good day. Not at all what we had expected, or even wanted to experience. But it was an adventure–completely unlike any we’d ever have at home!! 😉

I don’t think any of us will soon forget it!

There you have it. The last day of our adventures on 2018 Family Summer Road Trip. This was probably the most memorable day of the entire trip. 😉

But I hope to share more of our adventures later….

 

 

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