I got an early start this morning out of the Meenan Shelby Forest. I stopped by the old General Store for a cup of coffee on the way back into Memphis. I heard one fella yell to another that they didn’t look kindly upon traitors in that area so take that little nugget and tell the traitors to steer clear of this region. I made good time to downtown. A typical early morning Sunday drive…the streets were clear, the light was beautiful, the temps were cool and there was a story on NPR about the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and just what happens in that cocoon during the process.

I followed the directions given to me by Christian and Emilia the night before. They got me to the Arcade and I knew from the exterior that this was going to be my kind of place. Neon lights cranked up at 8AM on Sunday morning in Memphis. The interior was just as visually exciting as the exterior, the service was great, the prices were reasonable and the food was good. I was happy I didn’t take the fella at the General Store up on his biscuit recommendation earlier…I am sure it was a fine biscuit and would have went well with my coffee but this place was grand.The Arcade is the oldest diner in Memphis. It’s been in operation since 1919 and I can only imagine the changes that it has witnessed.

After a couple of biscuits, eggs, and some hash browns I hit I 40 for Arkansas. By the way, whats the story with the large pyramid in downtown Memphis with Bass Pro Shop on the side of it? I passed it heading out and it definitely got my attention.

40 was smooth riding to Little Rock, where I then jumped on 30 through Benton and then 70 towards Hot Springs and then 270 to 177. Its here that the road gets real interesting. Turn right at Judy’s Rock Shop and head through a neighborhood, past a runway and then onto a narrow gravel road. Keep on that narrow gravel road for some time and then hang a left onto a really narrow and quite rocky road to Twin Creeks Crystal Mine run by Dixie and Bobby. The mine was great, there were a couple of families scattered about and me. The young lady working the mine was kind and made sure everyone had fresh Arkansas watermelon to stay cool with. Conversations floated around the space between the pounding of hammers and the scraping of rakes. I stayed until I felt like my sack of crystals was heavy and I was ready to go. Bobs Food World in Mt. Ida was recommended as the local grocery to check out and Double T grill as the local restaurant. I went with the grocery and then high tailed it to Denby Point in the Ouachita National Forest on Ouachita Lake. The forest is large and beautiful but the area seemed a bit crowded for a Sunday night. I’ve got me a secluded spot on a finger of the lake behind the point. I had chick peas and avocado tossed in olive oil with salt, pepper and a dash of mayonnaise for dinner. While eating I made a make shift crystal cleaner out of the can the garbanzo beans came in and got to cleaning crystals. Now I hear the crickets chirping, what sounds like a raccoon chortling across the finger and power boats making it in as the sun sets low on the horizon. The lightening bugs are out in full force. Well, that raccoon sound has gotten awfully close to the tent. I keep waiting on the tent zipper to start shaking. Yikes!

Tomorrow….we shall see what it holds when it gets here.