Day 25: August 18, 2012
From Cowboys to Garlic
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This picture is from just east of Davidson, Oklahoma. I took it to remind myself of how straight and level the two-lane road was here. I didn't really expect to use it but decided to because of the small number of photos I got today. Now it can remind us all of how straight and level the road is here.

Gene Autry was a superstar long before the word was invented. Garth Brooks has a street named after him; Gene's got a whole town. It's not a big town. 99 people lived there in 2000. 35,000 showed up for the name changing ceremony in 1941. The Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum is named for the town rather than the cowboy and, although much more space is devoted to Autry than to anyone else, I'd guess he gets less than half of the total. That guitar isn't the first one that Gene played; It's the first one he endorsed. His name also appeared on trikes & bikes and guns & books. I think I read a few of those books. Orvon Grover Autry wrote songs and recorded songs and acted in movies and produced movies and did live performances and made a lot of money. And he ended up with his name on a zipcode.

I spotted the place in the first picture as I turned off of US-70 to visit Gene Autry, Oklahoma. I thought about stopping in when I returned but found myself scooting past on the wrong side of the fence so made do with a photo. That's probably just as well as I've since learned that it's a boutique name Cloverleaf that offers "...purses, printed flip-flops, sunglasses, sundresses, cards, jewelry and more." The pink bicycles look pretty cool, though.

Durant, Oklahoma's, reign as home of the World's Largest Peanut didn't last long. This monument was erected in November, 1974. A much bigger one in Georgia (which I saw in 2008) went up in February, 1975. Bummer.

Not long after I left Durant, it started to rain. I've seen very little rain throughout the previous twenty-four days of this trip and what little I have seen has been extremely short lived; five minutes, ten minutes max. This rain would continue for more than two hours. It was steady but gentle and pleasant and cooling and needed. It ended just before I crossed over into Arkansas where I took this picture.

I had it in my head that I would be going through Texarkana and that it would be a good place to end the day. By the time I realized that US-70 goes nowhere near Texarkana, it looked like Little Rock might be my next shot at finding a motel. Then, as I passed through Glenwood, Arkansas, I noticed a promising place on my left. Not only did the building look reasonably well maintained, there were some decent looking cars parked in front of a few units. The vehicles parked at motels can be great clues. If they're all clunkers, it might not be such a good place. If they're all new Mercedes and Cadillacs, I probably can't afford it. If the lot is filled with somewhat new pickup trucks with beds full of ladders or other gear, it's probably a place I'd be happy with -- if they have a room. More than once I've encountered a fairly nice reasonably priced motel that was completely filled with traveling work crews. The best thing to see is a mix of late model sedans, SUVs, mini-vans, and motorcycles. That's what this place had. The motel was good but the food was better.

There were a couple of restaurants across the street and I asked the desk clerk about them. I asked about the Italian place and he said it was good. I asked about the other place and he told me it had a seafood buffet. I'd had Italian a few nights ago and definitely like seafood. I asked if he knew how much the buffet was. Nope. He'd never actually eaten there. In my room I fired up the laptop and checked it out. It sounded good but my searching had also turned up some reviews on the Italian place and the first few I read were almost over the top with praise. It seemed I had a real jewel just a short walk away. Ari's Little Italy is certainly a jewel. They make their own pasta and sauces. They bake fantastic garlic rolls fresh every day. The menu was full of good looking choices but I went for one of the daily specials. Shrimp Verona. Magnifico!

This is actually a morning after picture of the Ouachita Mountain Inn. Quite nice and reasonably priced. My room is here and their website is here.

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