Hot Springs Here We Come!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Miles: 365

Today will be a long travel day.  We meant to get an early start, but we didn’t.

After a quick workout in our room with the help of my trusty iPad and Youtube we were finally ready to hit the road around 9:00.  Breakfast today will be on the road in an hour or so.  We want to get on the other side of Dallas first.

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Thankfully, it is a weekend day and traffic on the freeway is not too bad.  There is one snafu near Fort Worth where construction has narrowed the 4 lanes into 1, but we were set back only about 20 minutes.

Hunger began to set in so Rich started scouring the internet for a possible breakfast/brunch place. At first, IHOP seemed like a logistical (and easy) choice, but he knows he can do better and digs deeper.  He discovered a diner in Dahlrock and we cross our fingers that we can still get breakfast when we arrive around 11:00.

Score!  This place is perfect – a wonderful diner with all day breakfast and a great vibe.  Oh – and they have pork chops on their breakfast menu.  (Loyal readers may recall at past trips through the South, I have been a sucker for pork chops for breakfast.)  I justify that this is both breakfast and lunch and order the chops with eggs – grits included.  Rich goes more traditional with eggs, sausage, bacon and pancakes.

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The chops are just as fantastic as they look:

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We loved the Dahlrock Diner!  As we were leaving our server asked if this was our first time in.  When we replied “yes” she gave us 2 Dahlrock coffee cups as a gift.

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Great food, good vibe and coffee cups to boot!

Back on the road to make our way in a straight shot to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  The long, somewhat boring ride on the freeway is occasionally broken up by the sighting of armadillo road kill.  (Folks DO eat armadillo.  Look it up – we did).

When we finally get off the monster freeway and take little highway 7 into Hot Springs, the scenery becomes much more beautiful.  There are forests and rolling hills along with small town sightings.  We zoom past a produce stand and decide that we need to find another one in order to snag some real tomatoes.

Visions of BLTs with REAL tomatoes dance in my head and I am crossing my fingers tht we can find another stand.  I consult my phone and viola! there is a produce stand 2 miles up the road!!

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The two gentlemen minding the stall couldn’t be nicer.  We told them we were looking for real tomatoes and their eyes lit up.  They have the last of the season Cherokee Purple Heirloom tomatoes.  They are gorgeous. One of the guys goes in the back and comes out with a sample for us.  Yep – we are getting these beauties.

Then he goes back and comes out with bites of cantaloupe the likes of which I have never tasted – super sweet and juicy.  Like candy.  Have to have a bag of those.  He goes back for the third time and returns with cut up peaches.  Wow!  Ok – give us two of those.

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See his bag of cantaloupe?

We are happy campers with our haul.  The only things left to do are to make a stop at Village Wine for a couple bottles and then Food Wise to pick up items for 2 nights dinner (we already know we will have BLTs tomorrow night).

Our Airbnb is in Hot Springs Village.  “Hot Springs Village, a recreational resort community in Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains, near Lake Ouachita National Park, is the largest gated community in the U.S. encompassing 40.7 square miles.” I had originally thought the Village was a retirement community and we were prepared to be among the “fogies.”  It is not.  This place is awesome with 5 lakes, NINE golf courses and all kinds of other recreational areas.

I chose this particular house because it is lakefront.  Our digs are actually a separate “apartment” attached to a huge main house.  We have our own private entrance and a living area, kitchenette, bath and large bedroom plus access to the lakefront patio and bbq.  Just what we need.

We gather only what we will need for the next couple of nights, drag it all upstairs and then head for the lake to chill with the two beers we purchased at the wine store.

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We sit and discuss what it would be like to like in a place on a lake.  Hmmm.  We would definitely need a boat…

When dinnertime rolls around Rich is on steak duty at the outside grill.  I man the “kitchen” and make do with the limited cooking facilities.  We know how to do this and came up with a fantastic dinner.

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produce bounty

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We thoroughly enjoyed cooking at “home” and delighting in how we can pull together a wonderful meal with limited space and no pantry.  A bonus for us is that we have access to our Netflix account on their Dish TV so we settled in to watch another uplifting episode of “Shameless” while we ate dinner.

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It has been a great ending to a long driving day.  Fortunately we have 2 nights here to re-set and relax before heading to Biloxi.  Tomorrow is golf on one of the courses here – Granada.  We don’t know what to expect but it has to be better than the dog track we played in New Mexico!

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