Leaving Springfield on Thursday afternoon, my plan was to stay at the Golden Door Motel in Osage Beach, Missouri, near the Lake of the Ozarks. Thinking it would be easy to find, imagine my dismay when the sign on Highway 54 read, "Osage Beach next 6 exits."
Six exits! I thought Osage Beach was a small town! After driving around for a half-hour or so -- and seeing some stunning lake views along the way -- I never did find the Golden Door. But there are plenty of other places to stay, so I pulled in at an Econo Lodge and got a pet-friendly room for the night.
It was a warm and pleasant evening -- the last pleasant weather we would see for a while. I took Buster for two walks, then ordered a Hawaiian pizza from Imo's and settled in for the night. I wanted to get an early start for Bella Vista, so I went to bed early.
I woke up a few hours later, practically sweating. It was very warm in the room, and try as I would, I just couldn't seem to get it to cool down. I turned the fan on the heating/AC unit to the high position, but it didn't seem to make much difference. At least it made enough noise to drown out any outside noise which always is upsetting to Busterboy, my traveling companion.
Eventually, I did get a little more shuteye. I woke up to a rainy morning. Just a light rain, though, as I continued westward on 54 to Nevada, Missouri. That's where I picked up Interstate 49, heading south. I ran into a deluge around Joplin, and it never let up the rest of the way to Bella Vista.
I met up with Mark and Robyn, friends from Portland, at Jim's crib. I hadn't seen them since my last visit to Portland a few years ago, so we had some catching up to do. We drove down to Fayetteville in the rain and spent the rest of the afternoon driving around the University of Arkansas campus.
Plans were to take in a Naturals game (the local minor league team), but that was washed away in all the rain. Instead, we supped at an authentic Mexican restaurant (El Cunado) in Springdale before heading back to BV.
Saturday was cool and overcast, with intermittent spits of rain -- very Oregon-like, making Mark and Robyn feel at home. We did some shopping in Bentonville after a stop at the library, then lunched at Zaxby's, one of Jim's favorite places. Later, back at the crib, Jim and I did some jamming until it was time to eat again -- pizza at Gusano's.
We closed the cool, damp evening with hot chocolate at Jim's, then it was back to the Booneslick for another sleep-interrupted night. But it wasn't the temperature in the room this time, but the inhabitants in the room above. It sounded like they were moving furniture all night long. Crash, bang, boom! This lasted until 3:30 or so.
Sunshine and a cloudless blue sky greeted us on Sunday. What a welcome sight! We attended service at Calvary Chapel of the Ozarks in Rogers, then lunched at a nearby Freddy's. In the afternoon, Jim and some of his guitar students gave a performance at the Crystal Bridges art museum in Bentonville.
Buster and I then hit the road. I was determined not to spend another night in a hotel, so I drove straight through, with only two stops, arriving home around 11 p.m.