Thursday, September 6, 2007

Everything but the Hillbillies!

While I try not to stereotype people. I think I was expecting to find something different when we got to the Ozarks. Brought up on Lil’ Abner and Daisy Mae, I came to the Arkansas hill country looking for Dog Patch.

Oddly enough, we found it! Down on route 7, on one of the most beautiful (twisty- winding -steep) drives our faithful Winnebago has been on. But Dog Patch USA , a once popular non-technology laden theme park is all closed up and Pappy and Mammy Yokum and Lil’ Abner himself are no where to be found. We didn’t even catch sight of a single Schmoo!

Following signs up the road, we decided we’d have to make do with buying our four sophisticated offspring tasteful gifts imprinted with their place of purchase- Booger Hollow. Sadly, Booger Hollow is also a thing of the past. Looks like the Ozarks have moved into the 21st century. I knew we should have bought the RV 25 years ago!!!

We’ve spent the summer at Cosmic Cavern in Berryville, Arkansas, located on Highway 21 North, 8 mi. out of Berryville. Technically, the cave is in Maple but the town sign is actually here in the garden and there are apparently only 3 houses. It has been a very restful summer in this laid back area. Business, while good at this interesting cave, is not the frenetic pace we’ve been used to at our previous Workamping positions.

While there are two usable RV pads here, we are currently taking up one of them. Motor homes (1 or 2 at a time) can make the turn into the parking lot and you’ll enjoy the cave, history area, and gift shop, but we strongly recommend staying in another park and visiting in your toad if possible.

We’ve worked with some wonderful and funny fellow staff members. Rand and Anita, the owners, work right along with us much of the time and they are great, generous folks. Rand’s also a deputy sheriff and there’s not a person in 50 miles who doesn’t know and like him.

Angie is a local gal who recognizes when visitors are expecting to find a “real hillbilly.” She can deliver when that’s who they are looking for! She does make a point of reminding people that the crooked and uneven stairs in Cosmic Cavern were built by those hillbillies- her way of ensuring they use the handrails. April can get a group of kids oohing and ahhing and laughing with her as they see this strange underground world for the first time. Lisa is a walking Chamber of Commerce and not only tells you exactly which restaurant to go to but what’s best on the menu as well.

Dorothy will convince you that when she rubs your back with magnetic hematite stones your aches and pains disappear. She’s so good at it she also makes the stones disappear at $6.50 a bag! They do work too- she's used them on me and Big Jim and even Clancy, she was a massage therapist in another life.

Mike is another person who got tired of doing what he was good at and decided to go looking for what he enjoyed one area at a time. He dropped off the radar about a year ago and spends most of his off time hiking and exploring caves. He’s been here for about eight months. He’s not in an RV but his lifestyle is pretty similar to ours.

A usual perk in this area for Workampers is free or greatly reduced show tickets and admissions to the many attractions both Eureka Springs and Branson have to offer. We thought that would be fabulous but we find that we really aren’t that into shows after all. We still spend more time driving around looking for a great picnic site, preferably one with a stream for Clancy to paddle around.

Our 39th honeymoon was spent in the little town of Mt. View AR, listening to wonderful blue grass and mountain music both on the town square and right on the pickin’ porch at Fiddler’s Valley RV Resort. Lunch at Joy’s Main Street Café was delicious and made even more so when we discovered our server was a fellow Workamper, known far and wide as B-Bop. She and her hubby have also fallen in love with this area and will be staying for the winter.

As things wind down for the season we are in the process of securing our next piece of the big backyard. We’ll probably end up back in Texas for the Winter. We may stop to say “hi” to our new friends the musicians once they open their new Music Valley RV resort in Mission.

A few of my patient readers here purchased copies of my childrens' novel The Tree at the Top of the Hill, and I thank you for that. If you write and tell me what Molly did all summer, I’ll be glad to send an autographed bookmark to go with it.

The relaxed pace has allowed us to get a good start on our next writing project and I’ll let you know how it’s coming along another time.

Guess what? I finally caught up with myself! Unbelievable!

See ya Down the Road!


1 comment:

Homeless said...

Haha Dog Patch USA. I remember going there oh so many years ago. was a lot of fun. Its sad to hear that they have closed their doors.

I found your blog via an old post about workamping at caverns on We are cavers and fulltimers so your post naturally caught my eye.

I like your style and look forward to browsing through some more of your posts. Cheers!