Wednesday, July 05, 2006

God Bless America!

What a lovely, lovely weekend.

We took advantage of the four day weekend and spent all of it relaxing.

Friday, we went down to the river market in Kansas City and watched a wonderful fireworks display over the Missouri river. We had to park and walk two miles for a good seat, but it was worth it and it got our fireworks watching out of the system in case the rain they predicted on the 4th became a reality.

Saturday, MBH took his 4 NASCAR truck tickets and a couple friends to the Speedway while I spent the morning in the dentist chair. Here's how the conversation on Friday night went:

MBH: "I have 4 tickets to the truck races on Saturday. Wanna go?"
Me: "Oh, darn, I'd love to go but I have a dentist appointment"
MBH: "You could always reschedule."
Me: "But I'd really rather get my teeth cleaned than go to the truck races."
MBH: "Girls!"

So, he enjoyed the races and I enjoyed watching World Cup Soccer while getting my teeth sand blasted. It wasn't all bad. No cavities!

Sunday, we loaded up the truck with our bicycles and suitcases and headed to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a wonderful little relaxing artist colony in the Ozark mountains. It also happens to be near Lake Leatherwood, home of the Fat Tire Festival. This means lots of "good" mountain bike trails. Now, we are not true mountain bike enthusiasts. In fact, we ride our mountain bikes on roads mostly. But we asked someone where we might find some good bike trails and they sent us to Lake Leatherwood. A true mountain biker would appreciate this place. We, on the other hand, were in over our heads. We asked one of the rangers for the easiest trail and he pointed us to a 4-mile trail around the lake. We spent the next 3 hours "riding" 4 miles. Most of this time was spent pushing our bikes along a rugged trail better intended for pack mules. We also spent about a half hour swimming. It was hot and humid and we were in desperate need of a cool break. Since we didn't bring our bathing suits, we just removed our shoes and watches and jumped into the lake wearing our shorts and t-shirts. The rest of the "ride" was a bit soggy (we should have worn lycra), but much cooler.

We ate well (twice at The Smokehouse and Guido's BBQ...the best ribs ever, bar none! And the fry bread dripping with butter and honey? To die for!!), did some shopping in the art galleries around town, and listened to live bluegrass music in Basin Park, a beautiful park in the middle of town that sits in a basin of terraced landscaping fed by natural springs:

* click to enlarge

(The young girl in this picture came up to the motley hillbilly crew with her nice new fiddle in its nice case and politely asked if she could join them. They asked her a few questions and helped her get in the right key and then asked her to play a few bars. Rather than jump right in and start playing over the top of her, they all looked on in awe...she blew them away. She was the sweetest thing, completely confident in her abilities but not at all arrogant. Before long, they were all playing together as if they had practiced for years.)

On our way out of town, we stopped in at our favorite spot in Eureka Springs, Thorncrown Chapel. Our timing was just perfect because we walked in just as the woman who normally sings at Sunday services was finishing up a narrative of the history of the chapel for a busload of visitors and preparing to sing God Bless America and The Star Spangled Banner. Take a look at the photos in the's just wonderful. This place is simply beautiful and with the music, sublime...the perfect place to pray for the leaders of our country and all who serve it. And a perfect ending to a perfectly fun and relaxing weekend.


At 1:24 PM, July 05, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

I am so jealous of your access to good mountain biking trails! And water that you can go swimming in!

Sounds like a great holiday weekend... even if you did miss (I know; you didn't miss them, you just didn't see them) the truck races.

*sigh* Girls.

At 2:05 PM, July 05, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Ok, everyone can sigh about Girls now cause...what the HECK is a NASCAR truck??? I know what NASCAR is, I'm not that out of it - but they have trucks??? Like pickup trucks?

Perhaps my biggest, burning question: why?

Mountain biking sounds like fun!

At 3:20 PM, July 05, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Eric, I wish we were better able to appreciate the bike trails. As it were, we kept muttering, "we could have left the bikes behind and walked this trail faster." But it was still a fun way to spend the afternoon. We learned our lesson...never ask serious mountain bikers for advice. ;-)

Beth, I'll add a link that might help to explain the inexplicable. My understanding of it (based on my own thorough, analytical, study is that this is the place for wannabe NASCAR drivers who couldn't cut it; it's essentially the NASCAR minor league). But the bigger question still burns...why NASCAR?? I really don't get it.

At 4:03 PM, July 05, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

Glad you had a good weekend :) with lots of fun included!

At 7:39 PM, July 05, 2006, Anonymous Brian said...

Shouldn't NASCAR with trucks be NASTAR?

(National Association of Stock Car Racing, IIRC)

I can see not being into racing, but not to the extent that a visit to the dentist is preferable.


Sounds like a wonderful ride/walk/hike/dip!

Word Verification: bclyo -- how very close to your topic.

At 7:46 AM, July 06, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

I think NASTAR was already taken by the space program...or the snowboard racers. ;-)


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