APRIL 27 - MAY 09, 2006

DAY 9, Friday, May 5, 2006

I stayed at the Holiday Inn, Russellville Arkansas last night. The room was decent for the age of the place, looks like 60's style construction, either very well maintained, or recently redone. Wireless access was flakey all night, I finally gave up on it. (Note to hotels... if you're going to have wireless, do it right! I pick hotels based on internet access, and it annoys me to no end to have it not work once I'm there!) Pulled out at about 9:30am, and headed for Lavaca. Arkansas is apparently just as bad as Texas when it comes to highway signs! Got turned around outside of Fort Smith (a town I always heard about as a kid.. when my grandmother was a child and their family was "going into town", Fort Smith was the town they were talking about), trying to follow the highway to Lavaca. This way, then that way, then hide the little sign waaaaay over there so that you miss the turn you need to make. Probably no end of amusement to the locals! Finally found Lavaca after about an hour's hunting. Nice small town, stretched out along the highway - makes it a real "wide spot in the road" kind of place. Only a couple of blocks wide, but a half a mile to a mile or more of town, and "suburbs" past that. They've come into some money recently, lots of new construction in town. City Hall, banks, stores, and other civic buildings say this is a place on the grow. Nice homes on the outskirts, looks like well-off folks moving out into the countryside. Found the "Lavaca Museum" on Main Street, but it was closed. Noticed the City Hall was closed for lunch, from 12-1, and so was some of the other "official" type places, so I wandered around for a while. Walked over to the cemetery and looked for my great-grandfather, but I didn't even know if he was buried in that cemetery. Didn't find a headstone for him, so he may have been buried elsewhere. When nobody showed up at the museum after 1pm, I stopped back by the City Hall to ask them about it. One of the ladies there had a key and said she'd open it up for me. We went back "uptown" and I got to go in an old storefront they are using. A few donated items and a lot of newspaper stories is about it. Some school pictures and other odds and ends. Very basic, very simply done. (No bucks being spent here!) While talking to the lady, I signed the guest book, and she asked me if I lived in the area. The place must be growing, I would have thought she would have known everyone in town, as she grew up here. I told her I was from California, and what I was doing there. She said she remembered a "Mr. Earls" who lived out of town on Highway 96, and his son Luther or Luke rang a bell. No details, she just recalled the name from her childhood. I looked around, took some pictures, and didn't find anything relating to the Earls in the museum. I thanked her for letting me in, and headed out of town. Found my way back to Interstate 40 much easier than getting into Lavaca. Took the freeway to Oklahoma City, and again stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. Good thing I called from the road, I just managed to get a non-smoking room, and at that it was the handicapped accessible room. Almost missed out. The smoking room I stayed in a couple of nights ago was gross! Tomorrow the Federal Building Memorial, and the Cowboy Hall of Fame, where I'll see the original "End of the Trail" statue, that used to stand in Mooney Grove Park, at home in Visalia. Then on to Amarillo, Texas. Reserved a room at the Day's Inn by internet!

Day 10