Sunday, July 18, 2021

Arizona to Indiana

Very green trail in Rogers, AR

We left Fountain Hills on Saturday, July 10, getting off to a later start than hoped for but typical for us. Made it to Albuquerque by 6:30 while driving through thunderstorms the last hour of the trip. The San Mateo Inn was just off I-40 so it was convenient but the area was a bit sketchy. And the room wasn't great but it was a very comfortable bed. Next time we will try not to stay right in Albuquerque.

We thought Sunday morning would be a good time to get through and out of town, but just a few miles east we came to a stop on I-40 that delayed us about an hour. It turned out to be an accident involving a semi. Because of the backup, traffic was very heavy and moving slowly so I came up with a longer route off of the interstate that took us through scenic backcountry New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma roads. It was another long day in the car, and we stopped for the night at a very nice Holiday Inn Express in Elk City, Oklahoma. 

Day three of driving got us to Rogers, Arkansas and a lovely Airbnb just a few blocks from downtown. We arrived early enough that we were able to get in a good walk from the apartment around nearby Lake Atalanta that was recommended by the hosts. 

The Frisco came to Rogers in 1881

Lake Atalanta

Over 10 miles of paved and dirt trails surround the lake

Part of the elaborate Railyard Bike Park

Lots of nice older homes in Rogers

We stayed two nights so we could do a little hiking. Hobbs State Park is about 12 miles away on Scenic Arkansas Hwy 12 that leads to Eureka Springs, a cute touristy town that we've visited before. The Dry Creek Loop portion of the Pigeon Roost Trail was a nice shady hike that we appreciated since it got into the 80s with pretty high humidity. On the way home we stopped at Big Orange, a brewery/restaurant with excellent beer and veggie burgers.

Wednesday was another long drive to Metropolis, Illinois, ending up there to avoid going through any big cities, which worked out well. We had many miles of back roads driving with very little traffic. That is how we used to travel in the RV, and this trip made us remember why we would rather take longer to get where we're going instead of fighting the construction delays, accidents, trucks and other traffic on the interstates. Since we had such a good experience at the Holiday Inn Express in Elk City, OK we reserved a room at the one in Metropolis. It was older and not well maintained, so a bit disappointing. 

We went out to get a sandwich at Quiznos in Metropolis and took a short drive to Fort Massac state park to check out the nearby Ohio River. It was too hot to walk very far but we got to see some wildlife (mom was nearby) and the river. There is supposed to be a Superman statue in town but somehow we missed it, although I doubt we missed much.

Bridge over the Ohio River from Metropolis, IL to Paducah, KY

We had a shorter drive Thursday to Bloomington, Indiana and are spending three nights at Candlewood Suites to visit our friend Ellen. We are tired of long days driving after covering over 1,700 miles since we left home. It's been one severe thunderstorm after another off and on since we got here but we did take a walk in between storms Friday afternoon and met Ellen downtown after she got off work at the library. Had an excellent vegan pizza and great beer at Lennie's/Bloomington Brewing Co. 

It cleared up yesterday afternoon so we took a walk at Leonard Springs Nature Park, had lunch and more great beer at Upland Brewing Co., and wandered around downtown. People watching is so interesting in a big college town.

Lots of stairs down to Leonard Springs

Jim and Gayle standing in front of one of the caves

Jim and Ellen at Upland Brewing

Sample Gates: Entrance to the oldest part of Indiana University campus

Today we have a short 200 mile drive to Michigan City and a national park we have not yet visited. 


  1. This is Allison, on Jim's laptop, since yahoo won't let me comment. You two have driven far! When my parents were building a house in Gravette, they rented a house in Rogers. We've also been to Eureka Springs, places I have not thought about in years. Glad you're getting out and seeing something different.

    1. We're enjoying the new scenery but too much driving. We'll be in Chicago for 2 weeks and look forward to staying in one place for a while. Now if we can just avoid getting Covid, we'll be good. We feel like we're about the only ones wearing masks these days.

  2. You didn't see the Superman statue??? I would have turned around and gone home.

  3. Glad you made it through the Bible Belt unscathed :) Actually, you may still be there...

    1. Does the bible belt ever end? They seem to go hand in hand with the former guy who is now their Orange Messiah.


  4. Don't you wish you could send all that rain out west. Surprised to see you coming into the humidity of the East especially this year when the temperatures have been ridiculously high. Love your comment about the orange Messiah. I'm not sure I'll ever understand it although I've heard that there is a great book that explains it pretty well called Jesus and John Wayne or John Wayne and Jesus I forget which. Safe travels as you move on.

    1. We are working our way to Erie, PA, where I grew up, to visit friends and family. Haven't been back in 10 years and had planned to go last summer but COVID hit. Not that it's much better this summer but at least we're vaccinated.
      Thanks for the book recommendation, we'll check it out.

  5. Fun to see you guys back on the road and blogging your adventures! You definitely covered a lot of miles in a short period of time, but it must be easier (in some ways) when you're traveling by car instead of in an RV. We're getting ready for our first trip in a year-and-a-half, this time with our nine-month old cat Magnolia. This should be interesting...

    1. I had to blog so we could remember this trip. I wish I had blogged my entire life as I've forgotten so much over the years!
      I look forward to reading about your trip with Magnolia. It will be a little more challenging for you, I can say with confidence, having traveled with kittens!

  6. Yes, the back roads do take longer but there is so much to see and enjoy than the boring highways. Good you did take a few longer breaks to "stop and smell the roses" as they say!