Originally posted on “Is It Sports?” by Ryan, this was part 6 of 7 of his spring break road trip with his friend Joel.
Day 6 Ardmore, OK – Little Rock, AR
Everyone, especially someone who has been in college, has woke up one morning and said to themselves, I can’t believe I did that. For Joel and I, it was spending an evening in Southern Oklahoma. We grabbed ourselves some breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant (Denny’s) and gave a wary stare at the clientele. Aside from the one group of what looked like international businessmen (I was as confused as you were) everyone in there was over the age of fifty and over the weight of 250 pounds. They all seemed like good, hard working folk, but Joel and I decided to get out of there before Farmer John made us the second course.
We steered south and spent about a half hour on the road when disaster struck. Construction crews were doing something on the bridge over the Red River and had the left lane closed. I was admiring the river when I looked back at the road only to see one of those big traffic barrels lying in the middle of the street. Needless to say, I plowed right over it. The first exit in Texas is only to an adult bookstore, but we had no choice. A road worker was behind us when we pulled a Pete Rose to the barrel’s Ray Fosse and he followed us off the highway. Needless to say, he went right into the bookstore.
We hopped out of the car to look at the damage. There was nothing wrong on the outside, but we quickly realized that the left turn signal was broken. If you have ever had a broken turn signal, you quickly realize just what a pain in the butt it is, with the incessant blinking when you want to switch to the fast lane. It was a nuisance.
We finally got back on the road after finding a gas station that didn’t require prepay and went to Dallas. We didn’t really have a plan for the city, but we just went through looking for a good exit. We ended up on the south side of town and went to take a look at the Cotton Bowl which was collocated with the State Fair. It was weird, since the fair is only open one time a year, and if I’m not mistaken there are only two games played at the Cotton Bowl every year. The added result was a stadium devoid of any team character and a vacant amusement park. I’m pretty sure that at night the place is haunted.
My mom had requested a phone call from every location we stopped at (My dad left the computer signed on about 6 straight hours when we were in Overland Park. I didn’t call them that night), and since this was the most southern extent of the trip, I decided to give her a call. While on the phone, I realized I hadn’t picked up her birthday present yet. We needed a mall.
The Town East mall was a mere hop, skip and jump away from the stadium, so we went to check it out. After we got into the main walking area, we came across a well populated play area. “It’s like a Petri dish,” Joel said, disgusted. On our way out we actually went up a floor to avoid the laughing, wriggling, sneezing pile of mucus.
I found my Mom the PERFECT gift at a store that ran out of bags, so they had to borrow them from the Rave Girl store next door. I felt pretty cool. We grabbed some lunch, and reflected on the fact that we were, in fact, eating Subway at a mall in Texas.
After Dallas, it was time to circle back toward West Lafayette, and that meant a trip through Arkansas. The only thing Arkansas really has to offer is the boyhood home of Bill Clinton in Hope. After rolling through that town, you really get an idea of what humble beginnings he came from. The only four well preserved structures in town were his birth house, boyhood home, visitors center and a bank at the center of town. It was really eye opening that the level of poverty exists in America. Jesus Christ, I’m depressing myself.
We got on the highway again, drove by such towns as Arkadelphia and ended up in Little Rock. We sought out a decent hotel and came up with another Comfort Inn. It was a nice place, but we had to be buzzed into the lobby and I think Forrest Gump’s cousin was running the desk. The whole place seemed like it was getting ready for a homicide, probably of a prostitute. As it turned out, we were right in front of the State Patrol Headquarters. Perhaps the safest hotel of the trip. I’ll be back with the last day sometime soon. – Ryan