Not only did our friends make us welcome in their homes,
they went out of their way to plan fun events together.
Doug was able to use the church van
(thank you, East End Baptist!)
so we could all (thirteen) ride together to
Our two-hour journey included lots of typical country sights -
I love the older homes,
especially with big porches.
We even had a
detour short-cut on a gravel road or two :D
We arrived safe and sound, for our Dripstone Tour,
which began with an elevator ride, down 216 feet into the ground.
Much easier than going down a rope into a sink-hole,
which is what I hear it replaced ;D
I borrowed a point-and-shoot camera from my sister (thanks!),
not wanting to carry heavy camera gear along on this trip,
so I couldn't capture the enormity of the "rooms' in this lovely cave.
Enjoy a few views of the drip-stone...
|What do YOU see?|
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas says:
Blanchard Springs Caverns... Dripstone Tour starts by riding an elevator 216 feet below ground and lasts around one hour. Running about a half-mile one way through the most highly decorated area of the caverns, it includes two 'rooms' filled with stalactites, soda straws, and a natural bridge, as well as the Cathedral Room, which is more than 1000 feet long and includes a stone column more than six stories tall.
And how I wish my friends and I could experience this:
During the Christmas season, the annual Caroling in the Caverns event with vocal and instrumental music takes place in the acoustically superb Cathedral Room.
Can you just imagine how fabulous that would sound?
Nothing claustrophobic about this cave! And fit for music!
We should have tried singing while we were in there!
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee...
|All thirteen of us :D|
It just warms my heart, how well everyone got along :D
When we did our big family trip, four years ago,
we toured a couple of caves.
I remember them quizzing people about whether they'd been in any other caves recently,
because they were concerned about White Nose Fungus,
which is deadly to bats.
Sadly, Blanchard Cavern already has cases of it,
so we carefully "washed" our shoes on the way out of the cave.
Don't want to spread it to any more
mosquito-eating furry friends.
After the 58F cave,
even the "cooler" (mid 70's?) air outside felt warm...
at least to us Washingtonians!
But our southern friends are always up for a picnic,
and everyone helps :D
|I have no idea what Tate and Aaron were discussing.|
And that wasn't all our friends had planned.
We made a stop in Mountainview, Arkansas
at the famous Woods' Soda Fountain,
and they treated us to ice cream.
I'm not sure there's any dessert Tate likes better than ice cream!
Looks like I wasn't the only one who wanted to
get every last drop!
Ice cream, milk shakes, and my choice - a chocolate malt - all hit the spot :D
A quick pit stop before we hit the road for home...
One thing I love about the Choate family
is the way everyone pitches in when there's work to do,
like fixing food or cleaning up after a meal.
Tate was quick to jump in and help,
and was rewarded with a delicious apple pie for dessert,
topped with home-made caramel sauce.
Please, Sarah, can we have that recipe, too?