Experiencing Fayetteville, Arkansas with family and friends

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From Eureka Springs we motored just a ways down the road to Fayetteville – time for some fun with family and friends!  While I was enjoying the fall hues along Hwy 62W,  Steve’s efforts were focused on keeping Betsy between the lines on the continuously curvy and narrow roads.  Warnings were posted in two areas (a 2-mile and a 6-miles stretch) alerting us to the crooked and steep terrain we were entering.  At the end it was all in a day’s work, and we arrived in Fayetteville unscathed and ready for a cold beer.

My nephew Jerome and his wife Liz had activities lined up for us to experience while here. They picked fun things that my adorable great niece Hattie would enjoy, too.  First they took us to Fayetteville’s farmer’s market.  We try to patronize as many FM’s as possible, and Steve was so impressed with this one that he declared it the best we’ve been to this year. Of course, that meant we went home with a lot of fresh veggies and other goodies – yum!


My adorable great niece, Hattie, holding lemon grass as tall as her!

Lowes Adventures

The great aunt with nephew Jerome, wife Liz and cutie pie Hattie (check out the shark fin and eye on her hat!)

Next we visited a local small family-owned farm on the outskirts of Fayetteville, where we met up with some other families and their little ones.  We had never heard of pastured pigs before coming to Mason Creek Farm.  They breed and raises pastured pigs and chickens that are free to roam around and eat grass and seeds as they please.

Steve used to raise pigs when he was young, but when he saw the size of these hogs I thought we was going to take off running!  Pastured pigs, which we learned first-hand taste a lot better than store-bought pork, are typically raised on small farms and often sold at farmer’s markets.  So if you see a meat vendor selling pastured meats, pony up the extra cash and get ready for something special.  They are rightfully proud of how they care for their animals.  I only wish we had bought more while we were on the farm!

Macon Creek Farm

This sow waited patiently for Hattie to hand over an apple


Pastured Pig at Mason Creek Farm

Meet Ruby – I could have ridden this big piggy!

The sows, boars and litters on the farm were free to roam around the large fenced areas. Believe it or not, there was no “pigsty smell” here!

Pastured pigs at Mason Creek Farm

Meet the Pork Chopettes!

Macon Creek Farm

Hattie gets a lesson about pastured pigs from owner Glen

We can attest (as Hattie does below) that pastured pigs create the BEST tasting pork chops ever.  That night we had a delicious BBQ dinner of pork chops we bought from the farm, and green beans from the farmer’s market.  Now that we know the difference, we’ll be looking harder for the “real deal” pork in the future.

How to eat pork chop

This pork chop is soooo yummy!

On another day I met a girlfriend from my hometown in the Philippines, Jenna, and her husband.  They invited me to check out the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, AR.  The museum, opened in 2011, was founded by Alice Walton, youngest daughter of the Walmart empire’s founder.  I initially thought it would be just another museum to celebrate someone’s success, but boy was I surprised.  Nestled in a beautiful wooded area, the architecture flowed naturally with the surroundings and there were walking trails available for those not so into admiring fine paintings. There is also a section there for kid activities.

Crystal Bridges Museum

Crystal Bridges  Museum

The inside of the museum might remind one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, except that you’re in rural Arkansas.  And the best part is that viewing the world-class permanent art collection is free!  Since I have never acquired much of a taste for fine art, we pretty much just breezed through this pavilion.

However, Jenna and I were  more fascinated with the one-of-a-kind exhibition at the State of the Art  section, where more than 100 artists from every region of the U.S. display a diverse offering of American art.  All the displays at this pavilion were everyday stuff made into something with “grace and grit”.  This is where we spent most of our time, inspecting and admiring the work of these talented artists.  The State of the Art will be on display until Jan 14, 2015.

Ghost of a Dream

Discarded UV-coated  lottery tickets on a panel – Adam Eckstram b.1974 & Lauren Was b. 1977

Continuing my Walmart experience, we went to where it all began – at the Bentonville town square where Sam Walton opened his first Walton’s 5&10 in 1950.  Next door was the Walmart Museum yet another free museum.  Inside was a multi-room gallery showcasing Sam Walton’s life and his leadership in making Walmart into the company it is today.

Walmart Museum

Walmart Museum

Walmart Museum

My Walmart experience was enhanced by being with my friends, who took time from their busy schedule to show me around.  Thanks Jenna and Dingcol!

Crystal Bridges Museum

With Jenna and Dingcol

Spending time with little Hattie and the family was a great break from our usual “routine”.  It’s always nice to have such wonderful tour guides to show us their town and have a good time. I sure will miss Hattie for I won’t be seeing her for a quite a long time.


Next up:  Taking in the fall colors at Devils Den State Park


Anchorage, city of flowers

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We  read about the 400 miles of trails in Anchorage, so we were excited and anticipated an active stay in the city. But it seems this is not the normal summer in Alaska so we heard.  It appears that there is a big chill here in the middle of summer and this is the coolest July on record!  We can’t complain much,  the lower 48 is steaming hot and the rain and cool may very well be better than heat and sweat!  So we just have to play in the rain and make the best of it.

Hovering rain clouds

Upon arrival our first order of the day was making appointments for our Honda for maintenance, haircuts and doing the “chore” stuff around Betsy and the laundry.

Later in the evening we met for dinner with the bloggers of “Roadlife,” Ann and Chuck.  We have been  following their blog as they were ahead of us a few weeks in entering Alaska.  We learned from their blogs  what to expect on the road ahead and they alerted us about the road closure near Watson Lake.  It was quite exciting meeting other travelers we communicated with initially  thru comments on a blog.  It was fun and we had a great time sharing our experiences here in Alaska.  Also interesting, they used to live in the San Francisco Bay area so we had something in common other than RV’ing and traveling.  Food at the Glacier Brewhouse was very good, thanks to Ann’s restaurant research. Check out “Roadlife,” for more perspective about Alaska and their interesting tales.

with Chuck and Ann of “Roadlife

The following day after the car was checked out I went on my own exploration as Steve was working on his mini projects on Betsy.  First, I checked the Alaskan Native Heritage Center where I learned about Alaska’s many native cultures.  I watched a demonstration of one of their native games which I found to be a test of balance and endurance.  I found the center to be informative and interesting.

Students demonstrating one of the native games.

Women’s headdress and parka, One of the many exhibits at the Heritage Center

Next stop was downtown Anchorage.  Walking around downtown I saw hundreds of hanging baskets overflowing with marigolds and trailing sapphire lobelia.  These colossal blossoms are an unexpected and welcome treat.  As I went around I saw more colorful and huge flowers like the  dinner-plate sized dahlias, fuchsias, begonias and more – it’s floral nirvana!  I love flowers so I took time and enjoyed their bloom displays.  The pictures could not capture their size but trust me they were huge blooms!

Huge Blue Lobella

Huge hanging flower baskets on streets

Dinner size plate Dahlias

Begonia’s at the Visitor Center

Huge Lupines and more

More hanging baskets, sorry can’t help it !

Saturday was market day and so we went and looked for the gigantic vegetables.  We were not disappointed, one giant size zucchini was sold for $10 and a head of cabbage is $6.  Well check out the pictures, these vegetables are gigantic, and that is because of the 19 hours of sunshine they get.

I noticed that each table has hand wipes for eating customers, nice touch!

BIG squash

Galloons of Cole Slaws can be made out of one cabbage  head

$10 each Zuchinnis, can also be used as baseball bats…

Despite the clouds and drizzle we forged on and checked the many hiking/walking trails.  First stop was  Earthquake Park which is just a short stroll to the displays about the earthquake of 1964.  We hiked for about two miles around the inlet, then drove to Point Woronzof.  If the clouds had lifted we could have another view of Mt Mckinely, but no such luck. Next we went to Kincaid Park where there were a lot of activities going on.  That park is huge with seven soccer fields.  The rain was by now pouring so we turned around and went back home.

Our impression of Anchorage is that it’s pretty much just another “big city”, which we usually try to avoid as much as possible.  The beautiful outlying areas and many hiking/biking trails make it a bit nicer, but we preferred the Fairbanks area.  The farmer’s market in Anchorage is definitely one of the better we have seen though, lots of good food and unusual products make it a “must do” if you can.

Reading displays at Earthquake Park

View of downtown Anchorage from Earthquake Park

At Point Woronzof

The bluff at Cook’s Inlet, which sank and slid hundreds of feet into the ocean during the 1964 earthquake.  Many homes were swallowed up, and several people killed.

Ship Creek in Anchorage, the tents in the background are at the Farmer’s Market we checked out on Saturday.

We stayed at Golden Nugget RV Park close to Costco. The sites were tight and was just an ok park to stay for a short time.