Day 24: Edge of Arkansas

by James

We woke up in the airplane hangar and did the usual morning stuff using the upstairs bathroom. When we finally made our way down to the main floor, Marvin and his son, Matthew, were grilling sausages just outside the hangar by the de facto diningroom table.

We met Matthew, who likes Jim Carrey and Mystery Science Theater 3000 and had spent the last three years in Monterey running some branch of the Army’s language school. He was a funny, down-to-earth guy, and I enjoyed talking to him.

We finished up with a full breakfast and reluctantly left the hangar.

We bombed a few hills and before too long we were out of Huntsville. I decided to stop listening to music for the foreseeable future, since it’s something I do frequently at home, so doing it on the road dilutes the trip.


The ride was uneventful until we hit Springdale 30 miles down the road, which is a large-ish town with most modern amenities. We stopped at a McDonald’s briefly. On the way out, I took a huge sneeze, got thrown off-kilter, and wound up on my ass on the McLawn. Unknown to me, something had fallen out of my jersey pocket. I recovered from the daze and kept trucking.


We stopped at a Mexican place for lunch. A healthy hispanic presence in the town made me feel more at home. Our waitress was nice but nearly incomprehensible. We chowed and chilled and paid with plastic and left.

Just as we were biking out of Springdale, I patted my right jersey pocket. Huh. No lump, no weight. No camera. Shit.

We pulled over and I figured I’d left it at the Mexican place during a hurried tear-down of the fort we’d built in our booth. We turned around and made the hike back to the restaurant.

No dice. They hadn’t found a camera and it wasn’t in our booth. Outside, it hit me that there was a high likelihood it’d fallen out during my crash.

I biked like hell back to the McDonald’s while Mike made a smart use of the error and headed for a bike-shop to get tubes. I’d begun adjusting to the fact that I’d lost my $200 camera and the pictures I’d taken in Huntsville and Ozark, and began mentally composing a sour tweet to the Arkansan who’d swipped my Canon.

I biked and biked and finally made the few miles back to the scene of the crash. Lo and behold, there was a black square of metal laying in the grass. I’m not sure if the spot was just inconspicuous, but I’ll give the folks of Sprindale a big thanks anyway for not lifting my camera.

I met up with Mike at the bike shop and we headed west and out of Springdale.

Western Arkansas.

After 25 miles or so, we hit our destination for the evening, Siloam Springs. We were slated to stay with a professional photographer, but he was out of town on a wedding shoot so he’d punted to his roommate.

The roommate, Jesse, had a play to act in from 6PM-10PM, so he left the door unlocked for us. After hanging out at a small cafe for a while, we biked over to their place, let ourselves in, and cleaned up.

Downtown Siloam.

Mike ordered a pizza, which we polished off in short order.

We hung out until a girl, Nicole, showed up looking for Jesse. She knew about the play, but apparently had plans with Jesse for afterwards. We sat with her awhile talking about the town and what she was doing there (graphic design).

After an hour or so, Jesse showed up and we welcomed him into his own house. Jesse grew up in Nevada, so we spoke about a few places we should hit in the west: ranchers we can visit with and springs that’ll provide us with water.

Jesse and Nicole then split for a club, which meant bedtime for us. I stayed up a little later than usual working on an update. After finishing that and hooking rabbit up to the wall-juice, I called it quits.

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