Friday, October 23, 2015

Sampling The Ozarks

We spent a quick but very pleasant exploration, in Missouri, of a tiny part of the huge and beautiful region known as The Ozarks. We were mainly hoping to see some lovely Fall foliage. We saw lots of it, but in places where it wasn't possible to stop and take photographs. Areas of the Mark Twain Forest offer vistas of quilt-like mixes from dark green, through bronze, copper, a little gold, and many shades of brown. Private yards and municipal gardens often provide the most dramatically coloured trees: orange, pink, and golden Maple-types. Foliage up in Missouri is much further along its Fall costume change then in our area of south western Oklahoma, where it still looks much the same as it has all summer. Some Missouri trees are already shedding their leaves, making the drive in forest areas both a happy and sad experience at the same time, as leaves fluttered past the car windows.

Missouri. It had never been a state holding the same magnet of strong attraction for me that New Mexico, Colorado, and even Texas still do. However, on this brief showing I've found that Missouri can rival any of those states in beautiful scenery and lovely old small towns. We stayed a couple of nights in Rolla (in the yellow area of the Ozarks map below).

Ozarks? Strange word, I thought. According to Wikipedia it's a linguistic corruption of the French abbreviation "aux Arcs" - that then spawns a selection of further possibilities of the "Arcs" origin.

Noticing a place convenient to stop and take photographs of some pretty trees in a graveyard in a small town, Hartville, we saw this: one third of a three-part illustrated historic marker commemorating a battle near the town, during the Civil War.
"A Sullen, Stubborn, Bloody Fight" the marker tells us. (For a clearer view click on the image.)

The Battle of Hartville was fought January 9–11, 1863, in Wright County, Missouri, as part of John S. Marmaduke's first expedition into Missouri, during the American Civil War.

In a cemetery close by:

Waiting to greet us in an antique/vintage store we visited during the trip:

Husband's photograph of our motel corridor, which, unintentionally, recalls dramatic scenes where a character is advised...."Walk towards the light...." We resisted the suggestion!


mike said...

The Ozarks is a favorite of mine. My family rarely vacationed, but I remember two trips to the Ozarks and it might as well have been Europe! It seemed so exotic and different from the flat plains of KS. Lots of two-lane, winding roads through the hills, rock cliffs, small valleys, spring-fed creeks, and very dense vegetation. The locals' dialects had a subtle Southern twang. It was a travel destination even back then, with many motels and road-side attractions...the caves were my favorites. As the decades have passed, several areas and cities in the Ozarks have gained much fame as art and entertainment destinations. Did you make it to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville? Originally funded by Alice Walton, it's one of those Walton trust funds that sounds so wonderfully charitable, but is designed to avoid taxes:
"During the life of these trusts a portion of the income they earn (dividends and capital gains, primarily) must go to the Walton Family Foundation. When the trusts expire, however, their underlying assets, along with any income earned above the amount required to go to the Foundation, will revert to the trusts’ non-charitable beneficiaries, presumably second or third generation Walmart heirs. The non-charitable beneficiaries of the trusts will likely receive these trust assets entirely free of estate taxes—a tax savings that Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) estimates will come to about $3 billion."

I attended university in Rolla for one semester, but I didn't care for it and I returned to KC, MO. A little too flat, agricultural, and rural for my tastes. I lived next door to an elderly couple that had a chimpanzee that they lovingly treated like their child, always very well dressed and groomed. They always "discussed" their every move and thoughts with their chimp, as if the chimp was going to join the discussion at any moment. They were an interesting three-some and the couple were very sweet and gentle humans.

Did you acquire any original, possibly expensive art or other treasures at any of your thrift-store visits? Was your new-to-you cruise mobile a fun traveling car?

Sonny G said...

Glad to hear you found sites you could enjoy.. those trees are beautiful.

I noticed that sign asking folks not to sit on the furniture- but they've got a Cat in there to sit its nasty butt where ever.. oui vey

Twilight said...

mike ~ We've hardly even scratched the surface of the Ozarks so far. We were quite close to Bentonville once before, while visiting Fort Smith, Arkansas, but I don't think we actually went to the town or to Crystal Bridges. And again, on our way back from visiting anyjazz's son in Ohio a couple of years ago, we detoured around Eureka Springs (much too touristy) but again, didn't go to Bentonville far as I recall. Flippin' Waltons eh!?

There were some nice scenic drives around Rolla, we enjoyed those. The town itself isn't anything special though. Fun tale about the couple and their chimp! ;-)

No, I didn't buy any artwork this time. My only purchases were a colourful Fall wreath for outside the house, and 4 $1 CDs. In a store in Norman, OK, there's an original oil painting of a horse race, by a student of Leroy Neiman that I'm thinking of acquiring as a kind of memorial to cousin Stephen - as and when (if ever) his estate is distributed. If it's still there by that time I shall haggle for it. It already had 30% off an original $185 - so around $130, but still too high according to other similar paintings I've now seen on e-bay and elsewhere.

Yes, our new-to-us car is very comfortable and a good solid "road car" - anyjazz approves too. It's a this year's model, ex-lease/rental, Chevvy Impala in the most luxurious mode on offer "LTZ" - which we wouldn't have afforded if brand new. Apparently the Impala was completely re-designed last year and now has a much better reputation than in years gone by. This one has all manner of safety goodies, and computerised stuff, some of which we probably won't ever need, and a huge trunk which we do need because I'm no good at minimalist packing when travelling. I like to almost empty the closet, take way more than I ever need "because I never know what the weather's going to be like - I need cold, cool, warm and hot wear...." Anyjazz, left to his own devices, could travel with one small supermarket sac, even that would remain half empty! I'm the opposite. "Jack Spratt" an' all that!

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ I thought of you in NC when reading, on our laptop in the motel in Rolla, about the likely origin of the town's name. One theory is that some original settlers came from North Carolina and named the new settlement after their town back home - Raleigh - but spelled it phonetically:

The more widely accepted story came from a citizens' meeting about naming the town. Webber was said to prefer the name Hardscrabble (which was used to describe the soils in the region) and Bishop pushed for the name Phelps Center. New settlers from North Carolina voted to name the community after Raleigh their hometown but chose to spell the Missouri version phonetically.,_Missouri

The cat was a real sweetie, very friendly straight away - but yes, the chairs in that store probably get to know his/her backside quite well! :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ Your and mike's descriptions sound lovely. Some of my ancestors are from Missouri, at the moment don't remember from where exactly, but somewhere in the mountains.

Changing foliage, especially in the Fall, is beautiful. And I love being surrounded by trees, always reminds me of Summer vacations spent at Yosemite.:)

Sonny G said...

wow Annie, I had no idea. wish we would have gotten that name as its much easier to spell:)

We have a couple in this community who came from Missouri in may- I don't know what town. I usually meet them on their evening walk down around the pond. They often ask me if I want to trade homes cause mine has a clear view and is only 50 ft from the pond's edge. They love feeding the geese and I enjoy watching. They are looking forward to their first Sunrise Service at Old Salem, so they must be Moravians. I don't hold their religion against them lol

Twilight said...

LB ~ Husband and I commented that because St Louis gets most of the attention in Missouri, the rest of the beautiful state seems less well-known to tourists, at least to non-Americans, than it ought to be. In centuries past, I suppose Missouri was looked on as "the West". St Louis, I think, was the place from which many thousands of intrepid pioneers set off to explore lands even further westward.

I love trees too, all varieties, through all seasons, but especially in the autumn.