Santa Fe, NM to Fort Smith, AK

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K’s Breakfast in Santa Fe before we headed out!  Huevos Rancheros – all vegetarian and according to him, REALLY YUMMY!  I had 2 eggs and a biscuit.. couldn’t resist the biscuit… Homemade and warm.

After breakfast we headed out to Amarillo, TX.  No pix, no nada…. We were very disappointed when we got there, as there was no room at the inn… not just at the inn, but at every single hotel motel and everything in between.. because there was a teacher’s conference in town.. Do you have any idea what it is like to try to sleep in the front seat of a van that is full to the gills and the temps are in the high 80s/90s at night???!!!

We just tried to take a nap and then to keep on driving till we found something.. So we drove a couple more hours, then crashed in a rest area along the highway and slept 3 hours with the a/c on. (There wasn’t a hotel in sight for miles and miles and we just couldn’t stay up!)

Next time we’ve got to get us one of these!

But… then we hit a very little known National Historical Park called, Pecos National Historical Park… ( Just for your info.. I am not sure if this was before or after Amarillo, TX or after Santa Fe.. but, since this is not a cartography lesson does it really matter to y’all the exact order??? )

For most of this trip we are following Hwy I-40 which roughly follows the path of the old and famous US Route 66… many times during this trip we have wandered off I-40 to hit the back roads of RT. 66 just to go back in time and see what’s up.. and that is how we bumped into Pecos National Historical Park. Otherwise we never would have seen it.

Pecos NHP was originally an Indian settlement located near the Pecos River, with over 2000 people living there as a pueblo community for hundreds of years.  Then the Spanish Conquistadors showed up and brought their priests along with them who decided it was their mission in life to show these perfectly content Indians, the way into heaven….

So they built a Church on the edge of the settlement which is below…

W

Do you see how they built bricks with mud and clay?  All the rooms were interconnected.

From there we continued on RT 66, driving through a time warp…

Would you take your car to a mechanic named for a clown?

We moseyed down the road on the way to the Ozarks went straight through Oklahoma without stopping .

But we had to stop at a Walmart to get a prescription filled for K, and I can tell you that those emails we all get that show how people dress at Walmart, is totally true.  The people are strange, but every single one of them was so nice. Everyone was eager to please and help any way they could. We  met a really cool kid from the area who had lived away for many years and just came back from California.  He is a photographer, and I hope I made him realize that he has tons of subjects to work with right here in his neighborhood.  The Ozarks are beautiful with rolling hills, lakes and mountains covered with pine trees.

One thing we did notice was just how dry everything was because of the drought in the area… corn fields were burned out, and the trees were turning brown already and it’s only August.  It really hits home when you truly see it with your own eyes.

There were so many great photo ops in the Ozarks, from people to houses to landscapes.. I just couldn’t stop… There is so much poverty in the area but also so much beauty.

Actually we went to Van Buren and Ft Smith before we hit the Ozarks, so my sense of what we did first doesn’t exactly match the pix.. but I am sure you will get the idea!!!

Van Buren’s Main St  is a Historic District and quite charming..

But there really wasn’t much to see so we moved on to Fort Smith..

Fort Smith is a really cool little town..(80,000 people!)

Fort Smith was an Army outpost in 1817 and then abandoned and moved, then started up again when the military was trying to remove all the Indians and relocate them to the reservations… BAD MOVE!!!

The other thing that makes Fort Smith famous is that Judge Isaac Parker was the judge at Fort Smith.. He was also known as “the Hanging Judge” and the Gallows and prison where he kept all the inmates going to be hung is still there. He sentenced 160 men (and women) to be hung, only 79 actually were. One day, he hanged 6 people at once….

This is the Paddy Wagon that took the prisoners across the lawn from the prison to the gallows… a very short walk.

The prison… can you see the mats on the far wall? That is how they slept…  Wow, can you imagine the uproar the prisoners               would make today if they had to stay in a place like this, without TV and all the perks they get in prison now???

 

 

The Welcome Center in Fort Smith has so many interesting stories to tell…

It used to be a brothel, and they have tried to keep it as close to the original as possible, giving tours and explaining what it was like.

The town was full of brothels at the time (which gave Judge Parker alot of people to hang!!) but this one lasted the longest and they have preserved it well.

I wanted to ask this nice old lady if she remembers the brothel? And if she was one of the gals??? But I really didn’t have the guts to ask.. and it wouldn’t have been nice.. But she must have been pretty close in age to the time.. (not really, the brothel was in the late 1800’s but she did look the part!) Isn’t she cute with her badge???

Some knitted (and crocheted trim) items from the “ladies of the night!”

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