Today we said goodbye to Branson and moved Homer to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where we met our good friends John and Myrna Fields, who have a lake home in nearby Shell Knob, Missouri. They were accompanied by their son, Steve, and a couple from Weatherford, Texas, John and Myrna's home town. We drew on the good nature of the Barkers and asked to break out of our caravan at this point, allowing us—and them—maximum flexibility to make the homeward leg as needed to allow for our visit with the Fieldses. LouAnn determined that she would, indeed, visit Dick's five and dime store before leaving, based on our fervent recommendation. She did a lot of looking, but seemed far more restrained in her purchases than we had expected. Perhaps she was just exhausted from previous shopping adventures. In order to accommodate this shopping trip, we arranged with Cooper Creek to drop the trailers in an unoccupied spot while we drove into old Branson. We returned around 1:00 p.m. and noticed that the Barkers still hadn't pulled out for their leg to Gore, Oklahoma. Now having some insight into their traveling habits, we were not terribly surprised or concerned.
Our short drive to Eureka Springs was through very hilly terrain, which slowed us down considerably, as did some fairly heavy rain showers during the last 20 miles or so. The rain really cooled things down, though, and the Hornet's outside air temp gauge read 75 degrees at Eureka Springs! What a welcome relief from the mid-nineties every day in Branson.
We had a really good dinner with our friends at the Catfish Cabin restaurant in Eureka Springs, after which, we gave them a tour of Homer and the Wanderlust campground. This is a nice, clean park, moderately priced, but with no cable TV. There are scenic hills all around, but not enough shady spots, unfortunately. After our guests left, we drove around Eureka Springs and marveled at the quaintness of its European-style setting, perched almost impossibly in the steep, heavily wooded hills. There was way too much too see—and for Sandy, way too much shopping opportunity—in the brief time we were here, so we made a pact to return soon. We did manage, however, to buy some stunning baubles for Sandy from Zark's, whose jewelry and decorative art pieces were unique and marvelous to behold. John and Myrna had turned us on to this place, and Zark's should be sending them a royalty check, based on the coin we left behind there.