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UER Forum > US: South > Mr. & Mrs. Ulcer Do The Ozarks - Episode 2 - ISIS Invades Texas (Viewed 508 times)
Peptic Ulcer 

Location: Katy, TX
Gender: Male
Total Likes: 825 likes

"Isn't it fun - being bad?"

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Mr. & Mrs. Ulcer Do The Ozarks - Episode 2 - ISIS Invades Texas
< on 7/16/2017 4:01 AM >
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Day two began slowly as Mrs. Ulcer and I were still pretty shagged from the previous day’s activities. We were both sick of fast food so we did some searching and found an Einstein’s Bagels near a local college. As soon as we entered I immediately noticed a couple sitting at a table that were my kind of people. The girl, in her late 20’s, had long white hair with streaks of green, blue and pink, wearing what can only be described as a white druidic gown and having piercings in seemingly every visible orifice. Her companion, was dressed completely in black denim, with a large peace symbol hanging from his neck, a rather long beard and round sunglasses. They were both starring at their phones in rapt attention.

Despite being rather worn out we were both in a good mood and looking forward to the day’s activities. We placed our order with a rather taciturn and none too friendly barista and moved on. It was at this point that I had begun to notice something about the local people in Fayetteville. They’re all assholes. Ok well maybe assholes is too strong a word, but they certainly were not friendly in the least. Monosyllabic answers in monotone and an attitude of “let me get this over with and get you out of my way” was something we experienced from everyone there.

Since we got in rather late the previous evening we hadn’t really had an opportunity to explore the town or see much since it was dark. I have to say that Fayetteville is an amazingly beautiful place. It looked like the perfect city. In fact, it looked TOO perfect. Mrs. Ulcer and I began referring to it as Stepford Town. Which made the rather rude attitude of its inhabitants all the more unusual.

With nourishment and caffeine now coursing through our bodies, it was now time to officially hit the road. We were headed northeast to Eureka Springs where we had a ton of “pretty” stuff for Mrs. Ulcer to see. The drive up along Highway 23 was beautiful. We drove along tree covered roads through tall hills with spectacular views. Our first stop was at a place called Quigley’s Castle. A place repeatedly noted by the various road signs as “The Most Unusual House in Arkansas”. Knowing that there were undoubtedly homes existing in the state made from mud, beer cans, slim jim wrappers and human flesh, I was pretty excited to see this place. It was therefore with a great deal of disappointment that when we arrived, it was closed – a gate barring the way.

One of 2 things that I REALLY wanted to see that day and I can’t get in! I told Mrs. Ulcer that it didn’t matter, I was going anyway. The fence was easy to hop and it was maybe 1000 yards down a hill to the place. Naturally a “discussion” ensued with the short of it being I stayed in the car while she took some photos of the nearby hillsides. While she was doing this, I was online looking at photos of Quigley’s place. I will never admit this to Mrs. Ulcer, but she was right – it wasn’t worth the risk. In fact, it really wasn’t worth the stop. I’ve seen more unusual houses in my milquetoast suburban neighborhood in Katy Texas than this place. Not a great start so far but I still had ONE more thing that I was going to see come hell or high water – Milk Carton Jesus!

After a short drive, we entered Eureka Springs. It reminded both of us as a hybrid of Breckenridge, CO and Fredericksburg, TX. It was obviously a tourist town and it being the July 4th weekend, completely packed with tourists. There were so many bikers I thought we had somehow made a wrong turn and ended up in Sturgis! The roads in town were narrow and the sidewalks full of all kinds of people. We decided to park and check the place out but there were two problems. Firstly, there was not a single parking place within 4 blocks of the place to be found. This wouldn’t really be too big of a deal except that the topography of the town made walking a non-option for us. I swear this place was founded by Incans! The hills in this town made Russian Hill in San Francisco look like a speed bump. Our Infinity has a 350hp engine and was at 3000 RPM’s going 5 mile and hour! The hills are about as nearly vertical as one can get. In fact, it’s almost impossible to even describe the buildings in this place. How people found a way to construct something on the side of a hill that is almost 90 degrees I’ll never know, but hat’s off to ‘em! Incan Hobbits. That’s the only thing I can imagine that would be able to take terrane like this and somehow carve a beautiful little town out of it!

With shopping/touristy stuff out in Eureka Springs due to lack of parking and our horrible physical stamina, we decided to hit our first official stop – St. Elizabeth’s Chapel. Aside from being a beautiful place, St. Elizabeth’s has a rather unusual quality – you enter the church through the bell tower! It was originally constructed in the late 1800’s but the current building as it stands was completed in 1909. The grounds were well manicured and the church itself sits below a hill in the shadow of the massive Crescent Hotel. Both buildings are listed in the National Historic Register.

When we arrived, we stopped and looked down at the manicured gardens and the stunning scenic overlook. The day was a bit on the warm side but there was a cool breeze and the smell of flowers filled the air. While we were admired the view and I looked for a good angle to capture the moment a couple arrived from the nearby hotel and joined us in our gazing. We struck up a conversation and they were in town for a couple of days getting away from the oh-so hectic life in Norman Oklahoma…

We chatted for a few minutes about the town, where we were both from and places we had been then made our separate ways onto the church grounds, passing through its famous bell tower entrance. There was an old European feel to the place heightened by the lush growth of the vegetation including beautiful ivy’s. We walked around the chapel and sat on the stone benches admiring the view and taking in the ambiance of this wonderful place. Finally, we made it inside where I was expecting an equally wondrous experience. The heavy wooden doors silently slid open and we were greeted with a refreshing blast of cool air as Mr. and Mrs. Norman Oklahoma emerged. It being Sunday morning we expected to find parishioners inside awaiting services but the place was empty and a somber silence descended on us like a drifting fog.

Even though we were the only ones in the place, Mrs. Ulcer whispered the entire time and when I spoke in a normal voice I got a, “Shhhhh. Show some respect!”. I really couldn’t care less about the “holiness” of the place and was more interested in the architecture and the artwork, neither of which possessed the impressiveness of the exterior. Mrs. Ulcer thought it mildly inappropriate for me to be snapping photos inside even though we were alone so I got the altar and the stained-glass windows and we headed out with Mrs. Ulcer doing the water dip cross thing as she exited. This struck me as odd because she hasn’t been to church once in the 9 years I’ve I known her. The only religious inclinations I’ve observed are the “Oh God’s” during lovemaking but that’s presumably either a prayer for it to be over with quickly or her experiencing pain from me being on her hair…

Here are some photos of the place:

DSC_0326 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0327 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0330 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0332 by John Galt, on Flickr

More can be found here:

On the way out we stopped and looked at the various statues that had been placed on the side of a hill just above the pathway to the church. I came to learn that these had been commissioned by some Italian sculptor in the 1950’s. Most were ho hum but when I stopped to take a picture of this one, Mrs. Ulcer said, “Really? What are you 12?”. She should know the answer to that question by now….

DSC_0336 by John Galt, on Flickr

When we got back to the car I pulled out the ole’ laptop and consulted Google Earth for our next stop. We had a lot of options here so after consultation we agreed on a sweeping route from Northwest to Southeast. With that we plugged in our next destination which was 2.5 miles and 20 minutes away. Wait. What? How could it take that long to go so short a distance? Well as it turns out the 2.5 miles was if we were in a flying car… Because of the curvy, narrow roads along with a fair amount of traffic, Google Maps was dead on as far as time was concerned.

We arrived at our next church of the morning, a modern wood, glass and steel monstrosity tucked away in the woods called Thorncrown Chapel. The place was built by “renowned” architect E. Fay Jones and opened in 1980. We got a great parking place right up front and made our way along a path to the chapel. Along the way we passed by old growth forest that had somehow managed to survive on top of some beautiful sedimentary stone that poked out from the side of the hills. Moss and lichens covered much of this rock and it was quite a sight to behold.

When we got to the church there were dozens of people making their way inside for services. Most looked like yuppie tourists out of an LL Bean catalog. I was snapping photos of the place as people passed by me with their noses turned up (ironic considering their destination). When I laid on my back right in front of the doors to get a shot of the church entrance from the ground Mrs. Ulcer immediately considered divorce. “He’s REALLY serious about his photos” and “He’s always looking for that perfect shot” were uttered by her as she was attempting to explain away my actions. Were it possible to do so, I’m certain she would have dropped dead from embarrassment on the spot. After I was done I motioned for her to come with me inside. She stood planted where she was refusing to move and shook her head no. I continued to encourage her to no avail. Finally, I approached her and told her we needed to go inside and check the place out. Again, refusal. The following dialogue then took place

“People are in there to go to church!” she said.
“So?” I replied.
“So, we can’t! There are people there for church”.
“And I’m here for pictures. Let’s go”.
“Why not?”
“Because there are services going on!”
“Not yet. Besides it’s a tourist place not a real church. Let’s go.”
“No. Let’s just get out of here”
“I’m going in and getting a few shots. I didn’t drive all the way here to let a bunch Jesus freaks stop me from getting some photos”.
“You go ahead, I’ll be in the car”.

She began walking away and it was decision time. On the one hand, I knew that if I went in and snapped some photos she would love them. On the other, I knew that “I’ll be in the car” really meant, “If you go in there I’m going to be pissed the rest of the day and you’re not going to hear the end of it”. I therefore opted for the path of least resistance and didn’t get any internal photos of gods hallowed ground…

Here's some photos of the place:

DSC_0339 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0343 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0344 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0345 by John Galt, on Flickr

The next stop was a place called Pivot Point which was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The photos I had seen depicted a giant rock sitting atop a tall thin protrusion and looked to be delicately balanced there. We pulled into the parking lot and saw that there was a building you had to go through to go see the rock and natural bridge. After the previous day’s experience with the natural bridge we were really looking forward to the experience. We packed up our gear and made our way inside. Once there we were told that admission was $5 each. Huh? It wasn’t free?

I turned to a guy who had just returned from the place and asked if it was worth it. He said that for $10 who cares and walked away. Must have been from Fayetteville… Naturally, Mrs. Ulcer being in a gift shop required her to purchase something other than just the admission. After browsing the small store for what seemed the better part of a decade she decided on an overpriced, ugly onyx bowl for my mother as a thank you for taking care of BeauBeau The Dog. I told her that if she really wanted to show her appreciation she would leave the bowl in the store. This brought forth a dirty look from both Mrs. Ulcer and the proprietor of the store.

Finally, with the admission paid and a 2nd mortgage taken out on my home for the ugly bowl, we hit the trail to experience the natural wonders of Northern Arkansas. The first thing we came to was the natural bridge. The thing was maybe 10 feet long by 3 feet wide. To call it a bridge was a bit of a stretch. Mrs. Ulcer got a shot of me with my walking stick standing on top of it and I took one of her looking down through the bridge and we continued. The hike itself was not nearly as bad as I had feared given what we had to go through to see the last natural bridge and the sights were quite lovely. People had been coming to this place as a tourist attraction for over 100 years and prior to that the James Gang (Jesse, not the music group) was rumored to have used the area as a hideout after the Civil War.

DSC_0346 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0348 by John Galt, on Flickr

We finally reached the namesake of the area, our much-anticipated goal of a quarter mile hike – pivot rock! “Is that it?” we both said at the same time as soon as we saw it. The entire structure is about 14 feet in height and no the rock on top is not balanced, it’s part of the whole structure. I took two photos, one of the rock itself and one with Mrs. Ulcer standing next to it for perspective.

DSC_0357 by John Galt, on Flickr

As we began our hike back to the car I began to stew on the fact that the $10 we spent to look at this thing could have been better utilized on just about anything. I think I would have rather taken the money, wadded it up, thrown it out the window and saved the 30 minutes of my life than to have hiked to see this place. We both agreed it was a complete waste of time. There were a few places that were nice and mossy that I photographed but overall a real bummer.

So far, we had stopped at 4 places and only one was worth seeing. With a good portion of the morning gone we took off to experience the “Golden Gate of the Ozarks”! This bridge was completed in 1949 at the now staggering low price of $107,785.93 and is the last suspension bridge in Arkansas. The road that leads to the bridge and the nearby town of Beaver (Yes Virginia there is a Beaver) is Highway 187 and was a nice drive much like what we had experienced all morning. There was a small area just off to the side of the bridge before you got on it where you can park. I jumped out and snapped a couple of photos while Mrs. Ulcer shouted at me to hurry up as there were cars behind us! I hadn’t really paid attention when we approached it but when I looked through the camera I realized that this bridge is one lane! Who the hell builds a one lane bridge and what do you do when you get on if someone else decides to cross at the same time!

These questions had to wait as the car in front of us began to pull ahead and cross the bridge. I ran back to the car and we followed. Slowly. The other thing that I had failed to notice until we were on the bridge itself is that the road is wooden! We were on a one lane wooden bridge spanning a large river on a bridge that is the last of its kind, built almost a century ago in one of the poorest states in the country. It was at that moment I knew that taking the picture of the statue earlier in the morning and giggling about it was going to be my doom.

Somehow, we made it to the other side without having to abandon our vehicle and swim for dear life where we found a public park thronged with half-dressed locals and pyramids of beer cans surrounding them enjoying the river. We parked and got out to look at the bridge and take some photos.

Here’s some shots of the bridge:

DSC_0363 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0365 by John Galt, on Flickr

After getting in a few shots that I was finally happy with we noticed a short guy who looked a lot like Paul Simon (the singer not the left-wing bowtie wearing Senator from Illinois) walking a dog. As he approached I squatted down and the dog went nuts! She began jumping on me and licking my face like it was made of ice cream. I love dogs and for some reason the feeling is mutual. Children are the same way with me but I can’t stand the little shits. They say that Adolf Hitler loved children and dogs – I wonder if there is something to this… Anyway, we strike up a conversation with this guy (whose name I forget) and we learn that he is a Texas transplant from San Angelo (the dog’s name I remembered – Bella the Dog). He said that about 15 years ago he came up to the Ozarks on vacation, returned home and sold everything he owned and moved up with no regrets. We chatted about places to see (he didn’t have anything new to add to our itinerary) where we had been and how beautiful everything was, all the while scratching every square inch of Bella The Dog who was in heaven. After a few minutes, there was a lull in the conversation and sadly we had to say goodbye so Bella could finish her walk. The guy was very nice but then again, he was originally from Texas…

We then decided to take a ride around the town. I had the place marked on my map as a deserted ghost town but the only thing deserted about it was a decent bathroom for Mrs. Ulcer who hadn’t peed in over 2 hours! With a bursting bladder, we queued up to cross the bridge of death again and made our way to the next stop, Onyx Cave.

In order to get there, we had to double back the way we came then take some rather unremarkable back roads. There were signs everywhere indicating the location and it wasn’t very difficult to find. Once again, we loaded up our gear with Mrs. Ulcer’s bladder now about to explode. We began walking to the entrance which was a virtual hike down near vertical hills. Fortunately, there were switchbacks to make the journey somewhat easier on me but just adding more urgency to Mrs. Ulcer’s already urgent situation. On the last leg of the last switchback she ran to the door leaving me behind laughing. I looked around the small shop where you buy tickets to go in and hoped to find a fossil or two as they had just about every rock you can imagine but found nothing. We paid the $20 entry fee and were told to head to the back of the store and wait. The cave entrance is in the store!!!

As we began our descent there was a big sign announcing where we were (as if we somehow didn’t know) above the cave entrance. We were instructed to follow the lines on the floor and Mrs. Ulcer was given a set of headphones so she could listen to the tour at the various stations. I refused to take any as 1. the guy giving them out was insistent that I should take them and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want them and 2. I had no interest in placing something on my head that thousands of other people had worn previously. Evidently Mrs. Ulcer didn’t share my same trepidation over hygiene.

The cave was cool and refreshing and much welcome after the hot hike down the hill. As far as the cave itself goes, it was the Pivot Point of caves. For some reason, the owners thought it would add a “coolness factor” to illuminate the place with colored lights but all it did was annoy the shit out of me as the photos I took turned out to be nothing but giant red and green blobs. There were a few interesting cave features but nothing that I hadn’t seen in the past and the whole thing was over with in about 20 minutes (and that included the stops to take photos of mildly interesting cave features not illuminated like a Christmas tree…).

DSC_0372 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0377 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0383 by John Galt, on Flickr

We emerged sorely disappointed. So far, the day was pretty ho hum and we were both ready for something interesting. We headed back to Eureka Springs where we had intended to grab something to eat. Mrs. Ulcer thought she saw a sandwich shop just before we entered town the first time so we went back that way and drove back towards Quigley’s Castle. After 5 minutes we were into the wilderness again and turned around. She then thought it was down this street, no wait it was that street, yeah that was it! Oh no I guess it was over there…. After 20 minutes of this we were both frustrated, ready to eat our own arm and didn’t give a damn what we ate. But it couldn’t be fast food. Or Italian. Or Mexican because that’s too heavy. Home cooking was out too because it was too greasy. We couldn’t do Chinese food because we would just be hungry again in 2 hours. What about seafood? In Arkansas? No thank you. Every place we passed one of us had an objection. Finally, we decided to stop at a diner we had driven by at least 4 times called The Route 62 Diner.

We entered the restaurant and asked the lady at the register is we could get something to go. She handed us a couple of menus and after looking it over, we realized that maybe we should have opted for the Chinese instead. Everything was heavy, greasy and not what we wanted. Rather than leave, our stomachs got the better of us so Mrs. Ulcer ordered some kind of chicken wrap and I got a philly cheesesteak. We grabbed a nearby booth and sat down to wait…and wait…and wait….

The place was really a cliché of what they thought a genuine diner would look like but without the small size, the counter, the décor or the good food. They did manage to have plenty of stainless steel everywhere and the obligatory vinyl booths. Included in this were the old 45 records suspended from the ceilings as well as large black and white photos of various pop culture figures from the 60’s like James Dean, Jim Morrison, JFK and Marilyn Monroe. It was eye rollingly bad but we were hungry and we were there so we decided to make the best of it.

As we sat waiting for our food we discussed how disappointing everything had been that day after such a great day yesterday. I KNEW that things would get better because our next stop was the nearby 60-foot-tall Milk Carton Jesus! There was also a nearby building I had spotted and wanted to check out for Urbexing as I hadn’t seen anything other than touristy stuff and was itching to go somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be.

We continued talking about our journey when a family entered the restaurant and placed a to go order. Evidently, they were unaware of the exceedingly long wait time for food as they stood at the register and chatted it up with the checkout lady. They too were from Texas in town for the weekend and bla, bla, bla, “beautiful”, bla, bla, bla “weather cooler”, bla, bla, bla. On and on it went. There was a young guy that worked at the place doing god only knows what as the only activity I observed him engaged in was picking his nose and wiping the fallen lettuce off a couple of tables onto the floor. He ambled over to the family, listened for a couple of minutes and then asked, “So ya’ll are from Texas huh?” They confirmed this fact and said that they had never seen anything quite so beautiful as the local town of Eureka Springs. He nodded and said that he had been to Texas once. “A coupla’ years ago I was down in Galvis-stan and it was the most beautiful thin’ I’d ever seen”. At this point I couldn’t resist and replied from our nearby table, “Excuse me. I don’t really follow the news much but was there an ISIS invasion of South Texas recently?” I got a chuckle from the Texan and a “Huh? Not that I’ve heard about” from the kid.

After about 15 minutes of milling about the two kids from the family started doing what little kids do, namely picking on each other and putting their grubby little hands on everything not nailed down. At this point the parents had had enough and took a seat to wait for their food. For all I know they are still there waiting…

The lady behind the counter then began a gossip session with another girl who looked to be in her early 20’s (probably the sister-cousin of the nose picker). The woman behind the counter appeared to be in her early 60’s with long hair, a skeletal figure and a face that looked like a catcher’s mitt. She reminded me of a used up old biker chick with more miles on her than the bikes she rode on the back of. I could picture her walking around in her black leather ensemble with “Property of” on the top rider and another patch (no doubt in Velcro for easy removal) “Snot” below. The conversation consisted of the bad mouthing of one of the other employees who evidently could do absolutely nothing correctly according to these two.

After another 10 minutes of this and me wanting to put a gun in my mouth, what could loosely be considered food, arrived neatly packed for our departure. Completely famished and not wanting to stick around a minute longer than we had to, we made for the car and the nearby The Great Passion Play Theme Park. We entered the park and it was (thankfully) almost completely empty… We found a place to park under some large trees and began devouring our tasteless food. Even as famished as we were it was like eating cardboard but with less flavor. Nonetheless it was solid and filled us up so we were happy. As we sat in the car we could see what I knew I could not miss – Milk Carton Jesus!

The statue sits in the midst of the park which was the brainchild and lifelong dream of one Gerald L.K. Smith who began his career as a 3rd generation minister but migrated to politics in Louisiana after meeting the then Governor Hughey P. Long. After this, the crazy train really began picking up steam. This guy held a lot of strange beliefs regarding politics that didn’t fit any modern mode and was a devout anti-Semite. Wikipedia has an interesting article on him here but more can be found on the web:


So, in 1963 Smith retires to Eureka Springs Arkansas, builds a big house and has $5000 to his name. He dreamed of creating a theme park that recreated the old city of Jerusalem along with a giant statue of Jesus. By the spring of 1964 he had raised over $1,000,000 for his ambitious project. He ended up batting .500 as the statue was completed in 1966 but his dream of the old city never came to fruition. The statue itself is referred to as “The Christ of the Ozarks” and sits atop Magnetic Mountain. Here’s some other info about this monstrosity from a bulletin board that we saw on the compound:

“-The statue stands 67 feet tall and has a 65 foot arm span.
- The foundation of the statue required 340 tons of concrete interlaced with steel virtually welded into the rock of magnetic mountain.
- The statue is made of 24 layers of white mortar on a steel frame. It was necessary to build an elevator up the side of the framework, which was completely surrounded by scaffolding during construction.
- The face is approximately 15 feet in height.
- Total weight is over two million pounds.”

Here’s another little bit of trivia about the place. Smith died in 1976 and is buried along with his wife near the statue where hymns are played 24 hours a day – creepy.

We were in awe. Really? A giant Jesus statue in Arkansas? Not only that, the thing was hideous! The body was completely square and from the behind it looked like he had back boobs! The head was far too large in proportion to the rest of the body and his eyes looked empty and dead. The whole thing was just weird. Both of us felt like we were in the compound of some religious cult.

We met a really cool biker couple also in stunned disbelief of this place. We all agreed it was ugly and laughable all at the same time. They were from Uncertain, TX where a couple of months prior we had booked a boat tour for the afternoon but canceled due to a sever hangover. Unbelievably, these were the people we had booked the tour with! They remembered us and we apologized profusely for the inconvenience. They were incredibly nice and invited us back to stay with them for a weekend sometime.

After this we made our way back to the main portion of the park where there were literally thousands of empty parking places. The place was a ghost town with the book store, information booth, theater, Holy Land Tour and mock up of Solomon’s temple all closed. We wondered how this place even stayed in business but figured that since it was Sunday, maybe the workers had the day off. They can’t be that close to insolvency as there was a faded sign that read, “Coming Soon! Noah’s Ark Petting Zoo!” We agreed to plan a trip back for the grand opening….

Here are some shots of the place:

DSC_0405 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0393 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0395 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0396 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0397 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0403 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0404 by John Galt, on Flickr

I was ready to go infiltrate a building I had seen on Google Earth inside the park that looked abandoned but Mrs. Ulcer had seen enough. So far there had been a whole lot of nothing and almost no “pretty”. She wanted to see the kind of things that we had seen the previous day. I flipped open the laptop and explained that we had covered everything on our list around Eureka Springs and that we had missed all the other places yesterday because we didn’t have a cell signal to see where anything was. It was now mid-afternoon and our day’s planned activities were at an end. Both of us were incredibly disappointed with what we had seen and done and we both wanted to relive the experience of what we saw less than a day before.

I pointed out that about 2 hours away was something called Roark’s Bluff and near that Hemmed in Hollow Waterfalls. She wanted to see the waterfalls… I did some checking and found out that the falls are not something you just drive up to. It was a long hike in the heat and it would probably be dark by the time we even made it to them. The bluffs were easy to get to and after I showed her a few photos from the net she was sold so off we went.

As we made our way back to the highway I saw a sign and made Mrs. Ulcer turn the car around so I could take a picture. She didn’t understand what I had seen but when I got out I could hear her laughing inside.

DSC_0406 by John Galt, on Flickr

“Jesus, People and the Berean Coffee House” What more could anyone want? Like everything else this place was closed so we continued on. Not wanting to waste any time we kept to the major roads as much as we could but about midway through we began to smell something burning and the car was making a high-pitched squealing sound. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong so we kept going. Naturally, Mrs. Ulcer had to pee again (she had only gone 4 times that day so I figured we were making progress) so we stopped at a small gas station in Kingston. While she went inside, I sat in the car and watched a group of bikers hanging out outside the store. After a few minutes, I couldn’t resist talking to them. I explained that my wife and I were up here on vacation and headed to the Bluff’s and we had seen a ton of bikers over the weekend. I asked if I could take a picture and they all agreed on the condition that I send them a copy.

DSC_0407 by John Galt, on Flickr

Mrs. Ulcer emerged from the store, saw that I was talking and just got in the car, no doubt either ready to make a quick getaway if I was assaulted and robbed of my camera or just embarrassed that once again I’m striking up a conversation with random people.

We finally made it Roark’s Bluff and the squealing was now REALLY loud but the burning smell had gone away. We changed clothes in the park bathroom (flashbacks of Brittany Spears barefooted bathroom photos racing through my mind) and went down to the nearby river. There were several families there enjoying the icy cold water and the amazing view of the overlooking gray slate bluffs. River rocks large and small covered the entire area and there were some small rapids in various places. I grabbed my camera and took some shots, some laying in the river itself fighting the current, trying to keep my head above water and my camera dry!

DSC_0413 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0415 by John Galt, on Flickr

DSC_0422 by John Galt, on Flickr

The air was warm but the river refreshing. Mrs. Ulcer wanted to venture out into the deeper part but within seconds of entering the river she slipped and blew out her flip-flop. We sat in the shallows and began looking at some of the rocks and found some fossilized shells which encouraged us to look for more. It was a nice time we shared together. We talked about anything and everything as we dug through the sand, scooping up handfuls of rocks and examining them before throwing them out into the river. I really enjoyed this time we spent together more than anything else we did that day and felt fortunate that I had such an amazing woman in my life.

That feeling was short lived however….

I dried off and decided to drive us back to Fayetteville as it was going to be dark and I was ready to head back. I adjusted the seat before I got in, started up the engine and noticed a red light on the dash – the emergency break. I pushed the pedal down to release it and Mrs. Ulcer got in on the passenger side. As we made our way back to the bathrooms to change I asked, “So did you put the emergency break on when we got here?”. She couldn’t remember but asked me why. I ignored the question and pressed her to try and remember when she had put it on. This just frustrated here even more and we bickered the whole way to the bathroom with her wanting to know WHY I wanted to know when she put on the emergency break.

We got out, and changed clothes and when we returned to the car she was in extreme distress. She remembered when she put the emergency break on – at Milk Carton Jesus. We had driven over two hours with it engaged and it was now completely shot. I didn’t get upset but there was a definite edge to my voice. How did she not notice the car running sluggishly? “Well I thought it was just the hills”. What about the light on the dash? Didn’t she notice it! No. She was too busy looking at the “pretty stuff”. I took a deep breath, realized that it wasn’t the end of the world and that I do stupid shit all the time and she puts up with it. Granted, my stupid shit doesn’t cost us thousands of dollars in car repairs but overall the aggravation probably equalized.

The drive back to Fayetteville was mostly silent as I stewed on her mistake and she feeling badly that it had happened. When we got into town we both agreed that we needed a drink and once again she had to pee… Mrs. Ulcer hopped out and ran into a convenience store in search of wine for her and a beer for me. She emerged a few minutes later empty handed. Evidently, liquor stores are closed on Sunday and convenience stores can’t sell liquor until Monday. I gotta say that if I lived in Arkansas I would be drunk 24 hours a day!

We were tired and hungry and wanted something good to eat after our disappointing lunch and agreed that pizza as the perfect choice. A quick Trip advisor search told us that Bocca Italian Eatery and Pizzeria was the best option. After conveying this to Mrs. Ulcer I warned her that Chuck-E-Cheese, Cici’s and Domino’s also made the same list…

We arrived at the place and when we entered we were both stunned. This place was pretty upscale. Not coat and tie kind of upscale but many of its patrons were so attired. We stuck out like a couple of sore thumbs and smelled just as gangrenous. I asked the hostess if they did to go orders and she said that the bartender could take care of us. We were delighted to discover that restaurants could serve booze on Sunday with the logic being that it was ok to drink in public on Sunday but apparently not in the privacy of your own home…

Mrs. Ulcer ordered wine and I got one of the local beers that tasted like it had been filtered through the socks I had been wearing all day. We then looked over the menu, ordered a couple of pizza’s and sat and waited as we watched the two chef’s work their magic at the wood fired oven. We were both tired and the place was a bit loud so conversation was at a minimum. After about 20 minutes the bartender brought us the bill and I was shocked. $75 for two pizza’s and a couple of drinks?!?!? This had to be a mistake. They brought us the wrong ticket. Nope. I looked it over and showed it to Mrs. Ulcer who said, “Oh that’s not too bad”. Figuring the wine was taking effect I signed the bill and shortly after our pizza was brought to us.

We got back to the hotel room smelling like death but hungry so rather than clean up we just dug into the food. It was delicious! Not $75 delicious but one of the best pizza’s I had ever eaten. We tried each other’s pie and shared our thoughts on the day as we laid up in bed with the boxes propped on our stomachs. When I mentioned that it was good food but I didn’t feel that it was worth the $75 Mrs. Ulcer said, “WHAT!?!” “The pizza’s good but I don’t think it’s worth $75 for a couple of pies” I replied. “The pizza was $75! I thought it said $35!” I laughed and realized that my handwriting was probably too difficult to read in the darkness of the restaurant. We agreed that like with the breaks what’s done was done and there was nothing to do about it so why worry.

After stuffing ourselves with the pizza we both showered and got cleaned up for the evening. As we laid in bed with the lights off we talked some more about the day and agreed that the best part was the bluffs and the river. We both felt fortunate to have the other and talked about how much we enjoyed traveling together before we kissed goodnight and rolled over to rest up for the next day’s adventures.

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