A quick drive back into town to our car dealership revealed that we were NOT in for a quick fix. We loaded everything into a rental car (warning: Arkansas charges a 22% sales tax on rental cars), learned that the extended warranty on our broken car had expired, and hit the road again, a little gloomy. However, I kept telling myself it could have been worse - we had been back and forth to Conway (a three-hour drive one way) twice in the prior week...and the roads between here and there are isolated. A break-down on those trips, or further into our vacation, would have been horrible. Oh, and the trip to Conway was to take Amber to choir camp, where she worked hard and had a BLAST:She's the one in the front, on the left. I still don't know why I pay for jeans that look like they have been molested by a werewolf.
Amber had not-so-good news at the orthodontist. Remember those stubborn baby teeth? Well, by not falling out, they have diverted the paths of her adult teeth. She will need oral surgery to remove the remaining baby teeth, cut open her soft palate and attach metal handles to her upper canines so the orthodontist can move them into place. I don't know what they will plan for her twelve-year molars that never erupted. Poor thing.
BUT, I keep telling myself it could be worse - she can survive this. My pocketbook may not survive, but she will.
Speaking of my pocketbook - one of my air conditioning units at the office building took a dive. Sigh. Sometimes it's great owning your own company.
When we arrived in Mountain View, AR....it was raining...but our cabin did have a view of the river:
The worst part about the cabin? No cell service. I thought Amber was going to have a coronary. Every so often she could get a text message thru, if she contorted her body behind the living room futon. We had to drive two miles into town to get service.
The next morning, when we DID drive into town before visiting the caverns, I got a fun little text message telling me my office building back home had flooded. Try focusing on vacation after THAT little gem.
Oh well, at least our adventure was NOT going to be ruined by rain, since we were going into Blanchard Springs Caverns. Check out this formation that resembles a ship:
It was a fascinating tour - my photos didn't do the caverns ANY justice. I was completely amazed. We took the "Dripstone" tour - which took us through the most highly decorated level of the caverns, after an elevator ride 216 feet down into the earth.
I was impressed with the lighting, which was done by a man who usually assembled lighting for opera houses. It made the caverns all that more beautiful. Once again, I was in awe at the wonderous beauty of our earth, and remembered how tiny we all are in the face of its majesty.
Roger had never seen this level of the caverns before, so he was impressed, too. He even got to visit a music store in downtown Mountain View, and joined a "pickin'" session with several other musicians. He must have spent an hour there, while Amber and I poked thru galleries and found treasures here and there.
Our last stop before leaving town was this rock:
That's Roger, standing underneath. Years ago - like over 17 years ago - his best friend took a photo almost identical at this very spot. It was neat to find this again, and almost two decades later, take a similar photo...which we then emailed to his friend.
We are back home - and have taken care of all the office flooding. It wasn't as bad as I had imagined, and Roger did a lot to help clean things up. Amber came back to a new cheer coach for the varsity squad - her coach from last year - which made her very happy. Shorty missed us terribly, but having Lucas house-sit definitely eased our minds about the care of our three animals. He did, however, start a new trend by allowing her to sleep with him in the guest bed. So guess who is sleeping with us now?
Tell me about your vacations, if you had one this summer!