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Winter Road Trip from Racine to Little Rock

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 1/27/2011 - www.Littleviews.com ]



The following articles were initially a part of blog related to a road trip that took place between December 17, 2010 and January 2, 2011.
Winter Road Trip from Racine to Little Rock

Kick Scooting in San Antonio

Kick Scooting in New Orleans

Racine - and the road trip begins

DECEMBER 17, 2010: We completed our 865 mile journey between Weehawken, NJ, and Racine, WI, in about 15.5 hours, arriving at 11PM in 15-degree weather. The next morning, it warmed to 24 degrees, not the best weather for scooting, but great for ice skating.

Our scooters arrived at the Haack’s, home of our traveling companions, a week prior to our arrival. After sipping morning coffee, I unpacked them and took them for a spin – literally. The sidewalks were a checkerboard pattern of ice and pavement. A neighbor asked me if I was testing kid’s gifts, to which I smiled pleasantly. Explaining that we had embarked on a 4,500 road trip in the middle of winter and hoped to ride scooters along the way required more effort than I was willing to make.

We spent most of the day provisioning for an Antarctic expedition because none of us believe that Austin will be around 70-degrees when we arrive. Scooters, however, were substituted for sleds.

I briefly visited Racine's Uptown-area where Isaiah Zagar’s mosaics are installed (above photo). The liberal use of mirrors throughout his work reflects surrounding scenery. If it is overcast, the mirrors appear to be white. Today, as you can see above, was bright blue. (For our recent experience with Zagar's mosaics in Philadelphia, read Pictures of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens and Isaiah Zagar's Tile Mosaics.)

Anyway, more about that Uptown project, Kewpee's hamburgers, and Danish Kringle when we return. And, if it isn't icy cold at that time, we might even explore Racine's beautiful Lake Michigan beach front.

Two cool (literally) surprises in and around St. Louis

DECEMBER 19, 2010: Our itinerary this week calls for us to stay a day in St. Louis, Little Rock, and San Antonio, before arriving at Austin for Christmas. Outside of well-known landmarks, however, we’re not sure what we’ll see and will be on the lookout for surprises.

Our first unexpected visual treat appeared just outside of St. Louis at the
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Every year, this massive Catholic campus features a light show comprised of over 1.5 million lights, plus camel rides, a laser show, a decorated tree gallery, music, and all-around holiday cheer.

December Light Festival at Our Lady of the Snows 2010

While not a Catholic theme park, in December this organization throws a party for everyone who loves lots of sparkling lights and massive doses of good will.

I had hoped to scoot around under their lights, but at 25-or-so degrees outside, the best I could muster was a brief stroll. Likewise, I had also hoped to scoot around the St. Louis arch, but was also stopped by freezing weather.

Fortunately, St. Louis' Gateway Arch is home to the very warm and wonderful Museum of Westward Expansion which complements an absolutely breathtaking movie, Lewis and Clark; the Great Journey West. It is shown on a four-story screen complete with THX sound (a 3D, Imax-type experience).

I was so thrilled by what I saw, that I purchased a book entitled The Journals of Lewis and Clark. This ultimate travel log makes a great companion on a road trip. To visually track the locations Lewis and Clark describe, I am also following information published on Lewis-Clark.org.

Once outside, I was even more thrilled about discovering at least a mile of non-stop graffiti murals painted on a flood wall that can hold back the Mississippi River. It's located just south of the Gateway Arch on South Wharf Street.

Graffiti Wall in St. Louis - 2010

Hungry? Within this same general area is a shrine to pub bars called Laclede's Landing that serves patrons of Busch Stadium and other attractions. Arrive before the games get out if you expect to snag a table!

Tomorrow, we're off on the next 400 mile leg of our journey and should reach Little Rock by late afternoon. It's supposed to reach 70-degrees on Tuesday, our layover day! Maybe I'll finally be able to scoot in a city center - Old Town Little Rock, The Clinton Presidential Library, and Heifer International.

The road to Little Rock, warmth, and scooting

DECEMBER 20, 2010: We didn’t expect anything unusual on our 400 mile road trip from St. Louis to Little Rock until we were ready for lunch and noticed a sign that advertised Lambert’s Cafe - home of the throwed rolls. Frankly, I favor chain restaurants when traveling along an interstate, but the sign’s claim caught our interest.

At first, we thought it was a Cracker Barrel-clone. Filled with piles of antiques (i.e., old junk) and worn tables, I settled in with trepidation. Then our server brought our drinks, with nothing smaller than a quart, including my coffee. Hummm, I thought. This must be one of those excessive portions places. And, just as I was about to write it off as questionable . . .

Lambert’s Café - throwed rolls

. . . from across the room, a server threw a hot roll at us, then another, and another. Each roll was the size of a lumber jack’s fist. And delicious! Next, servers descended upon us with roll fix’ns, such as apple butter and sorghum molasses, and bowls full of fried Okra, a favorite Southern vegetable.

Lambert’s Café – portion size

Yes, portions were exaggerated (the 1-inch thick, center ham slice, above, could have served 4) but, surprise! Their food was excellent. Make a point of ordering their baked sweet potato! It is perfect. And their pot roast is far better than anyone’s mama used to make. Didn’t order their flavorful fried potatoes? Servers roam the room with kettles full of the stuff, providing it to everyone who asks, all the while fresh, steaming rolls whiz by.

There are only three Lambert’s Cafes in the world, so if you are in Sikeston or Ozark, Missouri, or Foley, Alabama, make a point of stop’n in.

Little Rock, 55 degrees, and finally scoot’n

We arrived in blissfully warm Little Rock around 5:30PM, chose a Holiday Inn Express, settled in, unpacked our scooters and away we went around and around the facility’s huge, smooth parking lot.

Wow, did Phil and I have fun! He chose the Black Kickboard 2-wheeler and I, the Original Kickboard 3-wheeler.

Tomorrow, we take the scooters to the President Clinton Presidential Library for a great scoot around the area, which includes the stunning library campus, the beautiful Heifer International campus (next door), and President Clinton Avenue, which is also known as old town Little Rock.

First day of tour scooting at the Clinton Presidential Library

DECEMBER 21, 2010: Joy of joy! While it is the Christmas season, my song of joy is to 72-degree weather.

Anyway, our objective today was to visit the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, the perfect place to launch my tour scooting experience. Conveniently, its campus and surrounding areas are laced with long expanses of high-quality, level sidewalks.

Scooting at the Clinton Presidential Library

To be honest, I felt self-conscious! And, in fact, I must have looked it because when I entered the Clinton Presidential Library, the greeter thought I required some type of walking device and called my attention to the availability of wheel chairs. So much for my persona of athletic panache!

I used the Original Kickboard (the 3-wheeler), which when folded, can be rolled. I found it very easy to pull or push through the building without getting in anyone’s way. Below, you can see me gazing at the replica of the Oval Office, leaning on my scooter’s handle bar. The only slight problem I had during my time in the building was finding a place to store it when dining in the Clinton Presidential Library restaurant.

Replica of the Clinton Oval Office

The picture below shows how much scooting opportunity is available in and around the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Library and nearby Heifer International. During the summer, these grounds are lined with bright, green lawns, nicely landscaped prairie grass, and well-chosen flowers, making them a delight to stroll. We discovered that in winter, everything turns brown and there isn’t a bud to be seen. Still, it is 70-degrees in December, a possible fair tradeoff.

Sidewalks around the Clinton Presidential Library

While my travel companions took a bus shuttle to the library store, I scooted back and forth along President Clinton Avenue and was able to travel quite a distance in a short period of time. During my travel, I stopped to take pictures (a real plus) as well as browsed in a store. Although scooting takes an effort, when you consider distances covered within a specific time period, it provides a more efficient way of touring than just plain strolling.

President Clinton

I admire President Clinton on all counts, including his birth without privilege, his scholarships to great universities, his long term as governor of Arkansas, his two-term presidency, his marriage to Hillary, and their intelligent dedication to public service. Few people have achieved so much and have achieved it for the public good.

The Clinton Presidential Library is beautiful (especially when the grass and gardens are in full bloom), and contains information-packed, yet easy-to-understand displays and insights into his two-term presidency. I especially enjoyed seeing the Oval Office replica, learning how it felt to be sitting in front of its windows, and discovering what it is like to work in an executive office with multiple, ever-open doors.

The facility’s dining room overlooks the Arkansas River and features excellent food at budget prices. During the summer, you can dine outside, which, given the landscaping, would be a memorable pleasure.

. . . read about the next leg of our journey on Kick Scooting in San Antonio.

Questions? Just ask!
Karen Little

The following articles were initially a part of blog related to a road trip that took place between December 17, 2010 and January 2, 2011.
Winter Road Trip from Racine to Little Rock

Kick Scooting in San Antonio

Kick Scooting in New Orleans

Article and photographs by Karen Little. First published on www.Littleviews.com on 1/27/2011. All rights reserved.





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