Yesterday was a trip to Van Buren, Arkansas.  Yes, I am truly a senior when I am traveling to see fall foliage and ride trains!  The historic part of Van Buren is charming and well preserved.  They only messed up a few buildings when the siding salesmen came through trying to modernize it back in the 60s.  It was fun to walk down to the Arkansas River and see the wide water, unlike Tulsa where it is pretty dry right now.  I liked the old Anheuser Busch building with the original eagle logo still intact.

Riding the train up to Winslow, the highest incorporated city (pop 399) in Arkansas, was a trip back in time.  We were on a 1948 car called the Silver Stream and there were other cars from the 1920s.  You could also ride in the caboose.  It took a bit to slow down from the fast paced ways we usually travel, but it was worth it.  The drought has hit all the states, but we still saw beautiful fall colors as we went higher.  After traveling at 8-9,000 feet in the Sierras this summer, it seems funny to think of 1,729 as up in the mountains.  The conductors were train buffs of all ages who volunteer their time and kept it lively with their commentary.  There was a car full of second graders from one of our stops.  On the way back, we stopped to let them out at their school – how fun is that?  That must have been the noisy car, especially going through the tunnel when they tell them to scream!  I tried to imagine traveling across country like this a century ago.  As always, it depended on which kind of car you were able to afford as to whether you were scrunched in with strangers, loud conversations and interesting smells or whether you could ride in style in a private car.  It beat the stage coach or wagon.

Coming home, we detoured north from Vian and took the scenic route past Lake Tenkiller towards Tahlequah.  What a beautiful drive!  Every place has its own beauty and this is one of my favorites in my home state.  It’s pretty wild and wooly in those hills, but it’s gorgeous country. There’s another drive where you go by the lake more, but I loved the trees.  I’m so grateful to get to enjoy a perfect 75 degree, cloudless day without anything pressing….