memphis to little rock to fort smith to shawnee

at the end of day 2 i can say driving across the country is really quite easy, provided you have books on cd. total miles traveled so far: 1228. percent of trip complete: 34.

map of memphis to shawnee

after lunch i headed out of memphis, crossing the wide mississippi into arkansas. the thing that struck me about arkansas was the number of dead armadillos along the side of the road. i didn’t quite realize there were armadillos living that far out of texas.

map of the range of the armadillo

i took a slight detour to see about visiting the clinton presidential library. unfortunately i got there at 4:30pm—they closed at 5pm and weren’t letting anyone in.

clinton presidential library

having driven into little rock on i-30, i thought the city looked cool and worth exploring, but the sun was beating down as they turned me away at the library, so i bid little rock adieu and continued on my way, towards a town called fort smith, on the border with oklahoma.

fort smith was my goal to reach for dinner, i arrived around 7pm, navigated my way towards the downtown in search of a local restaurant (or similar establishment), and found myself struggling to find just one. eventually after driving down a depressing commercial strip, i stopped at juan’s mexican restaurant. here’s an actual review i just found online:

A rather average place to eat. The food is good but it is just like any other mexican restaurant. It looks as though it came out of a tv diner box. Good salsa though.

the “salsa” of which they speak was almost indistinguishable from ketchup. i literally did a double take. i ordered some queso, which i used in place of the ketchup-salsa and had a reasonable fajita salad.

with that meal consumed, i was ready to leave fort smith forever, but not before parking out in front of a closed coffee shop, in the deserted downtown i’d previously driven through, where i’d seen a “free wifi” sign in the door. which begot the previous post.

after which i was off to oklahoma city, and i almost made it, but i started feeling sleepy, so i pulled off the highway in a place called shawnee. landing myself in the last room at a hampton inn. with free wireless internet.

next leg: shawnee to amarillo


Well, you are pretty much single handedly proving the ubiquity of Free Wi-Fi. :-)

Drive safe.

i’d get by if it wasn’t available, but frankly i’ve been amazed at the ubiquity—as well as my luck. usually i just think to myself, i wonder if there are any coffee shops around, i start pay attention to the signs on doors, walk a block, and bingo, paydirt, free wifi.

I’ve seen armadillos (armdilli?) as far from Texas as central Florida! I was quite surprised.

Totally agree on the books on tape. I can drive to DC and back and not even finish one book and not notice the drive went by. That might not be good for mindfulness practice, but I am concentrating on *something*.

don’t you feel like you’re in school, listening to the tapes all day long? isn’t it great! i love driving.

Yup, whenever my family’d go down to the old homestead in central Florida, there were armadillos running all over – I associate them more with FL than TX. My grandmother who grew up there said, though, that there hadn’t been any when she was a child. They’ve spread out over the last century.

i can attest to the armadillo population in central florida. one even haunts the fountain and library at ucf where i used to work.


I guess it’s a little late for me to be telling you this, but downtown Fort Smith has several bars/restaurants – I can’t believe you missed Varsity Sports Grill! – but most of the good food is either down the road from Juan’s or up Rogers Avenue (go straight next time). Downtown is pretty depressing, though.

Ha, thanks, next time I’m in Fort Smith I’ll check it out.


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