It was cold (26F) and windy as we arrived after Towosahgy State Historic Site closed for the day. The gate to the park was still open and the park was unstaffed. The sun was setting fast and I was worried about getting stranded overnight because the gas light was already on in the rental SUV and we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere. But we had a state hike to accomplish, so I left the car outside of the gates in case a ranger came to close the park and we quickly started our hike around an ancient site of Mississipian people. Although short and a little scary, this was a very enjoyable hike. We were alone for our entire visit and I had just over 30 miles to worry about the gas situation when we came upon a gas station out of the 1950s. The lady was smoking and explained that they didn't take credit cards. I barely had enough cash to buy two gallons of gas, but it was enough to get us back to modern civilization.
We had our first negative run in with a human while stopping at a convenience store on our way to Lake Poinsett State Parkin Arkansas. While paying for some snacks and beverages for our hike, the man behind us asked if Laurel was my daughter and I answered, "yes". However, he would not let it go and said, "I just don't see it, how can she be your daughter"? My first instinct was to hit the guy, but I ignored him hoping that Laurel wouldn't ask any questions. He kept mumbling in his disbelief as I hurried out to protect Laurel.
There's a time and place for her questions and this was neither. Luckily, the usually perceptive Laurel was more interested in our goodies for our hike and I don't think she picked up on the comments. Since this was the first verbal encounter of this type, I've had some time to think about it and discuss the situation with Lisa. I'll be a million times more prepared for the next inappropriate comment.
We had already driven 113 miles and completed two hikes in Alabama when it was time to drive the remaining 410 miles home. I saw the 122ft. tall Ferris Wheel in the distance and knew it was trouble. I knew the girls would want to stop for a ride if they saw it and I really wanted to start the long drive home. I didn't try to distract them, but I wasn't going to point it out either. I decided to just let the decision happen on it's own. We were almost past the ferris wheel and in the clear when both girls seemed to see it at the same time. Laurel started yelling, "FERRIS WHEEL" and Kellisa started screaming, "ME". I had already passed the turn in and had to do a u-turn. Despite the loss of time, I was glad we stopped because they both really had a great time. (More pictures)
Sunday afternoon was spent under the big top at UniverSoul Circus. Laurel didn't know where we were going and saw the tent from five miles away and started screaming "CIRCUS" in the back seat. When asked how she knew it was a circus tent, she answered, "from the stripes on the tent". Both girls were very excited. Laurel's favorite part was some dancing and Kellisa really enjoyed the elephants.