Back at the ranch, our masters of the smoker had things warming up and had prepared the meat with great skill, care and secret rubs. Because both their given names were Scott, the team could be known as Scott Squared.
After doing some blog work and Sherm having another go round with The Geek Squad because Windows Update had screwed up his audio drivers again, we decided that the three of us would join Hang and Zeke for the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour tonight. Then Sherm, Sandy and I decided to take a trolley to downtown ES and do some sightseeing for the afternoon.
There was a trolley stop right at our hotel. We saw one go by just before we were ready but figured another would be along before too long and went out to wait on the bench.
After we had waited what we thought was long enough, we scrapped the trolley idea and took the Equinox. The problem with taking a car downtown is finding a parking space. We lucked out and found a metered spot on Spring Street (I managed to parallel park) for $1.00 per hour. We wandered around the historic district taking photos and checking out a few of the many shops.
Eventually, the hot sun and walking started to get to us so we climbed the hill up Spring Street to where the car was waiting. Bass Man had led a group out 62 West a few days ago to a place that was reputed to have huge ice cream cones. We weren't sure where it was but decided to go exploring.
The first place we came to, Riverview Country Store, had an ice cream sign but the lady said they were only normal sized. She said the shop we were looking for was nine miles west in Gateway.
It started raining quite hard as we headed for Gateway. When we arrived, we didn't see a sign for ice cream. From here, SR 37 goes due north and crosses almost immediately into Missouri, so we weren't sure which way to go. Sherm jumped out and braved the downpour to ask at a motorcycle accessory shop right at the crossroads. They told him it was just a ways on down 62.
"Just a ways" is a relative term. I understand it to mean just around the corner but people in northern Arkansas must consider it to be over four miles because we found the Shortstop Grill 4.1 miles west in Garfield. That was far enough for the rain to let up. The sign said "GIANT CONES".
In fact, the cones weren't that big. We ordered the PeeWee size for $1.10 (taxes in). Although the cones were small, the soft serve ice cream was piled higher than I have ever seen. It was firm, too, so dripping was controllable. They had other items on the menu that put this at the top of the list of places we have to visit again.
We drove back to the hotel, passing through the hard rain again, arriving at 4:00 PM. The downpour was not far behind us and forced everyone under cover for a while. Sherm kept getting flash flood warnings from the weather service on his phone.
Supper was planned for 6:00 PM. People started to gather well before that. It was no surprise that my better half was at the front of the line when it formed. She has a knack for knowing where to be at the right moment. I wasn't too far behind for a change.
There was the usual selection of smoked meats. Pulled pork (Sandy's favourite), brisket (my choice), ribs and sausages. There were beans and corn and slaw and buns as well. I tried to be as careful as possible to avoid overeating. Last year I had brisket at Bubba's, reputed to be the best BBQ in ES. It was dry and bland and, when Scott laid his out, I was tempted to take it to Bubba's to show them how it should be done. This year, Scott and Scott's brisket was just as good as last time.
There were a variety of desserts as well. I should have avoided them but broke down and had some kind of pink cake with white icing.
After supper, we all gathered around for the drawing of the prizes. Many thanks to the members and businesses (including Riders of Kawasaki) for the raffle prizes. Sandy won a voltmeter that plugs into a 12V power socket donated by Gambler and a cleaning kit from ROK. I won some red velvet cakes, a Taos rally shirt and a special fork donated by Southern Draw. The fork only had one straight tine. You'd understand if you saw it. This made up for getting shut out at Maggie Valley last May:-))
The proceeds of the raffle were being donated to a Mid-west VROC member who was having troubles. The 50/50 winners portion, $300, was won by Cleve who (displaying the spirit that is VROC) donated it back to the cause. Kudos to him for that generous move.
After the drawing, we prepared to head out under the full moon to the Crescent Hotel for our date with the spooks. There was a light rain falling as I dropped the other four off at the front door and searched the lot for a parking space. It was a long walk back in what was luckily only a fine drizzle.
The Crescent Hotel is reputed to be the most haunted building west of the Mississippi. We've had a couple of VROC banquets here where photos showed many orbs and we've gotten the Ghost Book from the desk and looked at the photos and stories. But tonight we were going to take the tour.
On the fourth floor, we assembled in a room where two young ladies in period costumes regaled us with the history of the hotel. It was first a hotel, then a Conservatory for young ladies, then a hospital for a charlatan peddling fake cancer cures and then a hotel again. After the history lesson, our guide The Countess took us to the different floors and various locations where the more famous hauntings have been reported. It was a spooky evening. One of the ladies identified herself as a seer and recounted a tale of encountering a ghost on a prior visit. We finished downstairs in what was once the morgue. Those who were willing were locked inside without lights. The five of us passed on that experience.
After the tour, we adjourned to the Stonegate where we said our goodbyes to the substantial group of folks who would be pulling out the next morning. Then we turned in.
Today's Route (45 Equinox miles):