Gypsy Journey travel blog

Mom and Audrey outside her dorm room at University of Arkansas

Me and Auds in her very clean dorm room!!!

The Walmart Museum in Bentonville

This painting captivated me at the Crystal Bridges Museum

Sculpture of Pinocchio

Andy Warhol painting

Mother lounging on one of the outside sculptures

The Love sculpture

Dinner at The Hive with the Sanders

Mother enjoying coffee in the screen room at the campground


“This is my daughter, Liz, the Gypsy. She lives in a small RV with her two dogs. She travels all over, but has yet to let me join her on a trip.”

Oy!

Over the past year, this is how my mother has introduced me. So, I decided it was time to take mother on a trip in Gypsy. She is truly in great shape, but since her hip replacement surgery last fall, she moves slowly and distances are difficult for her. Thus, I knew the regular hiking trip would be a bit much for her, so we settled on a journey to Arkansas to see my niece Audrey (a freshman at the University in Fayetteville) and some of mom’s friends in Bentonville.

I wanted mom to experience the full RV lifestyle, so we boarded the pups (just not enough room in Gypsy for us all!) and took off toward the “natural state”.

Our first day, it rained all day. We arrived in Fayetteville just in time to take my niece and one of her roommates to the University pound to liberate their impounded vehicles. As we left, I noticed Auds had one very flat tire on her SUV. So, in the pouring rain, I removed my air compressor and inflated Audrey’s flat tire (which she hadn’t noticed). Oy!

We spent a few hours with Audrey at the Arkansas bookstore (for our Razorback paraphernalia) and in her....SHOCK...clean dorm room. Yes, we could actually see the floor of Audrey’s bedroom. Who was this child?? I was so impressed....until I found out they had to clean their dorm for an upcoming safety inspection. Oh well, I’ll still take it!

Audrey was your typical Freshman...stressed, overwhelmed, tired, but oh so happy! Mom and I curtseyed out of dinner so Audrey could attend another sorority function and headed out toward Springdale.


We enjoyed a nice Italian dinner, then searched for a place to stay the evening. We ended up at a Pilot Travel Center...in between two truckers. Welcome to the RV life momma!!! The full RV experience, by golly. Yes, I should have taken her to a Walmart parking lot, but nothing but the best for my momma!

After sleeping quite well (and free) mind you, we headed to Bentonville. We both loved the downtown square. The perfect small town feel, and of course, the original Walton’s 5 & 10. Next to the birthplace of Walmart was the Walmart Museum. It was truly outstanding...and FREE!

I have been quite public about my conversion to a Walmart fan. Prior to owning Gypsy, I wouldn’t be caught dead in one and avoided them at all costs. But, since adopting the RV life, I have found Walmart to be my savior on several occasions. Not only for allowing me to overnight park there when necessary, but for their large assortment of RV accessories. After visiting the Walmart Museum, I became an even bigger supporter.

Sam Walton was truly a visionary and a humble servant leader. Yes, he built a behemoth of a business, but what impressed me was simply this...his office. All the fixtures of his office have been recreated in the museum. One statement struck a cord with me. “Sam’s office looks just like it did when he occupied it...he was never in it!” Why? He was always out visiting stores and meeting with his employees. There are now over 2.3 million of them. Can you imagine?? And, he still drove his old 1970’s Ford pickup until his death in 1992. When asked why he continued to drive the old Ford pickup, he responded with, “what am I supposed to drive with my dogs, a Rolls Royse?” Wow.

After visiting downtown, we headed to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Can you guess who established it? Yep...a Walton. Sam’s daughter, Alice. General admission is sponsored by Walmart. The price? Free. God bless the Walton family!

The museum is a must see, if only for the permanent art collection. It is truly outstanding from the Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keefe, Norman Rockwell paintings to the incredible sculptures both inside and outside the museum. It would take hours to view it all appropriately.

When we finished at the museum, I took mom to her first RV campground in Cave Springs at the Creek Golf and RV Park. We enjoyed our happy hour drink in my outside screen room overlooking a lovely little pond.

Mom’s long time friends, Lavelle and Joy Sanders picked us up at the campground and joined us for dinner. I had read that THE place to eat in Bentonville was a place called The Hive in the 21C Hotel. I will admit that Lavelle and Joy didn’t appear to be overjoyed with the selection, but they were certainly willing to indulge me. The menu was very limited, but the ambiance was fabulous as we sat below sculptures of bees in the hive. I asked for the specialty and got the potato gnocchi. Mom joined me, but when it came out with goat meat in it, she wasn’t quite as thrilled. They immediately changed her meal, but even with the complimentary cotton candy as dessert, I was the only one pleased with my dinner. Oy!

We toured a bit of Bentonville, then headed back to the campground for the night. After a much more quiet evening (versus the trucker sounds at the Pilot), we both enjoyed a relaxing morning and coffee in the screen room. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for a quick breakfast (yes, the full RV experience, I tell ya!), then headed back to OKC.

During our road trip, mom and I enjoyed a great Audible book. We listened to it on the journey to Arkansas, a bit in the screen room during happy hour, then on the road back to Oklahoma. Our timing was perfect as we concluded the book as we entered OKC. The book was called The Lost Wife, and it was excellent!!

Mom has now experienced her first trip in Gypsy and I think it was a good, quick view of my life on the road. She stated she wasn’t quite as fearful for me after getting a true glimpse of the lifestyle.

Yet, I did hear her state this to Lavelle as he called to wish us a safe journey back home...”yes, I’ve enjoyed the trip in Liz’s RV, but I’m not sure she will ever let me go on another trip with her again.”

Oy!

Until next time...

Liz



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