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Buffalo Weekend Getaway, part 1
October 14-15, 2005

Really. It was Stacey who suggested the Buffalo River area for our anniversary weekend getaway.  “Sounds OK to me,” I said, pretending not to be excited. It seemed too good to be true, and I worried if I was TOO enthusiastic, she might change her mind for fear that I would drag her through the wilderness all weekend.
We left town late Friday morning, stopped for lunch at a great little burger joint on Highway 64 in Clarksville, then headed up Hwy. 21 toward Boxley valley. Stacey wanted me to hear some new songs she liked, including Black Eyed Peas (“milky milky cocoa puffs”!), Kanye West (“I ain't sayin she a gold digger”), and OutKast, and we had fun listening to them.
We pulled in to the parking area for the Buffalo River Trail and I showed Stacey the old root cellar, rustic barn and shed, and the spring just up the lane. Then we drove into Ponca and browsed the small shops at Lost Valley Canoe and Buffalo Outdoor Center. Stacey found a nice long-sleeved t-shirt that she wore the next day. We drove east to Jasper, north to Marble Falls, then made a left onto the dirt road leading to the Buffalo River Retreat in The Basin community.
After unpacking, Stacey grabbed a fishing pole to see if she could get anything to bite in the small pond on the property, while I headed back to a bedroom for a nice long nap.
We had dinner at the Ozark Cafe in Jasper, then made a sightseeing drive to Harrison. We shopped for they boys’ halloween costumes at Wal Mart, where I picked up some Pop Secret Homestyle (now the official popcorn of our anniversary getaways) and bought a CD of Prince’s Purple Rain. It was my turn to play the music on the drive back (“Let’s Go Crazy...”)!
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Stacey cooked a wonderful breakfast Saturday morning, then we headed down Hwy.7  for a day along the river. The first stop was for the short hike down to the top of Ozark Bluff, a little-know spot Cliff and I visited two years earlier. Next we went to the Pruitt picnic and swimming area and walked downstream beside the river, Stacey fishing and leisurely taking snapshots. It was a gorgeous day with clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and splashes of early fall color in the foliage.
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For fifteen years I’ve wanted to eat at the Cliff House Inn south of Jasper; that day finally came. While waiting for a table we enjoyed the view of the Arkansas Grand Canyon from the back deck, and found the gift shop full of interesting items. Our lunch was excellent, and our table offered the same view outside.
We headed back to the retreat for a nap, stopping on the way at the Old Carriage House art gallery and shop, housed in an historical barn on the big curve at the foot of the mountain on the southern end of Jasper. Lots of great stuff there.
That afternoon we drove south on 7 then turned right to follow the dirt road west to the Erbie recreation area, where again Stacey fished and I wandered around taking pictures of whatever caught my eye. I told Stacey I’d read somewhere that the river level was the lowest since records had been kept.
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We got back in the Tahoe, crossed the river at the low water bridge and drove to the old Erbie community. We were pretty hungry or we would have gotten out and explored the old structures. We headed east along dirt roads that took us back to the retreat. We stopped at the Basin Community Church for a photo; the retreat was just around the corner. After weighing our options we drove back into Jasper and had dinner at the Ozark Cafe.
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