I awoke on the first day of our Arkansas adventure in the Palace Hotel in De Queen, Arkansas. It wasn’t what I planned. I had convinced my wife that what we needed at this point in our lives was an adventure, leaf peaking in Arkansas seemed like a good idea. I envisioned a one day drive from Lafayette to Northwest Arkansas thrilled by vistas of fall color. Man plans and God laughs. Turns out this is a very bad year for fall color in Arkansas. On the first day, we saw less fall color than is visible from our front porch back in Lafayette. Oh well.
My wife and I are not aging in synch. For example, she sleeps more and I sleep less. On the first day of our trip I was up when it was still dark, my wife not so much. We didn’t leave Lafayette until nearly noon. My diminished hope was to make it into Arkansas before dark. Texarkana seemed a fair goal. I learned that a new impressive interstate system makes it possible to pass very near to Texarkana without actually entering in its city limits. Pressing on – the next motel we found, hours later was in De Queen. Your first question might be the same as mine. How does a place be named “De Queen.” I know Hope, Arkansas, childhood home of Bill Clinton was nearby. Perhaps De Queen was named after Hillary, I mused.
Not so. As the city website advises “De Queen was named after Jan de Goeijen, a Dutch coffee merchant who helped finance the completion of the railroad. But de Goeijen’s name (pronounced “duh HOY en” was difficult for area residents to pronounce and the name was eventually changed to De Queen.” It’s important to learn something new every day.
By the time we arrived in De Queen it was getting dark and we were eager to find shelter. I looked up “top ten motels in De Queen, Arkansas.” Only one motel was listed and it wasn’t the Palace. The price was certainly right. Things didn’t turn out so bad. We found a little Mexican restaurant and had a great supper for about 20 bucks. We had a good night’s sleep and in the morning enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the Ranch House Cafe and headed further north. All things considered not a bad first day. Maybe God isn’t laughing. He could just be smiling a bit. Maybe His idea of an adventure is different from, and better than, mine.