This past weekend we visited the small town of Mena, Arkansas. It's nestled at the foot of Rich Mountain in the Ouachita Mountain range. We traveled to Mena for the 37th Annual Queen Wilhelmina Road Run that is held at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. We drove our 1940 Fork Pickup. I'll show you a photo of our truck later in the post.
Mena was founded in 1896 as a railroad town. The city has a total area of 6.8 square miles, of which 6.7 square miles is land; 0.04 square miles of it is water. That doesn't leave much for the 5,737 people who populate this town, does it? Mena is the gateway to some of the most visited tourist attractions in Arkansas. An estimated 1.2 million visitors each year come to Mena for these natural features which include
- the 57 mile Talimena National Scenic Drive
- Queen Wilhelmina State Park
- Cossatot River which is a member of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and is Arkansas' newest state park
- and lastly beautiful Lake Ouachita is in the vicinity.
We arrived in town on Friday and gathered at the historic Mena Railroad Depot which is in the center of town. The Depot was build in the early 1900s and was completely restored in 1987.
The streets are closed off behind the depot for us to park our vehicles. One of my favorite past times on Friday night is to visit the two antique stores you see on the right. I never buy much, but I do enjoy the search!
This beautiful red truck is ours! My husband calls it "Old Red." It's considered a street rod because it has not been restored to the original 1940 truck. You'll first notice those shiny Crager wheels! It also has power steering, air conditioning, seat belts, and a larger motor. We did keep the body of the truck original. Restoring a vehicle to its original state is just not practical if you want to drive it and enjoy it! Older vehicles are just not made for our faster highways and the miles we put on them!
On Saturday morning we leave Mena and head up to Queen Wilhelmina State Park the second tallest peak in Arkansas rising 2,681 feet above sea level. We drove 14 miles up a very, steep, and curvy road in drizzle and the densest fog I've ever been in. We both had our noses plastered to the windshield trying to see. I don't think we could see but about 20 ft in front of us. Mr. H was watching the white line and I was watching for signs...sharp turn to the left coming up or 25mph on this turn. One thing about old truck, they only have one windshield wiper. I guess the passenger isn't supposed to be able to see!! It was a very intense and stressful drive!!
We finally made it to the top of the mountain! On a clear day you can see the ridges and valleys of this beautiful mountain range in the background, today you just see fog! In this photo you can see our cute little trailer with it's lid open that holds all our luggage, lawn chairs, ice chests, and such! You wouldn't believe what we're able to cram in that trailer! Our truck has light cherry stained wood in the bed and nothing goes back there to keep from scratching it.
I was surprised at the number of local people who drove up the mountain in the fog to see the cars! The fog lifted around noon and the rest of the day was beautiful with a nice cooling breeze!
There's lots of chrome and a rainbow of colors on the cars! It's amazing how many shades there are of every color!
On Saturday night we head downtown for a street dance with a live band. Usually the only ones you'll find dancing are the kids! Me, I like to walk the town and capture shots of the old stone and brick buildings. My favorite is the green one.
It's always pretty hot and muggy downtown in the evening. We've found the best place to park our truck. There is an empty lot between two buildings that allows cool air to funnel through. We set up our chairs in the shade of one of the buildings and then we....
people watch! They look at our vehicles; we look at them!! There's always sights to see. Do you see the girl in the center dressed in black carrying a small dog? She must have walked the length of this road twenty times. She reminded me of a model on a runway...she had the look, she had the walk!!
On Sunday morning we traveled back up the mountain in the fog again!!! But, this time it wasn't as bad and was mostly toward the top! We attended church service in a large tent. It's been years since I've been in an open air service. It was calming to listen to the Word of God under a tent, in the quiet of the morning, with the wind and fog swirling around us. Attending church on the mountain was a wonderful way to end a great weekend!
We had a wonderful time with
plenty of good food,
and mostly good weather!!