Inner Journey – Arkansas


We left our music friends in Adona and headed NW to meet some Camino friends in Bella Vista. There was lots to see and do in Arkansas. Dave is a long time member of the Ottawa Civil War Roundtable and likes to visit U.S. Civil War battle sites. As we made plans for the day we noticed that the Pea Ridge National Military Park was directly en-route. After an extremely hilly, steep and winding drive into the Ozark Mountains, we arrived at the site where the pivotal battle of Pea Ridge was fought in March 1862.
Earl Van Dorn (left centre); Sam Curtis (right centre)
The battle was won by Brig Gen (later Major General) Sam Curtis, Commander of the Union Army of the Southwest. It was lost by Major General Earl Van Dorn, Commander of the Confederate Army of the West. A good part of the action took place in and around the Elkhorn Tavern which is still there. We explored the well preserved site hiking from one end to the other. Dave bought a book and subsequently gave a presentation to our roundtable group back home. If you are curious and have a Powerpoint viewer app, click the link below to download a copy of this presentation.


Confederate Sunset at Pea Ridge painting by Andy Thomas
We continued on to Bentonville and toured the Walmart Welcome Centre. It was here in 1950 that Sam Walton opened Walton’s 5&10. His wife liked small town living and Sam wanted to take advantage of the different hunting seasons that living at the corner of four states had to offer. Well the rest is history and today Walmart – love it or hate it – is among the biggest retailers on the planet.
Finally we made our way to Bella Vista – a lovely residential town just south of the Missouri border. We had met Rev. Richard on the very first day of our 2010 Camino de Santiago back packing pilgrimage in Spain. “Call me Dick”, he said. We kept running into each other and really enjoyed chatting with him. He confided in us that he was a minister in a protestant community church back in the U.S. on sabatical. He loved to hear people’s stories- why they were hiking the Camino, who they were, why, etc. Afterwards we lost touch since we had not exchanged contact info. However, one day back home I googled his name and found him through his church in NW Arkansas. We made contact and he and his wife Carol invited us to drop by while on our Inner Journey pilgrimage.
Dick on right on the Camino in Spain
We arrived at their beautiful lakefront property. They gave us a tour and we had some great conversation over dinner and breakfast. He gave us a copy of the humorous Camino presentation he made to his congregation in Bella Vista. We parted ways promising to keep in touch. Wow, what a great visit we had! Subsequently we did keep in touch, having visited each other many times and hoping to visit them again this Fall in FL where they now live. Thank you Dick and Carol for your hospitality and friendship for the past 11 years!
Carol and Dick in Bella Vista, AK
On our way out of town we stopped and toured the stunning Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel and then drove by their pretty Bella Vista Community Church. Then… it was on to the next adventure in our Trekker.

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