Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Road Report: Tale of the Tree House

He's coming to tow your wallet away...
I can't help it if I know that Cars 2 is about to be released. . . 
Of all the Pixar films, Cars is arguably the most merchandised and heavily promoted. I don't think even the Toy Story films can compare.

Thus Cars 2 has been in my face (and I assume yours) this summer with ads, posters, and verbiage printed on food products.

According to the marketing geniuses behind this phenomenon, I should ready myself to purchase such valuable treasures as the Cars 2 Shower Gel Assortment! And I was hearing about all this before the movie had even come out...

In the midst of this media hucksterism I've tried to be a good Van Winkle and avert my eyes, but it's like trying to ignore the weather. So I've found myself saying, "Oh, never mind" and forgiven my transgressions.

After all, the original Cars wasn't all bad. I liked its tribute to the old Route 66 in the film and also how Tow Mater was the funniest hick of a fellow since "Surprise, surprise, surprise!" Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle, USMC.

My main problem was that I never bought into the concept of cars whose grilles and bumpers move like mouths and, guess what, they talk!

You see, talking animals I'm fine with. Ditto monsters and plastic toys. I can even suspend disbelief on behalf of talking vegetables. But somehow I can't quite transfer my emotions to a muffler and a fossil fuel burning engine.


The real reason I mention Cars is that the original film brought to my attention that old place on Route 66 where you can stay in a concrete Indian tepee. I refer to the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. This set me up recently to be primed to try some tepee camping of my own. It happened when I discovered we would be traveling in the vicinity of Diamond John's Riverside Retreat near Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

At Diamond John's you can stay in an air conditioned tepee.

Except this was better than the Arizona place. No concrete here. These were real tepees. Yet they were air conditioned with queen beds and satellite TV, making them semi-comfortable for those of us who inhabit tender skins several generations beyond Geronimo.

Well, I was all set to make a reservation when I discovered I could do even better than the tepee. We could stay in a tree house.

The Peaceable Kingdom
The tree house at Diamond John's is a fine experience, It's not terribly high off the ground as one might imagine, which is good news for acrophobia types. Still,there are real tree trunks passing through the room that the window glass artfully forms a border around. And the view is just great. Which is to be expected. It is a house...in a tree.

But the tree house wasn't the main attraction.

We were able to spend the better part of an evening, a night, and a morning alongside an emerald river.

Domesticated animals came and went. Like...

...the geese who congregated at the foot of our tree house and romanced us with a honking karaoke.

...a couple of goats who trod silently here and there.

...peacocks who moved along, their long plumage swishing behind them.

Up the hill in back of the tree house there were some miniature ponies in a pen begging us to feed them. The hill was important to us since there was one drawback to our lodgings. No plumbing in a tree house. We had to trek up the hill to the bath house to get water and use the facilities.

At night another creature made an appearance. I hadn't seen these in years: fire flies. They popped their lights for us in the dusk like cinders hovering above the ground. A wink and then extinction. Then another one.

Did we sleep well in the tree house? Well, it was kind of bright since we only had sheers for curtains and that night there happened to be a full moon. And our beds squeaked every time one of us turned over. And, wouldn't you know it, we had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Uh oh. A hike up the hill.

Still, it was an experience unlike any I've ever had. The climax came the next morning when I wandered down by the river and found an old electric organ someone had left to rot among the trees.

I saw words that aptly described what our time had been like.

Yes. It felt as if we had been tuned into the Vox Mystica, that musical voice that resonates right down to the level of blood and bones. Peaceful, peaceful. - V.W.


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