Day #56: Fun at a nuclear missile ranch and then being chased by a pig!

LOCATION:  Bee Branch, Arkansas, in central part of state
CAMPGROUND:  Rabbit Ridge Farms – a Harvest Host farm nestled in the Ozark Mountain foothills.  Beautiful location.  Super quiet.  We are parked in their spacious, graveled, level parking lot.  Only ones here.  Very gracious and organized hosts – arranged everything via text.  5 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Chilly in the AM, warming to an absolutely perfect sunny day.  High 72
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  45 minutes

At the nuclear missile ranch Harvest Host site, we awoke to hear a lot of cows mooing in the fields surrounding us.  We were actually parked above part of the missile site.  This is the schematic of what is underground.

The tour was of the launch control center (building on the left).  We entered by walking down 5 flights of steps next to their big sign.

The site was built in 1963  and was used/manned until it was decommissioned in 1987.  There are 54 of these sites in Arkansas, Kansas, and Arizona.  This is the only one that is being used to live in. 

A work camper who is staying here this summer gave us the tour. We started by opening one of the many, heavy- heavy security doors.

The owner (the Harvest Host guy) bought this property and has converted the launch control center building into an AirB&B.  When he started working on it, he opened these doors to find the building completely flooded and full of mud and debris.  It was a huge project to restore it. 

This is the walkway from the entrance area to the 3 floors that make up the launch control center.

This floor is one of the Air B&B bedrooms that was formerly the crew’s headquarters.

The we climbed up the spiral staircase to the floor that used to be the work space, the control center.  It is now a very hip bedroom and bathroom for the AirB&B guests.

We climbed back down to the lowest floor which had been used for cables and storage.  It is now a kitchen and hi-tech meeting room center.  We watched a You Tube video about the site’s restoration.  Check it out on the channel called Death in Bunny Slippers. 

It was a unique experience, thanks to Harvest Hosts!  We hit the road, driving through the scenic foothills of the Ozark Mountains.  We passed through this tiny town with an old-style grocery store…

You just don’t see these much any more.  Sadly, they have been replaced with Dollar General stores all over the country.  😦    The town also had a Baptist Church, of course, with this cute sign.   It took me a minute to get it.

Today’s Harvest Host had sent me specific driving directions.  She said that if we came the other way, it would be “alarming” for a trailer – so we wanted to avoid that!  But, what did we do?  We missed the farm entrance road and went to the “alarming” section of the road!!!!!

We hadn’t gone far when we saw a bunch of huge, fat pigs that belong to tonight’s farm.  I got out to take a photo.

George drove a ways to the top of the next hill so an approaching car would see us.  As I got ready to walk back to the truck, I turned around and saw that two pigs had gotten out.  They were on the road and one started chasing me!!!!! 

We found a farm road entrance and George made a very very complicated and scary T-turnaround.  At one point, Joy was tilting precariously.  My heart was really beating!!!

But, we made it, due to his skills, back to the farm.

We told the hosts about the loose pigs and then got settled in.  We are right next to a field of very healthy-looking cows that are munching on fresh grass. This is the view from our front door…..

This farm is well-known for their grass-fed, dry-aged beef and pork from their forested hogs.  We bought a LOT of beef and pork from their store.  Unfortunately, we are not here for one of their weekend breakfasts or lunches. 

We took a walk around the farm and admired views of Joy.

The owners left for the day about 4:00 and told us to make ourselves at home.  We had the place to ourselves, along with their dogs who patrol the farm.

Being Cinco de Mayo, we got comfy on the barn’s patio overlooking the hills and ponds and shared margaritas and chips.  Paradise!

DINNER:  We started with caprese salad with a few minor twists.  Instead of mozarella, I used some goat cheese we had bought at the Harvest Host farm a few nights ago.  Instead of fresh basil, I used some of my home-made pesto.  It turned out well, and was a good use of the tomatoes that needed to be eaten. 

The main course was a nice, no-meat dish – kale and garbanzo bean soup.  It was super easy and seemed to be healthy!  Ingredients were:  olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, fennel seeds, tomato puree, kale, chickpeas, red pepper flakes, and water or vegetable broth.  Served with lemon slices and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. 

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