And so the journey continues. From Alley Spring, we headed south towards home, passing through the Mark Twain National Forest. We had a few stops planned, taking us a by a few other springs before we traveled back into Arkansas. The first was Falling Spring Mill, located a few miles down a dirt road.
This place was awesome. The spring here actually flows out of a bluff, creating a waterfall right next to the old mill. It helped that the fall colors were at their peak there:
The mill was built between 1927 and 1929, although it isn't used anymore. Here is a shot of the falls pouring out from behind the mill.
From there we drove over to Greer Spring, and started on the mile long hike to the spring. The trail switchbacked through the forest, and eventually dropped down to the creek formed by the spring.
Greer Spring is the second largest spring in the Ozarks, and in Missouri. 222 million gallons of water bubble up from the spring, and then flow into the nearby Eleven Point National Scenic River.
From there we headed on home, and soon crossed over the border into Arkansas. We drove by Mammoth Spring, which is the 3rd largest spring in the Ozarks. We didn't stop, but we could see it from the road. So with Mammoth Springs, we actually ended up hitting 7 of the 15 largest springs in the Ozarks that weekend.
We drove further south, through Batesville and towards Searcy. Just about a minue after Zack commented that we were making good time on our drive home, I got a flat tire. After driving down miles of dirt roads that weekend, the tire finally had enough. We pulled over in someone's driveway, and put on the do-nut spare. We were still a good distance from home, so I decided to drive to the only place around that would be open on a Sunday that could put on a new tire - Wal-mart.
So we slowly wobbled into the Searcy Wal-Mart, only for the associates there to rudely inform us that it would be a three and a half hour wait. I thought that Zack probably had better things to do with his day than sit around for hours while I got a tire fixed (or was probably tired of being around me), so we decided to just go ahead and drive back to Little Rock.
Which would take awhile, since you can't go over 50 mph on a spare.
So we mapped out a long and back-roads route towards Little Rock, which took about an hour longer than it normally would to get home. Eventually, I was able to get Zack home, and then I drove towards my apartment. I thought it would be best to get a shower before dealing with the tire people again (considering it had been a few days since I last showered). And at the tire place by my apartment, it only took an hour for them to put on the new tire.
It was a pain, but much better than one of my previous flat tire adventures. Last year a tire blew out on I-430 during rush hour traffic, and I had to change the tire when it was 110 degrees outside. This was a walk in the park by comparison...