No Bald Eagles

The opportunity to see The Eagles fell into our laps the other day. Veronica, a huge fan who had never seen them live, was chomping at the bit. I, however, was skeptical. Having seen The Eagles in their heyday, during the 1976 Hotel California tour, I didn’t want to spoil that memory.

Sure, the stranger on the ferry… CONTINUE READING >>


The opportunity to see The Eagles fell into our laps the other day. Veronica, a huge fan who had never seen them live, was chomping at the bit.

I, however, was skeptical. Having seen The Eagles in their heyday, during the 1976 Hotel California tour, I didn’t want to spoil that memory.

Sure, the stranger on the ferry boat who just saw them the previous night
said they were still great, but… he was just a stranger on a ferry across the Mississippi. I also have several musically knowledgeable friends who have seen the band recently and fully agree with ferry boat guy, so I allowed myself to start a bit of bit chomping as we drove closer to the arena.

Once inside, the first thing that struck me was the crowd. This wasn’t a ‘70’s rock concert crowd. Oh wait, yes it was — just 30 years older. Middle aged and middle class, I guess we all grew up and now we can afford the hundred dollar tickets. If I remember right, it was around fifteen bucks back when I saw them the first time.

The band took the stage, all in suits and ties, ala Buddy Holly.
What happened to the torn up blue jeans and tee shirts? Well, at least Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit still have long hair, even if Walsh looks a bit like what if Nixon had long gray hair. Overall, they still look cool, just different cool, and at least there aren’t any bald Eagles.

About halfway through the first song I started using my ears instead of my eyes and realized “Man, these guys still sing great!” They are fully aware of the changes the years have brought and embrace them. They humorously acknowledged the passing time right off the bat, with Glenn Frey introducing themselves as “The ancient ones, the band that wouldn’t die” on “The Assisted Living Tour.” This is not a nostalgia tour, it’s rock and roll grown-up style.

This is a very different Eagles than the ones I grew up with. A four piece horn section and two extra keyboard players, Will Hollis and Michael Thompson, makes this more like a review than a country rock group. They also have another drummer, Scott Crago, allowing Don Henley to step in front of the kit for a good part of the show, although he spends a good bit of time on both percussion and drums.

Nobody plays the straight country rock beat any better than Henley, and he does it while singing. The group is rounded out with guitarist Steuart Smith playing Don Felder and Bernie Leadon’s old parts impeccably. He is pretty much a real member of the band these days, writing and co-produced on The Long Road Out of Eden album.

The mix of the old stuff with the new, plus tunes from their solo careers, is very smooth and presented with impeccable performances and sound production. The staging was cool, not overbearing, and did not distract from the music.

The guys may be older but they sure aren’t worn out. The show goes over three hours, with a short intermission. It was during this intermission that Veronica overhead perhaps the best line of the night. An appalled security guard remarked as she removed women from the men’s room that she expected that kind of behavior from last week’s Nickelback crowd but not from Eagles fans! Who knew? There were two women in the men’’s room when I went too. Rock-n-Roll.

After the break it occurred to me, why should it seem strange or out of place for Rock acts to keep touring into their golden years? No one thinks it the least bit odd when Blues, Jazz or Classical acts keep performing well into their 70’s or 80’s. I think it just goes to show you that Rock & Roll has now become an enduring art form and truly will live forever.

David & Veronica,
GypsyNester.com

The Healing Waters of Eureka Springs

 If you’re driving along route 62 through Northwest Arkansas and don’t venture off the main highway, you will only catch half of Eureka Springs. Depending on one’s bent, it’s the best half or the worst half.

Along the highway, the businesses seem to cater mostly to Christians and bikers, but they share the space in peace and harmony. Many establishments sport slogans like “Family Owned” or “Bikers Welcome” to entice their chosen… CONTINUE READING >>

Unique building in Eureka Springs, ArkansasIf you’re driving along route 62 through Northwest Arkansas and don’t venture off the main highway, you will only catch half of Eureka Springs. Depending on one’s bent, it’s the best half or the worst half. 

Along the highway, the businesses seem to cater mostly to Christians and bikers, but they share the space in peace and harmony.

Many establishments sport slogans like “Family Owned” or “Bikers Welcome” to entice their chosen clientele.

Touristy as this area is, there is an refreshing lack of chain hotels and restaurants. For the most part, Christian lodge-type motels such as “Joy Motel” and “The Land-O-Nod” line the road alongside biker bars with designations like “The Iron Horse” and “Rider’s Rest,” coexisting side by side, just as God intended.
Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The entertainmentchoices look painful and cheesy — the Ozark Mountain Hoedown and the Pine Mountain Jamboree among the fare. But lo, we did not attend, so we shall abstain from being judgmental.

It’s easy to see why the bikers love the crooked and steep byways of the Ozark hill country, but the Christians come for the vision of renown racist Gerald L.K. Smith and his Christ of the Ozarks. This very large, garish monument to our Lord and Savior has spawned its own little hamlet of Christian attractions.

The Round Rock worth over 1000 dollars in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

These are, but not limited to, the Great Passion Play, the New Holy Land Tours, Biblical Bathrooms (with coke machine), the Museum of Earth History (with its creationist approach), the DinoStore (wait, what?), Our Daily Bread Deli, the Sacred Arts Center, Gerald L.K. Smith‘s grave (at the foot of the tacky 67’ Jesus statue, of course) and, our personal favorite, the round rock worth over 1000 dollars.

If you choose to explore off the highway, down the main street of the old town things take a dramatic turn for the different. Lovely Victorian Era homes and turn of the century storefronts line the narrow lanes.

Along the way we lingered at the various mineral springs that gave the town it‘s name, each boasting its own healing power. The Basin Spring alone claims to have healed “90% of the cures in Eureka Springs.”

The pinnacle of the town is the Crescent Hotel, billed as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” Granted, this is a pretty spooky place, but we had spent the prior night on their website scaring ourselves silly with the stories conjured up by prior guests.

Perhaps the tragic accident during its construction was enough to curse the premises, but when the hotel took a stint as the Baker Cancer Cure Center with Norman Baker at the helm, its fate was sealed.Baker was a former vaudevillian with a magic elixir, no medical degree and a fondness for experimental surgery.
We could only assume that many of the apparitions are the haints of unlucky patients that suffered under his “treatments.” We took a look around, got creeped out and decided not to stay.
We like our sleep.The Palace Hotel in Eureka Springs, ArkansasThe not-haunted Palace Hotel and Bath House seemed more up our alley. The rooms are grand and opulent, but more importantly the bath house harkens back to when Eureka Springs was called “America’s Medicine Teepee.“
During the Victorian Era, the Palace was widely acclaimed as the best equipped bath house in the state. We elected to “take in the waters.”
The Palace’s mineral baths employ the original claw-foot tubs in painted wooden booths on the same spot that they have been for over one hundred years. The warm waters seeped in to our pores to cure what ailed us.Original claw foot tub at the Palace Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eucalyptus steam barrel at the Palace Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
After a relaxing soak, it was on to the eucalyptus steam in wooden barrels. The kind where your head sticks out the top like in the old movies. Sweatboxes.
 Veronica found it a bit off-putting at first, but relaxed once she figured out she could release herself anytime she wanted to. Once the initial freak-out subsided, she begged to be left in as long as legally permitted.
 The toxins not soaked out by the baths were left in puddles at our feet. The opulent pampering was completed with clay masks and luxurious Swedish massages. Oiled up and unbelievably relaxed, we slithered further on down the hill.
 We stopped in at the Eureka Daily Roast on Spring Street, run by Jim and Janet Fyhrie. The Daily Roast was a great place to hang out and watch the shenanigans that flitted by the large windows facing the main road. They make a mean frothy latte and the company was superb.
 The locals popped in and out for a bit of gossip and shared the latest happenings for our eavesdropping pleasure.Some more strolling up and down the steep streets and we were ready for dinner.
We chose the romantic Devito’s, home of “National Award Winning Trout Dishes,” in the heart of town. This beautiful eatery has a garden terrace that literally hangs off the side of the mountain.
 Not the place for the acrophobic. Our waiter, one of the many “gray ponytails” that live in Eureka Springs, was wonderfully attentive and (yes, we’re going there!) groovy.Besides the Christian, biker and gray ponytail contingencies, Eureka Springs has recently become known as “gay friendly.”
 Ironically, we learned this from publicity for a video released by the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi ominously titled “They’re Coming to Your Town.” “
 They” meaning “the gays.” From what we’ve read, the DVD is basically a how-to on assuring that “your town” isn’t taken over by homosexuals who are apparently hell-bent on coercing you to divorce your wife and forcing you to gay marry.
 One would think that mayhem would prevail in the streets of Eureka Springs, but instead the people choose to get along just fine. It seemed that the campaign to keep the town from becoming “The San Francisco of Arkansas” had backfired a bit.
 Could it be that controversy was lurking beneath all of this peace and harmony? We decided to take in some nightlife to see if melee may lay under the surface.
 We spent some time at a biker bar, a rock & roll club, a karaoke lounge and checked out some great traditional hillbilly music at the New Delhi Deli. Each place was a inspiring mixed bag of humanity.
 Christians ventured down from the highway, gray ponytails smiled warmly and flashed peace signs, bikers shared a beer with a lesbian or two. Lions laying with the lambs.
 Dogs and cats living together…Maybe the healing waters conquer all.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Video – Ozark Man Rocks the Spoons!


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Spoons are a musical instrument and this guy ROCKS ’em! To find out more about the Music of the Ozarks, click here!: http://www.gypsynester.com/oz.htm

Spoons are a musical instrument and this guy ROCKS ’em! To find out more about the Music of the Ozarks, click here!: http://www.gypsynester.com/oz.htm

Visit our GypsyNester YouTube Channel!

Dale Ertel, Reptile Wrangler

 Winding through the “crooked and steep” roads of the Ozarks near Berryville, Arkansas, it would have been easy to miss the intriguing and very colorful hand painted sign on the side of the road, but Veronica caught a glimpse of it. “Did that sign say Snake World?”

Lucky for us, Dale Ertel was standing in the front yard of the dilapidated dwelling that houses the exhibition. Dale and his family originally cohabitated… CONTINUE READING >>

Winding
through the “crooked and steep” roads of the Ozarks
near Berryville, Arkansas, it would have been easy to miss
the intriguing and very colorful hand painted sign on the
side of the road, but Veronica caught a glimpse of it. “Did
that sign say Snake World?” We hit the brakes and
HAD to turn around.
Lucky
for us, Dale Ertel was standing in the front yard of the dilapidated
dwelling that houses the exhibition. Dale
and his family originally cohabitated with the snakes and he bragged that
his fifteen year old son used to sleep with two cobras on
his headboard. But as the menagerie expanded, new human living
quarters

had to be rolled in. He now shares the lot in an adjacent
trailer home.

Mr. Ertel
was more than happy to show us his impressive display…for
a price. We slipped him a dozen dollars and the two of us advanced
tentatively into the viper’s den.

The
interior looked just as we expected, considering the upkeep
of the outside of the premises — not a place for the queasy
or the faint of heart. Tidy was not a word that leapt to mind
and the smell was front and center, even on a chilly spring
day. The glass on the displays were too filthy for Snake World
to be considered museum quality and crap was just strewn everywhere.
Little homespun touches like snake skin buntings and a stuffed
turkey adorned the walls.

In
its favor, the exhibits are intriguing and Dale is so enthusiastic
in his presentation that it was hard not to be taken in. He
sped from one exhibit to the next with a very informative,
yet downhome spiel about each reptile. We had to wonder how
much of it was fact and how much mere folklore.
“Here’s
a 15 foot python that weighs 130 pounds, they get big enough
to eat a donkey, here, look at this picture, this is a local
pygmy rattler, just 15 inches, now he’ll put you in the
hospital for a few days, but you won’t die.” Helpful
hill country rhymes like “Red touch yellow – Kill a fellow
– Red touch black – Venom lack” to distinguish the venomous
coral snake from the bite-friendly milk snake are included
at no extra charge.

Dale’s
female African Rock Python was about to lay her turkey egg-sized
eggs, so he explained to us how he used a chicken

incubator to
process them. He then “sells them for dirt cheap,” telling
the buyers “don’t feed them too much or you’ll
have a too big snake on your hands.”

In addition
to snakes from all over the world, the presentation includes
monitor lizards, snake neck turtles, iguanas and hissing
roaches that he breeds as children’s pets.

Many
of his specimens are local indigenous wildlife he has rescued.
When neighboring
folks are confronted with a cantankerous asp, they call Dale for
snake removal from motels, homes and restaurants (Who

you gonna
call? Snake Busters!). When asked where he gets his non Arkansas
snakes he informed us that he “horse trades with reptile
people all over the states.”

Dale
Ertel is just a good ole boy just doin’ what he loves
to do best. Everyone should be so lucky.

David &
Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Tiny Town in Hot Springs Arkansas!


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Crafted entirely out of “things cast off”, Frank Moshinskie’s ode to small town America is truly remarkable. Tiny Town is living proof that one man’s trash is most certainly… CONTINUE READING >>

Crafted entirely out of “things cast off”, Frank Moshinskie’s ode to small town America is truly remarkable. Tiny Town is living proof that one man’s trash is most certainly another man’s treasure. Mr. Moshinskie’s life’s work transports visitors to another place and time, a time when the county fair made an impression on a young boy, a family picnic was a special event and just sitting on a porch – watching the world go by – was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. See more at: http://www.gypsynester.com/hs.htm

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