Saturday, December 05, 2009


I think I had way more fun than any adult should be allowed to at the space and rocket center. I even bought myself a "rocket scientist" T-shirt. I was squealing and grinning the whole time, thoroughly amusing my husband.

The shuttle (which is actually not my favorite part of NASA) was over in the Space Camp area so we couldn't get in. I snapped this shot from the parking lot--this mock-up is called Pathfinder.

It was just so much fun, despite the gray cloudy skies and low temperatures. But it's only gotten colder the further we've come West. After Alabama (and hey, we actually went through Georgia for about 10 minutes before getting into 'Bama and we picked up a magnet there) we went through Mississippi briefly, and I've got to say, there wasn't much to see along the way. Could've been the clouds, but I'm not sure.

But then we made it back into Tennessee to pick up I-40 in Memphis, where we stopped for dinner. It was dark when we actually crossed the Mississippi, so no pictures, but we did pick up a few nice postcards to see and remember what it might have looked like. I love this picture that Umer took at the restaurant in Memphis, experimenting with the "close-up" feature on the camera. Meanwhile, I was showing him where we are on the map--we were planning a long drive, even after dinner.

We stayed overnight in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and on Friday we drove the rest of the way across Arkansas. We stopped in Fort Smith for Jumu'ah, as Friday is the day of Jumu'ah (i.e., the day of congregational prayers.) While it's not obligatory on the traveler to pray Jumu'ah, we thought that since we could, it would be a nice thing to do. And it was. We found this mosque on in a town along our route (I-40.) Fort Smith

There were only about 20 brothers, my husband says, and only 4 sisters, but it was nice. They did not have an imam so a brother from the community was giving the khutbah. MaashaaAllaah. We give this masjid a 10/10. It was small but it definitely had suitable accommodations. While the women were praying in a separate room (which is never my preference) there was a great sound system and a high quality television set so the sisters could see the khateeb as well. Plus there were chairs and pillows available for sitting on the floor, and a clean spacious bathroom for wudhu. When making announcements they mentioned their attempts to find an imam and also to expand the masjid (as for Eid and Taraweeh prayers it was becoming too full.) May Allah help them and increase them and bless their community.

After jumu'ah we asked about a halal restaurant in town, and there was one, called the Silk Road Grill. My husband, watching me write this, says he just felt a need to drink water, just remembering this place! This is the first desi-style restaurant I've eaten at outside of the Raleigh area, and really I felt spoiled by Olive Green.

This chicken tikka masala that my husband ordered was so spicy (the highest spice level on their menu) that even though it was four stars on the menu, he says it's like 20 stars. I asked if it was too spicy for him, and he responded that it's too spicy for humans. And I tried it. So... I agree with him on that. But the dish I ordered, chicken qorma, was pretty yummy. Oh, we also had some hummus there and tandoori bread--which I'm told was very close to the taste it has in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

After lunch, we went on towards Oklahoma. The scenery there wasn't very exciting, but the sunset alone made everything look just stunning. We had dinner in Oklahoma City (a shockingly Christian town, I think--as there were crosses on the downtown highrises) and kept going a little further to Clinton, OK, where we spent the night at a Days Inn. So far it's the cheapest of the hotels we've stayed at, has the nicest TV and a microwave!

Tomorrow or the next day we'll need to do laundry, either at a hotel or laundromat. But by tomorrow night we should be in Sedona inshaaAllaah! Yay!


Anonymous said...
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mezba said...

Nice recounting of a road trip .. and don't you love finding the odd masjid on the way!

Weather (barring rain) seems to be favouring you. Last time this year it was cold when we went!