Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I grew up on Beaver Lane. True story.

So Leo and I are both lake people...he of the Great variety, and I of the smallish mountain variety. We both grew up going to lakes pretty frequently, is the point, and so our goal is to someday have a vacation home on one somewhere.

My neighbor that I carpool with goes to some lake with his family on a regular basis for vacations. Last week, we were talking about it as we drove home from work, because they were going out of town for the holiday weekend. (We might have put up a KU flag on their house while they were gone, and then sent them a picture of it to reassure them that their house was doing well while they were gone for the holiday. They're K-Staters. He feels the house is tainted now. Hehehehe!!!) He was telling me about this really pretty lake down in Arkansas called Beaver Lake, and I thought it'd be fun to check it out sometime.

This week, since my boss is out on vacation, I have a little extra time on my hands, so I was looking at Beaver Lake on Google Maps yesterday to fill up some time. And DAMN.

That is one fucked up looking lake!

On the sidebar for my Google Map search for the lake, a little link popped up for the Beaver Lakefront Cabins and Suites. Handy! So I clicked and learned about the little "resort", and figured it might be a fun one to try staying at sometime this summer, so I went to look at a map and directions for the place. What follows is their directions from the Kansas City area, word for word. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried, I swear! (I added my own notes in the brackets, as you might notice as you read through these ridiculous directions. And seriously, keep reading them, because they get better and better as they get closer to their destination!)

1. From Kansas City, take US 71 South to I-44. Do not get on I-44! [Well then why did they even mention it? Jeezy!]

2. From I-44 CONTINUE south under I-44 without exiting onto US 59 South 12.3 miles to US 60 East. [Ok, this is just confusing. Shouldn't Steps 1 and 2 just be combined to say, "From KC, take US 71 South to US 59 South, and continue on for 12.3 miles to US 60 East"? FFS...]

3. Turn Left on US 60 East and continue east 21.9 miles to MO 37 South which is in the town of Monett. [Good to know. Having a landmark city to go by helps after following the oddly-worded Step 1 and Step 2.]

4. Turn Right onto MO 37 South and continue south 33.4 miles to US 62 East which is in the town of Gateway, Arkansas. [This is a surprisingly succinct step, too. I may have been a little harsh on the writer of the directions in my commentary on the first 3 steps. Sorry about that.]

a. After 17.4 miles, you will come to the first of two stop lights in the town of Cassville. There is a Wal-Mart Supercenter on your right. The is the best place to buy groceries prior to arrival. This Wal-Mart also sells liquor. [Fabulous! I like things like food and liquor, particularly when I'm headed to heavily wooded, sparsely populated areas that I'm unfamiliar with. Yay! I am now feeling like a hug for the writer of the directions is in order once I reach the hotel.]

b. Another 15 miles past the Cassville Wal-Mart Supercenter just after passing though the town of Seligman, you will see Ruby's Liquors on the left. This is the best place to buy liquor or gas prior to arrival usually beating Wal-Mart for both selection and price. [Well, shit! Why didn't they mention this in Step 4, substep a??? Now I already loaded up on expensive Wal-Mart liquor, and I didn't even get to choose from a decent selection there! GAH!]

5. Turn Left onto US 62 East for and continue east 8.7 miles to State Road 187 West. [Oh, for pity's sake...this is being put up on a professional website, people. PROOFREAD, DAMMIT.]

a. About one mile before your next RIGHT turn onto AR 187 West, you will see a sign and a left turn for AR 187 East. Do Not Turn Left onto 187 East, go another mile and you will see the RIGHT turn onto 187 West. [Wait...what?]

b. There is a large brown government sign that says 'Beaver Dam 2 ½ miles' where you turn right. [Oh, thank GOD. Because if I had to use the direction in Step 5, substep a to go by on this, I'm pretty sure I'd be on my way to getting lost in the woods, and be ready to pull out my over-priced Wal-Mart liquor to keep my spirits up...]

6. Turn Right onto AR 187 West and continue for 5.5 miles to Carroll County 120. [Ok, ok! I got it, already! Turning right onto mutherfucking AR 187 West, now. Geez...]

a. You will go over the dam and past the fire department on the left. [Shit...I wish I'd known about this back when I got frustrated with step 5, substep a. Now I'm on the lookout for a police station, too, because heell-loooo! Open liquor in the car is a no-no pretty much everywhere, right? Am I still in Missouri? Maybe it's ok in Arkansas? Hrm...]

b. After the fire department, you will see C & J Sports on your left. You can purchase beer and normal convenience store food here or sign up for scuba diving lessons. [Fuck. Yeah! I was worried I'd have to go back to Step 4, substep b to pick up more beer, and then I'd have to deal with Step 5, substep a all over again, and I have to admit, I really don't want to deal with that section of the directions again at all, if I can avoid it. And I'm sorry, but scuba diving in a lake? WTF is the point? Oh, hai murky water and're so interesting to swim through with heavy scuba gear on...???]

c. You will also go PAST the road with all the signs pointing right for the other resorts. We are Beaver Lakefront Cabins and are occasionally mistaken for Beaver Lake Cottages. [Great. I had to go and choose the hotel where a dead body would most likely go undiscovered for several days. Awesome.]

7. Turn Right onto Carroll County Road 120, also signed Oak Ridge Lane, also having our sign on the right for Beaver Lakefront Cabins, also being directly across from the Beaver Lake Fellowship Church. [Good Lord! Am I EVER going to ARRIVE at this mutherfucking hotel???]

8. Once on Carroll County 120 / Oak Ridge Lane, you will see signs with a sunset on them with arrows underneath. Follow the sunset 1.25 miles to our door where you will see a large parking lot, the main lodge, and the office off to the right. Please park in front of the office and check-in. ["Follow the sunset"? Really? Was this a result of an arts and crafts project at the Okie-Dokelie Middle School that cousin Barby Sue went to before dropping out and becoming a stipper in Rogers when she was 14?]

Hmmm. Maybe Beaver Lake isn't the place for us after all. :/


faithstwin said...

Good ol' Beaver Lane. Not very well groomed and a bit narrow, too.

I think my favorite part are the mentions of places to buy shit. I mean, yes the directions are confusing. However, they are rather helpful and there ARE those types who will see a sign with the route # on it and no matter what direction it says they will take that turn even if it means they are heading to hell instead of heaven simply because it was the first sign that popped up with the route # they read on their directions.

Beaver Lakefront Cabins said...

Well, no good deed goes unpunished.

I guess I should never be a real author because my skin's too thin. As the author of these directions, I'd like to explain a few of the quirks. Steps 1 and 2 exist because US-71 merges with I-44 and goes west to Joplin. The road a guest really wants goes straight under the I-44 overpass but changes its number to US-59 without any notification. I could have written US-71 to US-59 to US-60 as you suggested, but many people would have gotten onto I-44 not realizing that US-71 just changed its number to US-59 as it passes under I-44. Since this last sentence is more succinct, I'll rewrite those two steps.

Regarding all the references to booze, Carroll county is surrounded by dry counties and it's a 15 minute drive into Eureka to buy anything if you arrive without provisions. I included all of this information to reduce the frustration of guests checking in then having to get back in their car and drive for their booze/food because they didn't pick it up when they could. As for Ruby's having a better selection than Walmart, that's changed with new ownership and I'll be deleting any reference to Ruby's. I put both in because some guests will need both food and booze (Ruby's does not carry food), and that would require two stops depending on how cost/selection-conscious they were. I assumed that people would read all the sub-paragraphs of each instruction and wouldn't feel mousetrapped by the mention of both Walmart and Ruby's.

As for "Don't turn right" on AR 187, the earlier post is correct: A surprising number of people do turn right no matter what I put in the instructions. That leads them on a very long, inconvenient dead end and results in many calls to the front desk about being lost near a suspension bridge.

Then there is the problem of people driving at night. The lake was made by damming the White River as it winds through a bunch of mountains, hence the strange shape. But, then again, you are driving in mountains and that makes some people nauseous. Combine a worst case scenario of a winding, unfamiliar road, nausea, and diving after dark, and many quests appreciate the visual clues like the dam and fire department. And more often than you would think, people forget where they booked. To me, there's a big difference between Beaver Lakefront Cabins and Beaver Lake Cottages, but to someone tired, scared and confused there isn't, and they frequently take the wrong turn towards just before they get to us hoping against fate that somehow their romantic, secluded cabin with crystal clear water allowing for 20' visibility will somehow be nestled in the middle of a large group of other resorts.

Finally, the follow the sunset idea resulted from the need to put reflective signs with arrows along the dirt road to the resort. All of our neighbors will have to look at those signs for as long as we're in business, and we felt that the least amount wording and consumerism the better. The smaller road signs match the logo on the main sign where a guest turns without shouting our name out 14 more times all the way to the front door. It was meant to be classy and considerate, but maybe we failed.

Faith said...

Awesome! :D Glad I could help with any updating the directions were needing, author person.

It's also good to know that Eureka Springs is just 15 minutes away. I've been there before, so it gives me a good frame of reference.

This was all written in jest, so thin skin or not, I hope you can see the inherent humor involved in the way the directions were written! I enjoyed them a lot, really. ;)

Erin said...

Been there - it was awesome. But we were in a dry county.

Faith said...

Ugh to the dry counties!!! It's definitely good to know about that kind of stuff before heading on vacation at a lake in the general KC vicinity, I suppose, huh? I never would've thought to check it before, so this is all very helpful info!

Beaver Lakefront Cabins said...

FYI, I've updated the instructions to by more streamlined. If yo have time, please let me know what you think. Unfortunately the State of Arkansas has decided that it's highways exist in non-Euclidean space. (Two parallel lines intersect in non-Euclidean geometry.)

Hwy 187 is a loop and reconnects to US 62. Before the change, one intersection was labelled East and the other West. Now they're both labelled South, which is the direction a driver starts their journey in from either intersection. But of course, it's a loop so either driver will soon be driving north.

I love it. It's the only road I know of where two cars not initially located in the same location can both drive south at the same rate of speed in the middle of the road and expect to have a collision.

Opinion fades to a bass strumming the Arkansas Traveler in the background . . . .