657. Bentonville, Benton County (AR75)

If I had any hopes of getting away from Christmas, this was not the place to do it.  I turned around to look at the county square.  They were not trying to merely celebrate Christmas …  

… they were trying to win Christmas.  For those of you who might not be aware, Bentonville is an exceptionally wealthy town.  It is the ancestral home of the House of Walton, making it the corporate headquarters of the largest retailer on Earth, the place we affectionately refer to as Wally World.  So yes, their Parks Department has access to money for lights. 

When it comes to caches, though, some things never change.  A simple electrical plate a couple of blocks away was just what I needed.  Unfortunately, it didn’t get logged until 12:05 a.m. or thereabouts, but that didn’t really matter.  What mattered was that in the previous twenty-four hours, I had accomplished one of my goals, breaking my record for most counties in a day by hitting twenty-one (twenty in Arkansas, one in Missouri).  It also didn’t hurt that I had picked up a challenge somewhere to find twenty-one counties in a day, so an extra challenge completed wasn’t bad either.  I often think how much easier it would be to get counties if I didn’t have to go to the center of each one to photograph the courthouse.  But that’s not important.  What was truly important though, was that, with this cache here in Bentonville, I had gotten my final county.  Yes, I was finally done with Arkansas.  All that remained was to sign the Arkansas County Challenge.  Except…

Remember back in Searcy when I said I’d tell you about a side mission later? Well, “later” is now. To get the final location of the Arkansas County Challenge, you’re supposed to submit a list of all the appropriate caches you’ve gotten in the state to the CO, and, assuming it checks out, be provided with the location. However, as an old friend of mine has sometimes said, “a hero has friends.” Two of my favorite caching buddies finished the state a while back and kindly provided me with the coordinates of the final. Once I spent the night in Searcy, I waited for the dawn to go to a local park and grab this. Ladies and gentlemen (or however you identify—I don’t mean to be gender assumptive), I give you the Arkansas County Challenge. Therefore, when I was in Bentonville, I was all ready, prepared to claim the final prize. But, as per tradition, that would have to wait for a little bit. I went, somewhat ironically, to a Wally World parking lot and got a few hours of well-earned sleep. Once I awoke, I grabbed some breakfast and headed out of the state. From this day forth, I will most likely only see Arkansas at high speed from a moving vehicle, but who knows what the future will hold? It does feel a little bit wrong because there is one thing I neglected to do while I was back in Arkansas: return to photograph the courthouse in Dardanelle. I had a chance when I was on the trip to the Searcy area, but I missed it. I’ve since seen pictures of it, and it’s more the courthouse I would have wanted. Though I’m not contractually obligated to go back, even by my own overblown sense of completeness, it’s still on my mind. Perhaps on one of these high-speed visits, this wrong might be righted. Once again, who knows what the future will hold? Well, actually, at this particular moment, I would. The future would soon hold a stop in…

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