Just a quick note, if there is anyone who reads this blog who is going on the Cornell Ivory Bill search and has questions about living conditions and supplies to bring, please feel free to email me privately with questions.
Many in the fair town of Brinkley have embraced the idea of having the rarest woodpecker in North America nearby. If you go on a trip down to look for the oh-so-elusive woodpecker, you can certainly bask in the its glory by eating, sleeping and buying the Ivory -bill. I did not stay at the Ivory Billed Inn and RV Park (1-800-800-8000) but it looks like a lovely hotel on the outside. I was thinking it would be fun if they did it like a theme hotel and the rooms were all woodpecker cavities with sawdust floors and beetle larvae shaped pillows. But again, that may just be me who would find that fun. There is a Mexican restaurant attached to the Inn which as wonderful festive decor and wonderful food--even some vegetarian selections too. When you visit the restaurant, make sure to visit the restrooms, they will knock your socks off...in an artistic decorating sense, not in the usual gross sense.
One of the must dos of visiting Brinkley is dining at Gene's Barbecue and Restaurant and eating the famed Ivory-billed Burger: two beef patties with lettuce, tomato, pepper jack bacon, mozzarella cheese and mayonnaise (pictured, right). I have to admit, it was a mighty tasty burger. You can also order the Ivory-bill Salad which consists of lettuce, tomato, sunflower seeds (a nice touch considering the bird theme), mozzarella and chicken (because that's what ivory-bills essentially taste like). And if you want to round out a complete ivory-bill dinner you can top it off with the official Ivory-bill Brownie! If an Ivory-billed full course meal is not your cup of tea, the barbecue is very good--just the way I like it, on the tangy side. Gene's also serves breakfast but surprisingly did not have an Ivory-billed omelet.
The marketing of the bird didn't end there, the restaurant also sells their own ivory-billed t-shirts (left). The back of the shirt reads "Don't Worry Be Happy" which I wonder is meant to be a message to hunters who might be understandably concerned about the woodpecker discovery and whether or not they will have future access to traditional hunting grounds. When our group walked into the restaurant I think we stood out in our LL Bean and Land's End clothing. Perhaps they were thinking, "Who are these nutty people going in to look for one bird?"
If you want to blend in with the locals, I recommend buying some camo, everyone wears it. I found a very nice warm fleece camo jacket at the local Walmart. Overall, the townsfolk our very nice and friendly. I just learned today that I will probably be going back to Arkansas for the Call of the Wild Ivory-billed Woodpecker Celebration in February and look forward to visiting Brinkley again.