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Thrills, fixed spills 

Machines humming, at the car wash.

FUN: And cleanliness.
  • FUN: And cleanliness.

I don't go to Splash Car Wash to get my car clean. I go for the thrills.

Imagine: You're riding slowly in a car not under your own control. Suddenly, huge pink blobs hit your windshield. Then you're submerged in water and a giant Pacific squid begins to slowly eat the car. There's not a thing you can do about it. More water, another slow moving squid with fat blue arms. Then, you emerge, blinking into the sun, and a man outside your car is making hand signals that mean put your car in drive and go.

That's about as much fun as you can have for $6 anywhere. Which may be why the Home of the 7 Day Clean Car was the winner of the best car wash category. The thing about Splash Car Wash that she likes, a friend who uses the North Little Rock Splash tells us, is that you can simply drive through for anywhere between $6 and $10 or you can drive through, pull over and have the car detailed by the hardest working people you will ever see. They scrub, they wipe, they vacuum with these enormous tubes that could suck the oxygen out of the air (or the dog hair off the upholstery). They blast the mud out of your hubcabs and spray something on your tires to look shiny.

They also get the giggles when they find your car is just too far gone to get clean. I exchanged headshakes with the nice woman who was trying the best she could to get whatever the black gradoo is off the front of my car, which is in its declining years.

Because I drive a van, the wash and detail was $27. My car has never, ever been cleaner. I would gladly give anyone a ride, and that is saying something.

A warning: If you are looking for a Splash sign on Rodney Parham you might never find the car wash. Look for the Jiffy Lube sign instead; Splash is in tiny blue letters on the sign underneath.

Most folks probably choose a car wash for its proximity to their work or home, and so I hit up the Best Car Wash on Markham as well. There, we went touchless — no whirling rubber scrubbers — for $8. We won't do touchless anymore — not in our car. Our car requires lots of touching. It could use surgery, in fact. The rocket blast of water — so powerful it shook the car — and the pink and blue soap looked promising, nevertheless. You might need Dramamine, however, to live through the optical illusion that you are about to drive into a huge spraying machine.

We can't say for sure that Best Car Wash — the competitor to Splash — chose its name so it would be a shoo-in for the Arkansas Times' Best of Arkansas issue. At any rate, it was a  close runner-up, along with the Razorback Car Wash in Bryant.

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