Out And About In Arkansas

During our stay in Hot Springs, Arkansas we needed service work done on the RV several times. This meant leaving the trailer at the repair shop. Since we had to find temporary housing it was a great opportunity for some short “vacations”.

Our first trip was to Fort Smith, AR on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. We visited the Fort Smith National Historic site. Originally built as an Army fort on the far western frontier to protect settlers from Indian attacks and outlaws in 1817, it later became a federal courthouse and prison until it closed in 1896. There are exhibits on the U.S. Marshals, outlaws,  Judge Parker and the Trail of Tears. We’d hoped to return to participate in one of the trial re-enactments they hold there but didn’t make it. Fort Smith has one of the most unique Visitor Centers we’ve seen. It is in a former brothel. We thought we’d just stop in for a moment and look around. This is a slow time of year and the docent asked if we’d like a tour. So for the next 45 minutes we were entertained by the story of  “Miss Laura”, her girls and their gentlemen callers as well as the details of the house and how it became the Visitor Center.  Last on our list of places to visit was the home and museum of General William O. Darby who formed the special WWII unit eventually called the Army Rangers. This is privately run and hours very. When we were there the docent was one of the founders. Sensing an interested audience talked for almost two hours and displayed items in their collection not normally on display. We had to graciously depart or we would have been there a lot longer. We can’t find our pictures so these are from the internet.

Fort Smith NHS

“Miss Laura’s” As The Fort Smith VCB

Renovated To Its Former Style

“Gentleman” Waiting At Miss Laura’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Wm. O. Darby

Boyhood Home Of General Darby

The second trip took us to the north central part of the state near Harrison and the Buffalo River National Scenic Riverway. We rented a dog friendly cabin through VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) at the same price as a motel room. We visited the Buffalo River National River, a NPS site although it was too chilly for on the water activities. We did a few short hikes and enjoyed the area. We are saying “when we come back” as it would be a fabulous place to paddle. Yes there are shuttles available if you like us have only one car. We also drove to the Mountain Home area to visit one of Steve’s uncles.

Buffalo River View

Imagine Paddling Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trip number three was at the end of our stay and we headed to Petit Jean SP. This was Arkansas’ first state park. Stephen Mather, first director of the National Park Service was consulted and you can see his influence in the lodge. It looks like a smaller version of the great park lodges of the west. The CCC did a lot of work here in the 1930s from building cabins (like the one we used), to a stone water tower, to furniture still in use at the lodge today.  For those who can do a strenuous hike there is a beautiful waterfall. We plan to return some day and use the excellent campground. The story of Petit Jean, a young woman who stole aboard ship to be near her beloved but pretended to be the cabin boy.  A favorite of the crew “he” was nicknamed Petit John. Not until “he” became ill was it discover she was a female. She died and is buried at the park overlooking the Arkansas River.

A Beautiful Place To Hike

Overlooking The Arkansas River At Petit Jean SP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve and Opal At PJSP

 

Our Cabin

Exploring A Cave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some day trips took us to Mt. Magazine SP, the highest point in Arkansas. This park also has a beautiful lodge and some of the cabins come with hot tubs! We are very impressed by the state parks we have seen in Arkansas. On our way there we stopped at Hickory Nut Overlook for a great view of Lake Ouachita and Ouachita National Forest. Another trip took us to the Lum & Abner Museum. I don’t remember this radio program but a friend of mine does who was raised in Arkansas. They were local “class clowns” who entered a local station’s talent contest making up the characters of Lum and Abner from Pine Ridge on their way there. Like Andy Griffith they used their home town area and people they knew in the routine. They became regulars and later went on to be syndicated. The store they featured in the program is now the museum. It is full of L&A artifacts and implements from early years in the Ozarks.

Lum And Abner Store And Museum

Lum And Abner In Real Life And In Character

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Museum Inside

 

 

Ozark Women Wore Corn Husk Hats To Work Outside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading south we visited Hope, AR, and the NPS site, boyhood home of President Bill Clinton. Arkansas loves Bill Clinton. Hot Springs is where he graduated from High School. There is a big sign letting you know it. Apparently, another claim to fame for this small town was the world’s largest watermelon. Now although surpassed several times, the sign still brags about the event. I had to stop and take a photo of a bit of roadside humor photography at a local grocery. The name of the town is Hope for a reason as it has seen better days and is hoping for a recovery.

Bill Clinton’s Birthplace

On A Ranger Led Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Town Named Hope

They’re Proud Of That Melon

Make You Hungry?

We made several day trips to Little Rock to visit Heifer International Headquarters, The McArthur Museum, eat at Cotham’s Mercantile, tour the Arkansas Capitol and return to Central High NHS since we’d missed the ranger led tour when we were there in 2014. Steve’s Mom has been donating to Heifer International in lieu of giving Christmas gifts for the past several years. We were very impressed with both the philosophy of the organization and its totally green headquarters. For history buffs the Mc Arthur Museum is a treasure. This is where General Douglas McArthur was born. Right next door is the Arkansas Art Museum where we viewed early works by Ansel Adams. If you are going for lunch at the original Cotham’s Mercantile (there is a new one in town), do get there early. It gets busy by noon. They’re famous for the Hubcap Hamburger. Free tours of the Capitol give you an overview of state history and government. It is the only state that let’s you enter the vault and hold on to a big pile of cash. They do insist you give it back though! For anyone wanting to have an “in the moment” experience of what Civil Rights in the 1960s was all about should take the ranger led tour at Central High NHS. Since Central High is still used as a high school the tours  inside are available only when school is in session and very restricted hours. You need to call ahead and claim a spot but the tour is free.

Heifer International Museum

Heifer International Green Headquarters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mc Arthur Museum

Korean War Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas State Capitol

Stained Glass At The Capitol

Show Me The Money!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Cotham’s Mercantile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would You Eat Here?

We had a wonderful and busy three months in Arkansas and still didn’t see everything we wanted to see or do. So as we like to say… “When we come back…”

We’re Back In Utah!

RV living, state park, Utah

Our Site At East Canyon SP

Our retirement trip in 2010 focused on visiting the five national parks in Utah. We knew then that there would be other trips out here. Now we are back for a week to visit the Salt Lake area. We are staying about a half hour east of Salt Lake City at East Canyon State Park. This is a beautiful park with a full service campground at one end of the lake and a dry camp area at the other end. At this time of year during the week there are only half a dozen RVs here but on weekends it still gets full. The drive through East Canyon was fabulous. We drove through here almost every day and we never tired of the view. Compare that to the west side where the salt flats start. What a difference. Early fall color is everywhere and the higher elevations are at peak intensity.

rock formation, lava, Utah

Devil’s Slide

One of the first things we saw fit our “What else can they do with rock?” category. Just outside East Canyon was a formation known as The Devil’s Slide where rock has been lifted almost vertically and resembles a playground slide.

We joined the weekend crowd and drove through the Wasatch National Forest and along the Alpine Scenic Byway enjoying the colors.  We went through Park City then past ski resorts and along forest roads. We kept going and the road became more and more rocky. We stopped seeing cars and noticed only ATVs and mountain bikes. When we got to the main highway we’d been trying to reach a sign for traffic coming the other way read “Road may be hazardous to cars.” Now they tell us! The scenery was gorgeous and well worth a few bumps.

autumn color, aspen

Pure Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

national forest, fall color

Driving In The Wasatch National Forest

 

 

 

 

 

Just Playing

Just Playing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color Everywhere!

Color Everywhere!

 

 

 

 

When we drove through Park City we stopped at the Utah Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. We inquired about the advertised Bobsled Ride and made plans to go the following day. The sled is on styrofoam wheels during non-snow months and reaches speeds of 80mph and exposes you to up to 3G. Maybe God was watching out for us as it poured rain the next day. We couldn’t reschedule because at this time of year the ride is only offered on weekends. Perhaps we’ll come back some winter and do the real deal! We did return and take the tour. We highly recommend it.

bobsled ride, Olympics

Let’s Do It!

An unexpected extra was to watch the Women’s Olympic Acrobatic Ski Jump Team practice. Until snow falls they ski down a wet plastic coated surface and land in a pool. The surface of the water would be too hard a landing so as they soar over the pool an attendant in a booth at the end of the jump hits a switch. Air is forced upward breaking the surface tension and allowing them to land safely on a surface similar to snow. Then they swim to the side with their skis still on, remove the skis and climb out. They wear wet suits too. While we were on the tour someone remarked at how small the competitors were. Our guide said their motto is “Fat don’t fly”.

acrobatic ski jump

In Position

 

 

 

 

ski jump

Look Mom, No Hands!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Was That, Coach?

How Was That, Coach?

 

 

 

 

The guided tour takes you to the bottom of the ski jump where you can get a feeling for the spectators view. Where we were standing there were bleachers for 21,000 people during the Olympics. Then the van drives you to the top of the ski jump and you get a feeling for the athlete’s view. They can’t see the landing zone as they rush down and leap into the air. The landing zone has a red line marking the distance they need to reach for a “good” jump. If they go further they are awarded extra points. However the further they go the flatter the hill and the more dangerous the landing. Prior to the event the judges need to have a test jump done to determine the starting line and wind effect. A young jumper usually a 13-15 year old makes this jump. Our guide said with all the human interest stories done during the Olympics no one has ever interviewed these kids or their parents and he doesn’t know why.  While the view from the bottom was impressive, the view from the top just made you say “They’re nuts”. We also got to see the bobsled run we’d have sped down. No second thoughts for us. Our guide said it is the scariest minute of your life and a ride for those who enjoy peeing in their pants!

View From The Bottom

View From The Bottom

 

 

 

That's A Long Way Down!

That’s A Long Way Down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View Of Bobsled Run

View Of Bobsled Run

Following the tour we went through the museum showcasing skiing legends, ski fashion and memorabilia from the 2002 Winter Games. There was an interactive ride and film you could take that gave you a feeling for the bobsled ride, a downhill ski race and an aerial ski event. You sit on a chairlift seat and it moves in response to the film. The bobsled gives you a sense of the speed and curves but not the gravitational pull. We laughed and whooped through the whole thing. We decided we are definitely coming back! We enjoyed seeing the displays of the puppets used during the Opening ceremony, photos of Olympic medalists and and hamming it up at places where you could put yourself in the picture. Lots of fun!

Skiwear Fashion Exhibit

Skiwear Fashion Exhibit

ski museum

Steve Tries The Interactive Slalom Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Carries The Torch

Steve Carries The Torch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Torch Comes Through Arches NP

The Real Torch Comes Through Arches NP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

speed skating

The Need For Speed

 

 

 

 

Pair Skating

Pair Skating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downhill Racer 2002

Downhill Racer 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

women's ice hockey

Ice Hockey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puma Mask From Opening Ceremony

Puma Mask From Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony Deer

Opening Ceremony Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaver From Opening Ceremony

Beaver From Opening Ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horse Puppet

Horse Puppet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Medal From The 2014 Olympics

A Medal From The 2014 Olympics

My Tongue Is Stuck

My Tongue Is Stuck

Real Women Snowboard

Real Women Snowboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a day of sightseeing we were really hungry so we located a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurant that was close to camp called Ruth’s Diner. It has been in business since the 1930s but has long since outgrown the original diner that serves as the front of the building. We were famished and had a “soup to nuts” meal which was delicious if not cheap.

Ruth's Diner, A Salt Lake City Favorite

Ruth’s Diner, A Salt Lake City Favorite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner Al Fresco At Ruth's Diner

Dinner Al Fresco At Ruth’s Diner

A visit to Salt Lake City isn’t complete without a visit to Temple Square if you’ve never been there. It is the most visited place in Utah. We took a short tour which included some history of the Mormon emmigration to Utah and a visit to the chapel where the Mormon choir performs. Had we known that you could attend a rehearsal on Thursday we would have come then. We did listen to a recording and even that made me break out in goose bumps. My eyes teared. For lack of any other word, it was a heavenly sound. The acoustics are amazing. You can hear a pin drop and newspaper being torn without a microphone at 200′ away. The fabulous acoustics owe it all to the designer who was a bridge builder and had never built a building before this. The chapel roof is designed as a series of seven bridges. We decided that when we return for our bobsled adventure we will schedule it so that we can attend a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Mormon Temple

The Mormon Temple

Organ Mormon Choir Hall

Organ Mormon Choir Hall

Reflection Of The Temple

Reflection Of The Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LDS Headquarters

LDS Headquarters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another stop in the area was at Golden Spike National Historic Site. This was where the rail lines of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific met and provided a means to go from coast to coast by rail for the first time. It was a huge engineering feat and the first event ever sent instantaneously around the world by telegraph. The trains on display are live steam reproductions that roll out each morning and back to the garage each evening. During the day they are kept live puffing steam to give you a sense of the moment. The actual gold spike is in the Stanford University Museum. This is the first we’ve seen of the Chinese immigration and the almost slave like conditions under which they labored. The term “Hell On Wheels” came from the bar cars, prostitutes and gambling that followed the railroad construction crews. These were sanctioned by the companies as means to keep the workers at the camps and prevent them from quitting. The museum is very interesting and has several films available for viewing. We had Opal in the truck and it was too warm to leave for long. Perhaps another time.

Dignitaries At Promontory Point May 10, 1869

Dignitaries At Promontory Point May 10, 1869

 

 

 

Railroad Workers Painting

Railroad Workers Painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laying Rail By Assembly Line

Laying Rail By Assembly Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction Train 1868 At Bear River, WY

Construction Train 1868 At Bear River, WY

 

 

 

 

Photo Showing A Stir Cut At Weber Canyon, UT

Photo Showing A Stair Cut At Weber Canyon, UT

 

 

 

 

 

Replica Trains Meet

Replica Trains Meet

Our last stop in the area was Timpanogos Cave National Monument. This was our fourth cave this year and while we were a bit “caved out” it was still interesting and different from others. The Monument is really three separate caves that have been joined by man. The two distinguishing features are the Heart of Timpanogos, a drapery formation joined so it resembles a heart and the abundance of a formation called helictites. Another “feature” of the visit was the 1.5 mile walk with a 1,100 foot elevation gain to reach the entrance. There’s a reason all of the souvenirs have “I survived the walk to Timpanogos Cave” on them!

Time to pack up and head for Colorado.

Timpanagos Panorama

Timpanagos Panorama

Thumbs Up. Halfway There!

Thumbs Up. Halfway There!

Ugh! 75% Done!

Ugh! 75% Done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wahoo!!!

Wahoo!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Of Timpanogos

Heart Of Timpanogos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cave Spaghetti

Cave Spaghetti

Rest Break With A View

Rest Break With A View