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…”

What’ s So Hot About Hot Springs?

Hot Springs NP, Arkansas

The View From Bathhouse Row

Before we wind up falling further behind in posting than we already are, here’s a post on our time in Hot Springs. Arkansas from January-March 2017. Our first visit to this area was in 2010 before we were full time RVers. Still dazzled by the splendor of the western parks we were very unimpressed with Hot Springs and left wondering why this was a National Park. A National Historic Site or even a Monument but a National Park? We are so glad that we had the opportunity to return, spend time and learn about both the national park and the city. We really had missed the boat the first time around! So if you come here be sure and take the time to do tours and come prepared to learn. Both the park and the city have lots to offer but you can’t do it by whizzing through in a day or less. It is like an iceberg. There’s what you see above the water but when you start looking deeper there’s more and more.

A Tub In The Fordyce

Fordyce Music Room

The Quapaw Bathhouse

Us At Work In The Fordyce

 

 

Chari’s Reflection In The Hale Bathhouse Window

 

 

Monument To The First NPS Ranger Killed On Duty

 

We were working at the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center, the museum and information center for Hot Springs National Park on Central Avenue in the historic district. There are 8 remaining bathhouses along what is known as Bathhouse Row in the national park and 6 of them are open to the public: the Fordyce visitor center, the Lamar gift shop and the Ozark art museum for the park, 2 operating bathhouses (the Buckstaff and the Quapaw) and the Superior microbrewery. So here’s some of what we learned and shared during our tours.

The Buckstaff, The Lamar and The Former Army-Navy Hospital (now ACTI)

Hot Springs National Park is the smallest of the 59 National Parks and the only one with a city completely within its borders. The geology of the hot springs is special because it is one of only 2 in North America not heated by volcanic activity. The rainwater takes 4,400 yrs. to travel over a mile and a half into the earth reaching 150 degrees but returns to the surface in about a year thus retaining its heat (139-143 degrees). So when you drink from the springs you are drinking water that fell as rain at the time the Egyptians were building the pyramids! That’s another big difference. Most national parks warn you to not take anything while Hot Springs NP encourages you to drink the water and take some with you by having drinking and jug fountains all around. In fact the original legislation protecting the hot springs states that the water will forever be free to the people.

Historic Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

It Is Always Spring Time In Hot Springs

 

Filling Up At The Jug Fountain

 

The Stevens Fountain

Old Hot Springs Artwork At The Ozark

The springs yield, on average, 700,000 gallons per day. Of that the park collects and distributes about 250,000 gallons. People come from hours away to fill pickup trucks full of bottles with the mineral rich water. Don’t want to drink hot water? There are two cold springs from another source as well. However, don’t expect to dip in the springs outside. They’ve been covered up for over a century to protect them from man-made and natural contamination. We occasionally had the opportunity to assist the water technicians as they tested the springs each week. The park contains the oldest land in the world ever set aside by a government to protect a natural resource. That was in 1832. If they had named it a national park back then, Hot Springs rather than Yellowstone would have been our first national park. Instead it was called Hot Springs Reservation and did not come under the NPS until 1921 as the 18th national park.

Volunteers Help With Water Testing

Recording Water Quality Data

So what is a bathhouse? In the days before modern medicine (post WWII) as we know it, people had few medications and surgery was very risky. So they depended upon the curative properties of heat, light, water, exercise and later electricity. The bathhouses were the rehabilitation facilities of the day. We told visitors that coming to Hot Springs was coming to the Mayo Clinic on one side of the street (Bathhouse Row) and Las Vegas before Las Vegas existed in the city. Hot Springs was also the primary spring training area for major league baseball before it relocated to Florida. Other sports stars like Jack Dempsey trained here. Babe Ruth hit his longest home run here (over 500′). Follow the signs on the Baseball trail to learn more.The museum is filled with interesting old equipment.The Fordyce featured the best appointed gym in Arkansas when it opened in 1915. A few items like the Hubbard tank from the 30s and the Hoyer lift from the 50s I used during my career as a physical therapist. Well, not those models but a generation later. Once again I’m seeing my life in a museum! Make sure to take the guided tour and hear some stories. When that’s done, take a hike or drive and check out the view from the observation tower. Steve was reading in preparation for our next volunteer job about some of the ways Lewis and Clark handled medical issues using Indian sweat lodges and alternate heat and cold. Equipment may change but principles stay the same.

Fordyce Gym

Indian Clubs

The Hubbard Tank Room

Chari and Steve Hiking On Hot Springs Mountain

The city is just as interesting. Gambling, bootlegging and other carnal activities were the main business. While never legal it flourished d/t payoffs to police and government official until the mid 1960s. When Winthrop Rockefeller was elected he vowed to clean up corruption and gambling. He did. Learn more at the Ganster Museum. We enjoyed the tour there and as you can see hammed it up a bit with some pics. At the same time the golden age of the bathhouse was declining. Hot Springs fell on hard times. In the late 1980s the NPS remodeled the Fordyce Bathhouse into the Visitor Center and repurposed others. This was no small task. Today you can visit the Fordyce and see the most opulent of bathhouses restored to its former beauty. Don’t miss the beautiful stained glass on three of the four floors or ride the original elevator car. Only the Buckstaff never closed its doors. Today you can experience treatment as if it were one hundred years ago at the Buckstaff or enjoy the mineral rich spring water at the Quapaw Baths spa pools. We did both and came out feeling like a piece of cooked spaghetti each time! I (Steve) had a bad cold and went to the Quapaw. Almost immediately I could feel the congestion in my chest lessening. I do believe soaking in the water cut the length of my cold in half. 

Make My Day! Steve At The Gangster Museum

This Lady Is Serious!

 

Stained Glass In The Fordyce Women’s Bath Hall

Skylight In The Music Room

Neptune’s Daughter

The architecture of the town from the 1890s-1940s is terrific and makes for some great photos. Like to shop? Only your credit card limit will dictate where and how much. Hungry? We enjoyed numerous good restaurants in Hot Springs. A few of our favorites were McClard’s for BBQ (also Bill Clinton’s), Colorado Grill for Mexican, Rolando’s for Ecuadorian, buffets at the Arlington Hotel, a Southern Living best breakfast winner Colonial Cafe and the Ohio Club where you can rub elbows with Al Capone (or at least his statue). For fun in the evening catch the monthly free performances of the Jazz Society, attend a show at the Five Star Dinner Theatre or feel like a kid at the Maxwell Blade Magic Show. Garvin Gardens was just as magical in the Spring as it had been at Christmas with a sea of tulips at peak bloom. We didn’t go to the horserace at Oaklawn but it is a big attraction from late winter through April. In summer there is the Magic Springs amusement park and all the water sports of lakes Hamilton, Catherine and Ouachita plus the Belle of Hot Springs riverboat.

Exterior Window At The Fordyce

The Arlington Hotel Lobby

 

Stairway At The Ozark

Volunteers And Ranger Touring The Archives

Ranger Leading A Guided Tour

Best Breakfast In Town

The Name Says It All

Tasting A Flight At Superior Brewery

When all is said and done it is the people from Hot Springs National Park we will remember. We made new friends with several volunteers. The Rangers were fantastic. They coached us and taught us so that we could hone our interpretive skills. They made it possible for us to visit places not open to the public such as the water distribution system, the Hale and Maurice Bathhouses and the museum archives. They thanked us for our time volunteering at least once a day. While we enjoy new experiences by volunteering at different parks or for different agencies, if we ever do repeat a job this will rank high on the list. Thank You Hot Springs National Park for a fabulous three months!

The End!

Do You Believe In Ghosts? (Part One)

old Bannock 1

Steve just found a movie we made last summer (2014) of some very photogenic barns, old buildings and other abandoned places in the midwest and west. We were on the move and perhaps out of wifi range. Just another case of out of sight, out of mind. Many of the buildings are from Bannack State Park in Montana. The state has restored this ghost town into a reflection of the once thriving village. If you ever travel through southwestern Montana, be sure to visit.

We have other ghost towns we’ve visited and on our way to Texas we’ll stop by another one. Guess we’ll need a part 2.

A Long Weekend In Phoenix

Just two weeks before we finished our time at Petrified Forest NP we took a long weekend to see some sights in the Phoenix area. Once again we opted to use a pet friendly motel rather than move the trailer. For Opal it meant several long days in the truck. I don’t know why they call it sightseeing. When you’re a dog all you get to see is the back door, the front seat and a hotel room. If I heard ‘be good, we’ll be right back’ or ‘you’re on duty, guard the truck’ once I heard it twenty times!

Salt River Canyon, Arizona, scenic byway, road trip

Our GPS Showing The “scenic” Salt River Canyon Byway

Salt River Canyon, Arizona, scenic byway

Salt river Canyon Overlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way down  to Phoenix we drove a scenic route through the Salt River Canyon. A wonderful alternative to Interstate travel. Naturally we had to stop at several overlooks for photo ops and to stretch our legs. The 3000 foot elevation change brought us from the 40s to the 70s. Mmmmm…sun, warmth, ahhhhhh!

After checking into the hotel we chose a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurant for dinner only to find it was closed on Sunday when we arrived. So we headed to another Triple D selection called Chino Bandito. This is a walkup counter  place that combines Asian and Mexican food. Want your stir fry on a flour tortilla or to eat your carne asada with chop sticks, no problem. It is inexpensive and filled with students and young families with a few snowbirds mixed in. The food was tasty but the atmosphere was definitely in the Dives category. Don’t be surprised if you have to bus your own table and if children were there earlier food may decorate the floor. Next time we’d probably do take out.

Chino Bandito, Diners Drive-ins and Dives, Triple D

Mealtime at Chino Banditio

Day 1 we headed for the Museum of Musical Instruments. Had we known how large this place was we’d have gotten there earlier. As it was we spent five hours and had to run through the last few galleries to see it all before closing time. At $20 per person you might think it expensive until you experience all the museum offers. You are given a headset and as you walk into the galleries with TV screens a white box near the floor connects to your headphones. Music begins to play and/or a video starts. Soon you are foot tapping, head bobbing, hip wiggling and maybe even singing along as if you’re the only one there. Funny thing is, no one cares because they are in their own small world. Downstairs galleries are devoted to the history of instruments where some instruments date to the 1500s. In the special exhibits hall was a drums of the world exhibit. As we entered the drum circle was just starting. There was only one seat left so I told Steve to take it while I took pictures. Lights under the drum let you know when and what rhythm to do. Later we went to the gallery with a calliope demo and on to the gallery featuring instruments from stars such as John Denver, Carlos Santana and John Lennon. Upstairs the galleries are set up by geographical location: Africa, Asia, Middle East, South Pacific, South American, European or by instrument type (ex. violin). We later learned that only half of the museum’s collection is on display! You can also watch conservators work on restoring new additions to the collection or items from other museums or collectors. The collection runs from a Stradivarius violin to instruments made from a garbage dump in Paraguay. It’s hard to describe the total experience. One of the best museums we’ve ever visited. But wait…there’s more. Several evenings a week the MIM hosts performances of professional musicians. We missed seeing Carlos Nakai by one day! This is a must see (hear) museum!

Music is the language of the soul 1

Motto Of The MIM

Music In Africa

Music In Africa

Chinese Instuments

Chinese Instruments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music In Celebrations

Music In Celebrations

Costume From Peruvian Scissor Dance

Costume From Peruvian Scissor Dance

Music In Switzerland

Music In Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flamenco In Spain

Flamenco In Spain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indonesian Gamelan

Indonesian Gamelan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Lennon's Piano

John Lennon’s Piano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apollonia

The Apollonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tunes In The USA

Tunes In The USA

Steve Joins A Drum Circle

Steve Joins A Drum Circle

Great Design From Germany

Great Design From Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 took us to Talesin West, the Arizona home of Frank Lloyd Wright and his school of architecture. Access is by tour only and we chose the 90 minute version. Our tour guide was excellent and gave us a lot of information about FLW, his personal life, his work and the architectural program. For a mere $40,000/year you can send your child here too where for the first six months they will have to live in a primitive shelter they designed. I have been fond of Wright’s designs for many years and have now toured three of his buildings. Steve is less impressed with Wright as he feels the designs are not comfortable. This should be a must see attraction for anyone visiting the area.

Examples Of Student Shelters

Examples Of Student Shelters

Desert Garden At Talesin West

Desert Garden At Talesin West

Entry Sculpture And Fountain

Entry Sculpture And Fountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View Of Taliesin West

View Of Taliesin West

In the afternoon we stopped at the Fire Fighters Hall of Flame. Our favorite display was the hand and horse drawn fire engines. Some were used to fight fires while others were only seen in parades. Other displays of firefighting equipment, fallen heroes and walls covered with fire company patches. Steve located a patch from the small town of Altus, Oklahoma where I was stationed in the Air Force in 1971-72. The restored trucks are all the work of volunteers especially a retired fire chief who has worked almost full time for the past 25 years.

fire truck, museum

Ceremonial Parade Wagon

Hand Pulled Truck With "Balloon" Type Water Tank

Hand Pulled Truck With “Balloon” Type Water Tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Truck Inspired By An Elephant?

Fire Truck Inspired By An Elephant?

Truck With Jumper Net Just Like The Old Movies

Truck With Jumper Net Just Like The Old Movies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patch From Altus

Patch From Altus

Dinner At DeFalco's

Dinner At DeFalco’s

By then we were hungry so off to DeFalco’s Deli, a Triple D spot, for some more of their great sausage and dinner. We’d been there last October. If we were in the Phoenix area for an extended time we’d be regulars. We had lasagna, salad, bread and a glass of wine for under $20 each.

Day 3 we drove about an hour south to visit Casa Grande National Monument. A volunteer gave a wonderfully informative talk and tour about the Hohokam people and how they adapted to the arid land, not only surviving but thriving. They built irrigation canals and were known for their pottery which went beyond utilitarian needs. The 2 story ruin protected by the monument is the best example of their work still standing. We were fortunate to be there on a Wednesday when they had a guest speaker, an archeologist specializing in ancestral puebloan cultures. For once we just visited and didn’t take photos!

It was late but we really wanted to stop by the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. We only had a bit more than an hour which allowed us to see just a fraction of the garden. Fortunately we were given passes good for two years so as we are fond of saying…”when we come back…”

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

3 Generations Of Cactus

Barrel Cactus In Bloom

Barrel Cactus In Bloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get The Point?

Get The Point?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sticky Subject

A Sticky Subject

 

 

 

Dinner was at yet another Triple D restaurant (he really likes Phoenix) called Barrio Cafe. Yes it is Mexican but done with a very different style. Not a nacho, taco or burrito to be found here. A bit on the pricey side but the food was out of this world. We’d definitely recommend you try it. The art work on the building is worth coming by even if you don’t go in.

The Barrio Cafe

The Barrio Cafe

 

 

Barrio Cafe Artwork

Barrio Cafe Artwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our bellies were bursting with all the restaurant meals and our heads were full from sightseeing. On the way home to PEFO we stopped by some campgrounds at Roosevelt Lake in Tonto National Forest to evaluate them for future use. We also stopped at the USFS Visitor Center to see a film about the Salt River dam project and the Apache Trail. While there we spoke with some volunteers about work camp jobs there. The area is beautiful and we have applied for next winter. Just a bit down the road is Tonto National Monument which protects some of the few ruins associated with the Salado people. We took an hour or so to tour one of the ruins then spoke to the head of Interpretation about possible volunteer positions. We’d love to spend some extended time in the Phoenix area.

We’d hoped to be home earlier in the afternoon but by the time we got to Show Low it was dinner time. We decided to stop at a Thai restaurant we’d enjoyed a few weeks earlier. Tired and full we returned to the trailer. Now our attention turns to finishing up at the park and getting ready to hit the road.

Where Next #7?

After a wonderful time at Petrified Forest National Park it’s time to hit the road again. Full time RVers can’t stay still long. When the need to get moving strikes we call it a case of “hitch itch”. So where do we go from here? We’ll be driving more than 2200 miles over the next three and a half months.

Google Earth, RV, travel

Our Route February-May 2015

It is too early to begin heading north so we will spend February in Arizona seeing the Verde Valley/Sedona area, Tucson and Lake Havasu. Then on to Las Vegas and the Lake Mead Recreation Area for a visit with a kayaking friend from North Carolina.  We plan to see one of several Cirque de Soleil shows playing in LV.  On to Death Valley NP and three weeks in the central valley of California. Using this area as our base we will explore Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, Fresno and perhaps Monterrey. By the end of March we hope to finally camp along the Pacific coast. April will see us exploring the Oregon coast, Portland and the lower Columbia River region. By early May we should arrive in the Seattle area to spend time with relatives. Meandering along the Olympic Peninsula to Port Townsend we will take a ferry to Whidbey Island. At Anacortes we catch the ferry over to San Juan Island for our next volunteer stint at San Juan Island National Historic Park from late May until after Labor Day.

After traveling through Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington we will only have seven states we have not yet visited with the RV. Our map is filling up! So come along and see what lies ahead for the DreamChaser and the three of us.

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

 

 

A Rocking Good Time In Little Rock – Part 1

After spending Easter weekend with relatives in Corinth, MS we cross the Mississippi River into Arkansas. The Dreamchaser is finally heading west. Our first stop will be in the state capitol, Little Rock, and from here we’ll make several day trips. Our “home base” for the next few days will be a COE park called Maumelle. As with all of the COE parks it is beautifully arranged. The sites are placed along the Arkansas River. Our Interagency Senior Pass gives us a 50% discount too.

Bill Clinton, U. S. President, Little Rock

Main Display Hall At Clinton Presidential Library

In keeping with our attempt to see all Presidential homes and libraries we head into town to the Clinton Presidential Library. We spot the museum store and grab a free parking spot nearby. After purchasing a lapel pin we walk three blocks to the library. There is parking at the library but it’s a gorgeous spring day for a walk. There is a large city park along the river and we note it has a wonderful bike path. Already we’re talking about coming back! We arrive just in time to purchase tickets for a tour. We highly recommend you take the tour. Our docent guide was excellent. We first went up to the second floor into a mock up of the Cabinet Room and then on to the main exhibit hall. Floor to ceiling bookcases house most of the papers from the Clinton Presidency. There are many more in storage off site. The panels running down the center feature main events by year. If you are interested in exploring a particular event in depth there are alcoves perpendicular to the main panels that have detailed information. On the third floor are exhibits of White House china, gifts from foreign countries, White House Christmas decorations and other memorabilia, a mock up of the Clinton Oval Office and a special exhibit room. There were special exhibits about Presidential pets and a traveling exhibit from the Spy Museum in Washington, D. C. called Terrorists, Saboteurs and Spies.

tour, Clinton Library

On Tour Of Clinton Library In The Cabinet Room

Presidential campaign, Clinton

Clinton Campaign Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photography, Clinton

The Clinton’s At Home

Oval Office, Clinton

Mock Up Of Clinton Oval Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gifts from foreign countries, Japan

Priceless Jade Sculpture From Japan

Saturday Night Live, Clinton

Puppet Of Clinton Used On Saturday Night Live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilhuly, Christmas tree, White House

White House Christmas Tree By Dale Chihuly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House china, Clinton

A Set Of White House China Used During The Clinton Administration

 

 

Olympic Torch, Atlanta

Olympic Torch From 1996 Atlanta Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinton's Presidential Limosine

Clinton’s Presidential Limosine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

collage, campaign buttons

Clinton Campaign Buttons

From there we walked to the Old State House which is now a museum. The building has been restored and offers a crash course in Arkansas history.

museum, Old State House, Arkansas

Restored Old State House Museum In Little Rock

One of the most interesting events displayed was about the Brooks-Baxter War of 1874. The gubernatorial race of 1872 between Joseph Brooks and Elisha Baxter was contested. In 1874 a small group of men following Brooks entered the State House and evicted Baxter. Within hours crowds supporting both sides gathered and federal troops were placed between them to prevent bloodshed. The uprising last a bit over a month during which the Brooks contingent occupied the building with artillery. The building sustained a lot of damage. Governor Baxter finally retook the State House and his office.

Another interesting episode occurred in the early 1900s after the new State House was built. The Secretary of State was attempting to fill the building with tenants and offered University of Arkansas Medical Department space rent free. The human cadaver dissection and anthrax studies requiring animals to be kept on the property were not popular with other tenants. However, the federally funded Crossett Experiment which led to the control of the Anopheles mosquito and malaria was headquartered in the building in 1916.

Mary Stenbergen

Mary Stenbergen With Her Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Dale Evans

Dale Evans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton

Of a more modern theme a special exhibit called Arkansas Stars featured stars of movies, recordings and television who were from Arkansas. These names should sound familiar: Mary Stenbergen, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Billy Bob Thornton and Dale Evans. Of special interest to the Maier family who watch “A Christmas Story” every year is Melinda Dillon who played the role of the mother in that holiday classic.

A Christmas Story

It’s Italian. It’s Fra-gee-lee