We have just arrived in Alabama after a couple of weeks in Mississippi. Tupelo, Mississippi. This part of the US is in a serious drought. A burn ban is in effect. In fact, Ole Miss extended the ban to include charcoal grills for the tailgaters at yesterday's home football game. That's serious. The weather is unusually warm. Nights in the high 50's and days reaching the 80's. Day after day of this and it is projected to last into mid November. Lucky us...followers of the blog may recall we did not have much of a summer in terms of warmth. we were in the Rockies for most of it and had snow a couple of times and numerous nights in the 30's. This in July and August. So now we get summer. weird. Also weird is the local TV down south here. Mostly auto dealers.
This guy appears to want to look like Trump.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
It is the only National Park located within a city. The reputation of the “healing waters” of Hot Springs began in the early 1800’s, ( much earlier than that for Native Americans ), and people began to make the pilgrimage to soak away just about anything they were suffering from. The water is indeed hot, coming out of the ground at 147 degrees at one of the main springs. There are a number of spring outlets and they pour forth at various temperatures. They are unique in our experience of various hot springs we have visited in that they come out of the ground pure and drinkable. No treatment needed. There are three or four drinking fountains around from lower temperature springs and we saw many locals filling gallon jugs. We filled our water bottles and then refrigerated the water to try it cooled. It tasted very clean and fresh, and although the Park Service provides a list of the varied mineral content, it had no strong mineral quality. It made a smoother cup of coffee than our tap water.
The grand years of Hot Springs blossomed in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s when a number of opulent bath houses were built to offer the public a dignified way to enjoy their hot water therapy. They exist today and three are still functioning as spas. We took a couples treatment and I had my first facial, (don’t need to experience another), had my feet scrubbed with warm oil and granular sugar, (that I would do another 100 times), and relaxed in a natural hot tub.
Up the hill, behind Bathhouse Row, as it is called, is a lovely laid brick promenade. We walked it and thought about what we had read about and seen period photos about. It was very popular for the turn of the century crowd to dress up all fancy and walk this promenade after their water therapies. The photos looked like “In my Easter Bonnet”. Amazing to think folks would pack what must have been steamer trunks to bring the frilly and voluminous dresses, suits and hats seen in the old pics. And then to do that in the hot, humid summers of Arkansas.
Afterwards, we undid all the health aspect of our treatments and went to Stubby’s BBQ, (since 1952), for ribs and pulled pork. Awesome baby back ribs spice rubbed and smoked forever and served dry with sauce on the side, Memphis style. Yum.
Arkansas has been another of our unexpected surprises on this journey. I am sure summers are tough but October is a beautiful time of year here. Lovely, dense hardwood forests, just beginning their fall color. Gentle mountains, The Ozarks and the Ouichitas, and many rivers and some well-done core of engineer lakes. It is home to Bass Pro sports stores for a reason as sport fishing is a big draw here. The bass get big.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
FOrt Smith Arkansas....another National Monument.....paying tribute to the "frontier Justice" of the mid 1880s...gallows and a reproduction of a famous judge's courtroom....in a lovely park along the Arkansas.....nice walk along the river...nice tribute to the "Trail of Tears"....we are liking Arkansas!
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Another National Monument...Pea Ridge Battlefield...very important in the Civil War...saved Missouri for the Union....great place to ride a bike.....like having the truck where we can just throw the bikes into for our outings.....Also went to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville....I spent YEARS collecting articles about places that I wanted to see on our Rv adventure...this was one of them.....Created by Alice Walton....town where Walmart guy got started...now I am not a big fan of WalMart's principles of business....but Alice did a great job on this museum....everything is free...including the audio tour....Just a lovely museum....hmmmm....seems i have said that before but this one was great....the architecture, the surrounding woods and river...the chronological layout with a emphasis on the history of the era of the pieces......If you ever find yourself near northwest Arkansas it is a must!!!
We happened to catch the Tenors a few days ago on a PBS special, they are prior winners on America's Got Talent and have terrific voices that sound awesome together. We saw they were performing in Branson and said, "let's go". Aside from being the youngest folks in the audience, (we went to their 2PM performance), we thoroughly enjoyed the show. They sounded fantastic, were backed by three outstanding musicians that sounded like 20 and their song selection, a mix of pop, country and classical, was spot on. It was a good time. If you see the PBS show scheduled, give it a look. Also practiced some golf at a interesting driviing range by the late (sadly) Arnie Palmer!
Up to Missouri for two national park units....George Washington Carver birthplace...very informative....truly a self-made man.....he was quite a man and Way way ahead of his time....lovely hike in the Hardwood forest...Also to Wilson Creek battlefield...I had forgotten how many Civil War battles were fought in this area....
Branson is only 30 miles from us....Went to the Puttin on the Ritz show....actually was very good...better than a cruise ship show...not as good as Broadway or Broadway road show....but very enjoyable....like the 2:00 time....they cater to us "older folks"..the town of Branson is fairly tacky.