Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jeopardy Answer: ARRRRRRRRRkansas

Sept. 24 (written Sept 25, a.m.)

Jeopardy Question: Where do pirates live?

Yes, we are in Arkansas. We drove through eastern Oklahoma, which was much greener and less level than I picture Oklahoma to be. I can’t say too much about the drive, other than that Oklahoma loves its native sons and daughters! We passed signs for the Roger Miller Museum in western OK; and signs proclaiming, “Welcome to Henryetta, Home of Troy Aiken”; and billboards announcing that we were in the hometown of Carrie Underwood, “Your American Idol 2005”. The Cherokee Nation owns the eastern-most part of the state, including the “Indian Turnpike”, a toll road which we did not have occasion to utilize. It was hot, and I didn’t take any photos, other than of the buffalo corralled at our KOA . And that was Oklahoma for us this time around.

We left I-40 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, just over the border between the two states, and drove through secondary roads to get to Hot Springs, the home town of the smallest National Park, Hot Springs National Park. We stopped at the AR visitor’s center before we left I-40, and there was a great computer system which Joe played with while I looked at maps and talked to the lady at the desk. It seems this area has a lot of beautiful places to camp, including two state parks very close to Hot Springs, and lots of Corps of Engineer sites also, due to the presence of several lakes, including the large Lake Ouachita (man, would Mr. Stevens, my high school English teacher, rip into THAT run-on sentence!)

Joe loved the look of the state parks, so we decided that rather than look for a private campground, or try for one of the very few spots in the national park campground, we’d head for Lake Ouachita State Park, only 12 miles from Hot Springs. We got here just as total darkness fell, but we were able to tell several things: our campsite is right next to the lake; and this is one amazingly deluxe state park campground! The sites are absolutely huge, with lots of room to park (important not for us, but for people hauling boats, trailers, etc.), fancy accoutrements, and a large bath house with huge showers.

Unfortunately it seems that Arkansas also has one “commodity” that we haven’t had to deal with in weeks—humidity! Here we have this great campsite, but we ended up closing all the windows in the middle of the night and turning on the air conditioning—it was so hot and muggy I couldn’t sleep otherwise!

We woke up fairly early, and spent a while doing household chores (it’s funny how they seem more fun in an RV than at home!) And now we are reading to go into town and visit the park. After that, we will be heading up to Memphis, where tomorrow we hope to have our encounter with Elvis. I’m quite sure it will be memorable!

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