Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Made It Through Tornado Alley

At Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park, Tucumcari, NM

Driving Through Tornado Alley


My biggest fear of our trip was the driving over the past two days…right through the heart of Tornado Alley.  Late April through early June is VERY BAD in the traditional Tornado Alley…and frankly, it was nothing I was looking forward to doing.  I have driven through Oklahoma in a car a number of times in May or June…and one time a tornado was just to the north of us, although we did not know for sure it was a tornado until the next day.  The new talk is that Tornado Alley now includes all or parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois and even Indiana.  Well, we drove through some of those states too. But when we left the Kansas City area, we pretty much drove the area indicated by the blue line in the above picture.

4 Acres RV Park, Kinsley, OK

Our goal was to get to New Mexico by Tuesday night.  Monday I figured either Dodge City, or Kinsley, just shy of Dodge…both of which have Passport America parks.  I liked the park in Kinsley, so we pulled in there.  $19 cash for the night, full hookups, and a nice, quiet night’s sleep.  They anticipated some rain during the night, which never materialized, so I did pull the slide in before going to bed.  The drive to Kinsley was fairly easy, good weather, light traffic for the most part.  We got a pull-through site which, as you can see above, could have fit a 45 footer pulling a small car.

4 Acres RV Park, Kinsley, OK

A nice feature of the park is this area to walk/run dogs, and it includes a creek on the other side of those trees which can be hiked.  I walked the dogs, did not do the creek…temps were a bit cool, but not cold enough to wear long pants.

Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park, Tucumcari, NM

Today (Tuesday) we left 4 Acres Park by 8 am, drove to the Flying J in Dodge City to fill up and feed the dogs.  So far…so good…but it did not remain that way.  About 15 minutes southwest of Dodge, it started to rain…then hail…then hard rain…then heavier hail (but small hail balls).  For the next 2-3 hours it was white knuckle driving for much of the time.  Traffic was again fairly light, but we only go 60 mph, while the trucks and cars want to go the speed limit of 65-70.  About every 8 miles there was a passing lane, which was good.  However, some of the cars were not willing to wait, and a few passed on a solid yellow line.  Anytime anyone passed, I always pulled to the right line and slowed up a bit…for the solid yellow line passers, well let’s just say I only had to eat one bar of soap today mom.

Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park, Tucumcari, NM

So tonight we are at the Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park in Tucumcari, New Mexico $14.60 for full hook-ups at another Passport America park.  The park use to be named, “Empty Saddle”, but they wisely decided to change the name since the former name meant “The Rider Died…The Horse has an Empty Saddle”.  It is past 7 pm Mountain Time, and one Horse Trailer / RV is here, and the park is over two-thirds full with RVs still pulling in.  The sky is blue, a slight wind is blowing, it is in the mid-70’s, and we are thankful to get through Tornado Alley.   The Weather Channel (Weather.com) has this headline: 

Damage in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas From Reported Tornadoes as Severe Weather Hits Plains

And within the story the following line:  “A potential tornado caused damage in at least three states as a rash of severe storms lashed the Plains Tuesday, spawning as many as 19 tornadoes across several states.”  

Yep, we made it through just in time…

Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park, Tucumcari, NM

The Dogs…well they are thankful for the Dog Run…first time they have run off leash together for a long time.  They are also thankful for the time change since they will now be eating at 8 am and 8 pm instead of 9 am and 9 pm.  (Don’t tell them that it is still 12 hours from their 9 am feeding…they are just going to be happy to eat while the sun has just gone down.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Week at Blue Springs Lake, Lee's Summit, Missouri

 At Blue Springs Lake, Lee's Summit, Missouri


We came here for the week due to Ryan's graduation.  It is the second time we stayed at Blue Springs Lake Campground, and in this our last blog from the area, I am sharing pictures from a sister lake, just to the south, called Jacomo Lake and Flemming Park.  

Lake Jacomo, Fleming Park, Lee's Summit, MO

There are two campgrounds in this area which are also part of the Jackson County Parks System.  

Lake Jacomo, Fleming Park, Lee's Summit, MO

Between the three campgrounds there are nearly 140 RV campsites, with the price ranging from $25-$42, depending on full hook-up or just water/electric, and 30 amp or 50 amp.  The $42 ones are at Blue Springs Lake, and they are 50 amp, full hook-up, on concrete pads.  Although Friday evening through Sunday morning were a bit busy, the park was quiet, and we really enjoyed our site.

Lake Jacomo, Fleming Park, Lee's Summit, MO

With two lakes, separated by a major road, there has to be a marina on each lake to handle the numerous boats that use the lake.  I saw a number of fishing boats, speed boats, and a few kayaks...and it isn't even May yet.


The weather ranged from ideal, to wind and rain, and our coldest night was around 38 degrees...but most nights were high 40's to low 50's.  We never needed our A/C, and one day we needed to have our heater on nearly all day.


It seems that I have always had family in the area here, it seems I have been coming to the Independence area all my life so I feel very comfortable about driving around the area.  Despite that, I did take the long way home from when I had dinner with Ryan Tuesday night, but I did not feel lost at all.  We did have a nice visit with my cousin Cassie and her husband Rick who lived with Aunt Vera until her passing recently.  Tomorrow (Monday) we head out to the southwest, having reservations in Phoenix starting Friday.

 


Saturday, April 27, 2019

There Be A ‘Doctor’ in the Family

At Blue Springs Lake Campground, Lee’s Summit, MO

Ryan's Graduation - from Left to Right - Stephanie, Kaelyn, Ryan, Anna and Michael

There he is, my youngest son Ryan flanked by his wife-to-be Kaelyn (left), his sister-in law Anna (right) his brother and my oldest child Michael (far right) and his older sister Stephanie (far left).  LOOK at that smile…after graduating from the University of Arkansas back in May 2013, he has now completed his Doctorate in Chiropractic Studies at Cleveland University-Kansas City, and is now officially Dr. Ryan Burdick.  LOOK at that smile!  (yes, I know I already said that…but it is a true, full smile of accomplishment and relief).

Click Here for a YouTube playlist of his graduation, starting with him entering, then getting his hood, then getting his diploma, then the class taking the Chiropractic Oath, and then him leaving.  It takes about 3 minutes, and once you click it should just play all five in the proper order.  As for the graduation, it was around 40 minutes long, started on time, and was perfect…no politics, no “on and on” feeling…everyone did a good job, short, sweet, simple and perfect!

Ryan's Graduation - mother Shelley talking with Kaelyn

Proud mother Shelley talking with future daughter-in-law Kaelyn, with Stephanie and Michael in the background, awaiting the start of the program.

Ryan's Graduation - with sister Stephanie, mother Shelley and brother Michael

After the ceremony, it was time for pictures.  Pictured above is proud mother, Shelley, with our three kids.  As a school teacher, I give her all the credit for the education of our children.  Yes, I was a Librarian, more specifically Library Director, but SHE was the one who got them to do their homework, and she attended the Teacher-Parent meetings (I think I went to one or two).  Ryan is the first of my parents and I think Shelley’s parents children or grandchildren to get a Doctorate Degree.

Ryan's Graduation - with wife and future Chiropractor Kaelyn

Ryan’s lovely wife to be (May 2020), Kaelyn, will graduate in August with her degree…she will also be a Chiropractor.  TWO doctors in the family!  Currently, she is doing an internship in Washington DC at Walter Reed Hospital.

Ryan's Graduation - with sister Stephanie and brother Michael

There are my three kids…so proud of each of them.

Ryan's Graduation - Proud Daddy Dave next to his son

This was certainly Ryan’s day…we all went to lunch together at Q39 BBQ Restaurant in Overland Park, enjoyed the graduation a few hours later, and then had dinner at an Italian Bistro in Kansas City.  This morning Michael and Anna flew on to New York City where she is in a wedding on Sunday in Central Park.  Stephanie and her mother fly their separate ways on Sunday, and on Monday Ryan heads out to move some of his stuff into storage at Kaelyn’s parents place, and then move on to the DC area until his Fellowship at Yale starts in August.  So Friday was the day for all of us to get together…and we ENJOYED it all.  On Thursday the President of the University has a dinner for the grads…Ryan, Kaelyn, Stephanie and Shelley attended (each grad can invite three people), and the President goes around telling the crowd something about each graduate.  At the end he came to Ryan, and said that this is the first Fellowship at Yale that any graduate from Cleveland University – Kansas City (formerly Cleveland Chiropractic College) has ever had.  It sure put a big smile on Ryan’s face as Kaelyn told the story to all the rest of us at our lunch before the graduation.  He put a smile on all of our faces as he has finally achieved his educational dream…Dr. Ryan Burdick, Chiropractor.  


Monday, April 22, 2019

Blue Springs Lake, Lee’s Summit, MO

At Blue Springs Lake Campground, Lee’s Summit, MO

Blue Springs Lake Campground, Lee's Summit, MO

We left the Casino near Joplin around 11 am…had to wait for a guy with a huge 5th wheel empty his tanks…after he talked to a guy for five minutes who wanted to know about how he pulls his 5th wheel a commercial 18-wheeler type truck.  Well, we were not in a hurry, and after he finished dumping his three tanks (two grey tanks) he came over and talked to us too.  By 11, we were on the Interstate, and by 2, we were pulling into Blue Springs Lake Campground…where we had to wait while a guy unhooks his tow vehicle at the check-in lane…the guy manning the booth apologized for that.  Again, no problem, who is in a hurry these days anyway?

Blue Springs Lake,  Lee's Summit, MO   Blue Springs Lake,  Lee's Summit, MO

Blue Springs Lake,  Lee's Summit, MO   Blue Springs Lake,  Lee's Summit, MO

Around 5:30 I took a ride around the lake to get some picture.  We were just here back in September, but the spring look is a bit prettier than the early fall September look.

Redbuds at Blue Springs Lake,  Lee's Summit, MO   Redbuds at Blue Springs Lake,  Lee's Summit, MO

Especially the Redbuds…they really contrast with the green of the fresh spring trees…

Redbuds at Blue Springs Lake Campground, Lee's Summit, MO

…or against RV’s here in the campground.  Hope to have dinner with Ryan tomorrow or Wednesday…graduation is on Friday and the whole family will be here.  Looking forward to that for sure.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Downstream Casino — Quapaw Nation's Link to Pine Bluff

At Downstream Casino RV Park, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma borders

Downstream Casino

When I knew we had a few days between leaving Mount Magazine and getting up to the Kansas City area I was more than happy to find that the Downstream Casino, right at the border of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, and not too many miles from the Arkansas border too.  It has a RV Park that is part of Passport America, $15 per night for water and electric with a dump station.  Was also pleased to find that you can stay one night for free if you are a “Q-Club” Member.  But I also had another reason to stay here…The Quapaw Indians, who own the casino, are a major part of Pine Bluff’s early history.  More specifically, Chief Saracen, who is buried in Pine Bluff’s St. Joseph Cemetery. 

Saracen Bow and Arrows, Pine Bluff Main Library

This is an old picture of the outside of my office at the Pine Bluff Main Library.  My office was behind that red couch, and the door, decorated for Halloween by Miss Ann, the children’s librarian, was the entrance to my office.  The BLACK arrow points to the Saracen Bow and arrows.  Later they were loaned to the State Arts and Science Center and they encased them in a nice plastic case, which when returned was placed up on the wall again, case included.  As far as I know, they are still there…but I can’t promise that.  Back in the late 1700’s two children and their father were captured by the Chickasaw Indians just south of Pine Bluff.  According to Judge Pope, written in 1895: “The news was brought to Saracen. Going to the weeping mother, he said, “When the sun is so high (pointing with his hand) Saracen will bring your children. If Saracen no find them, you will see Saracen no more.” Alone and unaided, he overtook the marauding party near Arkansas Post. With Indian war whoop and tomahawk uplifted, he sprang in upon them and took the children”.  The story goes that he and other Quapaw also tracked down the father and paid a ransom for him.  Later he made the bow and arrow as a ‘toy gift’ to the children…the arrows don’t have sharp points, they are blunt.  The library ended up with them many years ago.

Saracen Mural, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

There is a mural in Pine Bluff which depicts the story of when the two children were rescued.  The Lake across from the County Court House is now Saracen Lake.  Attached to the lake is Saracen Landing, which is where Marcia and I got married back in 2011.  The RV park I lived in for six years is now called Saracen RV Park.  Chief Saracen has become a local saint within Pine Bluff’s History.  To top it all off…

Future Saracen Casino Resort, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

…the Quapaw are building a casino in Pine Bluff, which should be up and going sometime in 2020.  In November 2018 the voters of Arkansas voted to allow for four casinos, one in Hot Springs at the Race Track, one in West Memphis at the Dog Track, and one in Jefferson County and one in Pope County.  So far the Quapaw have been awarded the casino in Jefferson County, but rules for operation of casinos are still progressing…but they Quapaw are ready to build, close to the Mall, as soon as everything is lined up, and they plan to call it the Saracen Casino Resort.

Downstream RV Park   Downstream RV Park

We found that for an overnight stay, or due to the holiday weekend, even a three night stay, this RV Park was just fine.  Of course, if it was full, we would not like it.  But how it is situated, the day noise is tolerable, and there is not much late night noise at all.  We purposely parked next to a patch of grass for the doggies sake, and although there were many open spots, we can’t understand why yesterday evening a trailer just had to park right next to us…but they were gone before 9:00 am.  When you arrive, you pick out your spot, go over to the Q Store (gas station/store) nearby and pay.  “IF” you need to become a Q-Club member, go to the casino first, then the store.  They have you put a receipt on your windshield, and they enter you into their computer indicating when you are to depart. 

Tri-State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas

Tri-State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas   Tri-State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas

Tri-State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas

The spot where Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma meet is just a tenth of a mile from the RV Park.  The Casino is in Oklahoma, the RV Park is in Missouri, and most of the Casino Parking is in Kansas.  At the Tri-State area, back in 1938 the WPA erected this rock mound monument.  Later, a survey found that they were 50 feet to far to the west, and the ground map was created where the true Tri-State meeting place is located.

Downstream Casino, Buffalo

As you drive up to the Casino, don’t be surprised if you see some Buffalo roaming the fields.  Back in 2011 they brought in 8 Buffalo…now it looks like they have a good 30-40 head near the Casino.  Overall, they have around 150 head of Buffalo and 500 head of Beef that they raise through the Quapaw Cattle Company, with plans to raise all their own feed for the animals, all according to an article I read dated June, 2016. 

Tomorrow we head on to the Kansas City area…

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Last Arkansas Sunset – Good Friday Story – Downstream Casino

At Downstream Casino RV Park, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma borders


After the Wednesday night Hail Strom, it rained nearly all day on Thursday…so much that it was difficult to find a time to go outside to pick up after the dogs who don’t seem to mind getting wet when they have to GO…   Around 7:30 I look out my window and tell Marcia that it looks like it has cleared up enough for me to get a last sunset picture…so out the door I go.  Unfortunately, as I tried to get out of the RV area, there was a boy scout troop trying to back their cargo trailer (WAY narrower than any RV) into one of the spots, blocking access to the exit from the RV park.  I try to sit there patiently, as he goes back, forward, back, forward, countless times, all with the assistance of a guy outside guiding him.  I keep looking out through the trees and seeing my sunset disappear.  It looks like he is just about to finish….and then he pulls all the way out again.  I had enough…I get out and yell, “HEY, I am trying to get a picture of that sunset, can you let me by?”  He moves far enough ahead that I can pass….  I would have thought that Boy Scout Leaders would a) know how to back up, and b) have better manners.  GRRRRR! 

Arkansas Sunset from Mount Magazine

From my attempt to get a good sunset the other day, I knew exactly which pullouts to use.  This pullout (picture above) gives a better view overall.  WOW, what a lovely site.

Arkansas Sunset from Mount Magazine

And very quickly it is gone…behind a line of clouds just above the distant southern edge of the Ozarks.  I stop and contemplate for a bit…I first arrived in Arkansas in January 1991…well, actually I think it December 31st when we pulled into Conway Arkansas to meet out new landlords and pick up the keys to the house we had decided to rent sight unseen.  By October 2012, I retired from the Library, but have come back through Arkansas each year to visit friends and see my doctor.  With Medicare right around the corner for me, and with retirement in the works for my friend who might end up moving away from Arkansas…well, I just have to wonder if I will ever be back. 

Arkansas Sunset from Mount Magazine

As I continue around the loop of Camron Bluff, I catch this panoramic view along the north.  Anyone who has taken sunset pictures enough knows that you have to check all around…the clouds of the passing storm catch the last rays of the sun and make a marvelous scene.  Goodbye Arkansas…will probably see you again, but one never knows.

Motorhome Hydraulic Levelers

Our “Good Friday” story has to do with our levelers, and my stupidity.  If you look to the far right of the above picture, you can see that our front left tire is on a yellow step leveler…our front right tire is on one too, but not shown in picture.  At Mount Magazine, we were still leaning too far to the passenger side, so I deployed our hydraulic levelers only on the passenger side, front and back.  As we got ready to leave, I needed to back up to get off the yellow levelers…which I did…without putting the hydraulic levelers up. Not only that, after I had gathered up the yellow levelers and put them in the car, moved the car, I started forward…which caused a scrapping noise, and instantly both Marcia and I knew I had the hydraulic levelers down still…again.  YES, again, because this is not the first time…but it is the first time that I did it going backwards to get off the yellow levelers.  I get out, open the entry door to the motorhome where the controls are and…nothing.  Can’t get the controls to light up, which means I can't get the levelers back up.  OH, you HAVE to have the parking break on, and I go back…and put it on again.  There is an IDIOT light by the break release which is suppose to light up….I can’t get it to light up either.  Now in the above picture you have to use your imagination just a bit…because in reality, not only are the front right and back right hydraulics' down….they are totally engaged…which means the foot is touching the ground.  WHAT TO DO NOW????

Motorhome Hydraulic Levelers

I knew that the hydraulic jacks when they go back up, is opposite the direction you travel forward…so that “IF” I drove forward, they would move towards the direction of the rear as they ascended upward.  So after much thought, and talking with Arny who did not know what I could do either, I decided to at least drive to the visitor’s center with Marcia following me in the car.  Indeed it scrapped a lot at first, then the scrapping got less and less.  At the visitor’s center the back ones were not scrapping at all anymore, but were still down at an angle close to this reenactment photo above which I took just a bit ago.  The front one was angled closer to the ground, and would still hit on some bumps in the road.  But I still could not get them to go up.  We decided that we would drive slowly to the nearest town, Paris Arkansas, with Marcia following me in the HHR.  By the time we got there, a 20 mile drive, the scrapping for the last 5-10 miles was non-existent.  So I found a place to pull into to look it over.  Well, they were still engaged, but they had moved enough that they were off the ground far enough to not scrape.  I decided that we would hook the HHR up and get to a bigger town.  Got Marcia into the motorhome, then I needed to turn around to face the street from the parking area we pulled into.  I knew I had enacted the parking break when I stopped, and as I looked down to find the release, I see the idiot light is on.  WHAT????   I hurry out to the controls and they light up….I hit the release button and the two levelers go up.  WHAT???????   WHY???????   All we could think of was that it was a Good Friday miracle for us!   Marcia said she prayed all the way down the mountain…guess someone was listening.  Thank you Jesus….

Crossing Arkansas River   Crossing Arkansas River

With everything working, it is now 1 pm (we tried to leave at 10 am), and we are soon headed over the Arkansas River…is this our last time over this great river too???

Fayetteville, Arkansas

It is a very windy day…but we make it to I-40 west, then to I-49 north, and eventually up over the hill and the University of Arkansas comes into view.  This is where both of my sons, Michael and Ryan, graduated from with their Bachelor Degrees.  Ryan (the youngest) will graduate from Chiropractic school in just six days, hence our travels up north right now.

Downstream Casino RV Park

We pulled in the Downstream RV Park around 5 pm, after getting gas at the Flying J in Joplin.  This park is $30 per night, but it is a Passport America park, which means it is only $15…and you can stay for a week at that price.  Also, if you register with the Casino and get a Q-Club card, you get one night free, and $7 on your Q-Club Card.  Not knowing if we would be here for just two or for three, I did passport.  We both had a good night’s sleep, and today (Saturday) I went over to the Casino and got a Q-Club Card.  I walked around a bit, but never did use my free $7 yet.  Easter Sunday, after we watch church over the Internet, we are going to do laundry in Galina Kansas, just 6 miles to our north…hoping that Easter is not a busy laundry day.  More pictures of the Casino, the RV Park, and the general area tomorrow…

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Only HAIL!!!!!

At Camron Bluff Campground, Mount Magazine State Park, AR

Hail

I watched the weather radar closely last night, along with watching a local TV station which showed warnings.  Around midnight the warning went out that Mount Magazine was right in the path of a Thunder Storm Warning with localized HAIL...oh no, I hate hail.  Hail breaks windows, puts dents in cars and motorhomes, and 'can' knock down limbs.  All the sudden I hear very loud thunder clap with only a second from the flash, repeating and repeating.  I pull in the slide and just before I finish that, hail starts.  It lasts for a long, long time...well, ok, maybe 5 minutes.  Some of the hits sound like huge hail balls like in this picture above that I got off the Internet.

Hail

Well, maybe they were more like this picture above...again a picture I got off the net.  Those can break windows, and make dents, but probably not.  I look outside just after they pass...and I see....NOTHING.  So much water on the ground that what ice fell, melted right away.

Hail

It was PROBABLY more like the hail above...taken off a Fort Smith News site this morning.  But when you are in your motorhome and it hails...it sounds like every hit is a softball hitting your ceiling.

Radar

This is the radar map late morning today...we are out of it, Mississippi is in for it, then Alabama...even Florida probably tomorrow.  This storm went through Northern California a few days ago, but when it hit the humid gulf air, which thank goodness has not heated up enough yet to cause tornadoes in Arkansas, gave us the Thunderstorms.  Although we will have more rain this weekend, it appears to not be as severe of weather as what we have gone through...and the week we are in the Kansas City area right now looks good...but this time of year, you always have to be aware.


Skruffy

Bubba 

And here are pictures of Skruffy (above) and Bubba (below) this morning showing off their new haircuts.  I transitioned from the number 4 blade to the number 7 blade to give them a little less fur to deal with as hotter weather is coming soon.  I use to cut Bubba down to a number 10 blade...but he has so many skin tags now that is just too hard to do.  Bubba turns 16 this year...sleeps a lot, and at breakfast wants "breakfast served in (near) bed" to him...at dinner, he is up and dancing and prancing and can't wait for me to dish it out.  Skruffy, now that we have left the confines of the condo where she 'needs to be quiet', barks as I dish out the food and serve it to her.  The first two weeks it was hard to get her to jump up the stairs leading to the inside of the motorhome...her eyes are so bad.  Now that she is use to it, she is jumping up those stairs just about every time now.  She has been with me for nearly 10 years, and we can only guess that she was around 1 1/2 years old when I saved her off the streets of Pine Bluff....so she will be 12 this year, if she isn't 12 already.  Diabetes is under control...just wish she was not losing her eyesight along with it.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Few More Nights at Mount Magazine

At Camron Bluff Campground, Mount Magazine State Park, AR

Mount Magazine Sunset

After Saturday’s downpour, we have had three pretty good days at Mount Magazine…with Monday being one of the best weather days.  I just happened to look out my window Monday at sunset and this is what I see.  Figure by the time I gather up the camera, get my shoes and shirt on, and out the door and drive to the overlook…the sun would be gone.  Promised myself that Tuesday would not slip away like this one did …

Mount Magazine Sunset

…and it didn’t…but it also was not as good of a sunset as Monday was.

Mount Magazine Sunset

Mount Magazine Sunset

The thing about sunsets is that they are never the same.  Perhaps Wednesday’s sunset will be better than Tuesday’s…then again, they are expecting storms again for Wednesday night, and Thursday will be our last night here.

Mount Magazine Visitor Center

Sunday Marcia and I traveled over to Fort Smith to meet her cousin Jim and his wife Pat at Cheddar’s Restaurant.  After a 2+ hour meal and great conversation, we headed over to a grocery store and then hurried back to the motorhome so the doggies could be let out.  That was it for Sunday…on Monday I decided to groom both of the dogs (pictures will follow in another blog), then I drove around to get a few more pictures of the state park.  Above and below is the Visitor Center.

Mount Magazine Visitor Center

The visitor center is the first building in the park, and you have to drive by it to enter the park.  This is where you check-in if you have a camping site.  Let me tell you, the folks working here are super nice.  I had paid for our entire week online.  When I checked in, they first tried to give me the ADA rate, but when I said that Marcia was not 100% disabled, they said, “How about the senior citizen rate?”  That rate is 25% off the normal campground site price…and “I” qualified for it, so I did not have to use Marcia’s ID to get it...and they made a credit to my card which they had in the computer system.  Went back on Sunday after our trip to Fort Smith, and paid for one more night, so we will be here until Friday morning, and we have three days to get up to Blue Springs Lake Campground near Lee’s Summit Missouri where we will be for Ryan’s graduation on the 26th.  Still not sure where we will stay on our way up that way…but doing laundry will be one thing on our list.

Mount Magazine Lodge

I then headed over to the lodge, (I showed an outside picture of it a few blogs ago).  Above is the main entrance to the lodge…my back to the door.  That is a rock waterfall, three flags, and the wood canopy where you can drive your car under to drop or pick someone up.

Mount Magazine Lodge    Mount Magazine Lodge

I have been in a few of the state park lodges, and they are all very comfortable, with a large window and lounge area to look out the window from.

Mount Magazine Lodge View of Petit Jean Valley

Above is the panoramic view of what you see out that window is a view of the Petit Jean Valley below.  If you get one of their cabins, each has a hot tub which also has a nice view of the valley, and the hot tub is on a back enclosed patio except for the opening to the valley below...so you truly have some privacy to go with it.

Mount Magazine Lodge Restaurant

The lodge also has a nice restaurant, which also has a view of the Petit Jean Valley below.  When we were in a cabin back in February 2011, we ate at the lodge a few times.  This time, I think we will stick with our motorhome kitchen, although we found the food to be fairly good back then.

Mount Magazine Lodge Bar-Lounge

They also have a bar lounge right by the restaurant.  Due to Arkansas law, it is a “member’s only” lounge, which means you have show your ID, and then fill out a membership form…there is not cost for membership, just for your drinks.

There is no price to enter the park, there are picnic areas, a tent only area, 18 camping sites which are all full hookup, and just about everyone of them can handle a 40’ motorhome along with a tow car.  The bathrooms have showers which are not bad, but the water pressure ‘could’ be a bit better.  The lodge does have 2 washers and 2 driers, but we would rather wait for a laundry mat somewhere down the road this weekend.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Tale of Two Days – Mount Magazine, AR

At Camron Bluff Campground, Mount Magazine State Park, AR

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WOW!  What a day Friday was.  Compared to the pictures I got Thursday, today the sky was as blue as could be, with a few faint clouds, and it was 70 degree weather.

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SPRING was certainly in the air…

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Here is the newly redone Amphitheater.  The original Amphitheater was made in the 1939 as part of the WPA program.  It had 24 tiers of seating made from native stone (seat and back) held together by mortar.  However, by 1970’s the mortar had fallen apart, the stones loosened, and it was too dangerous to use any more.  The new Amphitheater seats 300, with ADA sites from where this picture was taken.  Everyone takes the ramp down to the ADA level, then stairs down to the rest of the Amphitheater.  The views from here are amazing, and it is used for interpretive programs, concerts, weddings and just about anything one could think of in this setting.  Yes, it is for rent for much of these activities.  Back when the original Amphitheater opened, it was used for Sunrise Easter Services.


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This Air Force C-130 passed right overhead…giving me the inspiration to climb to new heights.

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Real close to the campground is the Signal Hill Trail, with a nice hike up to Highpoint, the highest point in Arkansas.

Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas       Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas

Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas

So the trail starts out at the 2,600 foot level, goes .4 of a mile, and ends at the top, climbing to 2,753 feet.  Now THAT is my type of hike...short and not too much climbing!

Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas

At the very top they laid out an image of the state of Arkansas with these native rocks. From this vantage point, you are looking at the State as you would a map with the north at the top.

Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas    Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas

Embedded in the map is this official Geo Survey showing the highest point (2,753 feet), and the ‘STAR’ representing Little Rock, the capitol.  Above the star running at an angle you can see a wide swath of mortar…that runs through the map which represents the Arkansas River.

Signal Hill Trail, Highest Point in Arkansas

On the way up I met these four gentlemen, and as we do in Arkansas, got to talking a bit.  Found out that the oldest guy was celebrating his birthday today by going to the top of Arkansas.  Heck, what better way to celebrate your 90th, yes 90th, birthday with his two sons and his son-in-law (who knew his brother-in-laws before he was dating their sister).  Asked where they were from…the father said he was from Hot Springs, the others were from Iowa.  I made the comment that they (state park) should have a few benches along the way.  The father said, “Yep, in Hot Springs they have benches along all the trails, all in memory of someone.”  A son speaks up and says, “Well pop, if you don’t make it to the top, we will be sure to put a bench along this trail just for you!”  I went on ahead, looked back and took this picture, and I just had to call Marcia and share that joke with her.  After I got back to the motorhome, it was such a nice day we both sat outside for awhile, and we took  a drive around the park.  And that is the tale of one day…

Rainy Day in Arkansas, 4-13-2019

…and then there was today.  WINTER came back with a fury.  Rain, Cold, Wind, more Rain with occasional lightening and thunder.

Rainy Day in Arkansas, 4-13-2019

This is what the weather was like at 5 pm….it is now 8 pm, and other than the sun going down and the temps dropping 2-3 degrees, nothing has changed.  Other than when I let the dogs out, and emptied the garbage, we have been inside, heat pump on, oil-filled radiator heater going, just staying warm.

Rainy Day in Arkansas, 4-13-2019

They say Sunday will be a better day…hope so because we are meeting Marcia’s cousin over in Fort Smith for lunch.  Our hearts and thoughts, however, will be with Aunt Vera's family as they lay my sweet aunt to rest.  Our thoughts and prayers to all of my good cousins...