Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

I have tried and tried to transfer the pictures to no avail.  So I will just be writing about what we have done and where we are to date.

We visited the park some years ago but decided to visit again while we are here.

The Visitor Center is located in Fordyce Bathhouse on Bathhouse Row right in the middle of the busy downtown area.  It is a beautiful building where we took the self-guided tour.  In the men's bath, there is a beautiful stained glass ceiling in the middle of the room over a nice statue of DeSoto and Pocahontas.  Sorry no picture to share.

There are nine bathhouses on the "row" with only two that are active...The Quapaw and The Buckstaff.

Hot Springs Mountain Drive is a narrow, windy road that we took to the top with a beautiful view of the town.  We took the elevator to the top of the 216 foot observation tower.  It happened to be a very windy day and we felt a sway of 3 inches and let me tell you, it was a swayin'.

We had our first taste of Mexican food at Jose's which came highly was okay.  Then we found a barbeque place for sliced BEEF brisket.  It sure wasn't like our good ole south Texas barbeque!!!

While at the park for three days, we started talking about a new rv again.  Should we, shouldn't we.  We had a week left before we needed to be at Santa Ana, so we tossed a coin again.  Chanute, Kansas or go south?

Come back later for the answer.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking Care of Business

The reason we stopped here in Arkansas for a few days is to check on our property in Hot Springs Village.  While we were gone this summer, we got a letter letting us know there was a tornado that went through there causing some damage with downed trees and we needed to clean up the lot.  It was a form letter and all lot owners got the letter, so since we were headed this way, we could stop by and take a look.

It is a gated community and this is the entry.

With this water feature to one side.                    

This is the way the roads look inside with a lot of ups and downs.  A few leaf colors.

Here is our property.  #4 Jubileo in Saline County near Balboa Lake.  We were lucky in that there was no downed trees or damage to clear.  Not so across the street.  It has been 7 years since we visited.  I don't know if we will ever build here but it is nice.  It is a nice community with many amenities.

We have a neighbor!!!  A new home on our street.  We did not get to meet them as nobody was home.

Time to get out and about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Continuation, And Then on the Road Again

A Green Heron.

A female Eastern Towhee.

How about a Gray Squirrel munching on acorns.

These cute critters were seen as we walked about the park.

We spent 7 days at Defeated Creek Campground on Cordell Hull Lake, an Army Corps of Engineers Park.

It took us awhile to figure out this crop...tobacco!!

Then we saw this barn with these clusters of things hanging upside down.  It was tobacco.  We had never seen this before.  The barn was full of it.

How about a mansion on a hilltop.

Follow along now as we leave Defeated Creek October 16th.

We are now crossing the Tennessee River putting us more than halfway across the state on I 40.

Now we are crossing the mighty Mississip'.  I was so busy taking this sign that the picture of the river was blurry.  Hey Teri...I take these kind of pictures too.

The night of the 16th we are spending  in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Forrest City, Arkansas.  Easy to get in and out of being that it is in a small town.  As you can see, we were the only camper there.  I always check to make sure it is okay with the store before we do this.  A very nice night.

Now it is the 17th and we are camped at Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

This is our site where we have full hook ups.  We will be here for three days and will have more about this area tomorrow.  See ya then. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Corps of Engineers Park

October l0, 2011, we are now in Tennessee

I'm really getting the fever now...we are heading home.
BUT it is still really hot down there.  So we will stay a few more days at another Corps of Engineers Park near Nashville.  We have done the Nashville thing, so we skip all that and just veg out while here.

This is the pay station before entering the park.  That's Wallace talking with the host.  We had just walked over to the marina for some catfish!!  Do you know how long its been since we have had some good ol' catfish?!  TOO LONG.

Our site at Defeated Creek Campground with Cordell Hull Lake in the background.

This is the beautiful sunset the first night we are here.  Red skies at night, sailors delight.  This was taken from our front door.  I was already dressed for bed and could kick myself for not getting down to the water for a better picture.  I thought there would be more opportunities....wrong!!!

Another view of the park.  This will be continued tomorrow.  See ya then.

Pardon me while I Wax Poetic

I see beauty in the dried stalks of the undulating   cornfields, and brown rolled bales of hay scattered over a field of green.

The black and white Holsteins feeding on the hillside.
Small towns nestled in low lying valleys with church steeples peeking above the treetops of Autumn colors.

The vultures circling above, their black silhouettes against distant white clouds, making their way south just like us.

The colorful pumpkins in the farmers field waiting for the children to take home to carve for Halloween.

Neglected barns and abandoned houses that were once functional, now forgotten.

Streaks of white from the silver jets exhaust crisscrossing against the cloudless blue sky.

White plumes of smoke from the old locomotive as it chugs its way through the countryside.

Even the kudzu, like invading monsters, forming massive columns by vining around the trunks of trees...snuffing out the lives of the massive giants to form giants of their own.  I find myself finding all kinds of forms and giving them names, just like the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.

Hues from distant mountains  creating different shades of blue.

Bluish gray berries of the Juniper trees, a pretty color indeed.

Winding roads and meandering fences..all so beautiful!

My thoughts upon leaving Pennsylvania October 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yeah for US Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds

As we left Raystown Lake October 8, 2011, I noticed a big white cloud of smoke in the trees.  My first thought was a fire...but no, the smoke was too white.  Then I noticed a train track.  Oh, I must get a picture for our grandson, Joaquin.  He loves trains!!! 

It was the East Broad Top, a steam locomotive that takes passengers on a little ride from the  town of Orbisonia, Pa.  Lucky we found a pull off on this narrow stretch of road.

Then we were in Maryland.

Next West Virginia.....

Now Virginia, with the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains in the distance off I 81.  Dang, we are getting on down the road.

Just a pretty scenic picture to share.

The night was spent at a Flying J in Wytheville, Va.  Again, it is a nice spot even if a little unlevel. 

Tomorrow we have other places and scenes to share.  You won't want to miss.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Potpourri in Pennsylvania

Skyline of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with the Capitol Building in the center as we cross the Susquehanna River which empties into the Chesapeake Bay.  That river runs the entire state of Pennsylvania...and it was HIGH and flowing.

Lancaster County is known for its Amish population and our trip here would not be complete without seeing this site.  I was just commenting how I wanted to see this when happened!!  I would not go so far as to take a facial shot as I know they shun that.  I did look and smile as we passed him, a young man about 18 years of age.

We just had to stop to purchase some locally grown fruit.  Pears for Wallace and apples for me.  I usually buy Gala, but I wanted to try something different.  The lady convinced me to try Ambrosia.  It is a juicy, crisp and somewhat tart apple.  I still prefer Gala.

I have tried several times to apply the picture of a good restaurant we found here in Huntingdon, and an error keeps occuring.  Anyway, it is called Hoss's Steak and Seafood.  Much like a Golden Corral or Ryan's.  You can bet we will find the good places to eat along the way.

With everything accomplished that we set out to do in this area, it is time to mosey on southward.  Our next stop will be somewhere in Tennessee.  We shall see, will you?

The Sweetest Place on Earth

A day in chocolate world...Hershey, Pennsylvania!!!

The first thing on the agenda was the tour of the candy making process from the cocoa bean to the packaging.  We boarded little moving carts that took us through each step.  These lovely little ladies sang about how fresh milk made the difference.  They used to use wax as an ingredient.  Yuk!!

Next we took the Trolley Tour of the town.  All aboard!!  By taking this tour, you find there is more to the story than CANDY.  We learned a little bit of the man, Mr. Milton S. Hershey himself.  He started out making caramels and failed several times before his success.

This is Hershey's boyhood home.  Both ends of the two story house have been added.

A view of the Hershey stacks, a part of the candy factory, with some of the flood waters left over from all the rain they have had.  This area was under water for a while.

All along Chocolate Avenue you will find Hershey kisses street lights.
During our tour on the trolley, candy was passed around.  When we disembarked, we each were given a chocolate Hershey bar.  Our guide was very knowledgeable.  She said, "Hershey can give hugs and kisses,  but our competition can only give snickers".

What impressed us the most was Mr. Hershey himself.
He built the town and his legacy lives on.

We made a stop at Founders Hall.  A beautiful building on the grounds of the school Mr. Hershey built for orphaned boys.  It now accepts both genders from kindergarten to graduation and is for underpriveledged children.  It is a trade school.  On the grounds are million dollar homes built to house the students.  They have house parents, and there are strict rules they have to abide by.  I could go on......

This is their middle school.  Up on a hill looking down on the town.  It looks like a castle!!!  I thought it surely must be the Hershey Castle.

But this was their home.  "Kitty", his wife died early in life.  They were each an only child and had no children of their own.  He never remarried.  When asked if he would remarry, his comment was "I like little old ladies and little children, and nothing in between".

Mr. Hershey had little education, but he learned a trade.

During the Great Depression, no one in Hershey lost their job.

What an inspiring story.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


After a three hour drive through some beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, we arrived at Gettysburg to see and learn more about the Civil War.

This was our first stop as we drove into town to get information and a map.

At the Visitor Center, Lincoln was taking a break under the shade of a tree.  Looks like he has his famous speech in hand.

We arrived just in time to purchase our tickets which started our tour off by viewing the Cyclorama.  This is in a round room on the second floor.

The "Battle of Gettysburg" was painted over 100 years ago by Paul Phillippoteaux with the help of l6 others.  Scenes like this are continuous around the room.  While standing in the middle of the room, you are free to move about to get a better view of the scene that is in the spot light with sound effects of the soldiers while cannons are blasting and muskets firing away.  You feel like you are there!!  It is beautifully done!!  It depicts the death and destruction of the Civil War in the area known as "The Valley of Death".  The original painting took two years to complete and the canvas weighed about 6 tons.

Next was our bus tour of the battlefield.

The red brick building was the home of David Wills, an attorney, where Lincoln was invited to spend the night before his famous speech.

 This is Soldiers National Cemetery.  Somewhere in the background by the monument is where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address on November l9, l983. 

This is a statue you can see at the North Carolina monument at Little Round Top.  Borgland, who is the sculptor responsible for Mount Rushmore, did this one also.  I only captured faces which were sculpted after real soldiers.

At Little Round Top, you are looking down on an area known as The Valley of Death.  Devils Den is on the left side where all the boulders are located.  The Confederates were in those rocks.  This field was left with 4000 dead and wounded.  Total casualties (killed, wounded, captured, and missing) for the three days of fighting were 23,000 for the Union army and as many as 28,000 for the Confederate army.  The houses you see were there when the war was going on.  Can you imagine a war going on in your backyard!!!

This is the Eternal Light Peace Memorial dedicated to ALL the soldiers.  1800 Civil War veterans helped dedicate this memorial to "Peace Eternal in a Nation United".

After all this we had the museum left to do.  We were tired and hungry by then.  We hurriedly went through it but didn't do it justice.  You just can not do it all in one day.

We want to give THANKS to all our servicemen and women who do their jobs keeping us safe.

Where will the road take us next......hmmmm.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Continuation.......

A view of the lake from the observation deck of the Visitor's Center showing the marina.

Some beautiful fall foliage.  They say in one more week it will be at its best.  We won't be here though.

The lake has 8300 acres of water with 118 miles of shoreline.  The fish are striped, largemouth and smallmouth bass, muskie, walleye, and crappie.

These cute little chipmunks are all over the place.  It has an acorn in its paws, storing up fat for the winter.

This is one thing you don't want to encounter while strolling in the woods.  We did...on part of the Appalachian Trail...and let me tell you your heart will beat right out of your chest!!!

We will be visiting a very special place next.  Come on back and follow along with us.  Looks like we have mastered the problem we were having...we shall see.