Arkansas--Hot Springs, Little Rock, & Bill Clinton

Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
1
5
32
Trip End Jul 12, 2009


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Where I stayed
Cloud Nine RV Park

Flag of United States  , Arkansas
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DAY 12--HOT SPRINGS - Here we are in Arkansas...famous for Bill Clinton and Hot Springs, Spa City in the Ouachita Mountains. We are camped on top of a hill where the weather was sunny and breezy when we got here, but turned ugly Monday with clouds and off-and-on thunderstorms. The calls of the mockingbird, Arkansas' state birds wakes us. Can that really be only one bird? We spent the day in Hot Springs dodging the showers (why is it when you put the rain ponchos on, it always stops raining and you have to carry them the rest of the day?). The town is famous of its natural hot springs where the water emerges through cracks in the earth's surface at 143 degrees (so it's known as the "Valley of Vapors". The famous Duck Tour took us around town and Hot Springs National Park on a guided tour and then into Lake Hamilton around St. James Island. We learned that in the 20's and early 30's Hot Springs was an outpost for organized crime. At one point, it was known as the largest illegal gambling operation in the country and frequented by gangsters, such as Al Capone, Lucy Luciana, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie & Clyde. Several buildings and houses have escape pathways for Capone to use if the Law came to the front doors. Before the Duck tour, we visited the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum, really bad quality figures, not at all like Madame Tussaud's in London or Las Vegas.

Following the Ducky ride, we found Bill Clinton's boyhood home for a photo stop and then lunched at a better Mexican Restaurant called La Hacienda. Afterwards, we visited the Hot Springs National Park Visitors Center in the old Fordyce Bathhouse and walked part of the Promenade above Bathhouse Row. In the early 1900's (The Golden Age of Bathing) peopled traveled to the elegant bathhouses for therapeutic baths and spa treatments to improve their health or treat ailments. Trying out the natural hot springs, we could only keep our feet in 1-2 seconds; that water was HOT! (Ouch!) We filled our water jugs like all the locals at one of the thermal fountains with the fresh, clean, sweet natural spring water. By the way, the worst thing about TN was the taste of the water, so the AK water is remarkably better by comparison.

The night brought torrential rain and thunder, and we discovered some major leaks in the trailer that we will have to have an authorized Hi-Lo dealer deal with. We didn't expect all to go perfect.

DAY 13--LITTLE ROCK, AK - Not a lot to do in Little Rock located on the Arkansas River. It's a pretty nice looking small city, home to two notable sites: the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park and Central High School, famous for its role in school desegregation. In 1957, Eisenhower sent in Federal troops to control the mobs when the Little Rock Nine attempted to enter the high school as part of the phasing in of school desegregation. We hit both stops and particularly enjoyed the Clinton library, which has full size reproductions of the White House Cabinet Room and the Oval Office as it was during his Presidency. We closed out our stay in this area with dinner at McClards, the world famous barbecue restaurant in Hot Springs. It first opened in 1928 and was Bill Clinton's favorite. Our waitress Wyona has worked there 48 years and showed us her picture on the wall with Bill. Great barbecue and tamales in a down-home restaurant, a perfect end to our stay in Hot Springs/Little Rock.
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Comments

chicasarita
chicasarita on

Obama!
Why didn't you guys get in the picture with my man Obama?

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