The Greatest Road Trip USA? - Our Round USA Road Tour.
The State of Arkansas, USA
Part of a year long trip from Sept ’94 - Sept ’95 through 36 USA States and 2 Canadian Provinces by Jean and Graham Beven in ‘Serendipity’ their 30 foot Winnebago Chieftain.
Arkansas: Round Trip USA
We spent just 3 days travelling through the state of Arkansas, USA as there were only a couple of places on our must see list of places to visit.
There were however four National Wildlife Refuges, five National Parks and ---- State Parks in the state of Arkansas.
The State Tourist Office for the state of Arkansas, USA is: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism - One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201.
Sunday 2nd October 1994 - From Texas. Having just crossed the border at Texarkana into the state of Arkansas, our destination for the day was Hot Springs, Arkansas, a boyhood home of President ‘Bill’ Clinton and as the name implies a real source of hot water.
En-route we called in at a small town called Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of the same President. We followed the 'Presidential Tour' We visited two of his childhood homes and saw his elementary school.
We travelled on to Hot Springs and camped overnight at Riverside Paradise Park, a Coast to Coast resort – we cashed in our first ‘blue cards’ and paid a peak season supplement of $3 cash. The resort was very picturesque. The main attraction seemed to be boating. The facilities were good but we noticed a lack of a laundry.
After booking in we travelled six miles up the road we visited Old Washington Historic State Park, Washington, Arkansas – An outdoor museum complex with local Arkansas state houses of notoriety that had been transported from around the state and reassembled there. The park offers an insight into a nineteenth century American community. The park includes both historic private and public building. The original town of Washington was on the Southwest Trail to Texas (Now State Hwy 195) which runs right through the park.
The following day we paid our planned visit to the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. President Bill Clinton's ‘Home’ Town.
We took a self guided tour to see, and smell, the natural hot springs, of Hot Springs National Park, that were dotted about all over the town. The average temperature of the water was 145ºF. and naturally sterile. We visited the Fordyce Bath House Visitor Centre – Very interesting. Some of the water systems for use by the early devotees of hydrotherapy looked more like they belonged in a torture chamber. It was, and still is we guess, believed that the thermal waters had medicinal properties. At the end of Bath House Row there is a really great sight: The thermal cascade at the Arlington Lawn. There were various guides tours (that we over heard!) that were quite expensive, we thought, for what they were. The waters that gush out of the springs are more than 4000 years old and there is an average through flow of 3,825,000 litres or 850,000 gallons per day! The restored Fordyce Bathhouse in the middle of Bathhouse Row is the National Park Visitors Centre and well worth a visit. Film and exhibits there help orientate you and give you the full story.
Having seen all we wanted in Hot Springs, Arkansas we picked up our planned route again and headed off towards the Arkansas state capital Little Rock. Here we visited the Capitol building, a scaled down replica of the Capitol building in Washington DC. We had a walkabout in Little Rock, Arkansas and parked the motor home in Macarthur Park around tea time – there were squirrels everywhere you looked!
As an ex soldier Graham was, we were informed once that we may be entitled to use US military facilities (that didn’t have a totally restricted site) for overnight stops with an RV. Camp Joseph T Robinson was on the north side of Little Rock, Arkansas. This being our first attempt at gaining access to a US military establishment, we didn’t really hold out much hope. Apart from the difficult job of actually finding the army camp we had no problem gaining entry, Graham showed his British Army reservists ID Card. It would appear that for $6 a night any forces or ex-forces personnel could use these facilities. Other RV's were there some occupied the others looked like they were placed there in storage by residents of the camp.
4th October. We realised we were getting low on propane gas for cooking & central heating so went back into Little Rock, Arkansas to find some. The ‘Amerigas’ supplier we found gave us the US directory of propane suppliers as a god will gesture. As ‘Brit's on Tour’, we found that generally the American people that we met could not do enough for us. We seemed to get help from the most unlikely places. We found our little mascot on their car park, a little rubber squeaky toy brown bear. Graham had been looking for something he could use as a white line guide to stick on the dashboard, so that ‘Dippy’ didn’t wander too far off line and wander on to the hard shoulder! We nicknamed him ‘Steady Teddy’ as he kept us off the hard shoulder. Tanked up we found I-40 and headed for the Arkansas – Tennessee border. ‘Dippy’ has started playing up – we are having to pull over onto the hard shoulder and let the engine cool down – or so it seemed at the time. In fact it was flakes of rust from the inside of the steel fuel tank finding its way into the fuel line. We have called in to a few Chevy garages and up to this point no-one has charged us anything. Said goodbye to Arkansas, USA - Moved into Tennessee >>
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