Our next state, our 45th , was Arkansas. We drove on the country highways to get to Crater of Diamonds State Park. The drive was through rural AR and being spring, it was very green here too. This state park allows you to dig for diamonds and some semi-precious stones – Doug thought we might strike it rich. He brought a small shovel and off we went in to the sun into the digging field. Apparently about 600 diamonds are found a year but when we saw there are at least 600 people in the field, chances appeared slim. He dug for a while and although there are lots of shiny dustings, kinda like pixie dust, we found nothing but keep in mind, people who do find diamonds can look for days, digging, sifting and sorting. Someone found one late last month almost 4 carats!
We carried on off the main roads and made it to Hot Springs, the boyhood home of former President Clinton, and the site of a national park – Hot Springs which covers most of the downtown area of this town. Back in the 19th century, this area was known for the “restorative” properties of the waters here. The water that comes up the springs is over 4000 years old; came down as rain at that time and seeped into the rocks. The town is quite quaint and Bath House Row is being restored and reopened. The park has two bath houses open now and you get the “old time experience”. As we got the park in the later afternoon and the bath house was not opened on Sundays, we opted to go to one of the four hotels for the “bath” experience the next morning. That evening we walked around the village and then found a city park to park for the night.
Next morning, we went to the Springs Hotel Bath House where you get a twenty minute soak in hot, hot, hot water, then twenty minutes with hot packs while you lie on a table, next is 3 minutes in a steam room before a quick cooling (cold!) shower. Fran enjoyed the full experience while Doug found the water too hot and had to wait for it to cool. His surgeon had okayed him to submerse himself as long as he limited his time in hot water. He did. We then hiked to the peak of Hot Springs Mountain to the observation tower before heading towards the state capital, Little Rock.
That afternoon we toured the Little Rock Central High School Historic Site; this is the high school where in 1957 nine black students began attending a white high school and the event attracted worldwide media attention. It was very warm today; hit 88F/29C – at least it was a dry heat J. We also visited the state capitol to see the memorial statues of these brave teenagers. All nine of them went on to college and made things better for those after them.
We drove downtown and parked at the William Clinton Presidential Library (free!) and took a free shuttle downtown after taking a walk on the riverside trail including a walk across the pedestrian bridge. We found a restaurant with a view of the river and enjoyed some cold drinks and hot pizza.
We’ve been having some generator starting issues so we drove and parked near a repair place where we parked near a truck stop for the night. We got to the Cummins location first thing Monday morning and luckily they took us right away. The news was not good but at least it’s fixable and cheaper than a new one. They have to order a couple of parts and should be able to finish the job tomorrow. Lucky for us and other Rver’s, they have spots where RV’s can park and have water and electric for free. So we took the opportunity of the down time and did laundry and got a couple of hangers on our muffler replaced.