Grandpa’s Memories in Arkansas

Travel Journal – June 10th, 2015
Traveling Arkansas Highways

Traveling Arkansas Highways

I’m always concerned about the weather on traveling days. Mostly the wind. We wake to another pleasant travel morning. I prepare the Coach for travel and hitch up to the Workhorse.

Before I pulled out I spoke to our hosts wishing them continued success. Jagger and I had a pleasant, restful stay here.

We continue to take our time due to the bad weather in the Central and Eastern United States, but we did pass through Oklahoma pretty quickly.

There seems to be a brief break in the weather and I am hoping it holds out. In the meantime Jagger and I continue exploring new areas as we go, but we are on a mission to see the East coast this year and we got a late start.

As we pull out and onto Interstate 40 headed east we encounter more pot holes. They seem to start coming more often as I enter Arkansas. It’s almost impossible to even drive in the slow lane!  At times I am driving part of the paved shoulder to avoid the holes.  These are huge and rough on my truck and Coach, but on we trudge.

Jagger and I arrive safely at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas
Our home base for the week

Our home base for the week

We will be staying here at Crystal Springs Campground for almost a week, relaxing under the trees and watching ripples on the lake from our camp.

How do you know your in the Ozarks? Label changes

How do you know your in the Ozarks? Label changes

When we arrive at the main entrance, the gate was closed. Well that’s confusing Jagger. I stop and walk around the gate and over to the Rangers Office where the host is on duty.  They act like this is normal. Hmm, a little confusing for me. What? yep underwater.  Two thirds of the campground is flooded, looks like up to fifteen feet. Fortunately the site I picked was high and dry, but accessible from the auxiliary entrance just down the highway a piece.

After checking in I’m told I need to go back to the highway and use the auxiliary entrance. A little precarious, as I have a thirty-two foot fifth wheel behind my truck and no turn around! I had to back up, out onto a highway with some light traffic and Jagger refused to be my spotter out in the street.  Anyway we made it with no major events, whew.

After so much traveling it will feel good to hang out with no plans for a few days.  As much as I enjoy driving it does take something out of you.

BTW: For those who like to fish, they are biting! This is supposed to be one of the highest rated fishing areas on Recreation.gov. Yesterday I saw several big ones pulled out right in front of the Coach that were at least 16″, that’s no fish story. 😉

Roots

I wanted to see Arkansas myself after hearing many stories my Grandpa told me about his youth here near Little Rock when I was young. I had no clue which springs they were just that it was a beautiful place that had springs and he and his friends would play in the water.

It sounded so intriguing and I had to choose a place, at least with the name that included “Springs”.  As it turned out there was a place only thirty minutes from here that was said to have an awesome springs. That’s it Jagger, we need to see it.

This morning we woke and after accomplishing our routine tasks it’s off to Three Sisters, a thirty minute drive and we arrive to a disappointment.  After going into the visitors center they explain the Three Sisters Springs were flooded and damaged from all the storms that passed through several weeks ago. The construction crews were working on them, but they won’t be done before we head out to Tennessee.

The Three Sisters

I pick up a brochure and even the pictures of the Three Sisters Springs are a little disappointing.  It turns out the original owner sold the springs in 1883, again it sold in 1904, and once again 1907 to someone who commercialized the property and sold the water for all kinds of cures. My Grandpa was born in 1898. If this was the place he had played as a young boy, it probably hadn’t been commercialized at that point.  I know he left Arkansas at a young age.

In 1954 the Army Corp of Engineers bought the property and merged the springs into one and designed the water to be one the streams that fed Lake Ouachita.

On the way back home Jagger and I drive through Hot Springs, the city and the National Park which is located almost in the city.  Again we didn’t discover much there, other than a nice view or two.  Hot Springs would be a nice place to explore, but it was way to hot to leave Jagger in the truck, even for a short time so we head on home and call it a day.

Until next time, Safe travels … Gary

More Photos: Crystal Springs 

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