Hot Springs, Arkansas (Post #373) 8/5/2013

Mrs. Okierover picked Hot Springs, Arkansas for a short vacation this summer. As you may recall last year’s vacation was a 3900 mile jaunt to Glacier National Park. This year we decided to do something closer to home. Hot Springs is just a six hour drive if you pick the scenic route. Surprisingly Diet Mountain Drew made it almost an hour into the drive before he was asleep.

The drive in was not the one I planned. After a couple of wrong turns, the GPS was employed. The device had us driving all the way down to Broken Bow, Oklahoma and back up to Hot Springs. Not the prettiest drive.

As we turned northerly we watched the thunderheads rise and an impressive cloud to cloud lightning display. This only meant one thing, we would have some serious weather to drive through. It manifested itself in sheets of rain that double speed wipers were only just able to keep up with.

We followed what I figured was a local-yokel as he seemed to know the blind turns in the rain better than we. As we finally cleared the storm, we looked back to see he only had one headlight working. How he was able to see in that deluge was truly a mystery.

Our first day was a lazy day for the Mrs. and I. We took Diet Mt. Drew and his girlfriend to a water and theme park for the afternoon. We napped.

Day two we decided to rent a party barge and go tubing on Lake Hamilton.

El Capitan

Painful for my back, Mrs. Okierover found it therapeutic for hers.

Me and the Mrs.

That was a pretty good time.

We spent the rest of the day at Garvan Woodland Gardens. There was an art exposition of glass.

It was pretty. It was humid. Think Central American jungle humid with zero wind. We wandered around and enjoyed the quiet woods and gardens until the mosquitoes started in on us.

We ended the day with Pirate Cove Mini Golf. Your’s truly won by two strokes over Sadie, with Mrs. Okierover third and Diet Mt. Drew finishing last. A good time was had by all.

We spent our 24th wedding anniversary driving home. This time I had the route planned for some scenic driving. We skirted the lakes heading west out of Hot Springs and eventually made it to Highway 1 in Oklahoma. This is the Talimena Scenic Byway. This road is most popular in Autumn when the leaves are changing. It is truly a great drive. It is very popular with the motorcyclers.

When these vast stretches of timberland came up for auction only one bid was made. The National Park Service paid 1.42$(US) an acre. The land had been raped by forestry companies for years with absolutely no conservation effort made what-so-ever. Their operations consisted of showing up and running a rail line to the milling site. A boom town almost always followed. They would cut until it was no longer profitable and load everything back on the train and pull out. when they were through, it was a land of bare eroding hills, pock marked by fires and of little or no value.

On our way into the park, we came across this road side memorial to John F. Kennedy. It seems he was there to dedicate the opening of Highway 259 in October of 1961. There is a connection to the Knights of Columbus that I’m sure has more to it than the fact they asked him to come and they paid for the monument.

We stopped at Treats and Treasures in Talihena for lunch. Its an old fashioned soda fountain with a gift shop in the front. For the little town of Talihena it is a nice little place in downtown. I could retire to a town like this.

Ratty old gas station. I love it.

We got pulled over for speeding in Hartshorne, Oklahoma. It was a 45mph zone and I was probably going 60mph. I slowed down to 55mph when I saw the cop. He pulled us over and asked for my license. He said I was going “a little fast” back there. He then asked to see our insurance and asked if we were heading home. I was polite and answered all his questions with a “yes sir”. It took Janie quite a while to find the insurance form. I think he finally got frustrated with us and told me to slow down and let us go. He was respectful and very polite. I was impressed. He did have more tattoos than I’ve ever seen on a cop. If I were to guess, he saw the Marine Corps sticker, and hat and having served himself somewhere, he let us go. That’s my first pull over in over 10 years of speeding driving.

We continued on and turned north to Eufaula and then down Highway 9 to home.

It was a good weekend and we were glad to be home.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.