2017 Aug 20 – Hot Springs, AR to Minden, LA

Today was pretty much a driving day.  There were two things I wanted to see near Camden, AR but one was closed and the other we couldn’t find.  So….there is nothing very interesting to report.

We left Hot Springs, Arkansas at 10 am and continued southward.  In the two days since we left Branson, Missouri we have driven almost straight down the middle of the western half of Arkansas.

Coming out of Hot Springs we passed a large lake which, obviously, adds a lot of appeal to an already popular vacation spot. It may be Lake Ouachita, but I am not sure. It was a nice day – as long as the truck was moving.  The temperature was pretty high, not sure what, but higher than a normal mid-August day according to the clerk in a gas station, and the humidity had to have been close to 90%.  Since Poppy’s air conditioner conked out in Saskatchewan we have to rely on open windows to keep cool; which works as I said, as long as we are moving.  The black interior and black leather seats turn into a sauna as soon as you stop or have to put the windows up.

We enjoyed the wider open spaces on this southern half of the Scenic Highway 7.  We could see farms and meadows and small lakes and rivers.  Much more scenic to me than trees on both sides of the road mile after mile.

As usual we found a few geocaches.  These Arkansas cache hiders are tough though. Even a cache called a quick Park And Grab, takes some searching to find.  We stopped at several caches throughout the day and only found five.DeGray Lake was another large lake in southern Arkansas and also a popular boating and camping area. Most of the photos I took were quick snaps out the window of the big stately houses in the towns we drove through.  There were some gorgeous properties. I can’t imagine what the upkeep and maintenance costs would be though. At Camden, AR I wanted to tour the 1847 McCollum Chidester House but it is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays so we were only able to walk around a little.  Since Poppy was parked in the shade we decided to have our PB&J sandwiches for lunch before moving on. I thought the last paragraph on the sign very interesting.  Arkansas became part of the United States on July 15, 1836 but it was very much a cotton economy with slave-based labour so the state seceeded on May 6, 1861 and backed the Confederacy in the American Civil War.  After much debate, re-structuring and a questionable election Arkansas re-entered the US on June 22, 1868.  However between the costs of war in production, materials and men the Arkansas economy did not really recover until the 1940s.

I think this big bull may be a barbecue.We found a cache in the Welcome to Arkansas sign on the other side of the road from the Welcome to Louisiana sign.Since our planned stops were no-shows our arrival in Minden for the night was 4 pm instead of the expected 5:30 or 6.  There is a nice paved street down the middle of downtown Minden.Tomorrow we head west into Texas, to Paris, no less.  John is still working on our itinerary from there.  I am trying to figure out how we can get to Carlsbad Caverns in southern New Mexico but it is a logistic  problem to also get to Oklahoma.   We end up going north quite aways to get into OK before having to go southwest to be able to go into NM near Carlsbad.  Or, we have to drive east quite aways in northern NM after going to Carlsbad to get into the OK panhandle.  We will have to see if we can do it.  I suspect it would just add too much driving so my bet is on the original plan to go north up through Oklahoma before heading west into northern New Mexico, and from there to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Sigh.  Carlsbad will have to be another road trip if that is the case.


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