Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We're Still Poor

September 29, 2015

Craters of Diamonds State Park
Murfreesboro, Arkansas

We were really looking forward to arriving here yesterday at the only diamond mine in the United States.  It is not only a goregous park with excellent RV facilities, but the diamond field is publicly assessible and you can keep whatever you find. 

I don't mean to underrate our prospecting skills, but let's just say the big ones are still there.

After an extensive mining expedition all we brought back to the camper was dirt.  I wish I had thought to bring some cubic zirconia and salt the fields.

Tomorrow we leave here and head for Texas.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Crystal, BBs & Peas

September 27, 2015

Park Ridge RV Park
Van Buren, Arkansas

Friday was filled with visits to the birthplace of Walmart, Crystal Bridges, Daisy Airgun Museum and a Civil War site.

A trip to Arkansas isn't complete without a stop at the first store owned by Sam Walton.  The store faces the town square and was originally a Ben Franklin franchise. 

This is a photo of the town square.  In the middle a large statue and fountain commemorate the area Confederate soldiers.

A large amount of art is sprinkled everywhere around the area.  I thought this outdoor sculpture offered a much better chance of scoring a basket than the typical one.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a spectacular art gallery developed by Sam Walton's daughter, Alice.  The very modern architecture is blended into the country side with many trails around outdoor sculpture and numerous streams and lakes. 
This large spider guarded an interior courtyard.

An original Frank Lloyd Wright house in New Jersey has been disassembled and transported to the museum.  At the present time it is being reassembled and will be open to the public in about a month.

There were lots of elderly men at this museum.  I think they were reliving their childhoods.

We were lucky that our stop at Pea Ridge coincided with their annual reenactment.  One reenactor told us he always slept on the porch because he thought the buildings were haunted.  They also played base ball but their rules were a little different than what the Roosters used to follow.

This nice little park was right next to our campsite.

Yesterday we started at the Ft Smith Visitor Center.  It is located in a building that used to be the premiere bordello in town.  It has been carefully restored and free tours of the building are given by the staff.

Considering the way the place was furnished, I think Miss Laura's business did very well.

This was the gallows at Ft Smith where 6 people were hung at one time.  "Hanging" Judge Parker dispenced a swift brand of justice.

After the courthouse was moved into town from Ft. Smith, this wagon was used to transport prisoners between the jail at the fort and the courthouse downtown.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Houses, Beer, Cycles & Vegetarian Horses

September 24, 2015

Blowing Spring RV Park
Buena Vista, Arkansas

I'm very embarrassed that it has been so long since I posted anything but we finally have a few minutes to spare so will try to catch up on our travels.

Most of our time was spent in Minnesota visiting with friends and family.  We learned two things this year.  It is a lot harder to keep up with two grandchildren than one and there never seems to be enough time to visit as much as we would like with old friends.  We really enjoyed our time there and at least have memories to last until next year.

After we left Minnesota we drove east to Wisconsin.  Even though we lived in Minnesota over 25 years, we never made it to the House on the Rock. Now we can say we have been there and won't have to go back for another 25 years.

 A much more enjoyable stop was Taliesen at Spring Green, WI.  Frank Lloyd Wright's residence was a very impressive 37,000 sq. feet.  The other buildings added another 75,000 sq. feet to the estate.  Even the chickens and horses lived in architectural splendor.  I can't imagine the cost of heating a place as large as this in Wisconsin.  No wonder everyone went to Arizona for the winters.

 Anything related to food usually catches our attention so we made sure to include the Mustard Museum near Madison.

It was such a nice fall day it was a pleasure to be outside.  Everyone else must have had the same idea because there were lots of people everywhere.

On the way back to our campsite from Madison we passed through the charming village of Mt. Horeb.  Trolls are everywhere along Main St. (the "Trollway").

 I assume the trolls live here.

On our way back we stopped at this roadside fruit market.  I have never seen a vegatarian horse before.  It must be a Wisconsin thing.

We didn't make it back to the RV without stopping for our cheese curd fix.  I'm surprised this guy wasn't wearing a Packer hat.

 From Spring Green our route took us to Milwaukee.  Everywhere we looked we saw Packer signs.  One would think that they were the only team in the NFL.  It would have been nice to see some of the Viking purple among all that green and yellow.

We felt a little out of place trying to find parking for our truck among all the motorcycles at the Harley-Davidson museum.
The very first motorcycle was built in a shed in the back yard of the Davidson family.  The company was started by four young men;  three Davidson brothers and their friend Harley.  I never did find out why Harley got top billing since the company was 3/4 Davidson.

 Dave liked this model.

This one was more to my taste.

 One thing Milwaukee has in abundance is beer.  We settled on the Miller Brewery to tour since it was one of the more historic sites.  I don't remember much from the tour - they gave out samples in regular size beer glasses.  After number four I was afraid we wouldn't find our way back to the truck.
Their tour bus was a little out of date.
One of the many caves at the original Plank Road site.

After Wisconsin we started south toward Arizona.  We are going to spend a few days here in Arkansas before heading to Texas.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Friends, Frogs & Reunions

August 6, 2015

Glo Wood Campground
Pendleton, Indiana

I haven't posted in the last couple of weeks because we have been visiting with friends along our way to Indiana and I never seemed to have enough time to write.  We are staying here until Saturday then we will be off to Goshen, Indiana for the FROG Rally.  After the rally, we will drive to Minnesota to see family.  We are excited to have both our kids and their families together for a mini reunion.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fossils and Flamming Gorges

July 25, 2015

BJ's Campground
Luske, Wyoming

We have been staying in too many deep canyons for a good Internet connection the past couple of days.  Today we are back to flat land so will try to catch up.  This week is Cheyenne Frontier Days so the state is full of tourists.  The ones that aren't going to Cheyenne seem to be on their way to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally.

Thursday we stayed at Ham Fork Grill and RV Park in Kemmerer, WY.  The pricing for the RV sites was a little unusual.  If you buy dinner in the restaurant the RV site is free, otherwise it was $20.

The first place we visited was Fossil Butte National Monument.  The opening of a new exhibit was being celebrated so not only was there a special speaker program, but food was also furnished! I can't remember the last time food was actually encouraged in a museum.

This town is the birthplace of James Cash Penney and the site of the first J.C. Penney store.   I remember his first business was a meat market on Main Street in Longmont, CO.  Unfortunately that business failed and he moved back to Wyoming and opened a dry goods store that eventually became the "Mother Store" for his retail chain.


Historic memorabilia decorated the inside of this still operating Penneys store.  Evidently there were only two people who were trusted to handle money so every time a sale was made, the money was transported to the upstairs office via this system and the change was returned to the customer in the same manner.
As we were driving through Flaming Gorge Recreation Area a truck pulling a fifth wheel passed us in a no passing zone going much faster than we thought safe.   A few miles later we saw him with a blown tire on the side of the road.

Even though we have about had our fill of canyons, rivers and dams we decided to check out Flaming Gorge before we headed east.

A pronghorn  was quietly enjoying lunch across from our RV site.  She didn't seem the least bothered by people and even starting the diesel truck didn't disturb her meal.

Naturally since the Green River runs through this area, there was another dam.

The water below the dam was very clear because the sediment settles in the lake.  I can see why the Green River is considered one of the best fishing areas in the country.  These fish were definitely keepers.  This is also a popular rafting area.

It's hard to see through the grass, but this herd of bighorn sheep was grazing by the visitor center.  The one that had been tagged looked like it was wearing red earrings.

More pronghorns.

We will be heading towards Nebraska tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mountains, Lakes and People

July 22, 2015

Gros Ventre Campground
Grand Teton National Park
near Jackson, Wyoming

Several days ago after seeing all the potatoes in Idaho we left for Wyoming.  Since then we have been enjoying all the beauty of Grand Teton National Park.

It took us about 2 minutes to check in at the ranger station but about another 20 minutes to listen to the bear lecture.  I don't know if that was the result of trouble with the bears or more than likely trouble with the tourists.

  This is our view from the camper.  In the other direction is a short walk to the river.


There is quite a bit of construction going on around here.  That backed up the traffic more than a bear sighting.  Several of the trails were closed while some improvements are made.  The final phase of a paved bike trail is also being completed.

Love the lakes!