Thursday, September 10, 2015

Little Rock, Arkansas

Sunrise over the Arkansas River --- taken from our campsite
Roger here...   After leaving Petit Jean State Park, we needed a place to hunker down over Labor Day weekend.  Finding places to stay during the three summer holidays usually require advance reservations.  We wanted to see the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.  Our Retama friends Eddie and Mary Catherine gave us a couple of suggestions.  One was a private park in North Little Rock across a pedestrian bridge from the Presidential Center.  The other was a Corps of Engineers park on the Arkansas River about 15 miles from the city (Maumelle Park).  We opted for the more rural setting.

 Our shady campsite backed up to an open field and had a view of the Arkansas River.  I am not sure I would want to be here during flooding season, but it was so peaceful during the time we were there.  

A ramp constructed of railroad ties connected our motor home space to our raised concrete and gravel picnic area.  It was shady for most of the day, so we spent quite a bit of our down-time there (until the afternoon heat and humidity forced us inside.

This is a picture from the back.  It was only $12/night with our National Park Senior Discount card.  Not bad...

... and a perfect place for the dogs, the cat, and us humans to relax in the shade.

Our stay at Maumelle Park was hot (mid-90s) and humid --- much more oppressive than the perfect weather at Petit Jean.  In order to get a decent walk with the dogs, we started after one cup of coffee, but before breakfast and computer time.  The park hugs the river for more than a mile, so it was simple to enjoy a two-mile walk before the temperatures rose.

7:30 a.m. on the Arkansas River



Maumelle Park is nicely landscaped

The walks always began and ended at the Little Rock Yacht Club which we have a view of from our site.  Lots of boats here, big and small.

Until we took our first morning walk, we were puzzled as to why the sites between our site and the river were vacant.  We discovered that these sites are reserved  for families who have patients at the nearby University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Center.  Nice.

Happy Medicare Birthday to Dianne
Dianne's birthday occurred during our stay.  I started the day by surprising her with breakfast --- Jimmie Dean Sausage and Egg Biscuits (freshly nuked). This picture was posted on Facebook and I received quite a bit of good-natured teasing for my lack of effort.  In my defense, we did have margaritas and a nice lunch at a Mexican restaurant.

We spent one day in Little Rock --- most of the morning at the Clinton Presidential Center.  

Disney-like animatronic dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period greeted us at the main entrance, from a temporary exhibit at the Clinton Library.  I liked this.  Remember, I used to be a science teacher.

I wish Dianne would not act so silly.

The dinosaur exhibit was scattered throughout the center.  I am not sure about how it connects to President Clinton.   I think I read about a new national park in Arkansas featuring dinosaur fossils?

The pedestrian bridge in the background in the photo below crosses the Arkansas River.  It is the bridge that connects to an RV park that I mentioned earlier.  It would have been a great place to stay, but not so great for walking the dogs.

We loved the reflection pool under the roaring T-Rex.

We expected the center to be interesting, and it was.  After greetings from three separate staff members (people in Arkansas are so very friendly), we looked at the Presidential limo.

Then we went up one level to watch a short video about the Clinton presidency.  A replica of the Cabinet Room was just down the corridor.

We purchased audio devices that synced with numbers on the various exhibits.  I am holding the device next to my ear in this picture.  The recording, made by President Clinton, clarified each exhibit and brought back many memories.

A long corridor on the second floor was divided into sections representing each of the eight years of Clinton's presidency.  It was filled with hand-written correspondences, videos, and artifacts --- a lot to take in.

Leaving politics and accomplishments behind, the third floor featured items of a more personal and social nature --- state dinners, holiday celebrations, gifts from foreign dignitaries, and of course one of Hillary's dresses.

This is the closest we will ever come to attending a White House dinner.

After passing through a few more dinosaur exhibits (interesting, but still incongruous), we entered an exact replica of the oval office as it appeared during the Clinton years.

The President's Desk

The entire facility seems to be open to the outside.  Most of the walls are floor-to-ceiling glass.  As we looked at this view of Little Rock, we talked about where we might have lunch.  We could have eaten at the Presidential Center, but we thought a visit to the River Market district along the river might be more fun.

Downtown Little Rock 

We talked with one of the museum volunteers and discovered that we could walk or take a free trolley.  Those of you who know us probably know what we did.  Despite the oppressively hot day...

... we walked.

We looked at the menus at several of the restaurants in this reclaimed area.  We opted out of greasy comfort food, outdoor (in the heat) food court food, and expensive food.

A Damgoode pizza pie and a craft beer sounded good.  I enjoyed an amber beer selection, but the most clever name was, "Red Ribbon Lager --- almost won the blue ribbon."

This photo of our pizza looks mighty good to me right now.  This was our last restaurant meal for a week.  Unfortunately, we have put on some pounds this summer.  We get plenty of exercise, but we have also eaten plenty of food.  

Right now we are in the early stages of a one-week cleansing diet.  We have done this two times before, and found it to be a good jump-start to healthier eating.

This was my breakfast yesterday (fruit day).  As I write this we are in the middle of vegetable day.  Five more days to go.  My stomach is growling.  I guess I will go eat another carrot.

(If you want to learn more about the 7-day Detox Diet we use now and then, we wrote a day-by-day blog about it a couple of years ago while we were in Washington State.   Here's a link to that blog entry:)

The pet pictures of the day are windshield shots of Charlie and Bandido.

Waiting for the rest of the family to finish their morning walk.
 "I am not going to walk on a leash.  After all, I am a cat."

"I did not want to go on the morning walk today.
 Dove hunting season started, so I went inside to hide under the table.  Dad turned TV cartoons on loud for me to muffle the gun shots, so I decided to come out and watch for them to come home."


heyduke50 said...

we planned to visit Arkansas early summer but it was simply raining too much so we moved on to Tenn and Kentucky

Mark from Missouri said...

Thanks for the lead on the National Park Pass. Had no idea it could be used at Corp. of Engineer parks.