Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whirlwind of time….the good and the bad

It has been a hectic week and a half and energy for blogging was something I greatly lacked.


We were peacefully enjoying  Hot Springs Park when suddenly our cooling unit in the coach refrigerator started to fail.   In talking with a tech and doing some testing on our own we determined that it, in fact, was the cooling unit itself.   We had a small chance that the failure was in the electrical heating tubes of the refrigerator which would have been less costly…(not to be !!!!)

In as much as the temperatures were beginning to flirt with the high seventies and low eighties, I made the decision to cut our trip short and head straight North to Shipshewana IN where an Amish factory that builds new and improved cooling units is located.   I had been in contact with JC by phone and he said he would do his best to work us into his schedule on Monday or Tuesday.   The decision was an easy one…pack up and cruise North.


The evening before we left Hot Springs, a couple  pulled into the space next to us and low and behold, we were blessed with quite a shock.    As we watched them get situated, out of the truck steps a man with the same right side deficit from a massive stroke as Bob suffered.   I believe this incident was no accident.  Whether we choose to believe or not, in my opinion,  there definitely is a higher spirit in our lives.  Later, after they were settled in and outdoors,  I went over and introduced ourselves.   We shared a bottle of wine, talked, laughed and cried together for a few hours.   For me, it was the BEST moments of our travels.    I find it strange, we shared an instantaneous friendship  as if we had been life-long friends.    After a few hours it was decided between Sherri and I that next year we will travel in tandem to Lord knows where.   Icing on the cake????…   They also live in Michigan  !


Despite the looming weather in the Midwest this past weekend,  the southern winds at 20-30 MPH pushed us home quickly and our fuel mileage to a solid 12mpg….Woohoo!  

Several of Bob’s kids came over last night and got the well hooked up, water heater going, mowed the lawn, and started up the pellet stove once again.   It was a wonderful surprise,  even though we surprised them and snuck in a day earlier than expected.   We had a  nice time and Bob is thrilled to be home to see his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.




We have had a wonderful winter of traveling and although there were a few bumps in the road, I feel very fortunate to have made the decision we did to be “snowbirds” 


Life is Good

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Historic Fordyce Bathhouse


Since I posted a birds eye view of “bath house row” on yesterdays blog, I thought it would be fitting to post information about the inside of a bath house.    The rich and poor came many miles to experience the hot mineral springs in the 1800’s and the city of Hot Springs built up around them. 

Very early on the stagecoach would travel between Little Rock and Hot Springs bringing folks in search of healing waters.   It is a distance of 55 miles and would take one and a half days to travel.

In the early 1900’s eight very elegant bathhouses were constructed all in a row.  Only one, the Buckstaff Bath, is still in operation.

As luck would have it the Fordyce Bath House (the most elaborate) also serves as the visitor center.   The building has been renovated to it’s original splendor and a free self guided tour is available for viewing.   Today’s blog has quite a few pictures to upload, so I am posting them in small format.   For those that may not be aware, you may double click any picture and it will open for larger viewing.  The first pictures are of the main lobby which is marble with intricate tile flooring and stain glass windows.


The next  pictures  are of the women’s  bath areas, dressing rooms, cooling room, hydro-therapy and steam room.


IMG_0184     IMG_0185IMG_0180IMG_0224


even a beauty parlor…(little blurred)


The center section  of the main floor was a very large area for the men with a statue under a large stain glass canopy. 



The second floor housed both the men’s and women’s dressing rooms as well as a separate roof top courtyard area for nude bathing and a sitting parlor.  Interestingly enough the women’s nude bathing area was shielded from sunlight in order for them to retain the, then popular, fair skin.



The third floor housed the gymnasium and a music room for socializing .



How different life is today.  

Hot Springs Lookout Mountain


What a view we enjoyed from the Observation Tower at Lookout Mountain.  The above photo is a shot of the Historic Bath House Row, taken from the Observation Tower.   I believe that I read it is approximately 1100 feet up (not positive).  

The drive up to the top of the mountain is a series of switch back and pintail curves for about 2 miles.    The dogwoods are in bloom and it was a very pretty drive through the hardwood thickets.   As we climbed slowly in the car we passed a young gal that was jogging up the road.  She was going along at an impressive clip and passed us like a dirty shirt when we stopped for a restroom break

IMG_0163     You can see her chugging up the road…around the bend she went,  and disappeared !

The picnic grounds around the restrooms looked like a great spot for an afternoon retreat from summer heat.


Although the drive to the top is free, there is a small entrance fee (6.00/seniors) to enter the observation tower.   Folks can either climb steps all the way to the top or take an elevator.   The tower is 216 feet high.   Needless to say, we opted for the elevator, but the young gal that was jogging up the road flew up those stairs like she had wings.   


As I was standing and  looking out over the Ouachita Mountain range,  a bird soared  past my eyes.   I don’t remember ever having looked  a bird in the eye while it is in flight.  It just goes to show we are never too old to experience the wonders of nature.   I am just too old to react fast enough for the photo !!!!


The Gulpha Gorge National Campground is located just a short 2 miles from the downtown historic district.  We are camped just above the maintenance grounds you see center left of the highway.  It is a wonderful campground with full hook-ups and bordered by  a sparkling creek.   This is our second visit to the area and we enjoy it more and more each time.


……and around and around he goes…...where he stops nobody knows.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Safe and sound

To all of our family members and friends that sent us messages regarding the tornado's in Dallas...Thank you, we are fine and safely tucked away at Hot Springs National Park, AR.  We hopef our friends in Dallas didn't suffer any loss other than a few fingernails they had  bitten off.

 We spent last night near Texarkana, TX.   A  storm knocked out the park power for nearly 12 hours.   I am certainly glad that we have a heavy duty generator on board...we made good use of it.  

All is well and we will post something to the blog soon.   Have a good night.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Quiet Peaceful Beautiful Morning


Many mornings seem to start with a bang and I many times feel as though I hit the floor running.   Strangely, the past several days have begun on a much slower pace.   I am not sure for what reason ,however,  there is a difference and I am ever so thankful for the change.


We are enjoying another Corp of Engineer’s Park on the Texas/Arkansas border.    This park is considerably larger and busier than the others we have recently called “home”.   Possibly the increased activity has entertained Bob a bit more which has released my responsibility in that area. 

One of the things that has been on my bucket list this entire winter was to simply sit outdoors, enjoying a bonfire, and watching the night skies.   I am pleased to say I can now cross that off my list.   Strangely, as simple as  this may sound to many of our the folks out in blog land,  it became a difficult thing to achieve for us.   Temperature fluctuations are often times a challenge to overcome for a post stroke victim.    In our case, there is no NORMAL.   What often times is cold to Bob is perfect for me..and when he finally warms up I am suffocating.

Yesterday afternoon as the weekend campers  returned to their homes, several had left small piles of firewood behind.    It did not take me long to snatch some of it for my own selfish pleasures…..our own personal campfire.!


Last night could not have been  more perfect.   After struggling with emotional ups and downs lately,  I made the decision to simply do nothing.   “Nothing” turned out to be just what the Dr. ordered.   I managed to build a lazy fire that we enjoyed well after sundown as we sat under the night skies sharing a big bowl of  popcorn.    

Early this morning I came out to find the fire still had some burning embers….and I once again am enjoying yet another fire.     Simply wonderful. 

Thanks for stopping by…