Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Little Rock: Don't forget to smell the roses

Our "home" for the last ten days has been Little Rock, Arkansas. We extended our stay due to some mechanical and weather "issues". Along the way, we are reminded that it is good to "stop and smell the roses". There is so much beauty and history waiting to be discovered in this cute town on the Arkansas River.

Our current hangout, Downtown Riverside RV Park, is located in North Little Rock and connected to the town across the river by the River Trail and pedestrian bridges. Since our leveling jacks are not working, we were grateful for the fairly flat lot...Doug's "marine grade" blocks of wood raised the front of the RV up just the right amount.

In the meantime, he tinkered, tested, researched, and figured out the problem with the leveling jacks (we hope). The new part, a "relay", arrived on Monday. Unfortunately, the current rain has prevented him from installing it to see if it is a true fix, but we will continue to keep our fingers crossed...and wait for drier ground. He debated taking it in to a repair shop, but Doug really enjoys and is very good at solving problems such as...
  • A little water coming through? He seals the joints.
  • A piece of food gets dropped behind the couch? He fishes it out!
  • My internet running slow? He power washes my chrome book!
  • A few (hundred) ants making their way in? He annihilates them!
So I have no doubt that he can level us out as soon as the ground dries out!

Speaking of wet weather....well, the Arkansas farmers are going to make us honorary citizens. This area has been in a serious drought with not a drop of rain for the last two and a half months. After our first couple of sunny dry days here, the rain started on Friday and hasn't stopped since. Someone asked me what we do when it rains? We grab our umbrella, rain jacket, and walk...lots of exploring to do in this historical city! We walked to Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of St Andrew, the oldest place of continuous worship in Little Rock.

The William J Clinton Presidential Center, located just across the river from our RV park, was another good rainy day destination.

I visited the Cabinet Room and Oval Office, but was too early for the White House State dinner...

There are many interesting exhibits like his honoring the "Little Rock Nine", recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal, but to be honest, I really enjoyed the exhibit that replayed some of the classic moments of President Clinton making fun of himself. He has quite a sense of humor as shown in the YouTube video "President Clinton: The Final Days".

Spent another afternoon at the Old State House, Arkansas first capital building.

Many issues were debated here ... and a lawmaker or two was stabbed in this chamber.

And yes, I was able to visit another state capital!

Studying the map, I realized that we were only an hour away from a National Park. Can't pass up an opportunity...so we took a day trip to Hot Springs National Park.

Hot Springs National Park is different from my previous experiences with National Parks. Instead of acres of natural scenery in the middle of nowhere, this is more of an "urban" attraction. The natural hot springs have been manipulated by humans through the years. They have been diverted into elaborate "bath houses" that attracted the wealthy and those seeking out the perceived healing properties of soaking in the 143 degree spring water.

Fortunately, the National Park Service was able to step in and help save the water quality making it possible to still drink pure 4,400 year old Hot Springs water. Wish I had brought a few more water jugs to fill up!

A walk along the Grand Promenade and along Peak Trail to the north mountain tower provided beautiful vista views. 

Back in the city, we refueled with a "Chocolate on Chocolate" and "Salted Caramel" cupcake from "Fat Bottomed Girls", one of the many touristy shops around.

Back in Little Rock, we have enjoyed biking the 16 mile River Trail loop in between rain drops, but we have realized that we can also "smell the roses" and have lots of fun when it is raining like...

...walks through Sculpture Park and viewing historical art at the Historic Arkansas Museum.

...."Happy Hour" at one of the many breweries. The Nighty-Night barrel-aged Imperial stout at Lost Forty Brewing would have gotten two thumbs up if Doug wasn't holding the umbrella at the time!

....Just spending time together in the RV doing "projects". 

OK, it is almost 12 noon and Doug is still in his pjs, but he is deep in thought contemplating RV repair solutions...

A classic of me and my siblings from 1971

....while I managed to scan in a very large box of old photos that I should not be carting around in a very small RV... 

The tourist information states that Little Rock is a great "foodie" destination". Doug, however, already has a darn good "live in" cook, so I can't really provide any restaurant reviews. But since you are still reading this long blog entry, I can provide you with a possible dinner recipe idea. A walk to the Farmer's Market on Saturday yielded yellow squash, tomatoes and basil that became a delicious, easy RV meal.

Creamy Tomato Basil Alfredo

1 chicken breast; cut up 
Yellow squash; about 1 cup sliced
2 garlic cloves; minced
1 can artichoke hearts; sliced
6 tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes); diced
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
Pasta; cooked

Cook chicken in olive oil. Add yellow squash, garlic, artichokes, tomatoes, and basil leaves; saute. Add Alfredo sauce. Heat through. Serve over pasta.

Little Rock has been filled with beauty whether the sun is shining or not. We are grateful to be able to "stop and smell the roses" wherever RVentures take us! 

Until next time, y'all enjoy the daily adventures in your life!
(like the Southern accent that I'm developing??)
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