June 8, 2017
When I took these photos I didn’t understand the significance of this pagoda-like structure which is actually a gate (cultural sign of welcome) to the H.U. Lee International Garden in downtown Little Rock.
This park would have greater significance to devotees of the martial arts but I now wish I had gone in and walked around a bit as I’m sure it would be interesting (and probably equally photogenic) even for those of us not versed in the martial arts.
I am proud to say this is post number 999! I have been very fortunate to share lots of photos and stories in at least two years of traveling around the “lower 48” and thank all of you for playing along at home.
But wait… there’s more. I am going to take a short break to do some research for my upcoming trip to Acadia National Park in Maine and the Maritime Provinces of Canada (plus a little time in Quebec and Ontario provinces). I start that trip June 28th, 2019 (three weeks from the day I am posting this), which will be here before I know it, so I don’t want to put by remaining research off to the last minute.
Post 1,000 will be a recap of 2017 and 2018 (miles driven, days on the road, number of pictures taken, etc). I should have time before I head for Canada to post pictures of my week in the San Diego area which occurred in 2014.
And I still have pictures to post from 2015 and 2016. Those trips, mainly east of the Mississippi, were both done pre-blog and I do have some, but not as many, photos to post and stories to tell… eventually.
June 8, 2017
I spent the full day in Little Rock, exploring some city parks and a visit to my first Presidential library.
The Clinton’s actually have living quarters on the top floor but I believe they generally stay elsewhere.
The glass artwork shown above was a gift from Dale Chihuly, whose other work I have shown in several posts the last two years.
Other items I saw in the Library:
June 7, 2017
Today I drove over from Mena, AR and although I’d be spending the night in Little Rock I would spend most of the day in Hot Springs.
It stands to reason that Hot Springs is where you’ll find Hot Springs National Park.
(Photo credit: npmaps.com)
The Visitor Center for the Park (indicated above) is actually right on the main drag in downtown Hot Springs.
(Photo credit: npmaps.com)
Central Avenue is also known as “Bathhouse Row” for the large natural hot spring bathhouses which line the east side of the street, one right next to another:
The photo above is a former bathhouse and is now the Visitor Center for the Park.
After having lunch and walking up and down Central Avenue I drove on two scenic roads through various parts of the Park. From one overlook I took the following photo of the downtown area:
And this photo of Mountain Tower, which folks can pay to go up in to take panoramic photos of the area.
June 6, 2017
Time to say goodbye to Oklahoma and move one state east into Arkansas. To accomplish this I would drive about an hour east of Bartlesville, almost to the Arkansas state line, then south for several hours on some more scenic roads and finally a “primary” scenic loop which would ultimately take me to the tiny town of Mena in southwest Arkansas.
(Photo credit: lib.utexas.edu)
None of what I told you above is shown on this map except the destination of Mena, in the lower left side. Tomorrow I will be heading to Hot Springs, the next day a short drive to Little Rock, and then on to Memphis, Tennessee and east to home in Durham.
June 5, 2017
One of the things I discovered while driving around Bartlesville, Oklahoma was the campus of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, a private university. One of the most beautiful buildings I found on campus was the Administration & Library building, once a private mansion.
As I was driving back towards downtown Bartlesville I found the family home of Frank Phillips. He and his brother founded the Phillips Petroleum Company.
And as I got closer to the downtown area I saw the Bartlesville train station.
June 5, 2017
As I was driving towards Bartlesville in northeast Oklahoma I saw signs for a nature preserve in the area and after checking in to the hotel I’d be staying at I backtracked to check it out.
The town of Pawhuska is about 30 miles west of Bartlesville.
And north of Pawhuska I found the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, a 39,000 acre facility owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. This is the largest tract of tallgrass prairie remaining in the world and among other things is home to herds of bison, approximately 2,200 head.
I drove around for a while but never saw any bison up close. At one point I could see some way off in the distance but I didn’t know how to get there and was afraid I’d get lost and never get out.
In researching this post I also learned that this Preserve is also a home to the increasingly rare Greater Prairie Chicken.
(Photo credit: audubon.org)
These beautiful animals, a member of the grouse family, have an usual mating routine. The males have a large, orange air sac in their neck which they can inflate during courtship and which can emit a loud sound (these birds are nicknamed “boomers”). I found some videos on YouTube and watching their behavior, and the way they stamp their feet, is quite interesting.
(Photo credit: birdeden.com)
I didn’t see any of these during my driving tour either.
June 5, 2017
With apologies to the Black Panther movie franchise….
Today was a travel day and I headed out early to head northeast towards Bartlesville. I had seen big signs promoting the Luck Star Casino and it’s huge payouts to patrons. I was quite surprised to find this:
Not exactly the opulent excess I was expecting… And even though this was facing the road I was on I thought maybe it was the back of the casino so I went into the parking lot and drove around to the other side.
This post creates a dilemma. These images are labeled to indicate I took them on June 5 at 812am. In researching this post, however, I see that the Lucky Star Casino locations are all west of Oklahoma City, including the one in Watonga (and to their defense, most of their locations are more opulent than this).
I don’t remember exactly where I took these photos, or the exact route I took up to Bartlesville. I can’t think why I would have backtracked to Watonga (or El Reno, their location closest to OKC). Perhaps this was a temporary location further east which has since been abandoned. Nonetheless, I found this an interesting conflict with my usual image of casinos….