Friday, May 14, 2021

Exploring NE Arkansas

Sometimes as we travel we come upon things that delight us and remind us why we leave the comfort of our homes.  That, I am happy to say, is what made me forget my loneliness these past few days.

 The geese have babies and they are not shy.  Craighead Forest is a city park in Jonesborro, Arkansas.  It has a lot of visitors every day walking the shore-line path around the lake.  Some of the visitors toss out bread crumbs.  I want to tell them, "Don't feed the wildlife!"


Bread isn't good for their health and the Canadian Geese will continue to multiply and not migrate.  But it is fun to get up close to their fuzzy babes.

I took some pictures of the elaborate play grounds so that you get an idea of the high-quality and diversity of the fun available to children here.


I rode my bike on the trail in the park.  The trail took me out of the park about 1/2 mile.  I went by a cemetery and went in to explore.   One family of visitors loved trinkets.  Old ones were thrown over the fence littering the ground.

One headstone was so obscured by lichen that I was curious.  So I spent some time with a stick grinding off the lichen.  It said that John died on Feb. 21, 1880 at age 57.


I had mentioned the beaver here on the lake.  I thought beaver only made their dam in streams to create the ponds.  But the one by the campground is right on the shore, next to that hiking trail.  Each evening the beaver can be seen swimming in the lake.   I went down one evening and watched as it swam out to the area of another beaver in the next bay over.  I thought I might see a fight or some romance, but they just got in view and then went off to their separate locations to gather branches.




The following day I drove the 20-30 minutes to a short trail that I had found on Traillink.com.  This year I paid for the app so that I could find trails around me to ride as I travel.  The trail was just under seven miles long.  It starts in Hoxie and ends up at Williams Baptist College.

Googlemaps was a few blocks off, but the town was small, I didn't worry.  I found what I thought was close to the start.  It looked like they were just building a parking area for the trail.

 
  

 Shortly after I started riding I saw a crew cutting up a tree on the ground.  Then I started to notice there were quite a few trees on the ground.  A tornado must have torn through here recently.  I saw businesses and a whole strip mall with roof and walls torn up.



Hoxie started out in a poor neighborhood with houses needing painting and repairs.  But soon I was going by big brick homes.

The area was very flat, I had already learned that they grow lots of rice in this area.


As I was riding through the rice fields that were just sprouting, a bright yellow single engine plane swooped over the field and sprayed chemicals on it.  I stopped and put my Covid mask on, hoping for some protection.  From then on I noticed the constant buzzing of these small planes swooping down, steeply banking on the turns, and then rising up to treat another field.

Way too soon I hit the end of the trail... well not quite.  I could see the end of the trail on the other side of this bridge.  It was even too spongy for me to feel safe enough to walk across it.



There was a turn off just before the bridge, that is what took me to Williams College where I was happy to find a ball field with the restrooms clean and open.  Thank you!



 The journey back was going to be over too fast.  I was out of coffee.  I turned in to ride around Walnut Ridge in search of a cup.  I pulled up to the Chamber of Commerce and saw it was also the Amtrak station.

Next to it was a memorial of some kind.  I figured it was a veterans memorial.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it was Commemorating Hwy 67 as the Rock n Roll highway.  Performers drove down this highway to different venues on their tours.






The image on the video below didn't come through.  Here is the link.

I pushed a button and the music played and I began to bounce around.  I thought of my brother, Larry, who is a huge old music of the 50's and 60's fan.  He also likes to visit quirky places.  This should be added to his list of places he wants to but probably never will visit.  You were here in spirit, Larry!

The display also said there was an Abby Road in Walnut Ridge with a Beatles display.  First I rode around to find coffee.  Oh my!  I got a sinful frosty mocha coffee treat instead.


Three of the Beatles came through town to jump on a puddle hopper plane to get to a secluded destination for some R&R.  The sound of a bigger-than usual jet landing sent three teens to investigate and found them getting on a plane.  I think it was Paul that didn't do small planes and rode in a truck instead.


So that is this small town's claim to fame.  Fun!

I finished my ride and drove to a State Park nearby.  Lake Charles.  On the way the road that ran next to the black river sometimes floods, and the forests next to the road was flooded this day.  The current was very swift.

The route there took me on a winding Hwy 25 where I couldn't pass up a small state park that was historical.


There were two huge tall pillars on either side of the bridge.  Weird, I thought maybe a bridge or place to drop cargo (like grains) onto ships.

A kiosk told the story of the judge that sentenced murderers to be hung until they were "dead, dead, dead."  The hanging tree used to be right by the old jail.  It wasn't until the 1920's I think that any washing and sewage facilities were added to the jail.  It must have stunk!


Then I saw a kiosk that explained that the big pillars were for a swinging bridge they built in hopes of bringing people to their town once the railroad detoured around them.  It didn't work to revitalize the town.

Lake Charles is a large man-made lake with a small beach and nice campground with electric and water.




When I started my walk on the paved trail I scared up a brown snake about two feet long.  Later I spied one curled up on a log with a turtle.



Trees of two different species hugging for life.


So that was a awesome day of discovery.  I am still missing my social time.  Judy has been too per-occupied with her son.  Though I did get to have a somore she made for me.  I did get to chat (standing) on my awesome day with a couple that are camping here to visit family.  They have a cute five-month old doggy that is a bit barky and scared.  But once he warms up to me (which takes time each time we meet) he will lay leaning against my foot.

In response to my request for some volunteers to read through the rough draft of book three I got one volunteer so far.  I am pleased that Sandy took the challenge.  She is a writer herself!  Do I have any other takers?

It is about 45 degrees at night and warms up into the sixties during the day, maybe hitting 70.  I have been outside exercising and writing all day.  Time to go for a walk or bike ride around the park.  I have two more nights here, then off to a place in Missouri along the crystal clear Current River.  It might be too cool to float in the river, but I do hope to kayak.




4 comments:

  1. Hi Sue. I think sometimes rice fields are seeded by airplane. Ruth

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    1. In this case, Ruth, I don't think they were planting since the rice was already sprouting in neat rows. I saw the planes again on my drive toward the Ozarks today. Spraying yellow billowing liquid or powder.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog for the day. You are discovering some of the fun of wandering around the country discovering quirky places and little towns. Keep on enjoying your adventures and learning something new each day.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for following along, Ann. Travel discoveries are fun even solo, but twice as fun when shared with a friend. Though writing about it to you is not the same as having you or someone next to me to help me read the map or giggle or smile over a discovery. I appreciate the readers that share a bit of my experiences. Thank you.

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