"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, May 1, 2017

Arkansas!

Murfreesboro, AR
Old Cowhide Cove Campground



Before we crossed over the border into Arkansas, we stopped at the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, LA. We found this on the Roadside America website that I heard about from my friend Trace.  You'll find all kinds of kooky roadside attractions here.  Check it out sometime.  You may find something neat that is close to you.

 
The museum opened in 2005 in a building that used to be Ma Canfield's Cafe, the last place visited by Bonnie and Clyde before they were ambushed. They got two sandwiches to go, went down the road eight miles, and got killed by 130 rounds of ammo.  The museum charges $7 each, cash to get in.  It has quite a collection of memorabilia, stories, movies etc.  Some are replicas, like the car and many others are real.
A replica of the original car.

The original Remington.

A poem Bonnie wrote herself.  They were not buried together though.

 
A picture from what was collected in the car and a bottle of Bonnies perfume.
The perfume bottle is the owners favorite possession of thousands in the museum.

 Bonnie & Clyde

 A few miles outside of town is the actual place the ambush happened.  There is a marker and a plaque.  Apparently the marker has been shot at, written on and even has chunks chipped off all around the edges of it from vandals.
  
We really enjoyed the museum.  It made us want to get a hold of a DVD of the movie and watch it again.  It's been years since either of us have seen it.  Interesting way to end our time in Louisiana.


This was a tiny town and if you sneezed you would've missed it.  There was a geocache hidden at the base of the sign.  Dang.  Now Rhinestone Cowboy is stuck in my head!
 
We would be staying at a COE (Corp of Engineer) park called Old Cowhide Cove.  The COE parks are very impressive.  They are always on lakes or rivers and are very well kept, usually have electricity and are inexpensive.  We had a reserved a nice spot on the water.  With all the storms that have hit Arkansas this past week we soon found our spot was actually IN the water!
 
Uh-oh.  No problem.  We are the only ones here so we were able to pick another spot.  At the end of the road was a gorgeous spot that sat on a small peninsula by itself.

 

 
Site #45.  Water and electric and 3 bars of Verizon LTE.  Heaven.  We would get our fishing licenses on-line and head out tomorrow if the next storm didn't come too early.
 
We met a very nice couple, Dave & Brenda.  They live nearby and came over to do a little fishing.  They also own a restaurant in town called the Rattlers Den.  They were very nice and gave us lots of tips on where to catch what, what was biting and even gave us some lures to use.  So nice!  They caught a few fish and even cleaned and gave us his 4 lb catfish.  We ate it the next evening.  Yummy!
 
 
We had enough time for an evening paddle so off we went.  The water was like glass.

 
I loved this shot of the fisherman.  The reflection made a neat circle look.

 
We checked out some spots to fish the next day and headed back as the sun was setting.
 
You can almost hear the banjos, right?


What a great spot.  Loved that we were the only ones here at the "old" loop.

Seems the storm was intensifying before it moved in.  We watched carefully on our Underground Weather app.  We were told the lake could rise a few feet with the projected rainfall so to stay vigilant.

The rain really came down all morning.  We watched the level from the right side of our trailer and used the electric hookup as a gauge.  We put all our outside things away before the rain came and disconnected everything in case we needed to move in a hurry. 
 
There was about 5 feet from the white electric pole (center) and the water on the right. We had 2 different people come by and check on us worried that we might not know how the lake rises.  They had seen us camped here while they came out to fish the last couple days.  Such nice people here.  It didn't take much longer to decide we needed to head to higher ground.  We had a quick break in the rain and headed just up the hill where we'd be fine.  There is also a road in/out from up there too.

 
This (above) soon turned to this (below)
 
The next day the water covered out campsite and continued to rise for another day.

The lower road quickly flooded.

Hurley decided he loved the flooded areas.  He could run around all over in the shallow water picking up sticks and logs that washed in.  He was in doggy heaven.


Us up on the hill.  Still a very nice spot.  Unfortunately the fishing was a bust the rest of the time we were there.  The locals say until the water recedes don't even bother.  We tried, but, nada.
 
The Crater of Diamonds State Park is nearby. You can search for diamonds in the 37 ½-acre plowed field.  This is the world's eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater. If you find a diamond you get to keep it.  We dug for sapphires in Montana in Philipsburg and had a blast so we were looking forward to digging here and maybe finding one. We found several high quality sapphires and had them processed and made a special ring for our daughter. Read that blogpost HERE.
 
 
Seems that many diamonds that are found are in the 6 - 9 carat size.  The largest was found in 1924 and called the Uncle Sam at over 40 carats.  Recently a young boy found a 7.44 carat diamond in March of this year.  They are not that easy to find and rarely is one found that is large enough and of enough quality to be cut and faceted.  But it's still fun to look.  Ya never know.
 
Here's what most of the field looks like.  You just wander around a pick some gravel/sand to wash and sift.  If you're lucky you might just pluck one right off the ground.

Steve with our equipment, ready to strike it rich.  It was $10 to get in and you can bring your own equipment or rent different packages they offer for an additional $15.

We spent a 1/2 a day there.  Unlike the sapphire mines, where you will find several sapphires, we did not find one single diamond.  And neither did anyone else around us.  But it was fun to try.  While I'd go back to look for sapphires, once was enough in the diamond field.

A quick drive into town brought us to Dave and Brenda's restaurant, The Rattlers Den.  It was nice to see them again and they made up a great meal for us.  Sirloin for me and Chicken Fried Steak for Steve.  The best he's ever had!  And he's had a LOT.  We enjoyed the food and the company.  If you're in the area, stop by. Thanks Dave and Brenda, it was so nice to meet you both!

A short drive north brought us to another great COE campground at Blue Mountain Lake.  They also had some flooding, but the water mostly receded while we were there.  Not enough to get the fish to bite, but no problems having to worry about moving campsites.  We had another great view.

$18 a night for W/E.  Site #38.

View out the back window.

We had nice weather while here and only one rainy day.  We relaxed most of the time and geocached and drove around the area.  There are so many tiny towns of just a few hundred all over Arkansas.  Many of the towns are struggling and you see abandoned homes here and there.  I'm not sure with all the natural gas that abounds in this area and the timber that more of that money isn't spent locally to help these towns thrive.


Blue Mountain, Magazine and Boonville were the towns we spent the most time in.  Boonville being the largest of them is where I was able to find a dentist. I was eating some trail mix when I felt that familiar pop.  I knew what it was.  My crown fell off.  No, my loyal subjects, not the one on my head. :-)  Dr. Thad and his staff were very helpful and were able to get me in the next day.  They took great care of me and told me not to worry about the bill.  They just wanted me to enjoy my vacation and not worry about insurance.  Such nice people!  If you need dental work and are in the area, I highly recommend them.
 
With my crown back in place we were ready to hike the highest peak in Arkansas. Signal Hill on Mt. Magazine tops off at 2753' elevation.  More to climb than the 535' in Louisiana.  We were finally looking forward to more of a hike!  I've been having mountain withdrawals since Arizona.  The drive over was pretty and we saw more of those very large chicken barns.  Foster Farms and Tyson are big around here and you see large chicken barns everywhere.

The views of the Petit Jean River Valley below.

Nice park with a small campground and visitor center.  There are a few small hikes and some longer ones you can link together.  No charge to get in either. Dogs are welcome on the trails.

Here we go.  And here we are.  What?!  Already?!  Turns out it was only a mile and a half round trip, not the 3 miles we were expecting.  It was such a pretty trail, we could've hiked all day.

 


We talked with some of the other people we came across while lingering at the top.  There was a young dad with two little girls that we talked with.  When we told them we were looking for a special geocache that was hidden at the top they wanted to come with us to look for it.  Well, they were naturals and spotted it right off the bat under some logs.

A nice sized cache hidden in an ammo box under some logs.

Some of you know that we took on the 365 Day Caching Challenge.  That means for the past year we have found at least one geocache every day.  Well, I'm happy to say that we have completed that challenge.  Now we don't have to worry if the weather is bad or we don't feel like it.  So far though, it's a tough habit to stop.  So, for now, we continue. We have found over 2500 so far.

Posing at the "peak".

The rock patio is shaped like the state of Arkansas.

There were beautiful butterflies of all colors and sizes flying about.

Some pretty blooms too.

A view of the other side of the mountain looking towards Mississippi.  We decided to head to Paris for a late lunch/early dinner. Paris you say?  Oui, oui.  Paris, Arkansas, not France.

Another cute town with murals painted on the old buildings. 

Town Hall
 

The Eiffel Tower at the new little park is the centerpiece.  There is grass and several benches and tables placed all around the square to sit at, rest, listen to music and just enjoy a nice break.

They even picked up the custom of hanging locks on fences like in Europe.  It is actually encouraged and they put up a sign letting you know just how to do it.

We didn't have a lock but it would've been fun to do.
 
We'll be crossing into the birthplace of Blues Music, Mississippi, next.

13 comments:

  1. Arkansas is a fun little state...and you scored some great campgrounds!! Sorry you didn't find any diamonds!!

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    1. We think the COEs are the best! Like state parks but cheaper, smaller, cleaner and very well run and personable. We didn't figure on the diamonds, but it would've been nice!

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  2. You seem to have found the beauty of Arkansas. It is the small towns and friendly people that make it special. The low cost of living is an added bonus. $18 full hookup sites is the norm in most areas.

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    1. Yes we sure love the COEs. Having lived in a couple small towns, they are my favorite. Definitely very nice people in Arkansas. It was just a shame not to see some of that money funnel back into them. Maybe it does, I don't know, but too bad some of these really small towns have to die out. It's also a very clean state from what we saw too.

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  3. The Bonnie and Clyde museum looks really cool, Debbie!

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    1. We spent quite a bit of time I there. The owner really had a lot of memorabilia. His fascination and passion were obvious. He was also very enjoyable to talk to about the museum and what he's collected.

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  4. That's a lot of water!! Nice you could get up above it - and that Hurley had so much fun :-)))) We always love finding local eateries, how fun to meet the eatery owners! I love little historic museums and the B&C looks like one for the list.

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    1. We were so worried about tornado season, but so far so good! We still have about a month in Tornado Alley. So far it's been quite restful. Not a whole lot planned and the "hikes" haven't been very hikey! We've just been doing a lot of day tripping through the small towns. It's been nice though.

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  5. Great COE finds. We're at Defeated Creek COE in TN now and love it. Heading towards Arkansas in about a week. Thanks for the map dots.

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    1. We're in MS now, but heading to Alabama tomorrow then Camp Alexander. Let us know if you're nearby. We should be crossing paths soon.

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  6. The museum does look interesting. And to have a knowledgeable curator makes it even more special. Hurley sure gets to have a lot of fun with you guys :-) What gorgeous scenery you're experiencing this year!

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    1. Except for the flooding, it was a nice enjoyable time in Arkansas. We'd come back through for more exploring.

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