Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On to Hot Springs!

From Jefferson Ridge we went about seventy miles to a COE campground west of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Crystal Springs was also on a lake and our site was waterfront.
 The kids found out that all lakes in Arkansas don't have a sandy bottom--this one was rock!
 The next day we drove to the national park.
 Chris and DeAnna were not sure about trying the water after sampling the water at Sulphur, OK.
 We walked along The Promenade behind all the bath houses. We were disappointed that Fordyce Bath House which used to house the visitor center was closed  for renovations.

When we finished our walk, the kids had completed their Junior Ranger Books to get their ranger badges. After they took their oath, we headed back to the campground.
 Another day we visited Mid-America Science Museum. Outside the museum we found a geocache. The weather was too hot to do much caching, though it was tempting as there are many in this area.
 Chris tried the pulley chair to see if he could get to the top.
 DeAnna had a try, also. Unfortunately, the easiest pulley chair was closed for repair. Neither on made it to the top!
 We had a good time at Crystal Springs Campground, but it was time to move on to a spot closer to Siloam Springs--Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jefferson Ridge COE Park

Once we arrived at our next campsite at Jefferson Ridge, Chris and DeAnna declared it the best site yet. Our RV site was on the water, all they had to do was go behind the RV to swim! Best of all, it was in the shade in the late afternoon.

I was talking to a lady at the swim beach and she found out we were from Florida. All she wanted to know was how we found Dierks Lake--it is in the middle of no where in south west Arkansas. All the tags on the vehicles were from Arkansas with the exception of two from Texas.

The kids had fun at the swim beach since there was a slide in the water. Most afternoons it was very crowded.
 That's why our preferred swim spot was behind the motor home.
 Due to seasonal flooding, the sites are raised above the lake level, but we understand they still flood.
 One day we drove to Horseshoe Bend Recreation Area. We had a good view of Dierks Lake. Our section of the lake lies behind the peninsula in the center of the picture.
 Another day we drove to Narrows Dam on the Little Missouri River.
 We ate a picnic lunch and the kids played on the playground. It was a nice spot and we had it all to ourselves.
 Our site was also a good fishing spot. Chris caught his first fish!
 A little later, DeAnna caught her first fish!
 While we were walking the campground loop that evening, we spotted a deer near the dumpster area.
On our last day at Jefferson Ridge, we drove to Crater of Diamonds State Park. How could we go wrong looking for diamonds?
After our stop in the visitor center, it was on to the crater. We searched and searched for a good place to dig.
Once we had our bucket full, it was on to the washing tables to see what we could find.

It was hard work, but we had fun looking for diamonds.
No, we didn't find diamonds, but we did find a few small crystals. Oh well, maybe next time.

 We had originally planned to stay at Jefferson Ridge four nights, but we enjoyed ourselves so much we ended up staying seven! When we moved, we headed for Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fun at Kiamichi COE Campground and Hugo, Oklahoma

Our drive to our next campground was not a long one. Our site overlooked Hugo Lake.
 We had a celebratory rib dinner which everyone enjoyed!
 The next morning Chris and DeAnna tried their hands at fishing. Only a few nibbles that we found out were probably turtles.
 Chris and Grandpa went bike riding and found a turtle in the middle of the road. Chris rescued it and put it in the grass so it could find its way home.
 Another day we went geocaching. Here Chris and DeAnna model the latest in geocaching gear for hot summer days.
 I think we found one!
  The Canada geese were abundant at Hugo Lake. If you look closely in the flowers, you can see this adult pair's baby.
 Hmmmm...what's that on DeAnna's foot?  Could it be a small raccoon?
Hugo is the winter home to a circus. Inside the local museum is a painstakingly crafted miniature circus. It also houses train sets and many items from the early days of Hugo. Next door to the museum is a Harvey House Restaurant.

And what is this that Chris found? DeAnna and I were taking a break, but I think Grandpa caught Chris trying to call home.

Our last day at Kiamichi we drove to visit an old fort.
Bob and I would have loved to walk around the ruins, but it was just to hot. We were all melting! We read that the barracks behind the kids once housed 100 men!
From Ft. Towson we drove to Doakesville--the ruins of a town across the river from Ft.Towson. We had to enter the trail from the cemetery. We didn't spend much time looking at the signs or ruins because the horseflies were trying to take us away!

After five days at Kiamichi, yes, the kids swam in the lake to cool off in the evenings, we packed our things and headed to our next destination...Dierks Lake in Arkansas.

Monday, June 10, 2013

On to Chickasaw National Recreation Area

From Poverty Point our next stop was Barksdale AFB for two nights. Bob had some things he needed to get for the RV and we wanted to stock up at the commissary  in anticipation of hungry grand kids. We didn't take any pictures at Barksdale, but we did enjoy the sounds of freedom as B52s flew over doing touch and go landings.

When we left Barksdale, we knew we would have a long day's drive to get to Chickasaw National Recreation Area south of Sulphur, Oklahoma. We persevered and made it there late in the afternoon. Bob had checked the weather and decided to change all of our other reservations due to tornadoes and severe storms. Instead of heading north east from Sulphur after we collect the grand kids, we are going to go east into Arkansas.
Our site at Buckhorn Area was a nice long one, but not very level! We had to go buy some levelers to go under our tires and jacks to get the front high enough to make the RV level. Television reception was good, but cell phone and Internet were iffy in this area.
We arrived at Chickasaw NRA two days before we were to get Chris and DeAnna so Bob and I explored the area. This is the view from Bromide Hill.
Many of the features in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Lincoln Bridge is one of those features. It crosses Rock Creek near Vendome Flower Park.

 Veterans' Lake has a paved walking trail around it. Bob and I walked that the morning before we drove to Ft. Sill to get the kids.
 It was great to see Bobby--we hadn't seen him since his mid-tour leave from Afghanistan in May, 2012. We met him and the kids at the exchange at Ft. Sill. After a quick dinner and some together time, we packed the kids and their belongings in our car and headed back to the campground 2 hours away.

Wednesday morning we took the kids to see the sights and to work on their Junior Ranger books. One stop was at Vendome Well. You can tell from DeAnna's expression that it didn't smell very good.

 Back at the campground, we put on our water shoes and explored the shoreline near the campsites.
 Of course, there was some posing for pictures.
 Late in the afternoon the kids wanted to swim, so it was off to the lake once more.
 Chris just wanted to relax.
 DeAnna wanted to paddle around without making a wake.
 On our last day, we went to Travertine Nature Center for the kids to complete their Ranger books to earn their badges.
 Hiking the trail behind the nature center was a must. It has been very dry so the spring that should have been flowing over the rocks was dry.
We did find a crossing where we had to jump rocks to get across the creek.
Then, Buffalo Springs at the end of the trail was also dry!

 Friday was moving day--on to Kiamichi Corps of Engineer Campground on Hugo Lake near Hugo, Oklahoma.