Kay & Lawson's Arkansas Tour
September 21 - October 6, 2001

This trip lasted 2 weeks and was 1950 miles long. We traveled out of Texas, through Louisiana to Mississippi, where we visited relatives for a few days. Then we left central Mississippi and entered southeast Arkansas, crossing the Mississippi River at Greenville. [Map] We traveled northwestward through the center of Arkansas, then briefly entered southern Missouri. We then came back into Arkansas' northwestern corner, down through the western part of the state and back into Texas.

Statistics on the trip: We used 131 gallons of gasoline at a cost of $167.00. We stayed in campgrounds 10 nights at a cost of $139.50, or $13.95 per night on average.

Late September and early October is a very good time to visit Arkansas. The weather was perfect - highs in the 70's & 80's, lows in the 40's & 50's and beautiful clear skies until near the end of our trip, when an approaching cold front produced clouds & smoky landscapes. It was a little early for good fall color, but the Ozark Mts. and the Ouachita Mts. were still beautiful.

We left Richmond on Friday morning, September 21st, heading north on US-59. We traveled to Livingston, then took US-190 east to Jasper. At Jasper, we took TX-63, which became LA-8 when we crossed the state line. We took LA-8 to Leesville, then LA-28 to Alexandria where we spent the first night at Sutton's RV Park.

Next morning, we continued east on LA-28 to US-84 and on to Natchez, MS. At Natchez, we took US-61 to the Natchez Trace Parkway. On the Natchez Trace, we stopped at Mount Locust, a mid-1800's era farm and lodge along the old Natchez Trace. It was an interesting hour's break on the drive. We continued up the Trace to Raymond. We then visited with Lawson's sister, brother-in-law & mother until Wednesday the 26th.

Mount Locust on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Click on the small photos to enlarge them.

On Wednesday morning, we left Raymond via MS-18 & I-55 to Canton. At Canton, we looked around Lawson's birthplace for a few hours. Then we went west on MS-16 to US-61, then north to Greenville. We spent the night at Warfield Point Park, overlooking the Mississippi River.

Madison County Courthouse Cotton field ready for picking Mississippi River from Greenville campground

Thursday we crossed the Mississippi River Bridge into Arkansas, and at US-65 we continued north through more cotton & soybean fields to Pine Bluff. We spent the night at Jefferson County Regional Park on Lake Langhofer, a lake formed when the Arkansas River changed courses.

Next day we continued north on AR-15 and AR-5 through tree-covered rolling hills that are the eastern edge of the Ozark Mountains. We stopped in Mountain View at the Ozark RV Park, located next to the Ozark Folk Center State Park. That night we went downtown to the courthouse square and listened to about a dozen different impromptu bluegrass music groups that were playing around the square under the stars to a large gathering of us old folk.

Music on the Mountain View square Music on the Mountain View square

Saturday we spent most of the day at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. This is an excellent theme park with demonstration of many Ozark Mountain trades, such as making brooms, lye soap, musical instruments, and woodworking. That night we attended the Arkansas fiddle contest finals and bluegrass music show.

Ozark Folk Center broom maker

Sunday, we traveled north from Mountain View on scenic AR-14 and stopped at Blanchard Springs Caverns. This is an excellent cave with many outstanding colorful formations. Afterwards we went down to Mirror Lake and Blanchard Spring. We then continued north on AR-14. AR-14 is a very beautiful drive on a winding, up & down hills, 2-lane road through tree-covered mountains. At US-65, we continued on north to Branson, MO where we stayed at Acorn Acres RV Park.

Monday, October 1st, we went to the Lawrence Welk Show starring the Lennon Sisters & Henry Cuesta at the Lawrence Welk Champaign Theater. It was an excellent show featuring a salute to Burt Bacharach. They performed most of the songs he wrote.

Lawrence Welk Show

Tuesday we left Branson via MO-13, MO-86, & AR-23 to Eureka Springs AR, but the little town's parking was so poor for anyone pulling a trailer that we didn't stop but kept on going west to Bentonville, AR. Bentonville is the headquarters of Wal-Mart and we toured the Visitor Center which has a small museum of Sam Walton's life. It is located in his first Walton 5 & 10 Store on the town square. We went south on I-540 to US-412, then east to Withrow Springs State Park, where we spent the night.

Sam Walton's original store Withrow Springs State Park

Wednesday, we continued east on US-412 to Harrison, where we took Scenic AR-7 south. Near Jasper, we stopped at Buffalo National River Park. South of Jasper, we stopped several times to view Buffalo River Canyon, Arkansas' Grand Canyon, said to be the most scenic view in Arkansas. We continued south on AR-7 to Russellville, where we stayed at Lake Dardanelle State Park.

Buffalo National River Arkansas' Grand Canyon Lake Dardanelle State Park

Thursday we continued south on AR-7, stopping at several Corps of Engineers parks along the way. We spent most of the afternoon at Hot Springs National Park, touring the Visitor Center and walking along Bathhouse Row. We drove up West Mountain Summit Drive and stopped at the overlooks, then drove to Lake Catherine State Park and spent the night.

Quapaw Bathhouse Music room at Fordyce Bathhouse Overlooking Hot Springs, AR

Friday was a travel day, with only one brief stop for lunch in Hope, AR. {Trivia question: Who is Billy Blythe III? Answer is at the bottom of this page.} We traveled down I-30 into Texas, then US-59 south. We ran into several severe rainstorms on the way, and when we stopped in Nacogdoches at Trailer Village RV Park, we had to sit in the truck for about 15 minutes before it slowed down raining enough for us to setup camp.

Saturday we continued south on US-59 to Houston and arrived in town in the early afternoon.

This draws to a close our Arkansas Tour. We hope you enjoyed the pictures and brief descriptions of our adventures. God willing, join us again for another adventure soon.

Trivia answer: William Jefferson Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas as William Jefferson "Billy" Blythe, III, and he used that name until about the time of his early teens. His mother married Roger Clinton, after the death of Billy's father and he was adopted by his step-father and changed his last name to Clinton.......and that's the rest of the story.

Goodbye for now,
Lawson & Kay

October 18 2001

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights and strength of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. (Psalm 95: 1-6 - Amplified Bible)

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