As I mentioned in my last post, we had a lot of adulting to do last week. Which worked out since the great weather turned rainy and a good bit chillier. One of the projects we worked on was our door to our laundry closet had most of the wooden slats fall out. When you are constantly moving your house things get jostled around, sometimes pretty intensely depending on the highway, the level of chucking, the wind, etc.
We are careful to have things put away as to avoid as much damage as possible, but you are still going to experience some of the construction not holding up. It was a tricky process but once we got a technique down it was then just tedious. (The technique is not pictured because it required both of us with both hands – but we sat it flat and I held it like a clamp partially off the table so he could center how much the levers went into the right and left slots)
Speaking of things breaking, Ed noticed that one of our leveling jacks had a small amount of hydraulic fluid on it. It’s a closed system, so that was not something we wanted to see. He tightened up some things, and then it was watch and wait. The next day he checked it and it had all this yellow fluid (hydraulic fluid is red), and he could not think of what in the world could be leaking and be that color. He put his finger in it to see if there was a smell. It was dog pee! I laughed again just writing that! So far no more signs of bad leaks and our neighbors with the dog have already moved on.
We did have dinner in an interesting place the last night we were in Harrison. It was a trout farm with an Italian Restaurant called DeVitos. If you are so inclined, you can make an appointment during the day to come and catch your dinner. You turn it over to them and they will prepare it for you that evening for your dinner. We didn’t do that part, but you still get freshly caught fish regardless.
We are now in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and I have to say this town makes my heart happy! One of the things we are open to is finding a new place to settle down whenever we are done traveling. I am not sure what will happen with that, as the pull is strong to be a reasonable drive from the kids and extended family. It’s hard to imagine moving somewhere that we have no family or other ties. Some RV full timers spend part of the year where their family is and then have another spot they spend other chunks of time. This would be the first place we visited so far that we would put on the list and I am only saying all this to express just how much we like it. It’s beautiful with plenty of nature, and full of activities, wonderful food, and just an overall good vibe that is hard to describe. You want to put this place on your bucket list of travels!
Along the same vein, it’s worth mentioning they have the largest gated community in the United States geared towards 55+, so if nothing else it’s a consideration for a great retirement spot.
The first day here, we explored downtown Hot Springs. Part of the National Park is downtown at Bathhouse Row, and then there is an adjacent area that goes over a small mountain that you can hike between downtown and the campgrounds at Gulpha Gorge. We tried to stay in those campgrounds, but they are first come first serve and were developed in the 30’s before you had rigs as big as ours. We found a private park about two miles from there when we didn’t luck up. Everything you would want is about in a 6 mile radius of us, so it’s been fine.
Downtown is a big touristy area but with the authenticity of all the history they preserved. From creepy gothic looking buildings to the beautiful resort-style look of their historical bathhouses, there is a lot to take in. There are numerous boutiques, restaurants, lots of night life, and an abundance of shops featuring all the rocks, crystals, gems, that are found prevalently in the general area. We had a nice dinner at DeLucas Pizza, where their NY style pizzas are said to be elevated by using the local spring water in the making of the crust. They also boast several different peppers you don’t usually see as an option at other pizza places. I added the peppadews to mine and it created a flavor explosion as it complemented the pizza sauce in a way I don’t know how to put into words.
Ed especially enjoys all the shops rocks, geodes, etc. I liked the bakery/gift shops that are part of a complex housing Fat Bottomed Girl cupcakes. They had cotton candy in flavors I had never seen (wedding cake, lemon lime, blueberry peach, to name a few), and a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor that I enjoy. We didn’t buy anything other than a cupcake. I had the banana, Ed had the strawberry and they were delicious but rich, I could only finish half of mine.
Yesterday we drove an hour to Murfeesboro to Crater of Diamonds State Park. This is the only place in the country where the public can dig in a 37 acre diamond-accessible fields (it’s a site of a volcanic eruption) and it’s finders keepers! The drive down was just gorgeous, we had a great weather day – 70 degrees with a pure blue sky! (We like listening to different podcasts on our road trips, so if you have any ones you enjoy – please forward)
They inexpensively rent equipment and we took a couple of buckets, some shovels and a few different types of sifting screens. I have to say this was an activity I missed having smaller kids because it was fun to hear little voices yell to their mom excitedly they found a diamond (they probably didn’t, but still..) I had some fun conversations with kids around me and gave one of them free reign to take whatever I had found so far, and to me that was the best part. Ed enjoyed learning from the park ranger different techniques and some ways to identify what you had. We mostly walked away with some calcite, jasper, and sandstone- things even the kid didn’t want but it was a lot of fun.
They do have people walk away with some pretty substantial yellow or brown diamonds. The week before we came a lady had found a 4.38 yellow diamond. Here is a list of what they had in the last couple of weeks:
We are looking forward to our week here and are talking about whether to stay longer than we had allocated, which is hilarious because I worried 7 days would be too long! It could be if Ed wasn’t working, but we mostly have evenings and weekends to explore so we take longer than some full-time RV folks as many are retired. We do have some spa appointments booked at a bathhouse, I want to do a few of the hikes, there is a great bike trail, we want to do the ghost tour this time, and there was an oxygen bar we thought we would try. Stay tuned!