Friday, July 13, 2012

Arkansas - part 1

Y'all. This vacation we just took... what an adventure. This was the least planned trip ever. We had zero reservations, just a slight idea where we were staying (in a tent for the most part) and no real agenda. Just go to Hot Springs and have fun. It was not at all what we expected, but we did had so much fun. Or I did anyway. Brendon says he enjoyed himself, I'm taking his word for it.

Okay, so brace yourself... I took roughly 350 pictures on this trip. Arkansas is a pretty place, okay? Obviously I'm not posting all of them, but there's a lot I want to share soooo, I'll break it up into multiple posts so your eyes don't explode.

We took the back roads there, winding through beautiful green East Texas and Arkansas. I've never seen so many trees. I think I said about a hundred times to Brendon, "oh my god, it's so pretty here" or "look at all the trees!", you know, providing seriously entertaining road trip conversation. It took us about 9ish hours to get there, I think. We stopped a bunch, got thrown off course once by a certain navigator's error (I'll give you a hint, his name ends in -rendon), and were really in no rush at all.

On our third? fourth? pit stop somewhere in Texas, we visited a swamp and I realized that my camera had no memory card in it, and I almost died. But because I'm a maniac, I had a spare one in my purse. Thank goodness for my weirdness and desire to document everything.

 Pointing at the swamp, obviously. And also, this is when my hair began becoming bigger than I am.

Eventually we made it across the state line and into Arkansas. We used their bathroom facilities and did the touristy thing and took pictures in front of ARKANSAS. Typical.

After a quick pit stop at Cracker Barrel and the waitress welcoming me into the Natural State by throwing a glass of ice water all over me, we made it to Hot Springs! Our first stop was the mountain tower (that I took zero pictures of?), which offered some ridiculously good views and an excellent breeze. We thought about bringing our tent up and just camping on the deck, it felt great.

I married a giant 12 year old boy.

Hot Springs is aptly named, as hot springs run underground bringing up hot rain water from 4,000 years ago (!). The town blew up (figuratively) in the early 1900's, so many of the buildings are from that era. People came from all of the country and world for the supposed healing properties of the water. They built bathhouses over the springs and most of them are still there! They're all along the main street along Bathhouse Row (creative eh?). It is really a beautiful place. Downtown is nestled between the mountains in a valley, so you're constantly surrounded by green. Plus the buildings are gorgeous! The mountains around it are part of the National Park, as are a couple of the bathhouses, which you can tour. It was like going back in time!

Two of the bathhouses are still bathhouses (spas really) where you can bathe in mineral water, and the rest are either owned by the park or used for other purposes. One houses an art museum! 

People would sit inside that metal thing and it would fill up with spring water. That hole is for your head. Kinda creepy.

And of course you can drink the water! And we did! It is HOT, but it tastes just like regular water. We saw people getting jugs and jugs and jugs of this stuff. Must be magic.

Next up, camping adventures in the rain and our trip gets real interesting. As you can see from these pictures, our trip started out pretty sunny. But as soon as we set up our tent, in rolled the clouds. And it rained on and off for the duration of our trip. The humidity y'all... sheesh!

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