Karen on July 2nd, 2010

Here we are at our first stop along our journey.  We did not travel far today and are barely out of our home state of Arkansas.  Tomorrow’s drive will be about the same distance, slightly longer and we will be further from Arkansas and camping the weekend in southeastern Nebraska.  It was very hot when we got here as expected and little shade for the camper.  We turned the A/C on after we got set up and then went to find some air conditioning for a walk.  We are on the outer edges of Joplin Missouri. It was too hot and sunny to really do anything so we just found a mall and walked two miles inside it.  This evening we will probably walk around the campground a little and look it over.

Malls are not something I enjoy all that much anymore.  There was a time when I did a lot of mall shopping  – now I tend to only shop when I need something.  But malls do come in handy on hot days when you have traveled for a good part of the day and  just want to walk and stretch after sitting for long spells.  Ok — it was only a 5 hour trip today including the stop for lunch :) but that is long for me.  I do not like to sit for hours on end in the vehicles.  I am constantly up and down all day normally – sitting for hours is not what I like.

When we first moved to Arkansas – in the central part of the state it was a long drive to NW Arkansas to visit my family.  The interstate 540 was not there then.  We would drive on old highway 71 which is known as scenic – but very twisty and curvy up through the Boston Mountains.  (serpentine curves) After the interstate went in it cut the 3 to 4 hour drive down to 2 hours and 20 minutes :)  nice!  Seeing as we used to enjoy parts of the highway we decided today as we were on no schedule to cut over to the highway after we were well up into the mountains.  There is a rest area that is quite pretty and would be just right for lunch.  Then we would drive the 20 miles through the tiny towns back to the interstate 540.

The old rest area was given a face lift and we were pleased with what we found.  Now there is a loop trail – only 1/3 mile but nice for a walk after lunch.  There is an area where you can cut down to the river and walk along side of it.

I didn't think to take my camera when we started the loop trail so Mike took these with his phone.

some of the water - we got our feet wet when crossing sections. It felt good!!

the trees are so pretty the way they overhang the river. This river is called the West Fork of the White River. The water was very low today but still enjoyable.

These benches are now scattered throughout the park.

It was really nice seeing this old rest area again and it really looked more like a picnic ground than a rest area.  It used to be packed with the big semi-trucks – which is the reason it took so long to travel the road (besides the steep curves of course) – there would be so much truck traffic that it made it not enjoyable to drive this route – now that we have driven a few sections of it over the years we might just do the whole highway next time we go to visit the family.

I did get a little applique done today – I will post a photo in a day or two after some progress is made – now I am going to get my shoes on and see about a walk around the campground.

Continue reading about Joplin, Missouri