Bob Dylan Center, Tulsa, OK

Bob Dylan another American folk hero has a brand-new center in Tulsa, it had actually only opened five weeks before our visit.  This Center is the main reason we headed to Tulsa in the first place.  It is housed in the same building as the Woody Guthrie Center and continues the vibe of folk music, political activism and arts in a variety of mediums.  Its tour is accompanied with head phones and a variety of places to get interviews, different versions of a variety of songs and deeper dives into a variety of subjects. 

I mainly used the head phones as background music as I read about the history of the various songs they were playing.  Of course, there is much more information provided thru the head phones if you have the time and care to listen.   This was an added level of technology and information that the Guthrie center did not have. 

The Dylan Center starts with a film which auto replays and lasts about 10 minutes, you can enter at any time and watch until it starts repeating.  Although somewhat chronological it doesn’t have to be watched from beginning to end. 

Dylan began as an acoustic folk singer, but has recreated himself several times over the years.  In 1965 he debuted his electric rock and roll persona at the Newport Folk Festival in this famous leather jacket.  This change was not very well received by his long-time followers, but they soon got over it.

He also for a time focused on gospel recordings as shown in this picture taken at Muscle Shoals, a studio we visited earlier this year.  Again, not all of his followers appreciated his gospel spell, but again they got over it. 

His style has changed over the decades, but his message of love and goodwill has remained the same.  Here are a couple of his lyrics, first Like a Rolling Stone first released in 1965.  Again, notice the lyrics are typed, and with the changes I assume that he typed them himself.  Guess it was common for everyone to have a typewriter and know how to type.  The second lyric is for Not Dark Yet, released in 1997, personally handwritten by him.

Bob Dylans career has been long and varied, and along the way he received many accolades including several Grammys which would be expected for a musician.  But he was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barrack Obama in 2012, and in 2016 he received a Nobel Prize for Literature. 

In addition to his musical talent, he is also an artist.

Just and interesting photo of The Rolling Stones in drag from 1966…

Peace Love and Respect for Bob Dylan!!

Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa, OK

Woody Guthrie was an American folk heroes.  He was a musician, artist and political activist who traveled around the country spreading love and good will while trying to make a living to support his family.   Thankfully his wife kept the artifacts that currently populate this display, from what we understand it is quite a collection. 

Woody is probably best known for his song This Land is Made for You and Me, they have on display two of the four versions that he wrote.  Note that one is hand written and one is typed.  I find it interesting that many of his lyrics were typed.  Moving around like he did, I wonder if he carried around a typewriter?? And was it a common thing for people to know how to type in those days??  Did he type himself or did someone else type it later?  Given that many of the type written songs had notes, and corrections, I like to believe he did the typing…  Note that in the handwritten version the original name was God Blessed America for Me, and was written in response to Irvin Berlin’s God Bless America which he did not like. It appears that he renamed it and changed the lyrics on this piece of paper. 

In 1939, Woody created a series of posters to promote voter registration in support of progressive candidates.  Here is an example. 

Here are some instruments used by either Woody or others that played with him. 

I found this list of New Year’s Rulin’s pretty telling and it provides an insight into what was important to him.  Did not get a year on this one, but he was obviously on the road. 

One of the funniest things on display is related to a time when he and his family lived in an apartment building in Brooklyn, NY named Beach Haven (he nic named it Bitch Haven).  I find it funny mostly because his landlord’s family are notorious grifters, who continue the grift even to today!!

This guitar was used on Mermaid Avenue an album of never recorded Woody Guthrie songs.

The center also had a traveling display of Bruce Springsteen, another American folk hero, memorabilia.   Here is a sampling…

Peace Love and Cheers to Woody, Bruce and all our American Folk Heroes!!

Oklahoma

Another new state, Oklahoma, what can I say about OK??  We were not really impressed with OK, but it may have had a little to do with the weather.  Although Oklahoma was not the only state involved in the early June heat wave across the eastern part of the US, it is the state in which we experienced its vengeance.  Temps were mid to upper 90s with feels like temperature of 100 to 110.  This was just no fun for us.

The bus a/c had trouble keeping up in the late afternoons, the refrigerator had trouble keeping up and we had trouble just going outside.  We went to Tulsa specifically to go to the Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan centers and that had been accomplished (more on that later).  The extended two-week forecast was no better so we decided to get the heck out of there.  Downtown Tulsa.

Our campsite at Keystone State Park was pretty nice with a large lake, but with only direct sun on the lake it was not even inviting.  The Keystone Dam creates the lake by damming up the Arkansas River.

We did visit a botanical garden, which was a pretty nice walk and for all of us, Nellie included.  Love this tree, looked like it was full of hearts.

For a new destination we looked 500 miles in every direction for cooler weather, our best idea was New Mexico.  So west we went.  We took highway 412 from the eastern border of OK to the western border of OK, a straight shot.  The landscape changed little the whole way across, but they sure are creating some energy, by wind and oil. 

We broke all our rules on the way across, driving 5 ½ hours the first day only one night stay and 4 ½ hours the next.  Our over night stay in Guymon it was still very hot at 93, but the humidity had dropped from 85% to 29% so at least it felt much better.  We didn’t even unhook the car, ready to go early the next day. 

Peace Love and gratitude that we live on wheels and can move when we want or need to!!

Downtown Eureka Springs, AR

Apparently downtown is where the action is.  They have shuttles that come out as far and further than our campground to get people downtown.  The roads are very narrow and parking looks difficult so we decided to splurge and get a day pass on the shuttle…  Not bad but don’t believe it saved any time or money, but allowed us to venture further on foot knowing a shuttle would come along eventually. 

Eureka springs is situated on a mountain side so everything is up hill or downhill roads have gentler slopes than stairs, but both are an option.  We saw more than one stairway straight up to nowhere.

But also, these headed down with a pleasant surprise at the bottom. 

 

We don’t shop as many of you know, no place to put more stuff and nothing we really need, so.  We took the shuttle downtown from the campground and had to change lines to tour the downtown.  It was about 15 blocks of shops and cafes, and quickly turned residential.  It looked like about 90% of the residences were rental property or cottages.  A quaint part of town with some pretty funky vibes and decorations.

Downtown is also dotted with springs.  These are cold water springs unlike the Hot Springs further south.  There does not seem to be much flow left in these springs, but we have to give the town credit, they have created cute little parks around each spring.  The stunning cliffs, hanging gardens, nice landscaping and historically informative signage for each. 

Eureka Springs was a quaint eclectic little town that we really liked.  Actually, our whole Arkansas visit has been nice, much better than anticipated.  Peace Love and gratitude for pleasant surprises!!

Scenic Hwy 12, Arkansas

Always up for a scenic drive, we saw signs for scenic hwy 12 on our way to Quigley Castle the other day, so figured we would give it a shot.  It was a beautiful drive thru a forest with some “crooked and steep” sections of the road.  I put this in quotes because Arkansas DOT apparently likes this phrase for these little mountain roads.  Crooked seems like an odd word for official road signs, but what do I know. 

Our first stop was at the War Eagle Mill.  There is also a War Eagle Cavern with other entertainment activities, but of course there is a fee there, the mill was free to walk around.  This is the 4th working gristmill at this location.  The first started in 1832 the last built in 1973, the first three burned down.  We did not go inside; it is a restaurant and gift shop that sells the grist ground on site.  I don’t doubt that they have a grinding facility, but do doubt that the mill is water powered, it definitely is not. 

This historic one lane bridge is right next door to the mill, and has a fair amount of traffic based on the short amount of time we were there. 

A little further down Hwy 12 in Hobbs State Park we ran across a nice little stop.  A historical trail thru the Van Winkle Mill site and another little nature trail along the creek. 

The Van Winkles had a large and apparently profitable mill on this little creek.  There is a short loop trail with informative signs describing the site.  There is not much left on the site, but the information provided was interesting.  They mention a road that went from the mill to the Elkhorn Tavern, little did we know we would be at the Elkhorn Tavern later in the day.  Here is the spring house as it once looked and what’s left of the ruins.  Spring houses were built over a spring and used to keep perishable items fresh, and early 1800s refrigerator.

The mill ruins

And the blacksmith shop.

The house itself was quite large, here is a picture of a picture of the house, note the comments, the house had 11 rooms all 18 x18, pretty big house.

And their garden was elevated so that it was a perfect view from the second story balcony of the house. 

The near by nature trail was a pleasant walk with several wildflowers to enjoy along the way. 

Hwy 12 ended for us in Rogers where we had a nice picnic in a city park. The road back would be Hwy 62 since we like to make it a loop is at all possible. This route allowed us to circle Beaver Lake and gave us another opportunity to stop by the dam to see if it was outflowing, no such luck.

But we did pass and stop at Pea Ridge National Battle Ground. The park consists of a circular drive with several informative stops along the way. The battle lasted for 3 days and was the largest battle of the civil war west of the Mississippi River.

The Elkhorn Tavern a popular tavern in the area also played a roll in the battle first as a Confederate hospital on the first day, and then as the Union headquarters the very next day. We debated for a while how much of a hospital could have been set up for one day?? Guess we will never know.

Peace Love and gratitude for surprises found along the road!

Beaver Dam, Eureka Springs, AR

So, we went to the Saturday Market in Eureka Springs, a farmer’s market.  Unfortunately, it was too early for many veggies, but talked for a while with a Hosta seller.  We have no use for Hosta (living in the bus), but nice enough fella.  We asked what he recommend we do and he mentioned the Beaver Dam and how beautiful it is when the water is outflowing.  Free, beautiful, water falling just the kind of place we like to go. 

Couple of stops along the way to the dam.  Thorncrown Chapel, a glass nondenominational chapel in the Ozark Mountains.  It is open and free to the public, donations welcome.  It is a beautiful chapel and there is an educational center on the property.

Next stop “inspiration Point” a parking lot for a couple of antique shops with a view.  The river is the White River, which is dammed by the Beaver Dam and thereby creates Beaver Lake. 

Finally made it to Beaver Dam, I actually love the name!!  But unfortunately it was not open for water flow.  We have gone by another time still not open.  We did see pictures at the overlook and when it is open the water gushes out of the top, can only imagine how beautiful it must be.  The river was originally dammed for flood control and public water supply, but has since had a hydroelectric plant added.  The dam was opened in 1965 (the year I was born) but there was not a public dedication because JFK had just been killed and they didn’t think that a public celebration was appropriate.

The White River is dammed 4 times before it converges with the Arkansas River and eventually with the Mississippi River.  The dams are mostly for flood control which may be a reason that this dam is not open??  Not really sure, there has been quite a bit of rain in the area and by the looks of things in the campground the lake level could be reduced a little. 

Peace Love gratitude for dams, open or closed.

Quigley’s Castle, Eureka Springs, AR

The “Ozark’s Strangest Dwelling” is Quigley’s Castle, built in 1943 by Albert Quigley for his wife Elise Quigley and their 5 children.  Albert had been promising to build a house, but was forced to one day when after he went to work at the lumber mill, Elise ordered the children to tear the house down and so they did.  The family lived in the chicken house until the new house was built. 

Elise designed the house herself and Albert and family built it from lumber on their farm and lumber mill.  The best and worse part of the design was the 28 large windows, glass was being rationed during the war and was unavailable when the house was built.  The openings were covered with cloth in the winters for three years before they were able to get glass.  Since the Quigley’s built the house and used lumber from their property the entire house only costs $2,000 most of it was spent on the windows. 

Two of the most interesting things about the house are that the wooden structure has been covered by hand (by Elise) with rocks and that a four-foot space on two sides of the main floor were left dirt to house tropical plants that were allowed to grow and fill the entire two-story structure. 

The rock covering of the outside of the house was done over a 3 year period while 4 of her children were serving in WWII.  She has said it helped to settle her nerves.   

The indoor garden was not only a marvelous idea, but made every room in the house full of natural light. 

The house is currently being open for tours by the Quigley’s granddaughters.  Who also keep one room and separate entrance closed for personal use.  They have also posted informative notes around the house explaining or describing it, such as this one.

Of particular interest to us, and most visitors I am sure was the butterfly wall.  In addition to the interior tropical garden, Elise also has a spectacular flower garden outside which attracted many varieties of butterflies.  This was really very impressive mixing rocks, butterflies, pictures, painting and more. 

Here are just general pictures of the inside of the house.

The Aquarium

Elise must have been a busy lady, putting rocks, sea shells and other natural medium on every thing she had.  Most picture frames, borders and shelves were covered with various materials. 

Not sure if it was before after or during the house decorating, but she was also busy in the yard.  Planting flowers in the ground as well as in rock sculptured planters. 

Pics

Also, rock built or covered, again not sure, bird houses, bird baths, bird feeders.

Fences, mailboxes, benches, tables, just rock pillars, you name it.  Everyone kept saying how much work it must have been, but I kind of think it must have also been a lot of FUN!! Bless her heart!! What an interesting woman she must have been, and what a wonderful legacy she left behind thankful her family sees fit to show it off.  Pretty busy the day we were there, hopefully they make enough to sustain it, and maybe a little more. 

Peace Love and Gratitude to Elise and her gumption!!

Scenic Drives – Hot Springs

Having done what we wanted to in the town of Hot Springs, it was time to find a scenic drive.  There are drives in the National Park on both Hot Springs Mountain and the Western Mountain (either side of downtown) but they are pretty short and only provide overlooks of town. 

Highway 7 heading north from Hot Springs is an Arkansas Scenic Byway with the possibility of making a loop on the way back down.  So off we go.  About 40 miles or so outside of town we ran across Winona Scenic Drive thru the National Forest and headed out, but it was a rather rough gravel road and after further exploration we discovered it was about 30 miles long and decided to turn back. 

Iron Springs Road Side Park was a nice stop, bathrooms right on time, and the ruins of an old CCC camp with paths and informative signs on the site. 

Next was Nimrod Lake and Nimrod dam.  I thought that dams were usually for hydro electric power or drinking water, but many are apparently for flood control.  Nimrod is for flood control.  Funny thing while we were looking at the dam Randy commented that the guy fishing at the base was in a bad spot, the fish should have more important things on their minds after being spit out by the dam flow than eating a worm.  You may have to zoom in to see the guy on our side of the river right at the base of the dam.

But while I walked to the other side and around a little, the guy caught a fish while Randy and Nellie watched.  A really good size fish to boot.

The drive was pretty nice riding thru smallish mountains.  A couple of picnic areas but not much else.  Arkansas could use a lesson on building vistas, road side overlooks.  This is as close to one as we saw and you can barely see Nimrod Lake. 

This was the best view of the day, but we had to drive by four times to get the picture from the car.

We decided to continue north up to Dardanelle and the Arkansas River.  Picnic on the river near the Dardanelle Dam. 

Last tid-bit about Hot Springs and one of its famous past residence. With the Mountain Tower in the background.

Peace Love and new career idea Vista Builder, or maybe just designer.

Hot Springs National Park

Did I mention that Hot Springs is a National Park?  It was originally preserved as a National Reservation in in 1832 to be able to regulate the usage of the springs.  Preservation, good and bad in many ways.  The current National Park is interconnected with the town.  Its main features are the 8 or 9 remaining bath houses on one side of the street and general commerce on the other side.  It also covers Hot Springs Mountain and West Mountain, there are numerous walking trails ranging from paved promenades to rugged trails. 

Interesting fact the town is officially named “Hot Springs National Park” so they say any business can claim to be blah blah blah of National Park and have not federal affiliation. Who knows, that is what the internet said.

Here are some of the last bathhouses remaining in town.  They were an indulgent extravagance for some and a last resort for others.  Here is what is left of Bath House Row.  Only one is still open and operat4ed as a bath house – Buckstaff. 

The others are used for various things, the Park Gift Shop, a Cultural Center,  Brewery and restaurant and the NP Visitor Center.  A ranger on our first day told us that the visitor center located in the old Fordyce Bath house had 4 floors of museum and that it was interesting, but of course Nellie was not welcome.  So, we went another day.  Not sure what to expect we were very pleasantly surprised. 

The bathhouse facilities, physical therapy, massage, exercise, dressing rooms etc were preserved with informative signs.  It was very well done and was free with the visitor center.  We have to remember that these facilities were for the higher echelon of society, not the typical persons vacation.  But they also promised medical miracles not only the baths, but new technology.  Getting ahead of myself, lets start in the dressing rooms.  The ladies individual stalls and sitting room.

The men’s dressing stalls were much the same, but here is the fountain and stained-glass ceiling in their sitting room.

The actual baths were individual stalls with large porcelain tubs.  The springs are around 140 degrees so the water has to be cooled before treatments. 

And then you had the option for many different water therapies and steam boxes.

The Fordyce Spring is located in the basement of the bath house and is visible behind glass.  The glare was terrible but it is what it is. 

 Beyond the baths they offered physical therapy with the latest technology in therapy machines, shout out to our PT friends and family and family we like to call friends. 

There were several massage options in the day, I will let the sign speak for itself, but electric shock massage and then a mercury rub room.  Not sure if all the therapies weren’t worse than the illness?

They also had a modern for the day gym, check out the bar bells and exercise pins.  The beginnings of our modern fitness centers, a little ahead of their times. 

As said the bath houses were the best of the best and trying to out do their neighbors.  The facilities had all the finishing touches inside and out.  Check it out.

Peace Love and think we’ll skip the mercury rub, thank you anyway. 

Hot Springs, ARKANSAS

Our first new state in about a year and a half is ARKANSAS.  First stop Hot Springs.  It’s been so hot it may seem that Hot Springs is counter intuitive, but it is in the mountains.  The Ouachita Mountains to be exact, the lowest portion of the Ozark Mountains.  But we have to admit it is not really very mountainous.  So, temperatures did not change much.

Hot Springs is famous for the natural hot springs that have attracted bathers for centuries.  I am not sure how they actually know, but there are many things that I don’t truly understand and take at face value such as this little factoid.   The water that comes out of these springs fell to earth around 4,000 years ago as rain or snow.  Current water flow was deposited as rain around the time the pyramids were built in Egypt. 

The springs became big business in the 1880s and continued thru the 1980s, but more on that later.  The natural springs were thought to have healing powers as early as 10,000 years ago and were often visited by native Americans when they were in the area on their nomadic travels.  It is known that De Soto the explorer was the first European to discover the springs in 1541.  As the population grew bath houses were built as they tried to change the water in to a profitable commodity.  Others just bathed closer to the source instead of in town there by contaminating the flow for the businesses below and the rich bathers. 

Over time the springs were covered, contained and the hot water piped to local spas and bath houses willing to pay the price.  This is what is left of the springs, kind of sad but not surprising.  They are hot to the touch, the water comes out at about 140 degrees f.

There is at least one free flowing hot spring in town and has been captured and publicized to show the public what they once were, looks pretty natural, huh.  Luckily our first day was cool enough that you can actually see the steam coming from it. 

We did see one other spring flowing, and if you have seen many hot spring they usually have an interesting mineral buildup along their paths, sometimes with vibrant colors.   This spring flows down a predetermined path (nice way to say concrete trough) with such a mineral buildup.

But mystery to us are these hand prints in the buildup.  It is hard, we did not actually touch the handprint, but did touch further up towards the spring.  Kind of interesting. Things that make us go Hmmmm.

Anyway, Hot Springs the town is pretty touristy with every imaginable chain restaurant, souvenir shops, wax museum, etc.  But the opulence of the past is still present in the town.  This house near town was once grand I am sure, and it not so bad right now. 

Also the sheer size of The Arlington Hotel is telling.  It appears to be a bit run down these days, but the height of the “Baths” was in the 1940s when the water was thought to have healing powers.

With the popularity of the baths and belief of therapeutic properties, an Army and Navy Hospital was built in downtown, it over shadows much of the old town, but is mostly empty now, I believe it is the career development center for Hot Springs?
The building in the background of this picture.

Still today these and most springs have clear clean drinking water.  Better than what you purchase in the store.  Since it is a plentiful resource it is free for the taking at several fountains in town.  We refilled our jugs twice, but some people gathered quite a bit.

Peace Love and gratitude for the rain/snow showers of 4,000 years ago!!!  Hope that 4,000 years from now we have supplied water worthy of drinking and that there are still people here to drink it, sometimes I wander.