Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Graceland, Elvis and another DDD!

So, we found Elvis alive and well, he's everywhere in Graceland, TN!

We stopped into Marlow's, a DDD that Jerry, Kaily & Travis visited three years ago, on their trip to Mexico.  It wasn't as good as Jerry remembered it to be, it was still fun.

  It worked out well that we stopped there was a major storm system blowing through the Memphis area, they were forecasting ping pong ball size hailstones  , so we just sat in the parking lot until it blew past

 Fried Green Tomatoes!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hot Springs Arkansas.. good camping, hiking, history, food, shopping & art!

Hot Springs Arkansas was the first National Park in North America.  The people here are proud to share their history with visitors. You walk into any store, and the history lesson begins.  They'll tell you how people like Al Capone would come to use the spas. Affluent women and men would come.  Separate quarter for each sex of course. People would soak and drink.  Mayors & police chiefs didn't live a long life in the day.
 One of the Bath Houses in Hot Springs. 
 The Hot Springs National Park's Visitor's center is also a museum, showing us what the bath's use to look like. Fun to take a quick peek through the four floors.
 I'm in one of the shows! (pretending..)
 This are the steam chambers
 This was the women's room, where they'd put hot towels on you after a soak.
 This was where the women hung out, reading and playing piano.

 Out side in the street, they had some nice statues.
 The old bath houses had some lovely stained glass. (Almost as nice as my dads'!)

 Jerry's standing in the men's area of the Bathhouse, you can see a billiard table in the back.
 One of the message rooms for the women.
 I loved this room, it was their gym. 
 One of the therapeutic tubs.

Now, the National Park owns the rights to the water, and they have two Bathhouses still in operation for the public, and they've given the rights to some of the hotels in town as well. There are a number of springs through out the mountain that surrounds Hot Springs, they're all locked and sealed. They're all at around 147degrees.

The city itself has some interesting stores, fun to shop in, plus they have excellent food.  We ate at Rolando's and the waitress we spoke with their, Rhonda, was wonderful.  Actually, the food there was good enough to be a DDD.  The food was Ecuadorian food, very good.. Similar to Mexican, with a touch difference.  We both loved our food there. We are going to email the DDD folks upon our return and suggest the check them out!

Cool art throughout Hot Springs

My new jewelery Jerry bought me in Hot Springs.. I love it!

Crazy shops through out Hot Springs, Arkansas

Excellent food in Hot Springs Arkansas

This was actually the BEST sangria I've ever had.. I'd go back to Hot Springs JUST for Rolando's Sangria!
Avocado Dip at Rolando's

There are trails everywhere throughout Hot Springs.  If you aren't into the trails, they have a bus service from every parking spot, which circles every 30mins, for free.   The bus driver gives you a tour of what to do and what you are driving by.  Very friendly, proud, and helpful.

The camping and trails where wonderful too.  We had a good camping spot right next to the gorge and  there where miles and miles of trails.  Not really good running if you like street running, but, excellent trails, stairs, up & down hills, it was actually very challenging.  Duke & I enjoyed it.

We'd love to come back to Hot Springs Arkansas with friends, and enjoy their various live music venues too!

Tomorrow we start our way north, first night outside of Memphis, with a stop at an excellent DDD in Memphis, in Graceland for some BBQ! Then camping in the woods just north of Memphis.

That's if for now! (Jerry hasn't edited this yet.. he will!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Mexico! Camping & Aliens!

From Bottomless Lake State Park in New Mexico..
Driving through Pecan Orchards in New Mexico
 Driving through the mountains in the south part of New Mexico.. it's beautiful up in their mountains..
 Driving through the mountains in the south part of New Mexico.. 
Driving through the mountains in the south part of New Mexico.. it's beautiful up in their mountains..

So, as we drive through a very large and flat State of Texas, I thought I'd update the Blog on our New Mexico experience.  (Well, I started this in Texas, then the internet wouldn't work in Northern Texas, or in Southern Oklahoma (where the people we meet were extremely polite and friendly, and the land we drove through was lush and green, and all the towns where vibrant and busy), finally the internet started working again here in Arkansas, we just crossed into Arkansas, so I can finish this New Mexico Blog Post!) Once again, we enjoyed New Mexico, and the remote areas we are able to find.  We did NOT make it up to Gila Hotsprings this year, as we did in 2010, as the mountain highwinds were TOO high for our comfort level.  So, we stayed further south.  The pass to Gila Hotsprings is a narrow one, we didn't need the high winds help!

We decided to head toward Roswell and look for Aliens, while finding good camping on either side.

 The State Parks in New Mexico vary in their fee depending on the type of site you select.  Tent only, built up (meaning shelter, table, two grills), Electric, Drinking Water, Full (includes everything plus your very own dump for your RV).. So, you choose your site, then go back and pay.. unless a Park Host is there, you're suppose to speak with them first.  Most of the Park Host are very friendly (except for one was nasty, not sure if I should say which one he was.. )
Sunset in our first New Mexico campsite. The shelters the provide are very New Mexico looking, pretty cool.
 They provide you with shelter, a table, fire & BBQ grills.. When we were there, no fires where allowed anywhere in Arizona or New Mexico due to the weather conditions. There were too may wildfires in the area, and the winds where WAY too strong for a real fire.  You could only use the Propane BBQs you brought with you.  We of cousrse, thanks to Jerry, have every cooking tool invented, so we're always good.
 The sunsets, in this heat, are always beautiful in New Mexico.
 Sunset from the window of the shelter they provided.
They had trails everywhere throughout the park.  Duke explored them, they weren't very long, the trails, so we walked them instead of running. 

We lucked out both times, so, this first spot wasn't a GoTo spot, just a nice spot to stop at as a layover.  The second spot i recommend for a couple of days to soak in the sun and enjoy their trails. Both happened to be State Parks, which meant excellent facilities for showering, drinking water, dump stations, electricity and water at each camp site too. So, after a few days in the desert with no facilities, we were in the lap of luxury! The second spot, see below, Bottomless Lake State Park, is a place I'd likely return if I'm in the area, whereas Gila Hotsprings is a place i'd travel a week to go to.  The Bottomless Lake SP has beautiful bluffs to export and an excellent running trail that goes for miles, plus a very nice spring feed 90foot deep beach! Something for everyone.

We did stop in Roswell in between.. you don't need long, but, it's fun to see the Aliens, you can see that they are trying to focus on their other industries in Roswell.. They clearly had have wonderful agricultural and artists too offer too.

 Jerry found an Alien on this car!
 We found aliens at our restaurant.
We found many Aliens downtown Roswell..  Then we headed toward Bottomless Lake State Park.

I very much enjoyed Bottomless Lake State Park, we stayed for two nights, versus one as planned.

 Had to climb up this bluff, the lake was the middle, like.. these are like Craters! Kinda cool.
 There were all sorts of cool entrances like this, or bluff to climb to find the lakes.
 Duke & I exploring and tracking down the 7 Lakes in the park!
 This is one of the 7 Lakes at the Park we stayed. This one is called Mirror Lake! :)
 This is the Lake we camped on, called Bottomless Lake, it's around 90feet deep.
Our campsite in Bottemless Lake State Park New Mexico, the beach was on the other side of those trees
 Duke has no free of walking on the ledges of the Bluffs.. I should give him the camera!
 During our hike we go to the public part of the park, where they have this cool New Mexican looking shelter.

 During our hike we go to the public part of the park, where they have this cool New Mexican looking shelter

 During our hike we go to the public part of the park, where they have this cool New Mexican looking shelter
 I'm trying to be creative here, you can see the sunset, and our campsite through these trees..:)
 As Duke & I are coming back from our run in the morning, and the sun's heating up that sky!
When we left Bottomless State Park, we stopped at the top of the Bluff and took a picture our of lake & camping area.  Camping area was to the left, public area in the middle there, and then miles and miles of trails over the the right, where you can go and find the other 6 lakes.
Well, that's it for now.. we're going to Post about Hot Springs Arkansas next.  Hot Springs Arkansas is actually a National Park in the State of Arkansas.  It lets you park right in the town, there are bath house enter including in the camping, and there is suppose to be one of the best BBQ places around right in that town of Hot Springs. So, we'll see and update you!

Sofie (Jerry will edit and comment later.. as he often does.. adding his twists.)

Not a lot to add Sofie has covered it pretty well. We are having a bit of an overheating problem that I will have to remedy when we get home. We got a tankful of bad gas in Texas I guess they sell all the good stuff.