Beauty Abounds

When humans allow themselves to slow down they can enjoy such beauty underfoot. A easy stroll on a park trail along Black Warrior River was filled with surprises.

Cypress Vine
Partridge Pea
Ivy Leaf Morning Glory
Jack In The Pulpit Berries
Downy False Foxglove
Blue Mist Flower
Wild Sugar Cane
Goldenrod of course!
Acorn Plum Gall- NOT a fruit, see link below

Jennings Ferry Park

This COE Campground is a delight! Jennings Ferry Campground is situated between Black Warrior River & Clear Creek on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway in west central Alabama. We will be on the outlook for river barges that pass right by the campground. Right now, the place is pretty empty but come the weekend, it will be full of campers. The hosts have already decorated for Halloween. It was fun cruising around on our scooters last evening getting the layout of the small, beautiful campground.

Huge mushroom on a stump at our site
Platter sized!
Our backyard view
A lovely problem. See my post on Water Hyacinths
Even our own deck at waters edge
Velvet spiders and webs
Flower bed sprouting something else
Bat skeleton made us chuckle
From below
Monster spider at showerhouse
Look out!
A spotless and roomy shower house is a bonus 🚿 no spiders!

Water Hyacinth

We were walking along Clear Creek at our new campground yesterday and saw these gorgeous water plants. When I looked them up, I discovered that they are a real problem in our waterways. I’ve included a link at the end of this post explaining why. Perfect plant for a water feature in a garden but not out in the wild where they take over. I got a video of a hyacinth raft that gets hung up on its journey.

Lovely problem
Creates a raft of plants
This raft floated past my reading spot

Tishomingo Trails

We hiked the gorgeous outcropping trail today on a cool Fall morning. There were 7 trails to choose from so we took the one with the most interesting features. Even though we had to go pretty slow, we still managed 3 miles of rugged, rocky trail. Hiking up amongst those huge overhanging rocks made us feel very small. What stunning scenery! We are so grateful to be able to do this since only a few months ago, Warren was fighting for every breath. He still has lung damage from COVID pneumonia and I deal with mild asthma but we had a beautiful, beautiful afternoon. The air was fresh, the birds were singing and our spirits were high in the Bear Creek Canyon of Mississippi’s Appalachian Foothills.

Natchez Trace Parkway

While we were out running errands, we spotted this marker in Tishomingo, MS. That got us planning to drive the length of the trace one of these days. We had forgotten this important historic trail from days gone by. Maybe summer of 2024, as we make our way back out west to California, Oregon and Washington, we can explore it. I’ve included a couple links to guide you if decide to enjoy this road trip. It’s not divinely scenic like The Blue Ridge with overlooks and mountains but it will be a pleasant slow lane to travel.

Warren was taking a picture of a mural across the street.

Corps Engineering

Many campgrounds don’t carefully lay out the sites for the best use of campers. Piney Grove COE Campground in New Site MS is a wonderful exception. Even for our much loved Corps parks, this planning went above and beyond. We really didn’t see a bad site on the place after touring on foot and on our scooters. Most sites needed only a good asphalt drive for the camper and the nicely bordered and graveled ” living area” for the picnic table, fire pot, grill and lantern post. Some required careful layout to make good use of concrete “timbers” to build the site. The pictures are examples of about a quarter of the sites that needed extra effort. Beautiful shady campground on a large lake. We will certainly return one day.

Engineered instead of thrown together
Our site has a nice living area
He appreciates a good plan
Using the slope to an advantage
Three levels to the water

Shame On Y’all!

As we travel rural Mississippi, we are saddened by the amount of litter on the roadsides. Looks like folks even have their favorite spots to dump their empties. This photo was taken near a gas station where we pulled over to make lunch today. It’s a fair example of what we saw on so many roads. No reason for this type of conduct. DeSoto County started a campaign to call attention to the problem but we don’t think it’s well enforced. It has been rare as we travel to see this kind of littering.

Park Maintenance Blues

The guys were changing out the rusted grills at our campground today. Ours was the first they attempted. They put a lot of time and effort into the project. Once they measured and saw that the posts were too tall, they came up with a much faster method and things went smoother for the rest of the replacements. Working in upper 90° heat was no easy thing either. I only recorded bits and pieces of the long process from our bedroom window. We were a bit concerned that those sparks would catch the dry pine straw on fire so we kept an eye on things since they were working only a few feet from our RV.

Oh Brother!

We are camped at Arkabutla Lake, Coldwater Mississippi. A little trivia for movie lovers who enjoyed watching O’ Brother Where Art Thou? The small former town of Coldwater MS is underwater due to building of a dam and lake for flood control. This is the area where the fictional Everett McGill was supposed to have buried his treasure and where the family cabin with the happy little tire swing flooded when the lake was formed. The Federal Government paid $250,000 to move the homes of 700 citizens a couple miles to higher ground. I included a clip from that most enjoyable movie. If you haven’t seen O’ Brother it’s available to stream on Prime Video and You Tube.

Mississippi Acreage

We crossed east over the Mississippi River to a new campground. Sometimes our campsites are snuggled up next to our neighbors but most times they are roomy and private, which is our preference. This one has about an acre of forest perched above a little bay on a huge lake. We LIKE! We can enjoy it without the labor and expense of owning it. One of the perks of RV life.

Bath House Row

We strolled Hot Springs National Park yesterday. This most unusual park is located along the main street of the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Geothermal springs (143°) trickle down the mountain above the valley and have provided therapeutic benefits for hundreds of years. Early Native People knew of these springs and soon the newcomers to the area learned to use them too. Rustic log cabin inns were soon replaced with lavish stone structures. Only 2 of the bath houses of the former resort still provide soaks but all are beautifully restored and used as the park visitor center, gift shop, restaurant, cultural center etc. We enjoyed our stroll along the shaded avenue but the serene setting was almost spoiled by the traffic. Loud cars and even louder motorcycles cruised past when we stepped out of the quiet of a bath house. The shops and businesses across the street are not on park property. Mostly, it was an interesting and fun tour. We located several of the spring outlets on the mountainside and yes, they were very hot! There are paved walking paths including the Grand Promenade above Bath House Row. While touring The Fordyce, we got a kick out of the Ranger explaining some of the more intense treatments like electrified water and colonic irrigation. The young women in the room couldn’t quite understand what they were hearing 😂 I’m including about half the photos I took of this more unusual park.

One of the still operational spas
Wonderful architecture
Nice landscaping
Superior Bath House
Fordyce Visitor Center
Buckstone offers spa services
Each spa tried to outdo the others
Another view. Love the arched porch
Lamar is now the park gift shop
Shady lanes
This was designated a National Reserve in 1832 to protect the area. Then became our smallest National Park in 1921.
Main corridor to hillside paths
Warren testing the temperature straight out of the spring
Sitz bath and steam bath
Looks like a torture chamber!
Pack tables where people were wrapped in hot spring water towels
In case you would rather lounge
Spa goer wrapped in hot towels
Mens athletic costume and a linen suit for strolling
Ladies sheer summer day dress and swimming costume
Warren wondering how the were cleaned between patrons
Cleaning supplies
Needle Shower
About 60 of these tubs on 3 floors of Fordyce
Looks good to me
Quite a few of these Sitz baths for various lower parts ailments
Colonic Treatment!
Warren and Ranger discussing the various electric water treatments
Heat Lamp

100 year old ball shaped electric motor is something else! It was used on a “medical device” called a “Cologne Vibrator” and was a power source for remote attachments. This little motor would hang from a hook and like the power unit of a Dremel Tool it would spin and then turn a cable to power whatever was at the end.

Hubbard Tub for disabled patrons to be lowered into waters
Mens elegant soak rooms
Lovely day room for socializing between treatments. That’s a tile floor of tiny squares and stained glass ceiling above
Ladies area
Grand piano
Very elegant room spanned across front of the building
Where spring waters enters the basement
Foyer area of Fordyce Bath
Ladies dressing rooms
Old school mirror selfie
Traffic, Mens Gymnasium, Warren sampling the water

Why? 🤣

As we travel, we have noticed more and more RVs with aggressive and threatening names. Why do manufacturers feel the need to apply angry names to recreational vehicles? Most people camp for the pleasant surroundings and relaxation. So why these harsh names? We laugh when we see some of the huge Toy Haulers with names like Avalanche, Vortex and Cyclone! Here is a list I have compiled of others we have seen.

Our neighbor doesn’t seem dangerous

Ultra Supreme
Genesis Supreme

Of course there are an equal number of easy going or elegant names. Give me a Sunseeker over a Rampage any day 🤣

Brady Mountain

This wonderful Corps park is on the shores of Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. The largest and clearest lake in the state. Our campsite is situated above and across from the large marina where we can watch the houseboats and other pleasure craft come and go. Warren built a holder for my cell phone that created a “handbar cam” for our scooter rides. The campground is about half full with nice traffic – free asphalt roads to cruise. I think he gets more pleasure from these little scooters than he did with his motorcycle❤️

We need to make friends with some boaters 😉
Nice spot to watch the lake
Zoom Zoom!

White Cliffs, Arkansas

This very small but lovely campground has an interesting history. A large, almost pure, limestone deposit was discovered here and enterprising individuals started mining it to create concrete. That limestone forms the foundation of the state capitol building  in Little Rock and numerous other buildings in the state. A good sized community developed around the factory but dissolved into history. After reading negative reviews, I thought there wouldn’t be much to see and do here. So we were fine with just hanging out. I feel sad for people who get bored in a quiet camp like this. We didn’t even bother to unload our tow vehicle. Plenty to see just walking or scooting around. Alligator chasing in the morning, several armadillos grubbing, a giant Leopard Moth, a dirt dobber wasp building under the picnic table, poor raccoon trapped at the trash dump next to our site, many flowers and berries, white cliffs to hike, boaters speeding by, heavy machinery at work, historic ruins to ponder and just peaceful beauty out in the woods by the river.

Hackenberry Emperor loved my pink shirt
Beauty Berry Plant that the squirrels love
Dirt Dobber Wasp under our picnic table
Cardinal Flower attracted the hummingbirds
The canoe launch from our site.
Rose Mallow
Cardinal Flower and Cypress
Our hiking trail to see the limestone of White Cliffs
Trail to the quarry
Blinding white in the sunshine
Easier going up than coming down!
Pretty landscape from any angle
Steeper than it looks
Crumbly limestone… Yikes!
Having an anxiety attack 😂 It drops off on both sides.
Pulled myself together and smiled
Warren doesn’t have my fear of heights
We got as far as the red dot before I lost my nerve
Warren spotted a 12 foot alligator when we were having our morning coffee by the river. The Park Ranger has contacted animal control to have it relocated away from the campground. This one has made a nuisance of himself by entering occupied campsites!
Old steamboat landing area
Brick ruins from the factory
Office stairs
Foundation walls
More foundations
We are the only campers this week

“White Cliffs Natural Area, located in the Coastal Plain, occurs on a large outcrop of Annona Chalk, rising out of the Little River floodplain (now Millwood Lake) and includes a 100-foot high chalk bluff over the Little River, from which the area derives its name. A continuum of plant communities reflects a range of elevations at the site from the floodplain to the ridgetop. The area includes the largest, and least disturbed, Arkansas occurrences of chalk woodland. This community type is unusual for Arkansas as it is more typical of vegetation found on the Edwards Plateau of Texas. The area is also of historic significance as the site of a late 19th century settlement. The crumbling remains of foundations mark the locations of several structures.”

Sesbania Javanica

Another interesting plant we found growing at the lakeshore today. Also known as Riverhemp in Asian countries. Just for fun, I have included a recipe in the picture caption.

Edible Uses Leaves – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The young shoots are cooked and eaten with various dishes. The flowers are eaten either raw, blanched, fried with egg or fermented. Because the flowers contain a carotenoid substance, they are used to give a yellow colour to various desserts such as kanom bua loi, which are coloured balls of sticky rice flour cooked in sweetened coconut milk.

Medicinal The leaves are used medicinally. In ancient Thai traditional medicine, the plant (the report is probably referring to the flowers) was used as an anti-inflammatory for treating insect bites, intestinal abscess healing, stomach discomfort and to relieve internal fever and thirst.

Sneezeweed 💛

The grounds of our park in Oklahoma are covered with this lovely little yellow wildflower. I love learning how wildflowers get their names. This one was especially interesting.

“As the species name implies, Sneezeweed flowers in late summer or fall. The common name is based on the former use of its dried leaves in making snuff, inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits.”