Tuesday, February 28, 2006

06-13 Little Rock Arkansas and the Ozark Folk Center

(13) On The Road Again
Little Rock, Arkansas
The Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View

I had a nice early start this morning, heading towards Little Rock on hwy 40. But I didn’t enjoy much of the drive. The highway is in bad shape much of the way, including some much needed road work being done. Big pot holes in the concrete sections and bumpy sections leading into Arkansas across the Mississippi River.

RV note: Arkansas does permit overnight camping at the rest stops. I’ve never done it, but I’m sure there are many who take advantage of it. And Burns Park, which is on the north side of Little Rock, is the largest city park, with camping, in the south. Exit 150 on hwy 40.

My first impression of Little Rock has been good. It’s a charming small city nestled in the foothills of the Ozarks. With a river walk along each side of the Arkansas River. They even have a small electric trolley going between North Little Rock and the old part of town that has been recently renewed in Little Rock.

Of course, my goal in stopping initially, is to go to the William Clinton Presidential Library. As an architectural statement, it is stunning. It represents a bridge, reaching out from the present to the future of our nation. The setting along the Arkansas river with an old lift bridge near by is gorgeous.

It is inspiring to see the accomplishments of a President, through their eyes.
One gets the impression that Bill Clinton is most proud of his work with bringing more equality to blacks, the disadvantaged, minorities or all types. I particularly liked the quote:


I feel I’m a prime example of that quote in all respects and thankful that I had those opportunities here in the U.S.A.

The Library is beautifully designed . With wonderful displays of time-lines showing the accomplishments over the 8 years President Clinton was in office, his accomplishments along with individual alcoves specifically on things like The Economy, Education, the Environment, World Diplomacy, etc.
His accomplishments in balancing the budget and creating a surplus has got to be a high point in his presidency. Creating legislation for retirement savings, the ability to transfer retirement accts and protecting the environment as well.

The library has a recreation of the Oval office and Cabinet Room as they appeared during President Clintons time in office.

For the traveler, North Little Rock is completely wi-fi accessible. I met the two business men who set it up. It provides them free advertising in all the shops. Since it’s been so hot here, I took the River cruise on the Arkansas Queen. Another great way to keep cool on a hot day. The breeze from the top decks was refreshing and the a/c in the main salon for dining felt great as well. A hour and a half later, I had a different perspective of this beautiful gem of a city. By the way the city is approx 173,000 strong, with another 75,000 in North Little Rock. Their state capital is an exact replica of the United States Capital in Washington D.C. except it’s 4 times smaller. Looked pretty big to me!

Now you’ve probably figured out I love music and have gotten into folk music quite a bit lately. As I was perusing the state parks in Arkansas, I discovered The Ozark Folk Center. A state park in Mountain View Ak. They have an Opry Land type theatre, Craft Village and the town has lots of shops and music venues including free jam sessions around the court house in the center of town.

I wend to the Folk Center last night and for $9 had a great evening of listening to the best banjo, fiddle, guitar and dulcimer music in the Ozarks. All in air conditioned comfort! The PA system was awesome and all the music was acoustic. A couple of the singers had voices that would rival any top singer on the charts today. The Nelson family in particular had voices that needed no microphone. Ron and Peggy Taylor did some great humorous folk songs, Mulligan Stew, Leatherwoods, Jo Fudge, Jim and Wanda Sanders and all the rest filled the evening with real old time music. My favorite was hearing the old gospel tune, “I come to the Garden alone”.

RV note: The Ozark RV Park backs up to the Ozark Folk Center. It’s a Good Sam member campground, $17.50 a night. Walking distance to the Folk Center and restaurant. They have wi-fi as well. Including free folk jam sessions in the rec hall.

Oh, I should mention I took a “scenic” route 9 to Mountain View. Campers know that the term “scenic” usually means, winding, hilly, dangerous road. Well I discovered the truck and camper can do just about any hill or mountain, which is a good thing. Though I’ve got to tell you, going around some of those steep banked turns, where I could see the back of my camper in front of me, was an image I’ll never forget! When the road signs say “caution, steep dangerous hills and curves ahead”, they mean it. And even though I had fun on the road, I think I’ll take the “less adventuresome” road out as I leave town.

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