Dan March 23, 2014: Sunday, went to church at St Mary’s Basilica. Still camping at Natchez State Park. This is a nice park, but I am disappointed that we are such a ways off the Trace. We should have driven up the Trace a bit more to find a campground, but then we would not have been close to Natchez. So, overall, it was a good park to stay at so we could visit Natchez which was our primary goal for coming here. I really enjoy church architecture. This church was pretty awesome. The sermon was great. We went to subway for lunch then Eliza, Nate and I went and watched the movie Divergent. It was a great movie, but it was especially great since I read the book and I was able to visit with Eliza and Nate about it. I read it because of them. I basically read it in two days so I could get it done before the movie. Today was cold, cloudy, and windy, so a good movie day. Out for now. Grace be to all.
Dan March 24, 2014: Left Natchez State Park and heading to Hot Springs AR. However, we are going to have a night at Lake Village LO as it is quite far to drive all the way to Hot Springs and this works out great to see Amanda, my niece. She is now living in Greenville MS. We started the day by driving up the Natchez Trace about 40 miles. The Trace is part of the National Parks. The speed limit is 50 mph and goes for about 440 miles with no stop signs or stop lights. It is one continuous road. We cut over to Louisiana via Vicksburg. We got into Lake Village at a good time so I went for a bike ride by the lake. Amanda stopped by at about 4 pm. We cooked up tacos and burritos. Amanda brought cupcakes, which were great. It was nice spending a couple of hours with her. This trip has been great for seeing relatives and friends. That is the best part of the trip. Beautiful night. Tons of stars out. The park was nice and quiet.
Dan March 25, 2014: Left Lake Village LO today (Pecan Grove RV park, not a very attractive park, but quiet, safe, and a good place to say for one night) and drove to Hot Springs AR. The early drive was quite windy, but sunny out. The early part of the drive was farmland like Iowa and then turned to hills and trees rather quickly. I have not spent time in AR, but from what I see I like it here. It is beautiful country. I like riding in the RV with my family. They are all so happy when we are driving. Sally is a great co-pilot. I have to admit, I like to drive the RV. What I mean is I am not good about letting Sally drive. She does a great job driving when she does. For instance, she avoided an accident in Houston, which I may not have had the good fortune to miss. That was a good bit of driving on her part. I will work on learning to be a co-pilot. Nevertheless, Eliza and Nate enjoy traveling in the RV. They are so funny. Looking forward to Hot Springs. It is a national park we have never been to before. We got there early, first come first serve, no reservations. We were blessed. We got a good spot. I went for a bike ride into town to see it. Fun ride. Up Hot Springs Mountain. We spent the evening hanging out in the RV. I typically go to bed around 9 pm well before Nate and Eliza. I am learning to sleep in now to 7. Being on perpetual vacation can be tiring.
Dan March 26, 2014: Another day in Hot Springs Arkansas. It got quite cold last night, down to around 32 degrees, but we were nice and toasty in our RV. Plenty of good heat. We went to the library for study school day. The library is very nice. I spent some time doing some more trip planning. We pretty much have all reservations in place. We walked around downtown today to see Hot Springs. You can tell that in its heyday, it was quite the resort community. There are some spectacular high rises in disrepair. We walked along bathhouse row. There are only two active bathhouses now. It is sad that the hot springs are so commercialized. For instance, $18 to sit in some hot pools at Quapaw Bath House with tons of other bathers. So, we passed on it. We were disappointed that there were no hot springs in the park to take advantage of. Oh well. For those of you in Portland, go up the gorge and visit Carson Hot Springs. That is a great place for a tub. Bagby Hot Springs or Brietenbush are good ones too in Oregon. We walked around a bit more then headed back to the campground. No bike ride today, which is fine. I am still on track to do 5,000 miles this year.
Dan March 27, 2014: In Hot Springs AR. This is really a cool place. We are camping at Gulpha Gorge campground in Hot Springs National Park. One of the most beautiful parks we have camped in. Spacious sites with plenty of trees. There is also a little creek that runs right by the campground, which is an added touch. Sally and kids went to the library for school study. I spent the day at “home” in the RV. It was overcast today, but I went for a 20 mile bike ride around the national park. Up West Mountain Drive and up the drive to Hot Springs Mountain summit. This was a pretty cool bike ride. I spent the afternoon cleaning the rig and reading Life of Pi. It was great when Sally and the kids got home. I really enjoy being with them all day. Sally is great to spend time with. She is so excited about this trip, as I. I enjoy how Eliza and Nate have become best friends. We spent the evening in the RV reading.
Dan: March 28, 2014 in Little Rock Arkansas. This is Eliza’s 14th “gotcha” day. What a joy to Sally and me. She is such a beautiful young woman. I love her so much. We spent the day driving from Hot Springs AR to Little Rock. Only about 60 miles. We went for an afternoon hike at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Nice overlooks of the Arkansas River. Beautiful, hilly, treed country. Sally, Eliza, Nate and I really enjoyed this hike. We got back to the RV park and it rained hard with thunderstorms. It was cool. We are camping at Maumelle Park, an Army Corp of Engineers park. Very nice. We are camped right on the Arkansas River. We are loving it. Nice scenery and quiet. The river is impressive. Big. We are only 10 miles from downtown Little Rock and we are at the end of the Arkansas River Trail for bike riding. I am looking forward to riding it. I like Arkansas. It is beautiful country. I am still reading Life of Pi. I am reading since Eliza read it for school. It gives us something to talk about. I like the book and am looking forward to renting the movie. Ask me some day why he is named Pi. Out for now. Love ya all.