The building in the middle is President Clinton’s library. It juts out over a slough off the Arkansas river and is meant to portray his “bridge to the future” that was important during his campaign and presidency. I’m taking the picture from an old railroad bridge that I walked at least twice a day with the dogs and biked over when the weather was good. Our RV park is to my right a few hundred yards. We visited the library last year, so didn’t go in again, but I still appreciate it’s beauty and the way it reflects light.
I took the afternoon off from studying to ride my bike to North Little Rock and get my hair cut. Whitney was amazing, but even she couldn’t totally fix the horrendous (and that’s putting it mildly) cut I got in Destin. The weather was so nice, I went for a two hour bike ride afterwards. Over the railroad bridge, through downtown, and up and down the hills to the capitol. I don’t have my speedometer anymore, so don’t know how fast I got going down one hill, but it was fast enough that a couple of the sidewalk were hooping and hollering as I whizzed by. So fun! This picture is of the Little Rock 9, and in the background is Arkansas’ reproduction of the Liberty Bell. Each state has one, and it’s fun to try to find them. Now that I’ve seen Little Rock, I find it hard to believe that so much pain and suffering occurred here for so many years and people didn’t just stand up and say “enough”.
It was opening day for minor league baseball in North Little Rock, so we went to see the Thunder play. The view from 3rd base was great, but we didn’t catch any fly balls, darn. That’s Little Rock in the background – it got prettier as it got darker. The RV park was only a mile away, so we walked over. The kids loved that part of it. Unfortunately, the Thunder got beat by a Texas team that they’d previously beat 6 times. Their new stadium was really nice, but the fans were grousing about the lines for beer and the bacon stall. Yes, bacon on everything! The line was too long for us and we probably couldn’t have afforded to feed Nate there anyway.
Almost back home, I took this picture of my crazy family and the light show that we have watched on the bridges. It’s been really fun to see each night and exploring Little Rock has been interesting. It will be sad to leave tomorrow.
We love anyone named Kresse! Bridget and Kevin invited us for dinner, as per Joey’s instructions, and we had a ball getting to know them and their incredible kids, Greta, Julian and Roman. They are the most vibrant, wonderful family and their home was a welcoming oasis of love and generosity. Come west someday, come west!
Central High School – the historic steps where the Arkansas National Guard prevented the Little Rock Nine from entering to attend school on September 4, 1957. Not that long ago. The museum around the corner from the school chronicles the divisive history and the attempts at desegregation. It was very hard for me to even read. Students trying to get an education, mistreated because of their skin color. A white mob that kept them away for two weeks, and then when they did attend school, their “classmates” mistreated them horribly. Governor Faubus was such a nerd-bucket that he closed the 4 public high schools in the area for the 1958 school year rather than integrate them. The Supreme Court ordered the integration in December of 1959, but it didn’t go smoothly either. On and on it went, and I think we are still seeing the effects of it today. How does hate grow? It gets passed from generation to generation. Until EDUCATION occurs.
Would my children have been allowed to attend Central High School? Probably not. But today they stood on the steps and learned the history.
Saturday bike ride to the Big Dam Bridge! Behind Dan to the left is the mountain we climbed last year when we were here. I suggested riding out to it, but everyone pretended they didn’t hear me. It was a perfect day for a ride, not too hot, and there were tons of other people out so I had fun saying hello to all of them as we whizzed past. I’m using this picture because the young man I handed my phone to was very cool about it, all the while staring at Eliza. I’m surprised the rest of us are even in the shot and I think it’s hilarious that the garbage can is, too. And he took 12 pictures in a row! No, she’s not dating until she’s 21, I understand now Tevye.
The dogs and I enjoyed the view on our morning walk. Not as good as the Gulf sunrises, but still a positive way to start our day. The river is the Arkansas. To my left hidden behind a tree is a homeless man’s tent, behind me to my left is the RV park where we are staying, and to my right is Clinton’s presidential museum. There is a huge homeless population here and it is very sad to see. Not as bad as New Orleans, but still, very sad. I looked online to see how many shelters they have, only found 2. (Maybe they are called something else.) I saw a blatant drug deal in the parking lot under the bridge and 4 people sleep in the shade shelters on a little nature trail 1/4 mile from the presidential museum. For all the work they are doing to make the town livable and bring in new business, they are still missing this piece. We saw on the morning news that Little Rock was named the murder capital for small cities and we weren’t surprised. The library where we study has security guards that roam around and you have to ask for a key for the bathroom. It reminds me of one of those sci-fi movies set in the future when the world is falling apart. We’ve met many nice people here, however, so I have hope for Little Rock. I just wouldn’t want to live here without doing something to help.
It was really hard to leave our beautiful spot on the Mississippi River, but we knew we’d have this view for the next 12 days, so that helped soften the blow. That’s downtown Little Rock, across the Arkansas river from our campground. It rained as we got here, but we still went out for a walk to explore the city. There are 6 bridges that cross the river and two of them are pedestrian access and it makes a nice loop. We visited Bill Clinton’s museum here last year, so we knew our way around. It’s like a mini Portland with the bridges and the trails on both sides of the waterfront.
Nate stayed at the rig by himself – so he could get some time to himself. Oh that we had done this trip when they were 10 and 12 like we’d planned, but the economy changed our plans and we ended up with this timing, which is just right we tell ourselves, and with teenagers who’d rather be with friends than their parents. Now that we can see the end of the trip is near, everyone is getting excited to be home, see family and friends, and have our own rooms again. I think it’s healthy for everyone to have their own space, but I also think this dream trip of a lifetime is the best thing we’ve ever done. I don’t begrudge Nate his time to himself because I appreciate all the other times he is with us and enjoying the trip. Our dream trip. Only 3 1/2 months left.