Virtual Travel – Arkansas

Today’s stop on the virtual tour of the United States is Arkansas. Located in the south central part of the country it is a state I have only visited a couple of times, and then very briefly. I have however managed to collect 34 different years of state highway maps.

The only photo I have taken with Arkansas actually is 1/2 Texas – Texarkana Post Office and Courthouse – literally split down the middle by the two states.

2015 09 24 5 Texarkana AR TX.jpg

 

 

We start today’s tour with a 1958 map highlighting a freeway interchange in Little Rock. While there have been limited access highways in the United States since the 1930s, the U.S. President in the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower, was a strong proponent on the improvement of the road system in the country. As a result the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was passed.

This act authorized the construction of 41,000 miles of limited access (no crossroads, etc) freeways. While some states had made some significant progress by 1958, in Arkansas it was limited – the exit shown was one of just a handful in the state.

Government State Arkansas 1958.jpg

 

 

 

We move ahead 10 years to 1968 and find the cover with a nice view of the Ozark Mountains. The Ozarks aren’t particularly high, reaching a maximum elevation of 2,560.

While the Ozarks reach into Missouri, they are best known as part of Arkansas. As this photo shows the terrain is tree covered with numerous rock outcroppings. In addition there are a number of scenic rivers and lakes.

Government State Arkansas 1968.jpg

 

 

 

The 1970 map starts an amazingly long period where the look of the maps do not change. The maps are consistently basic, with the inside being the statewide map, and the backside having a few city maps. Unlike most states there is little in the way of tourist information like guides to parks.

The covers continue to highlight the natural scenery with this view of the Ouachita Mountains. Much like the Ozarks they are relatively small, tree covered mountains. As the map notes this view is overlooking the Hot Springs National Park. Situated next to the city of the same name Hot Springs has long been an attraction.

The town has famous and infamous periods, including being an attractive location during prohibition for people like Al Capone to come hang out. The town has a collection of historic bathhouses and many other architectural significant buildings.

Government State Arkansas 1970.jpg

 

This checkered history is celebrated with a statue of Al outside the Ohio Club in Hot Springs. (photo from Dayton Daily news website).

Statue of Al Capone outside the Ohio Club in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

 

 

 

By 1972 the Interstate System was nearing initial completion. This view features Crimson Clover for ground cover.

More than just a 1960s pop song, Crimson clover is a winter annual and herbaceous legume. The leaves and stems of crimson clover resemble those of red clover, but the leaves are round-tipped with more hair on the stems and leaves. Seedlings grow rapidly from the crown forming a rosette. This rosette enlarges as weather becomes favorable. In the spring, the flower stems develop rapidly and end their growth with long, pointed conical flower heads comprised of 75 to 125 florets. Florets are a bright crimson color and open in succession from the bottom to the top

Government State Arkansas 1972.jpg

 

This image (from the internet) gives a nice closeup of Crimson Clover.

Crimson Clover | Best Forage

 

 

 

The 1973 map has a view of Little Rock, the largest city and capital. With about 700,000 people in the area it makes up about 20% of the states population.

With it’s location near the Ouachita Mountains, the city is made up of some rolling hills, along the Arkansas River.

Government State Arkansas 1973.jpg

This photo from the internet shows that the skyline has changed little in the 40 + years since this map was published.

 

 

 

For the American bicentennial the cover is a tribute to the early pioneers.

Government State Arkansas 1976.jpg

 

 

 

The eastern border of Arkansas is the lower Mississippi River. This area is known as the Arkansas Delta, which has geographic similarities to their neighbors in Mississippi. It is the region where cotton is grown.

The area is dotted with lakes, many of them as a result of the river changing course over time. The bald cypress tress shown here are typical of the area.

The area is also known for their music, including blues and country. The most famous person from this area is Johnny Cash.

Government State Arkansas 1977.jpg

 

 

 

The Arkansas State Capitol is featured on the 1979 map. As with the vast majority of state capitol buildings in the country it is built in the Neoclassical style. This building is much newer than many other state capitols, having been completed in 1915.

Government State Arkansas 1979.jpg

 

 

 

For 1981 the photographer chose a view of a small river (the Spring River), a two lane road and a train.

Government State Arkansas 1981.jpg

 

 

 

The Interstate 40 bridge linking West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee is featured on the 1982 cover. Covering a distance of 9400 feet, and rising over 100 feet above the river, the official name for this bridge is Hernando de Soto Bridge. The two arches of the bridge are to represent the letter ‘M’ (for Memphis), hence the nickname of the structure is the M bridge.

Government State Arkansas 1982.jpg

 

This photo from the internet shows the bridge at night with the ‘M’ lit up. Photo by Trevor Birchett.

 

 

 

The photo for the 1984 edition shows the early fall scene in Garland County. With Arkansas being located in the south this scene likely dates from late October or early November.

Garland County is the home of Hot Springs.

Government State Arkansas 1984.jpg

 

 

 

Another year (1985) another two lane road in the woods. This time we are in Yell County. Strangely this relatively small county, in both population and square miles, has two county seats. In addition it is a ‘dry’ county, with no alcohol sales. Perhaps that is why they Yell.

Government State Arkansas 1985.jpg

 

 

 

The Interstate 430 bridge over the Arkansas River at Little Rock is shown on the 1986 map. This freeway bypasses the city to the west.

Government State Arkansas 1986.jpg

 

 

 

The 1987 map has a radical departure on the look of the title on the cover, but not much else. More bridges and roads through the countryside.

Government State Arkansas 1987.jpg

 

 

 

Once again in 1989 the scene goes unidentified. But good news – there is a bridge involved.

Government State Arkansas 1989.jpg

 

 

 

For 1990 we get a return of the red backgrounds for the titles, along with descriptions of the scene. This view is from Highway 7 in Perry County, with a dogwood tree in full bloom in the foreground.

Government State Arkansas 1990.jpg

 

 

Perry County is home to a huge Goat Festival (photo from KARK TV station). The festival attracts 4000 people to the small town of Perrysville.

Goat Festival Perryville AR 201710 KSJ_5638ps_1538704669851.jpg.jpg

 

 

 

Big changes for the Arkansas map in 1993 – Bill Clinton, a native son was elected president. Unfortunately they have returned to photos of generic scenes without descriptions. This pattern continued for the next few years.

Government State Arkansas 1993.jpg

 

1994

Government State Arkansas 1994.jpg

 

 

1995

Government State Arkansas 1995.jpg

 

1996

Government State Arkansas 1997.jpg

 

 

For 1998 the descriptions have returned. This mountain scene is U.S. Highway 65 near the Buffalo National River in Searcy County.

Government State Arkansas 1998.jpg

 

 

Searcy County is known as the Chocolate Roll Capital of the World. A chocolate roll is a crust filled with chocolate. A recipe found on the internet could be a good thing to fill some time today….

Searcy County Chocolate Roll

Pastry:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/4 c. cold water
dash of salt

Filling:
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/3 c. butter or margarine
1/3 c. sugar

Incorporate all pastry ingredients into a pie crust-like dough. Roll out. Cream together cocoa powder, sugar and butter and spread on surface of pie crust. Roll from one end, tucking in sides like you would a burrito. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and molten. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

In 2001 we visit Beaver Lake Dam in Carroll County. The dam has created a large lake that provides recreation as well as drinking water for much of Northwest Arkansas.

Government State Arkansas 2001.jpg

 

 

 

A Corvette and a country road back in Perry County. Since this county is dry too, they are likely headed to the next county to buy a bottle of wine for dinner.

Government State Arkansas 2002.jpg

 

 

 

In 1803 the United States purchased a massive area (828,000 square miles) of land from France for only $15 million dollars. What seems like a good deal was likely a better deal for France as they really didn’t control most of the land – it was still inhabited by Native Americans. The U.S. was buying ‘preemptive’ rights to obtain the Native lands by treaty or conquest (steal).

The entire state of Arkansas was included in this deal.

Government State Arkansas 2003.jpg

 

 

 

To get your Kicks on Route 66 in Arkansas you have to go to Stone County and take the state highway with that number, since the famed U.S. highway of the same number did not go through the state, although it went nearby in southwest Missouri.

Government State Arkansas 2004.jpg

 

 

 

The 2005 map shows the field of daisies at an Interstate interchange. Given the view you would think that the daisy would be the state flower but it is not. The state flower is the apple blossom, a tribute to the time when Arkansas was a large apple producing state, which it no longer is.

Government State Arkansas 2005.jpg

 

 

 

The 1956 Interstate Act 50th anniversary is celebrated on the 2006 map. Ironically neither of the two freeways shown here are interstates, they are both state routes.

Government State Arkansas 2006.jpg

 

 

 

The tunnel shown here is the Bobby Hopper Tunnel. It is the only vehicular tunnel in Arkansas.

Government State Arkansas 2008.jpg

 

 

 

For 2009 the cover shows the recently completed Greenville Bridge, a cable stayed design over the Mississippi River. Construction of this bridge took 16 years.

The new bridge replaced one built in 1940.

Government State Arkansas 2009.jpg

 

 

 

Hot Springs National Park is the scene again for the 2010 map.

Government State Arkansas 2010.jpg

 

As noted previously there are numerous bathhouses in Hot Springs, including one that was in the park itself. The Ozark Bathhouse was closed in 1977 and restored as the National Park Visitor Center. (photo from NPS site)

Ozark Bathhouse viewed from Central Avenue, looking up the front steps.

 

 

 

Another two lane road in 2011 – this time in Pope County. Located in the north central part of the state it is home to the town of Russellville. It is yet again another dry county.

Government State Arkansas 2011.jpg

 

 

 

Logan County is featured on the cover of the 2013 map. This county was originally called Sarber County, after John Sarber, when it was formed in 1871, but the locals felt Mr Sarber was a carpetbagger, so they renamed the county for an early settler James Logan.

Like most of the scenes in the series of Arkansas maps, it is located in the Ozark Mountains.

Government State Arkansas 2013.jpg

 

 

The theme continues in 2015 with this scene from Stone County.

Government State Arkansas 2015.jpg

 

 

 

 

The historic Lawrence County Courthouse is featured on the 2016 map. The courthouse is part of the Powhatan Historic State Park. And yes Lawrence County is like most of north and west Arkansas in that the county is dry. Lets move on to California so we can have a beer!

Government State Arkansas 2016.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Alaska

Our virtual travels take us north to Alaska. Being so large, and so remote there are few roads. As a result the Alaska road maps feature far more facts about the outdoors than the other states.

My collection of Alaska maps is small, but our memories of the state are huge. The oldest in the collection is from 1973. This map pre-dates the famed Alaska Pipeline by a couple of years, and features a Native American Totem Pole Owl.

One unusual note on most of the Alaska maps is they were published by Rand McNally, and not the state government.

Government State Alaska 1973.jpg

 

 

In 1973 Alaska is still a remote frontier, reached by land only via the Alaska Highway through the Yukon in Canada. This closeup of the map shows Yukon on the right in yellow, and Alaska in white on the left. Note that the Alaska Highway in the Yukon was still gravel (indicated by the alternate white and red line).

The 1500 mile long Alaska Highway was build during World War II to connect the contiguous U.S. to Alaska. It was legendary for years as being a rough, challenging multi-day drive. The drive itself goes from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks.

Government State Alaska 1974 4.jpg

 

Government State Alaska 1974 3.jpg

 

 

 

The back of most Alaska maps have features of the vast array of wildlife found in the state.

Government State Alaska 1974 6.jpg

 

 

 

The follow year’s map features a boat! While this might not make much sense for a road map, it does in Alaska. In addition to the Alaska Highway the other surface route to reach the state is via the Alaska Marine Highway – an 1850 mile route of waterways from Seattle to Alaska. You can rent a cabin on the boat, or as many do – pitch a tent on the deck.

Government State Alaska 1974.jpg

 

 

 

For 1977 a dogsled huskie make an appearance on the cover, along with the state flag.

Government State Alaska 1977.jpg

 

 

 

As we jump ahead to 2002 the theme continues with wildlife and natural scenery being the focus.

Government State Alaska 2002.jpg

 

 

 

The final two maps in the collection have the same theme, campers in the wilderness, along a lonely highway. These maps dare from 2006 and 2007.

Government State Alaska 2006.jpg

 

 

Government State Alaska 2007.jpg

 

 

As with most Alaska maps there is also the view from the Marine Highway Ferry.

Government State Alaska 2007 4.jpg

 

 

 

The inside of the map shows the development over the past 40 years, but still nothing like the lower 48 states. The entire route of the Alaska Highway has been paved, but is still a real adventure to drive the distance.

Also note the road going due north from Fairbanks – the Dalton Highway. Built in the 1970s as a supply road for the pipeline, the 414 mile road is still an adventure, punctuated by the couple hundred trucks blasting along. There are only two tiny towns the entire route.

Government State Alaska 2007 3.jpg

 

 

Our one and only visit so far to Alaska was a very memorable one. We flew from Seattle to Juneau to start a 1 week ‘small boat’ cruise (30 cabins and 50 people).

The landing alone was amazing, coming through the clouds to see the water, trees and the Mendenhall Glacier!

2017 09 15 8 Flight to Juneau.jpg

 

 

As soon as we got our rental car we headed out to the glacier.

2017 09 15 34 Juneau AK Mendenhall Glacier.jpg

 

 

The waterfall next to it was equally impressive.

2017 09 15 13 Juneau AK Mendenhall Glacier.jpg

 

 

The next day we set off on our 7 day sail, seeing an amazing collection of natural scenery and wildlife.

2017 09 17 11 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

2017 09 17 89 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

2017 09 17 51 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

 

2017 09 18 45 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

 

2017 09 18 87 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

2017 09 19 49 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

2017 09 20 70 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

 

2017 09 21 35 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

2017 09 21 73 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

 

 

Upon our return to Juneau we had a chance to explore the mountains above town waiting for our night flights back to Seattle, Chicago and Columbus.

We look forward to returning to Alaska some day and exploring the interior of the state.

2017 09 23 10 Juneau AK Flume Trail.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Neuquen Province, Argentina – December 2019 – The North Lakes Loop

With so much to see in the area the tourist bureau has identified a number of loops, or circuits, to hike, bike or drive. The North Lakes Loop leaves Bariloche and goes into Neuquen Province.

Not long after leaving Bariloche and going around the end of Lago Nahuel Huapi, the road splits with Highway 237 continuing due north along the Rio Limay.













After about an hour drive you come to ‘Highway’ 65 – a 40 kilometer long dirt road.










This route runs along Lago Traful.














Eventually we made it to another paved road – the famed Ruta 40!

Turning south we passed another beautiful mountain lake view – Lago Correntoso.







Finally we arrived back at Lago Nahuel Huapi – where we had a view across the lake to Bariloche.







Even the wildflowers along the highway are picturesque. We would’ve like to spent more time, but we had a busy afternoon planned (next posting).






Union County, Ohio – July 2019 – Covered Bridge Tour + 1

Union County, Ohio has a number of covered bridges. Unlike most counties, not all of them are vintage, with 3 of them being built in the last 20 years. Still they have character, so it was worth riding around the countryside for a couple of hours checking them out.



























The one non covered bridge was, in my opinion, the best. The Streng Road Bridge was built in 1914 with steel trusses. It replaced a covered bridge that was destroyed in the 1913 flood.

All of the original ornamentation and decorative elements are still in place. So highly thought of it is the only non covered bridge to be listed as an Ohio Historic Bridge (which is amazing as there are literally hundreds of cool old bridges throughout the state).










Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 17 The Road To Hana (and Beyond)

The Road to Hana is a famed Maui attraction. Winding for 52 miles from Kahului, it passes over 46 one lane bridges, and has over 600 curves.

5780.jpg

 

 

It basically runs up and down the gulches throughout east Maui, with many of the gulches featuring waterfalls.

It was raining fairly hard as we made our way down this early morning, so some of the falls were more impressive than normal. The good news was our early start meant we missed most of the very slow tourist traffic on the way down.

Unfortunately unless you had a 4WD high clearance vehicle you had to come back the same way, which we did later that afternoon.

5782 - Copy.jpg

 

 

Eventually we reached Hana, and continued on to the portion of Haleakala National Park that is on the ocean. As we passed into the park grounds we were met with another great waterfall.

5791 - Copy.jpg

 

 

Our main destination for the day was the Pipiwai Trail.

5799 - Copy.jpg

 

 

 

This trail takes you up the mountain past the Seven Sacred Pools.

5800 - Copy.jpg

 

 

Through an amazing bamboo forest.

5805 - Copy.jpg

 

 

After clearing the bamboo forest you are presented with the highlight – the 400′ high Waimoku Waterfalls.

5813 - Copy.jpg

 

 

After returning back down the trail we started backtracking up Hana Highway. Just beyond Hana is the Wai’anapanapa State Park.

5833 - Copy.jpg

 

 

The seas were angry that day, and the waves were high and frequent.

5837 - Copy.jpg

 

 

The blowhole at the park was more impressive than any of the others we saw elsewhere.

5847 - Copy.jpg

 

 

Even the birds seemed excited.

5853 - Copy.jpg

 

 

As we continued our journey back to Kahului we passed an area where numerous cars were parked along the road. Following the others we made our way down to an overlook where everyone was checking out the waves.

They were reported to be 20-30′ high here, which brought out locals as well as the tourists.

5876 - Copy.jpg

 

5886 - Copy.jpg

 

 

The only surfboards we saw that day were lining the parking lot of the shops.

5901 - Copy.jpg

 

 

As we made our way back to the hotel for the night we passed this architecturally interesting temple. We were fortunate that despite quite a bit of rain we remained dry for our couple hours of hiking, as well as the visit to the state park.

5904 - Copy.jpg

 

 

 

Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 16 From Maui to the Moon

Early on a Sunday morning we took off and headed up the tallest mountain on Maui.

5595.jpg

Up we went until we were at the same level as the clouds.

5557.jpg

And the road kept going – we could see Molokai in the distance, and we kept going.

5569.jpg

we were looking down on the 5000′ high West Maui Mountains and the clouds now. Where could we be going?

5570.jpg

The moon!

No not really, it is Haleakala Mountain (and National Park). The buildings are an observatory.

5529.jpg

But if you could visit the moon in shorts this is the place (to be fair it was in the upper 50s but it is Hawaii so I am wearing shorts).

Haleakala is a volcano, and the top is the crater with numerous cauldrons. They like to point out that while it is officially 10,023′ above sea level, there is another 19, 680′ below sea level, so it is taller than Everest (but shorter overall than nearby Mauna Kea).

5608.jpg

There are numerous cauldrons in the crater, which is a deceptive 2600′ deep.

5610.jpg

While barren of vegetation, the crater floor is full of color, as this series of photos will show. These are some of my favorite photos of all time, all from the same place!

5614.jpg

5627.jpg

5631.jpg

5646.jpg

5648.jpg

5657.jpg

5667.jpg

5675.jpg

We went down the path into the cauldron for about 45 minutes – resulting in a 2 hour hike back up. For me this was one of the tougher hikes, it is 10,000′ in elevation, it is continuous, without shade (and I likely only went down 700-800 vertical feet)

It is an incredible place, and we were fortunate that it was a very sunny day the day we visited, as the clouds often obscure the mountain (at least parts), and later in the day and for the rest of our time in Maui, it was at least partially obscured.

5638.jpg

We returned to Maui (aka sea level) and went for a drive to Kahakuloa. While most people drive the famed road to Hana (we did – later), this road was far more impressive and challenging. It was mostly a lane and a half, often clinging to the cliffs to the ocean, with minimal guard rails.

It was great!

5703.jpg

Great unexpected views would just pop up without warning.

5708.jpg

The road passes through a couple of little towns.

5713.jpg

Eventually you make it back to a road with state highway maintenance (aka – two lanes), but the views continue.

5731.jpg

We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole.

5743.jpg

Another north shore coastline (note the road running along the top of the hill).

5761.jpg

Maui’s north shore is known for the surfing. We watched a number of them catch waves before calling it a day.

5764.jpg

5768.jpg

Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 15 – Best 30 Minute Flight in the World

We left the ship in the morning and spent a bit of time in the town of Kaunakakai at a farmers market, while we waiting for our flight’s scheduled time.

5232.jpg

 

 

Eventually it was time to go – in our 9 passenger Mokulele Airlines flight to Maui. As we boarded the plane I asked the pilot if we were taking the north route to Maui, and with a smile she said ‘yes’!

5277.jpg

 

 

We took off over the only flat land on Molokai.

5285.jpg

 

 

The north route takes you over the famed Sea Cliffs. Known as the highest sea cliffs in the world, some are over 4000′ high. Now you know why the pilot was smiling.

5293.jpg

 

 

A family owned airline, they are known for their island hopping routes.

5296.jpg

 

 

The best views in the world out the windows of our little 9 passenger plane on a regularly scheduled route..

5303.jpg

 

 

One of the saddest policies in Hawaiian history was the sequestering of leprosy patients. One of the most famous of these is on Molokai, where over a 100 year period over 8,000 people were sent to spend the rest of their lives in isolation.

Today it is a National Historic Park accessible only by mules down the 1,600′ high cliffs, or by plane.

5308.jpg

 

 

More of the steep valleys along Molokai’s north shore.

5311.jpg

 

5314.jpg

 

5319.jpg

 

5336.jpg

 

 

There are numerous waterfalls coming off of the cliffs.

5337.jpg

 

 

Two of the 8 highest waterfalls in the world are along these cliffs. I ‘think’ we are looking at Olo’upena Falls and ‘Pu’uka’oku Falls, both nearly 3000’ high.

5342.jpg

 

 

Amazing cliffs and waterfalls.

5344.jpg

 

 

Our last view of Molokai was of the Halawa Valley, where we spent the day before with Pops and his family learning of Hawaiian culture.

5347.jpg

 

 

After crossing the 20 mile channel we were over Maui,

5360.jpg

 

 

While rugged, the mountains are not as abrupt as Molokai. They do however have a great little road running through them (more on that tomorrow).

5362.jpg

 

 

More canyons as we approach the airport.

5375.jpg

 

 

Maui is basically one massive mountain on east end, with other tall mountains on the west end, with a flat valley in the middle. All of a sudden it looks like Southern California!

5379.jpg

 

 

The water in the ocean just off shore had great color though.

5382.jpg

 

 

Making a couple of quick turns to land and we were in Maui. What a spectacular flight!

The traffic and congestion will quickly make you wish you were back in Molokai.

5383.jpg

 

 

We did make a quick trip up to Iao Valley before the sun set though.

5402.jpg

 

 

The ‘needle’, a 1200′ high (from the valley floor). It is really a ridge, as it continues beyond sight.

5398.jpg

 

 

As we walked to dinner along the coast we saw this great turtle hanging out in the lava rocks.

5267.jpg