Hot Springs and Beyond

Day 4:
Little Rock, AR to Sherman, TX
approximately 350 miles

Got us some high-speed wireless tonight. Posts written earlier in the day below.

Began the day by heading to Hot Springs, Arkansas to check out the national park there. Looked like there was some forest, maybe a little hike or just a scenic drive. The conclusion of a half-hour search for the Visitor Center led us to what has got to be the most elegant ranger station we've seen:

None of the literature really made it clear, but the "park" really centers around the historic bath buildings there. Around the turn of the century, elegant spas were constructed to attract people looking to take the waters at the natural springs. Many sought out (or were prescribed) these baths to cure a variety of ailments. We only had the opportunity to walk through the one building and continually marveled at how they just don't build buildings like that anymore — beautiful tile, solid wood, marble, stained glass, all light and space.

We walked a bit around the "promenade" that runs behind the buildings, which led to one spring that flowed down to a pool. Thinking that it'd be nice to soak our feet, we quickly discovered that it was far, far too hot.

We had to cheat and ask a couple to take our picture in front of the park sign; as it turns out, they were locals (or at least knew the area), and sent us off to Cajun Boilers for lunch. I ordered the catfish platter: fried catfish, french fries, hush puppies, and fried corn on the cob. Monica played it safer with the fried crawfish. Mighty tasty, though, inexplicably, no sweet tea.

After filling our water bottles at one of the spring fountains around town, out the scenic route through what looked through kind of a resort lake area, and then off to Texas. The AAA triptik was sending us down to Dallas and then back up to Archer City. We thought that it might be better (especially since we'd hit Dallas around rush hour) to get off the interstate and cut across to Wichita Falls and down to Archer City; the woman at the impressive Texas welcome center agreed.

The drive took us through some pretty, verdant land, and a bunch of small towns. We kind of reached our limit in time to stay the night in Sherman. Finding our way through and to a hotel was a confusing, frustrating experience, to say the least. Which continued as we headed out to Cellarman Pub for some pizza and beer. But it all worked out in the end, once it arrived at our outdoor table.

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