JoDo Chasing Rainbows

Hot Springs National Park

We thought we would spend one week in Arkansas.  It was so beautiful that we decided to stay a little over two weeks.  I was excited that we were close to the smallest of the 59 parks.  Hot Springs is a beautiful town.  The springs are warm.  You could feel the history all around you.

When I visit a park I like to know the impact of on Black people who lived in the area.  Black folks were not allowed to use the springs except for the Government Free Bathhouse.  They were allowed to work in the bathhouse as workers.  There were a few bathhouses owned and operated for blacks by blacks during segregation.

The springs are mostly covered over so that the hotels and bathhouses could harness the power of the hot water.  You can tell this town was built on tourism.  Beautiful buildings that reminded me of Newport, RI that served the rich during the Gilded Age.  The bathhouses are beautiful.

We were able to dip our hands in the few of the open springs.  We did not bath at the springs though.  There is a campground (with picnic area) that is about 5 miles from the historic spot. This park has full hook ups.  We ate at the picnic area.  It’s between two mountains.  Very pretty. Very quiet.

America the Beautiful pass

We love national parks.  Our current travel goal is to visit all 59 national parks. We have purchased an America the Beautiful (interagency pass) annual pass for the past four years. This is how we try to stay frugal on our trips.  Entrance fees at the larger parks can run from $25 to $35 per day.  That can get pricy.  In 2017, we visited 14 national parks and park sites.  All but two had entrance fees.  Without this pass we would not have visited all of these parks.  The pass has always paid for itself each year.  With this pass we can access all the parks in the national system but there is more.  You can access the following

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Forest Service
  • US Army Corp of Engineers
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation

If you have been following our travels since the beginning you can see that we have stayed in national forest and COE parks.  You can get up to half off on RV site fees when you have this pass.  We have stayed in some beautiful parks for as little as $9 per day in Louisiana.  This is not the norm, most times we pay an average of $15 per day in FS and COE parks.

Even if you are not a full-time RVer this is a valuable way to see the US on a small budget.  Do you have an America the Beautiful pass?  If so, what is your favorite park?  Mine is Yellowstone.

Bourbon Tour, Part 4 – Barton’s 1792

Barton’s 1792 was real close to our campground. We could smell the plant each evening. It smelled like baking bread with peanuts. It is a smell that I now miss. This is very much a working distillery. While Marker’s looked like a pretty farm with a plant on it; Barton’s is very industrial. I felt right at home at this distillery.

They also make just a few types of bourbon. Barton’s has my all-time favorite bourbon – 1792. I put myself out there, tasting about 15 types of bourbon to come to this conclusion. While I have not tried every type of Bourbon, this hands down is my favorite of everything that I have tasted. I am accepting all gifts and contributions to my bourbon fund.

I hope you have enjoyed our tour of bourbon country.  I would like to know what is your favorite bourbon.  I hope you will let me know.

Bourbon Tour, Part 3 – Jim Beam

Jim Beam was the largest distillery that we visited. We drove by it each day as we went back and forth to work. This place has so many labels that I will just give an example of their products – Jim Beam, Booker, Knob Creek, Red Stag, Basil Hayden’s and much more.
Please let the know if you are a veteran or a dependent to a veteran because the tour will be free. The tours are a nice size, about 20 people per tour. They also have a bus to bring you around the grounds due to the size of the property.

You can also buy drink tickets to buy drinks from the bar at the end of the tour. Each distillery will have a tasting. Jim Beam’s is unique. You are given an electronic drink card. You can try up to three pours. Edonna does not drink. This means that I usually get my pours plus her pours. I was feeling pretty good by time we left Jim Beam. Luckily, I have built in designated driver.

My favorite pours at Jim Beam were – Jim Beam Rye, Knob Creek Rye, Basil Hayden’s and Jim Beam Black.