We left Michael, Jennie and the Kids and drove down to Junction City and the Horizon factory. On the way we camped one night in a county park just north of the Iowa - Missouri Border just past some Amish farms. At the factory we parked, with water and electric and hung out for 3 days while they made some repairs and changes to our trailer. We left Junction City heading the long way to North Carolina through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
We camped just outside Oklahoma City, unhooked the trailer and went into town to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The museum had some interesting and moving displays as well as a poignant display that dealt with the connections between Oklahoma City and 9/11. Survivors and family members of the Oklahoma City bombing victims came up to New York to help counsel families who lost loved ones on 9/11 and a number of New York City Firemen who lost their lives on 9/11 had been amongst the rescue workers who went to help in Oklahoma City.
After our visit we walked through Bricktown, an old industrial area converted to tourist attractions and restaurants. We ate dinner in a Mexican chain although there were two other restaurant's that caught my attention. Right outside a Minor League Baseball stadium was Mickey Mantle's restaurant and across the street was Mantle's. It seems that Mickey and Johnny Bench both came from Oklahoma City but there was no Bench's restaurant. After dinner we went back to the Memorial as the 168 empty chairs are lit up at night.
The "Tree of Remembrance" was standing there that fateful day in April so it was left standing as a witness to what occurred.
The next day we went to the 17 acre botanical gardens in center city. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory was designed by I. M. Pei a noted New York architect.
That night we dined on salad at Paneta Breads and went to Shakespeare in the park to see Othello. The production was amateurish but Iago was very good and it was a pleasant but hot evening.
We left Oklahoma and headed for Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas the only public diamond mine in the World. It's also the eighth largest and for $5 you can search for diamonds from 8 in the morning to 8 at night. Don't kid yourself this is no joke people have found diamonds worth $100,000. While we were there a lady found a quarter carat diamond. We spent an afternoon using the "wet screening" method but didn't have any luck. I am not sure we would have recognized a diamond had we found one.
From Craters we went to Lake Catherine State Park just east of Hot Springs, Arkansas the childhood home of William Jefferson Clinton. We visited and took a tour of the Fordyce Baths, drank the hot spring waters and hiked the hills behind bathhouse row. The Fordyce is just a museum but the Buckstaff is still operated by a concessionaire but we passed on the experience. Debby isn't into massages and for me it was too different from the Russian baths I grew up with for it to be a meaningful experience
Do you believe that people stood and were hosed down with these pressure hoses. It's true, actually I have known about it for years, I used to see men at Silver's (Russian baths in Coney Island) standing there holding themselves while the attendant sprayed their bodies. I was always curious about the sensation.
Most of the hot springs have been capped and piped for sanitary purposes but these continue to flow so that visitors can see the actual springs.
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