Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week is: Yellow

My favorite color is yellow so when I saw the theme of the weekly photo challenge I knew I had post something. There isn’t much yellow around at this time of year and my camera lens isn’t working so I started looking through my photos from earlier this year.

My first thought was to choose yellow flowers.

Then I thought, yellow sunrise and sunset.

Wait, what about our yellow lab Blondie?

Blondie basking in the morning sun
Blondie, our Yellow Labrador Retriever

Finally I decided why not all three?

Beside the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas

Maumelle Campground is a beautiful Corps of Engineers park next to the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas. This is a popular family destination and was almost full on the weekend. Just a few miles from grocery stores, shopping, and restaurants it was the perfect place for us to stay. The big sites are all paved with picnic table and fire pit. Our site was on the water with our camper set up beneath pecan trees.

On Friday we took a day trip to the first Arkansas state park, Petit Jean State Park. The 55 mile trip took us through several small towns. The final miles of the journey were up steep, winding roads until we reached the top of Petit Jean Mountain and the state park.

The legend of how Petit Jean mountain was named began in the 1700’s when a French nobleman named Chavet became engaged. He was soon leaving to explore part the Louisiana Territory and claim some of the land. His fiance wanted to get married before he left so she could accompany him on his journey. He refused because he didn’t want her to have to suffer the hardships they would encounter. She disguised herself as a cabin boy named Petit Jean and went on the exploration with him without his knowledge. Chavet never knew who she was until she fell ill and a doctor discovered the truth. She is buried on top of the mountain which was named after her.

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Good Friends, Full Moon and the Mississippi River

Our journey continued on I-24 West through Nashville, Kentucky, and Illinois before we crossed the Mississippi River into Cape Giradeau, Missouri.  Our home for the next 2 nights was about 15 miles north of Cape Giradeau in Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri and our campsite was right on the Mississippi River.

The state park is a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and commemorates the tragic relocation of five Native American tribes from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma. The visitor’s center in the park features exhibits that interpret the forced relocation.

We enjoyed watching barges going up and down the river and the trains which passed by on the tracks along the river.

The highlight of our stay was visiting with one of my best friends from elementary school. She and her husband drove down from St. Louis to spend the day. We had a lot of catching up to do – the last time we saw each other was in the 6th grade about 50 years ago! She looks just like she did back then! We drove down to Cape Giradeau for lunch at Port Cape Giradeau and a little sight seeing along the river. After lunch we enjoyed the murals on the flood wall beside the river.

After emotional good byes my friend and her husband returned home and we returned to the campground. We enjoyed watching the trains and barges and had front row seats for the Blood Moon rising over the river.


Smooth as Tennessee Whiskey

There is a line from the George Jones song “Tennessee Whiskey” that has been going through my head ever since we crossed the Tennessee State Line. It goes “You’re as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey”. There. Now it’s in your head, too.

Our first stop of our  fall trip was Barton Springs Campground, a TVA park in Normandy, Tennessee. We love waterfront camping so of course when I found this campground I made reservations for a site right on the water. The lake is down now during the off season but comes right in front of the campsite in spring and summer. This is a federal campground so you can use your Senior Pass to get a discount on your camping fee.

Sitting outside watching the lake was a great way to end the day after a 300 mile driving day which included going through Atlanta and Chattanooga. A doe and a fawn were across the lake grazing. A great blue heron stood on a point out in the lake. A couple launched their canoe and went for a paddle. And we were able to watch a pretty sunset.

Monday morning saw thunderstorms coming through the area. After breakfast we waited a little while for the rain to let up and then hopped in the truck to visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Jack Daniel was 13 years old when he bought his first still for $25. He developed the formula for his famous whiskey and the whiskey is still produced using the same formula and method. All the water used comes from an underground spring on the property, the barrels are still made by hand out of white oak, and the charcoal used for filtering the whiskey is made there from Sugar Maple wood. Jack was only 5 foot 2 and never married.

Our guide Janine told us the story of how Jack died. One morning Jack came to work early and tried to open the safe in his office. He was too impatient to wait for his nephew to arrive to open it so he kicked the safe and broke is big toe. He was too embarrassed to go to a doctor right away and when he finally saw one he had developed an infection which led to gangrene. He died as a result of this. It just goes to show you should never go to work early!

He left everything to his nephew shortly before prohibition shut all the distilleries down. His nephew opened a hardware store in town and made enough money to pay the property taxes every year. The distillery opened back up when prohibition was repealed.

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After our full day of sightseeing Blondie took a swim in the lake and we ended the day with a Single Barrel Jack on the rocks.

Before we left the next day I took Blondie for one last walk along the lake and enjoyed watching a Great Blue Heron and 2 Egrets. A great ending to our enjoyable stay at Barton Springs.