Monday, October 30, 2006

home work

Last night Marley (6yrs old) was told to do the homework that was due this morning. She was reluctant, kept putting it off, and got busy working on this project. She finally did her homework, though. I think she needs some home work in spelling.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

hot springs

No trip to Hot Springs is complete without a ride on the ducks; WWII amphibious vehicles that give you a tour of downtown and then drive right into the water for a cruise around the lake.
When I bought these duck bills for Marley and Hunter I had no idea they also made a duck noise. A loud duck noise. It proved to be a source of joy for all the passengers, the people walking on the sidewalk, and of course, their parents when they arrived home.

There are a lot of fancy house at the edge of the lake. This one, barely visible through the trees, has been converted to a bed and breakfast.

After the chilly ride on the lake we warm up with hot chocolate and a game of tic-tac-toe.

crater of diamonds state park

Near Murfreesboro, Ar., the Crater of Diamonds State Park is a site where an ancient volcanic vent surfaces depositing diamonds and other precious gems. You pay 6.00 and you can dig all day and keep any diamonds you find. There have been several diamonds found the past year weighing around 5 carets.

Marley turns to say "Come on Pops," but I'm too fat to dig for diamonds. Grandma and Hunter may be on the verge of finding something.
Cleaning the tools afterward.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

talimena drive

We start the Talimena Drive, a scenic 54 mile stretch of highway that climbs along the ridges of two mountains with wonderful views on each side. It starts near Talahina, OK. and ends at Mena, AR.

I love steam locomotives. We found this one on display at the top of Rich Mountain in the Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

I was born too late. The perfect career would have been as an engineer on a steam locomotive.

The Queen Wilhelmina Lodge was opened in 1898. It was named after Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands who was crowned the same year in hopes that she would honor them with a visit. She didn't.

And aerial view of the lodge.
The lodge in 1898 when it opened.

The locomotive wouldn't run but we found this miniature train to ride.

We continue the drive. Next stop: Crater of Diamonds State Park

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

heavener runestone state park

This is the view from the top of the hill where the Heavener Runestone is found.
The runes are believed to have been carved into a slab of rock 12 ft high, eight feet wide, and 16 inches thick. If Vikings actually did the carving then they would have had to travel south around Florida, across the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River to the Arkansas River to arrive at what is now Heavener, OK. They've been examined by scientists and the runes have been dated to an alphabet that the Vikings used around 700 AD. Most scientists believe the Vikings never traveled south of Long Island, NY. If my fellow blogger and archeologist Dawn ever makes the trip to the site, I would like to hear her opinion. It's necessary to hike down a steep stone stairway to arrive at the stone, but it's worth the effort.

these runestones are behind glass so I enhanced them in Photoshop.
Hunter found a place to slide. We had to take special care to prevent him from wandering over the cliff.
Looking back up from whence we came.

Marley heads back up the stairs. It was a hundred yards down into the ravine and two hundred back.

Monday, October 23, 2006

the adventure begins

Our first stop was at the Spiro Mounds Archeological Park. At this site are 12 mounds that contain evidence of an Indian culture that occupied the area from 850 a.d. to 1450 a.d. The Mounds are thought to be one of the four most important prehistoric Indian sites east of the Rocky Mountains.

Spiro was a center of commerce where the chiefs regulated trade between the Plains Indian tribes and the tribes east of the Mississippi. To learn more you can click here

Hunter examines a recreation of a carved canoe. This is not a good photo, but I included it because of the beauty and craftmanship. It reminds me of scrimshaw. This is a fragment of pottery.
A ceremonial pipe use to smoke "sacred" tobacco.
Burial mounds.
This is a recreation of the typical indian home of that era.
Marley and Hunter explore the interior.

This is the site where the elite of the village lived.