Western States Part II
October 2, 2009 - Little Rock, AR to Clinton, OK

Our first stop for today was at Hot Springs National Park for another National Park Passport Stamp.  I've heard of Hot Springs all my life but I guess what I saw when I got there wasn't what I really expected.  To be quite honest I'm not really sure WHAT I expected.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't a trip back in time though.  Perhaps it could be better termed as an interesting mix of the past and present.

Hot Springs has a series of historic bathhouses that were used for "Therapeutic Baths" for over 200 years.  It was made a Federal "Reservation" on April 20, 1832, and a national park on July 5, 1933.  Everything has been well-preserved and maintained and it is a very interesting place to visit.

After Hot Springs we headed up Highway 7 through the Ouachita National Forest to Russellville, AR and our old friend Interstate 40 west.    Highway 7 is a beautiful ride on a motorycle and we rode it under clear blue skies and moderate October temperatures.  A short run west on I-40 brought us to Ft. Smith, AR for yet another National Park Passport Stamp at the Ft. Smith National Historic Site.

We jumped back on I-40 and headed west at a pretty good pace.  We wanted to stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial which honors the victims, survivors, and rescuers of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19,1995.  This act of stupidity was perpetrated by American militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh and was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the Waco Siege.  In all the bombing killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured more than 650 others.  It is a truly inspiring facility and one that we can never forget.  To me it not only symbolizes the selflessness of the rescuers but also the monumental stupidity of some of the people who walk our streets.  Much like the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor it is something that I won't soon forget.
In several of the photos above you will see a "Remembrance Fence" that has been used to leave messages and mementos.  While not part of the original design of the memorial the survivors, family members, and rescuers asked that it be retained because of its importance to so many.

I would like to add that this is NOT the proper place to advertise your business.  Among the mementos and messages of sorrow and hope there can be found a scattering of business cards.  In my opinion this is the absolute epitome of disgusting behavior and I personally will never, EVER patronize a business that would behave in this manner.  Perhaps my interpretation of the reasoning behind leaving a business card is incorrect, but I somehow doubt it.  When I look at a remembrance wall and see a business card for a law firm that specializes in motorcycle injury lawsuits there isn't much doubt in my mind.  This is NOT the place for that!

From Oklahoma City we headed a little further west so that we could avoid the morning rush the next day and finished up in Clinton, OK.  We got some supper and some well-deserved rest (once again, from my point of view!) and called it a day.  Today was rather long at right at 500 miles and tomorrow will be as well.  At my age I desperately need my beauty sleep!

Trip Totals:
Miles Today: 482.3 (GPS)
Total Miles: 848.6 (GPS)
States Crossed: 3 (TN, AR, OK)
AGirl's ride report for this date is at This Page