We decided the best way to stay cool today was to pile everyone in the car and turn the air conditioner on high. Since we were sitting in the car with the engine running to keep the air conditioner cool, we thought we might as well drive around some and see what we could see.
We had a couple of questions and comments from folks familiar with this area, so had some ideas what to see. First up was checking out the Dardanelle Lock and Dam, located right by the Old Post Road Park:
This lock is the tallest on the Arkansas River, which is the longest tributary of the Mississippi River. From the website, “The Encyclopedia of Arkansas”, I learned, “At 1,460 miles long, the Arkansas River is the longest tributary in the Mississippi-Missouri River system. From its source near Leadville, Colorado, the river drops 10,000 feet in 125 miles, travels through Kansas, then through northeastern Oklahoma. There, it is joined by the Canadian, Cimarron, Neosho-Grand, and Verdigris rivers. It then crosses Arkansas, emptying into the Mississippi River 600 miles north of New Orleans, Louisiana.” Facts and figures aside, from my growing up years in Colorado, I remember the Arkansas river as a raging, but small, stream in the spring, or a tiny creek in the summer when we made day trips up around Leadville and Buena Vista. Years later I remember visiting my Dad when he lived in Kansas. There, the river was nearly dry. To see how big it is in this part of the country is always amazing to me.
We found our way to Lake Dardanelle State Park just outside Russellville:
Where it was a good day to fish:
Or go boating:
And, yes, Janna, we did see the cooling tower of Arkansas’ only nuclear power plant, located along Lake Dardanelle near Russellville:
We continued our exploration by heading south on Highway 7 across the river and through the town of Dardanelle. Eventually we found our way through farm country
and winding roads
to find Arkansas’ first state park, Petit Jean:
With it’s beautiful vista:
and handsome tourists:
We took this beautifully constructed boardwalk
to the Cedar Falls Overlook:
However, the falls are not very spectacular right now, more of a trickle:
But still, it is a beautiful park!
With all of this exploring, we realized we’d missed lunch. We decided to take the dogs back to the Castle and give them their lunch and leave them to take a nap while we went back into Russellville to find our own lunch, at – where else, a local Mexican restaurant.
Now we’re back home, relaxing and resting up for tomorrow’s adventures!