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A RAINY ROAD TRIP

09 Aug
     Sunday my wife Nicole and I took an afternoon trip to go have dinner with her parents down in Hot Springs. I’ve always enjoyed road trips along the back highways and we had all afternoon to drive around so we decided to stop at a few state parks along the way to do some geocaching. We learned last year there is a particular geocache at each of the 52 state parks in Arkansas, that when you get the clues from all of them, gives you the location of a 53 location somewhere in the state. It’s kind of silly but we both enjoy any random excuses to get off the main roads and see something interesting in Arkansas.

   So for this trip we decided to take the extra long way and head east to the Plantation Agriculture Museum in Scott and the Toltec Mounds Park nearby. We had already visited these parks last year but had not looked for the geocache when we went. So the plan was hit  two parks, travel south to Pine bluff, where we would cross the Arkansas river and head west to Hot Springs with plenty of time to spare and goof off.

   …so was the plan… 

   As we walked out from the condo, we could hear a storm thundering to the west but we didn’t think much of it. Little thunderstorms pop up all across the state like freckles this time of year. We crossed the river out of Little Rock and headed east down Broadway, taking a quick detour to observe the new pedestrian path across the Rock Island Railroad bridge, I can’t wait for this thing to open! The north shore has some of the best views of it, the Clinton Library and downtown. We weaved through the residential area along the river bang, back and forth across the tracks and through the old river homes and ancient trees.

Rock Island Bridge

Rock Island Bridge

  

Plantation Agriculture Museum Sign in Scott, AR

   We headed to Scott and went looking for our first geocache at the Plantation Agriculture Museum. It’s a pretty neat park that gives the history of cotton and how it played such a huge roll in Arkansas economics. By the time we figured out where it was though the storm we heard earlier had started to blow in and we had to race to the cache and back to the car to get out of the lighting that was getting close.

   We loaded back up and decided to hit the Toltec mounds state park as well while we were out that way. We took one of my favorite highways, 161, to come in the back way. By this time it was pouring down rain.

The Coming Storm

We pulled into the parking lot and used our phones again to figure out the geocache was in a bird house at the edge of the parking lot. I parked as close as I could and jumped out into the downpour to get it. I hid behind a dumpster screen for a little while which worked well since the rain was blowing sideways. We got the clue from the cache and decided to wait out the rain before putting it back and heading on. I got a great picture of a lightning bolt. And look at the temperature drop and wind changes!

Trying to stay dry

Not so dry anymore

  

Found the Cache!

 

Writing down the clues and drying out

 

The temprature has dropped 30 degrees

The Motherload!

 

The wind blows one way...

 

...and then the other. And then...

 

KABOOM!!!!!

We headed to England, thinking the storm would blow east and the worst had past but it soon picked back up again. We could see the storm in front of us and watched a huge bolt of lighting strike somewhere in the town and what we decided was the flash of a transformer it had just knocked out! After a few instances of

The flood at the gas station

hydroplaning and almost getting blown of the road a couple of times, we finally made it to England where we took shelter at a gas station. The power was out in half the town and the rain was relentless! There was even a little bit of hail. When the rain eased up some, we slowly pulled out and drove through downtown. Water was shooting out of every downspout and gutter in the alley behind the main strip. It looked like a water park I called them a bunch of urban waterfalls.

Urban Waterfalls

   We headed south again towards Pine Bluff, thinking this time it had passed.

Hot again

It had definitely not. That had to be one of the worst storms I had ever driven through. And they usually don’t bother me. We found out later the same storm had actually blown three planes over earlier that day in Little Rock. We kept driving south and the worst of it just kept following us. We had to pull over twice just because I could not see anything the rain was so heavy. When we were finally able to see again and the little “plink plink” sound from the small hail had stopped, we continued on. As we crossed the river in to Pine Bluff, we could see white caps on the river down below but the worst had finally passed. The rest of the trip we took 270 into Hot springs with blue skies in front and menacing clouds behind us, all the way watching the temperature slowly climb back up to triple digits.

 
Clear skies in front
 

   Just another everyday adventure!

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1 Comment

Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Road Trip

 

Tags: ,

One response to “A RAINY ROAD TRIP

  1. Erin

    August 11, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Cool rain and lightning pics. I’m ready to hear bus stories.

     

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