Upon leaving Texas, John explained he located an interesting Passport America park on the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas. As always, I am content to go along for the ride knowing that John's researching skills usually never disappoint.. We pulled into the Downtown Riverside RV Park just after noon and set up in our one night Passport America site. We wanted to say 3 or 4 days but the park was booked. Upon arrival we asked and received additional days if we would move to a non Passport America site ( they offered a super large pull thru site with awesome river views so I was thrilled)!
The RV park is situated between a pedestrian bridge on our left facing the river and a highway bridge on the right. Directly across the river is the skyline of Little Rock. At the end of the pedestrian bridge the Bill Clinton Presidential Library is visible.
Since we only had a half a day to tour we decided to begin at a beautifully restored home, historic Curran Hall, the downtown visitor center. The gardens surrounding the site and the rockers on the porch are very inviting. Armed with plenty of brochures we decided first to visit the Capitol. Although closed because it was Sunday we spent a good hour taking pictures and enjoying the grounds which contained some really beautiful sculptures, my favorite being the bronze statue celebrating firemen.
Next we went for a tour of Diamond Brewery to round out our day. We were entertained by our tour guide who was a volunteer at the brewery and was a retired Army Special forces guy. He loves his volunteer gig because the brewery pays its volunteers with beer! What stood out on the tour was the cute names the brewery attached to their equipment such as Larry, Moe and Curly or Ginger and MaryAnn. Cute!
For our first full day I wanted of course to begin with the Clinton presidential library. In the morning we had a leisurely breakfast enjoying our river views, did our weightlifting exercises and planned our trip for after lunch.
The walk across the river bridge was impressive in itself and an added treat was seeing a marshland boardwalk structure to our right. However we could see that because the river is currently high and a portion of the boardwalk is flooded, the gate was closed. The library on our left came into view and the large rectangular steel and glass rectangular structure is very inviting. We paid our admission and began our tour. Though we enjoyed our self guided tour we could not help but compare it to George Bush's library in our former home town which we feel is much more interactive and takes much longer to explore.
After exploring all three floors of the museum we ventured over to Heifer Village where we learned that a Mennonite man from Indiana had a vision to create an international charity to provide nations struggling from famine and hunger ways to become self sustainable through education, gifts of farm animals and help with planting vegetables indigenous to their area.
He wanted not to just give one time food gifts(as he had experienced in mission trips sponsored by his church) but instead help these communities to become self sufficient. In other words instead of a gift of a cup of milk, why not a heifer? In fact as a pay it forward, every family receiving a farm animal has to promise to breed the animal and pass on one offspring to another family. I just loved that! We were both very impressed with his mission and surprised we had not heard of it before especially since John has always participated in Kiva International which has a similar mission.
In the back of the museum is a large garden and a barn with farm animals such as chickens, pigs, lambs and my favorite, baby goats! What a treat it was to wander around the garden and barn!
From the Village we caught the green line trolley (for just a dollar each) and received an awesome tour of downtown from our very friendly driver. I can tell we will want to stay longer because Little Rock has a lot to offer people like us. I am already after John to extend our stay because with breweries to visit, a thriving downtown, an extensive city bike trail and a friendly city to explore we will surely need more time! There is a rally coming so I am keeping my fingers crossed at least one site will be available for more days!
NOTE: Sharon pens today’s blog. We are still in Little Rock Arkansas as luck would have it for Sharon we were able to extend a bit longer and will now stay till Friday.