When we first visualized full-time traveling in an RV, national parks were at the forefront of our thoughts.  It turns out that it is discovering the hidden gems which makes this adventure truly special.  A prime example is Arkansas.  Yes I was aware of the Ozark's, but I didn't realize how fantastic this place is.
Found at the Ozark Folk Center State Park, Arkansas.
Sounds like the teachers of today are completely out of control.
     After leaving Tennessee we headed straight to Mountain View, Arkansas.  Mountain View is in the heart of the Ozark's and requires hours of driving on twisty, mountainous, narrow, backcountry roads.  Upon arrival, the first thing we did was score a campsite almost directly on the Sylamore River.  Almost immediately we became friends with our camping neighbors-Carrie, Dustin, Gabe (their son), and Frank (their dog).  They are a very friendly, wonderful couple from Indiana on a 1 week vacation. Of course, Carrie is a teacher, so...., well...., you know what happens when teachers get together and Nancy and Carrie got along famously!
Carrie, Dustin & Gabe.
As you can tell Gabe is very active.
     My rule of traveling is to visit every place which has the word "national" as part of its name, so we visited Blanchard Spring Cavern in Ozark National Forest and, sure enough, it was great.  We also took a 10-mile kayak journey down the White River where we were treated to viewing the towering limestone cliffs from our boats.

Blanchard Spring Cavern
Ozark National Forest
City Rock Bluff overlooking the White River.
     Mountain View is very proud of its Ozark heritage and refers to itself as the "home of folk music." All students in this town are given a musical instrument (primarily of the bluegrass genre) when they enter the 4th grade and are provided with free lessons.  As soon as they are comfortable with their instrument they are put on stage.  By the time these children are 12 years old they are very talented musicians and accomplished performers.  On a per capita basis, I bet Mountain View would rival any other location for musical talent.
A talented group of local children playing
at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in
Mountain View.
     The local musical talent is put up-front on the square around the courthouse and the adjacent Picker's Park.  Every night free bluegrass music jam sessions of 4-10 musician break out at several locations around town.  One night we counted 11 different jam sessions all within a few hundred yards of each other; 2 at different ends of the same porch.  If you stand in the wrong spot the cacophony of sounds can be overwhelming.  Also, for a town with a population under 3,000, it seemed as if there were over 1,000 listeners!
1 of 3 gazebos full of musicians in Picker's Park, Mountain View. 
     Next it was off to another great Ozark town-Eureka Springs.  This is a town carved out of the side of a limestone cliff.  The locals have maintained this quaint town in its original state making for some steep walking through the narrow, winding streets.  Once again we were able to score a lakeside Corp of Engineers campsite.  The only problem was the lake was flooded.  We were able to find a high and dry site but several of the sites were quite submerged.
Nancy waiting for lunch to be severed at our beautiful campsite
on Beaver Dam Lake, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Yes, that is an electrical pedestal behind Nancy.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
This bunny returned your change from the hand of a Eureka Springs' merchant's. 
    Finally, we journeyed to the far end of the Oklahoma Panhandle and stayed at Black Mesa State Park.  Black Mesa is in the town of Kenton-population 22.  Kenton has a post office and a tiny museum. The museum was managed by an older couple who were formerly cattle ranchers.  This couple scoured every basement and barn in the area to assemble a very interesting historical museum. They were so enthusiastic about Kenton and their museum that we stayed almost 2 hours touring the place and chatting with the "docents (?)."
Kenton Museum, Kenton, OK
Kenton Museum
Nancy atop the tri-state marker in Kenton.
Her butt is in Colorado, Oklahoma & New Mexico.
     While in Black Mesa we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary!  My gift was to leave Nancy alone for several hours as I went on a 9 mile hike in 95 degree temperatures to the top of Black Mesa, the highest place in Oklahoma.
Black Mesa Summit, 4,972 feet.
Since the summit is actually the top of a mesa it is totally flat.
Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico & Texas are visible from the summit.
     It is now on to Colorado for the summer.


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