Friday, May 22, 2015

A Full Day in Little Rock

Our time in Neosho, MO is winding down so we thought we'd take one last little road trip before Arkansas becomes prohibitively far away. The Clinton Presidential Library was ostensibly the reason for our visit but other fun places presented themselves along the way.

Little Rock was still 4 hours away from Neosho though, so we just drove down Friday then did both our sightseeing and return trip Saturday.

We sort of randomly stopped for food along the way in Alma, AR and were both very pleasantly surprised. I was impressed enough with Crawpappy's name to give it a try. It was Cajun inspired food and even had live music. The kitchen was very interesting. I'm pretty sure it was a food truck that had been pulled up into a garage type enclosure connected to the building. I thought that was kind of a genius idea. I had the etouffee and did not regret my decision.

There was a double rainbow.

We got our hotel on one of those websites where its cheaper but you don't know what sort of devilish contract you've signed until the magical quill vanishes and terrifying cackling fills your ears. This place was actually a decent brand but was still pretty sketchy. There were several police cars and an ambulance out front when we arrived. At one point two police officers seemed to be loading an old woman's belongings onto a luggage cart. The next time we looked the full cart was just sitting in the lobby and the lady was gone.

An added feature was the bashed-off door chain thing on our room's door. But hey, we saved 10 dollars.

The next morning we checked eachother for bullet holes and stab wounds. Having found none, we continued on our journey.

I liked the State Capitol Building's exterior. It was stately and not too gaudy.

A hundred or so sign wielding pro-marijuana folks were gathered on the front steps.

The building had a nice free audio tour which was much appreciated. 

A really young looking Governor Clinton's portrait. I learned a lot about him that I didn't know. For example at the time he was the youngest governor in the country at age 32.

Next we headed to the Presidential Library for more Clinton.

Inexplicably the museum's traveling exhibit involved animatronic dinosaurs.

Lyida was not amused.

Bill's sax.

The museum was adequate but I have to say that overall I didn't really like it. Half the fun for me at these presidential libraries is learning about America at an interesting time period as well as the president's impact on it. Like our visit to Hoover's library for example. This however all seemed too recent. The news clips that were playing throughout the building felt too much like just watching today's news. It might also be that the economy, terrorism, and gun violence are all issues that Clinton wrestled with that are still huge problems which is a little depressing.

My favorite part of this Oval Office replica was the moon rock on the coffee table. The story was that whenever people were getting too whiny or bickering amongst themselves Clinton would point to it and remind everyone that the rock is a gillion years old and that by comparison none of their own problems were really that important. I need a moon rock.

Our final stop was the epically named Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. The site told the story of the process of forcibly integrating the high school, which is still in use. This picture is of the preserved gas station across the street from the school. I didn't realize that the National Guard was called first but wasn't up to the job, so the full-on Army was called in to enforce integration, bayonets fixed.

Little Rock Central High School

Well you may have noticed that the highway from Neosho to Little Rock is L-shaped, taking a turn north near Fort Smith. You may have also noticed that Fort Smith is right on the border with Oklahoma. Well Oklahoma has a lot of Native American nations all over it, and those nations love them a casino. Turns out they like to give free money to new customers, and John Milito doesn't turn down free money. No way, no how. So we popped across state lines into Pocola, OK, played some Titanic slot machine until the house's money ran out, said goodbye to ridiculously young Leonardo DiCaprio, and cashed out.

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