Monday, December 14, 2009

Entering the Ozark Mountains from Jonesboro

We had the opportunity today to enter Ozark Mountain Country on US 63 from Jonesboro, Arkansas. It was an interesting experience. The delta country around Jonesboro is so flat, it is hard to imagine you are only a few miles from the stark hills environment of the Ozarks.

I noticed a billboard for Randolph County that particularly caught my attention. Randolph county was north and east of US 63, but it made the point of having 5 rivers running through it, as well as Ozark Mountain Country. The Randolph County Tourism Association has a great website that focuses on first, the 5 rivers running through the county, and second, that the county is split between the flat delta and the Ozark Mountains.

Going up US 63, we experiences that split. As we crossed an unusually high bridge over the Black River, the delta was behind us, and we left the bridge in Ozark Mountain County!

As we proceeded up US 63, we noticed that the little town of Hardy, Arkansas, had a strong tourism emphasis. It was also by-passed by new road, so we did not go in town.

We went on up the Thayer, MO, where tourism was also enouraged. They had good signage and a neat little Tourism Information Center.

At Thayer, we turned west on MO 142, to MO 101 up to US 160 west. Running west, a few miles north of the state line, it was interesting to note several areas of open glades, or pastures. It was not all wooded. Driving north of the lakes, along US 160, just as we entered eastern Taney County, we did enter forest. In fact, it was a piece of the Mark Twain National Forest for about 15 miles.

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alpena, Arkansas

Driving west on US 412, from US 65 (north of Harrison), across northwestern Arkansas, to Springdale, the four lanes of US 412 end at Alpena, Arkansas, and only resumes as we got closer to Springdale. Alpena is a very memorable little burg, and will not doubt one day be bypassed by US 412.

In the meantime, the "main street" is mostly abandoned, though we noted that a "chain-saw log artist" had taken up at the east end of the strip since we last passed through.

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not all the color is gone for the year

Late fall foliage in Hollister, MO, in the heart of the Ozarks:

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scenic 7 Byway - South

This is a brief followup to my previous post on the North end of the Scenic 7 Byway in Arkansas. We did not take a lot of photos on the southern part of the trip.

There was a marker like this in the North and in the South.

Here is one of the forest, from near the Cliff Inn, that is called the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks.

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Scenic 7 Byway - North

We recently drove down Arkansas Highway 7, all an Arkansas Scenic Byway, most a National Scenic Byway, from Harrison through Russellville to Hot Springs... making several stops along the way. Just some highlights, here, for you to check out an consider for yourself. Of course, we crossed the Buffalo National River (private site; NPS; NPCA; .

The river was at flood stage:

It was even posted:

We went by the Hollis CCC camp - where my daughter and son-in-law Annette and Larry visited in May 2005.

We stopped on a mountain top for a picnic lunch.

We stopped at a ranger lookout, Nancy took this one:

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

36th Autumn Daze Festival in Branson, MO

More than 100 crafters and artists from all over the Midwest and from as far away as California gathered this weekend (Sept 17-20) in downtown Branson, MO, for the 36th Annual Autumn Daze Arts and Crafts Festival. Most of the booths are under two large tents in the center of Awberry parking lot, north (behind) Dick's Old-Time 5 & 10; and in the street to the east which is closed off. When we were through around noon on Tuesday, a good gospel singer was entertaining in the designated area at the south end of that blocked off street. Very good!

My wife found a neat handcrafted napkin holder for our little cabin - we can't get anything very big! The crafters were from the Galena area in Stone County: Cedar Plus (417-538-4676).

This is just one example of the festivals taking place all over the Ozarks nearly every weekend!

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Corps of Engineers construction of the Table Rock Dam on the White River. This was just one dam and one lake along this river system but it has been the most significant over the subsequent 50 years in my view. Already a popular fishing and tourist area, the addition of the major lake just added more opportunities for recreation for a Midwestern population with more leisure time.

Gates open in April 2008

Following is a neat factoid from the Corps Lakes Gateway website: “Winding through the valleys of the Ozark Mountains, from Branson, Missouri to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Table Rock Lake is a paradise for boaters, scuba divers, campers and fishermen alike. Camping enthusiasts choose from 13 modern campgrounds located adjacent the lake. Full-service marinas provide service and convenience to boaters. Resorts located adjacent to Table Rock Lake provide visitors with numerous water-related activities and five commercial boat cruises operate on Table Lake seasonally.” {}

Nancy checks the high level of the lake, April 2008

The Lake website of the Corps of Engineers also reminds us that there are over 100 resorts located adjacent to Table Rock Lake along with five commercial boat cruises or rides that operate on Table Rock Lake {}. They also remind us that much of the lake is surrounded by portions of the Mark Twain National Forest.
We’ll plan to discuss the Mark Twain National Forest in a future post.

Recently, the local media reported that the Table Rock State Park {}
is in the process of expanding their trail system to connect with nearby Lake Taneycomo, below Table Rock Lake in the lake system. We will also discuss Lake Taneycomo further in a future post.

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inital Post

Let’s get to the “Aux Arcs” – Ozark relationship right now. The words in French relate to the “northern-most bend” in the Arkansas River – the reference from the early French explorers and cartographers of the Arkansas River, years before the Louisiana Purchase made the area a part of the United States of America. The best description I have found is at a great little web site by the merchants of Ozark, Arkansas, at this location (see story and map):

Ozark is located south of I-40 east of Fort Smith, in Arkansas, and on the north side of the Arkansas River, of course. Wikipedia has a nice article on Ozark (,_Arkansas), including some interesting information about their relationship with Craig Ferguson, the late night TV host and comedian.

* * * * *

Our family has visited the Ozarks (southern Missouri – northern Arkansas) at least once every year since 1970 – while living in Iowa, Arizona, and Kansas during that period. We have also visited most of the other states of the USA, as well, and continue to do so. In June 2009 we shifted our permanent residence to the Ozarks - Hollister, MO, near Branson, MO - to be specific, and now travel from there. Entries will generally be weekly in 2009; perhaps more frequent as we move into 2010.

If you haven’t visited the Ozarks region, yet, you should, soon!

Dr. Bill ;-)