Thursday, December 26, 2019

Little Rock

We recently spent a few days in Little Rock as an interim stopover between Texas and Tennessee.  A couple months ago we ran a race around the base of Pinnacle Mountain just west of Little Rock.  This small taste of the area made me say, hey, maybe we should check it out sometime.  Trails to explore, bike paths, nice winter weather, and a downtown RV park right on the river.  All very good.

It's funny, whenever we told people we were in Little Rock (or planning to go there), a very common reaction was "why?" - not, why the heck would anyone go there, but an actual earnest question.  Like they had never thought of visiting Little Rock before.  My impression now matches the one I had during our first time through: It's quite nice, a wonderful short-term base with plenty to offer.

When we first arrived I immediately returned to Pinnacle Mountain to climb up the dang thing (since the race had only circled it, and we hadn't had time that day for the climb).

It's a fun rocky trail, mostly straight uphill:

Almost to the top:

The views at the top are great!

Plenty of water in various directions:

A far view of downtown, also the Big Dam Bridge over the Arkansas River:

Fun sign for the Ouachita Trail - I got to explore it just a little, apparently it's pretty long in total:

On another day I did a long run around town.  This sign in MacArthur Park initially gave me pause because really?  They charge for parking here?  Oh!  It's free to park on the parking lot, $500 to park anywhere else.  Clever.

I stopped in at the Central High School visitor center, which has some excellent displays and videos about the Little Rock Nine.  They braved a lot in order to attend school there, and made quite a difference in the long term order of things.  Thank you all.

It's quite the high school to look at, too!

The city has this wonderful idea of getting artists to paint marine life scenes on the sidewalks where the water drains to the river or creek - this particular one struck my fancy, even though it had construction dirt on it:

It's a new Trader Joe's as of October 2019!  Store #497 (and they have since passed #500).  I'm lucky to be here.

The state capitol building, with a nice fountain and their Liberty Bell on the lawn:

Also a statue of the Little Rock Nine, a nice call-back to one of my first stops of the day's run:

Around the statue are quotes from each of the students:

Santa and the large Christmas tree in the rotunda:

The old Supreme Court chamber, now a Senate committee room:

The top of the tree, which strikes me as humorous with its top poking out into the upper floor:

All over the Capitol there were families doing group photos, apparently a holiday thing here.  It certainly is a photogenic place for it.

One of several Lego displays:

A Peace Pole, wonderful!  It's hard to see, but I'm doing "Live Long and Prosper" with my hand shadow:

A large sculpture for the Louisiana Purchase Survey:

One of these days we'll get to try this out!

A short photo series I'm calling "fun sculptures in downtown Little Rock":

Every time I ran through here I found more artwork to look at - so much of it is off the beaten track and hidden down side trails.

Love it!

Fun pelican:

Cute frog:

And an excellent lunch location!

Walking with John over the Clinton Bridge, with a view back to the our RV park.  I wish all cities had an RV park like this.  Easy to get to, and easy to jump on the trails to reach downtown and beyond:

Hanging out at Heifer International:

I took my bike out for a rare ride and followed the lovely path along the river, up the north side and back down the south side.  There were lots of people out enjoying the fine winter weather.

And actual pelicans!

So... I think there was a flood here last spring?

The Big Dam Bridge!  What a fun name, and a really nice path over it.

One of the many locks in the Arkansas River on its way to the Mississippi:

I wasn't sure what "ATA" stands for - until I saw this sculpture out front:

This has been fun, a good place to get some work done while still doing some training and sightseeing.  Thank you, Little Rock!

Bonus comment - in case you haven't seen it yet, I launched a new website!  We're working to convert our living + travel to all-electric energy sources.  If you're interested in following along in our new adventures, check it out and let me know what you think:

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