Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Drury-Mincy Conservation Area


   Another beautiful free campsite thanks to Free Campsites! As Memorial weekend approached we started looking for a quiet place to hang out. This campground looked good on the web but we were a little worried about noisy groups. No problem! Everyone must have decided to spend the hot and humid weekend at the lakes and we had a whole section of the campground to ourselves. By Tuesday morning our batteries had dipped very low because we were under the shade of large oaks trees all weekend. Time to move on along the now empty backroads.

   The campground has two loops.  We camped in the small loop which has three tables in a large opened area.  The other loop has about seven tables with a mix of sun and shade. Amenities include vault toilets, a dumpster, tables, and fire rings. The ground is a bit hilly so leveling is necessary.

  None of the sites are accessible. All of the tables are set in a square of gravel surrounded by 6x6 timbers so they are impossible to use.  Campground  36.55305, -93.10838


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Dam Site Lake Campground–COE


  Many of the sites in this campground are waterfront. In fact, the lake level is high now so some of the sites are actually in the water!  I think retaining walls are going to be built but at the moment 1/3 of the campsites are closed and unavailable. All of the sites have electric hookups and a dump station is located on the east side of Route 187, across from the campground entrance.

  This is a pretty campground with great views. Unfortunately none of the sites are accessible. The parking pads are very narrow and the tables can not be accessed. Most of the sites have shelters over the tables which are set on small concrete pads. The shelter posts block any pathway to the table. Several sites, like the one we had, have picnic tables set in large graveled areas. If this was an attempt to make accessible sites, it is a total failure. I could not get out because of the narrow parking pad and if I had it would have been difficult to get past the parking block, over the wood gravel retainer, and across the gravel.  It’s a shame because a  little concrete could solve all of the problems.


   Campground  36.42296, -93.86185


Monday, May 28, 2018

Pea Ridge National Military Park


   For three day in early March 1861 intense fighting occurred between Union and Confederate troops in the fields and forests surrounding Elkhorn Tavern, a waypoint along the Butterfield Trail. The Confederates were heading north into Missouri with the intention of capturing St. Louis and the Union was determined to stop them. Leaving most of their supplies behind the Confederates marched to meet the Union army in a surprise attack. This proved to be a tactical error as the Confederates ran low on ammunition on the morning of the third day and were forced to withdraw.  Missouri remained in the Union for the rest of the war.

  The visitor center has good exhibits and a short film about the battle. Descriptions for each stop along the seven mile driving tour are included in the park brochure.


  Most of the points of interest can be viewed without leaving your vehicle. A paved path leads to the reconstructed Elkhorn Tavern (not opened for tours) and a short paved trail leads to an overlook of the main battleground.



  The parking lot has long RVs spaces. Most of the pull offs along the tour road are large enough for RVs.  Park  36.44354, -94.02592


Compton Gardens Trails*


   Dr. Neil Compton, a Bentonville obstetrician and conservationist, started growing native plants on the hillsides around his home in 1960. The land and house were bought by the Walton family in 1978 and replanting of the native gardens begin in 2011. Compton’s original paths have been paved and now connect to the Crystal Bridge Trail.


   The paths are hilly so wheelchair users may need assistance.

  This is a good alternative parking lot for visiting Crystal Bridges. It’s also close to the Walmart Museum. The entrance road looks a little overgrown but it can be accessed with an RV. Drive through the first two small lots and park in the last lot which is larger. RVs will fit if backed up over the grass or parked lengthwise across the spaces. Gardens  36.37602, -94.20867


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Walmart Museum

   The museum is housed in Sam Walton’s second store which he opened in Bentonville in 1950 after losing the lease on the first one in Newport, Arkansas. Both stores were Ben Franklin franchises. By 1962 he and his brother Bud owned 16 stores and had branched out into independent ownership. Walmart Inc. now has almost 12,000 stores worldwide.

  The museums traces the history of Walmart through Sam Walton’s life and his business model of opening stores in small towns within a days drive of his regional warehouses, allowing him to purchase items in large volume and sell them at discounted prices.
  I couldn’t resist adding to the Sam Walton legacy wall. ;- )
   The museum is accessible. There are two double door entrances. One has a sloping sidewalk but the other is fairly flat.

  Parking is available on the street however you may have to park several blocks away. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.  Museum  36.37267, -94.20887

Friday, May 25, 2018

Museum of Native American History


   David Bogel, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation and was raised in Bentonville, founded the museum to hold his personal collection of  Native American artifacts. In 2015 Jim and Nancy Blair donated their collection of Meso-American items. A special collection on loan contains artifacts from the Taino people, the first Americans that Columbus encountered. 60 years after that first meeting most of the Taino were dead from disease.

  All of the artifacts are carefully displayed and arranged in chorological order starting from 12,000 BC. There isn’t a lot historic information but tribe that made each item, the time period when it was made, and where it was discovered are noted. The collection contains many unique and rare items. We were amazed at the quality and diversity of the collections in this museum. It’s not to be missed if you enjoy Native American artwork!

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   The museum is accessible. The entrance doors are massive but are fairly easy to open.

  RVs will fit in the lot if backed up over the grass. Museum  36.37119, -94.23074


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


  Sam and Helen Walton, founders of Walmart Inc., established the Walton Family Foundation in 1988 as a charitable trust. Since their deaths the Foundation has been run by their children, grandchildren, and other family members who fund projects that are of special interest to them. Crystal Bridges was spearheaded by Alice Walton, the only daughter of Sam and Helen, who developed an interest in art at an early age and wanted to create a museum for the benefit of the public.


   We were anticipating spending several days exploring the museum and the grounds so we were surprised to find that we could see everything in less than four hours. Almost all of the artists are from the US so although many famous artists are represented the range of artwork is limited. The building itself is fantastic and the grounds are beautiful.  A house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has been relocated to the property. Like the rest of the museum, it is free to tour but tickets must be reserved in advance. We did not know this so we missed seeing the interior.


    The museum is accessible. It’s located in a ravine so even though 4 miles of the trails are paved visitors using wheelchairs may need assistance due to steep hills.  A map with color coded trails is provided to visitors but we were confused more than once and we could not find a way to get from the north to the south trails without going through the museum building.


  Parking for RV is not available on the museum grounds. Orchard Park, which is about 1/2 mile away, has a large lot and a paved trail to the museum. It’s also close the overflow parking lot and a shuttle  to the museum. I don’t know if the shuttle is wheelchair accessible.  Museum  36.38148, -94.20273


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks & Lake Fayette Trail


  Twelve themed gardens are packed into this very small but meticulously maintained garden. A butterfly house, a chicken coop, and sculptures of children playing round out the gardens.


    An added attraction is the scenic Lake Fayette Trail which can be accessed from the garden parking lot. The paved 5.5 mile trail circles the lake and passes through several different environments.


   The main garden loop is accessible. Some of the themed area trails are not paved and visitors using wheelchairs may need assistance. Lake Fayette Trail is wide, smooth, and gently rolling with a few steep hills where assistance may be necessary.


   Small RVs will fit in the garden lot if backed up over the grass. Larger RVs may be parked across the spaces if the garden is not busy. Another small lot is located south of the garden on North Crossover Road.  A large lot with trail access is located at the northwest corner of the lake near the dam and boat ramp.  Garden  Trail  36.13628, -94.1186