Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hot Springs

If it hadn't been so humid, and if the park campground didn't have so many trees blocking satellite reception, we would have stayed longer at the Gulpha Gulch campground in Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. I hope we can stop there again in the future.

We arrived in the early afternoon on Wednesday. We claimed one of the spacious, nicely level, 50 amp full-hookup RV sites and paid our fee of $12 (cash only, senior pass discount) per night.  Gotta love that Senior Pass!

When Craig discovered he could not get satellite reception because of the trees, we took off for the Buffalo Wings Bar and Grill in town so we could watch the England vs. Uruguay World Cup soccer game. We also pigged out on hot wings and nachos!

After the game, we went downtown to the Visitors Center which is one of the old bathhouses that has been converted to a new use. The elegance of the stained glass skylight, grand piano and mosaic tiled floors speaks to the luxury the rich enjoyed in the 20's and 30's. 

After our tour of the building, we checked out the prices and offerings of several of the bath houses that are still in business. They ranged from $18 per person to go into a series of four hot pools for as long as desired along with other patrons, to $295 for a couple getting "the works", which is a private bath, scrub, massages, etc. We planned on returning the next day after a hike.

We were still totally full when dinner time came around, so we skipped eating dinner. I discovered that the peaches I bought a few days earlier were super-ripe, so we just had to eat them.  Scooped some great Blue Bell Ice Cream on them too.  Ah! The sacrifices we have to make.

After dinner we took a short walk around the campground area.

I feel I am starting to get a little accustomed to the humidity. The air still feels thick, but at least I don't feel like I'm breathing soup. It is usually quite dry in California, and of course there is never any humidity in Arizona or New Mexico.  One plus is I've notice my skin feel quite soft. No moisturizer is needed.

We did a short hike on Friday, and then went up into the observation tower on the hill. 

 The views were great and there was a lot of interesting reading about the history of the hot springs as a commercial destination and as a National Park.  One historical bit we enjoyed was the fact that one of the reasons weeks of hydrotherapy declined in popularity was the discovery and effectiveness of antibiotics. The depression may have had something to do with it too. But many people still go to the baths, just not for weeks of treatment. More just for the pleasure. 

After lunch, we went to the baths, and opted for the less expensive group pools so we could enjoy them together. The treatment did wonders for my back. I am writing this post two days later and I am still relatively pain-free and somewhat flexible.

This is one place I would love to come back for and spend a week or two just going for a soak every few days! It was better than any hot tub I have been in. Perhaps it was all the mineral water I was urged to drink.

This is getting long as usual, I guess I will catch up on the next leg of the journey in my next post.

But first, answers to a couple of questions!  Nan, sensible people would go to Louisiana in the spring  fall or winter   I have never claimed we are sensible.  If the house had sold in fall as it should have, or at least closed in January or February as it was supposed to, we would have gone to Albritton's for our desired work at a better time. But as it was, if we didn't stop there now, we wouldn't have gotten back that way until next Spring. Not acceptable.

So, despite the rather hot and humid weather we are now making our way north to South Dakota, to get our residency and such taken care of. I want to make it a habit to drive no more than 300 miles, and stay for no less than three days in any one place. Longer if possible and if there is lots to see and do. 

Second, Karen, Albritton's is pretty much a special place for Alfas. I don't think they work on any other brands at this time.

[From Craig]  We need someone to check out a restaurant we went by Saturday.  A sign announced the "Toad Suck Bugs restaurant" in Toad Suck, Arkansas.  It's southwest of Conway, AR, north of Little Rock. Shame we weren't hungry at the time, or we would have stopped and eaten and written a review for you.


  1. I'll pass on the Toad Suck Bugs restaurant, thank you. ;-) Glad to hear that the hot springs baths are helping your back, Merikay. Are you going to do any sightseeing in South Dakota while you are there? If you haven't been there, I recommend Custer State Park. We stayed in a private park just east of the town of Custer, I think it was called Custer Gulch. We were there over the 4th of July in 2012 and the temps were cooler in Custer than in other parts of the Black Hills.

  2. Hope to get to Hot Springs on the way down to TX this winter. Only thing I miss from the S&B days is my hot tub. Sounds like an interesting restaurant to stop at, safe travels onward.

  3. From what I found , it's "Toad Suck Bucks".... I read one review about great steaks. Don't think you missed anything to feel bad about.

    We once visited Hot Springs and I was treated to the works at the Buckstaff or Buckhorn. I had a bath with a washing by an attendant, wrapping any bothersome body part with hot towels for a specific time period, an eternity siting in a hot steam box with only my head outside for one minute, a sits bath in the mineral water, a "needle shower" of 98* water (the pipes went up and down and were perforated every couple of inches) and then a full one hour body massage! I think the prices have come up... I paid $18.00!!!

  4. Oh... And my favorite design feature there were the windows that had been etched with fern fronds dipped in acid and then laid on the glass. When we were there it was not yet a National Park and they were working towards getting the bath house you visited restored for visitation.

    Happy trails!

  5. We once went to the Outer Banks and stopped at a restraunt called Bob's Eat and Get The hell Out only because of the name. It turned out to be quite good food and had to go back once more before we left.

  6. I had to laugh at your reply, Merikay. doing whatever and whenever is just what makes fulltiming so much fun. We have yet to decide where we are going after John finishes with all his checkups.

  7. Moist skin can be a good thing. Taking note of hot springs and natl pass. We'll be doing IA again for a month enf of Jukyif you want hints...we lv it there. Remembering our 1st trip to SD...good times. Enjoy...

  8. Sounds like a great trip to Hot Springs. I would like the trees but I understand your need for satellite.

  9. I guess humidity has a few advantages, but I am glad that I do not live in a humid state anymore. I think there are some hot springs in the Black Hills area of SD and Thermopolis, WY has some hot springs, too.

  10. We've noticed here on the lake in SC, even though it's very hot this summer, it's not as humid as I once thought it would be. We're enjoying the hot weather, even if it curtails some of our outdoor plans. Better than snow!

  11. Merikay, I am having fun following your trip. My DH and I may follow in your treads in about 20 years :-)

  12. Since I'm staying in the western states, that's a place I'll probably never go, but it sure does look and sound great! I used to have a 1/2 wine barrel type hot tub and loved it, especially when there was snow all around on the ground and in the trees - it was beautiful! - but the natural hot springs are too hot for me. I'm kind of a temperature wimp. :)


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