The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Soaking It Up In Hot Springs National Park

On the road again....so happy to be on the road again. I have to agree with Willy (Nelson) as well as my Willy and Harley...great to be on the road. I pulled out of Schertz TX about 9:30AM on Wednesday and headed northeast across Texas. My friend Mary Jane is following me in her RV...she has walkie talkies so we are in easy communication. We thought about spending our first night in Queens TX just south of Texarkana but it was just further than we wanted to drive so we stopped just outside of Marshall TX at Laguna Vista RV Park. The decision was also based on the fact that the RV park we were going to stay at in Queens pulled up on the GPS as being out of business. Laguna Vista is nothing fancy....sort of a graveled parking lot but they have full hookups, wifi, laundry, showers, cable TV, can fit any size, etc. and for $17.50 (Passport America), it was perfect. I only used wifi and electric since I have water in my tank. It was quiet and just off the highway. Management was friendly and even called me back an hour after I called to reserve....just to make sure we had good directions to find them. Sorry I forgot to take a picture but it was a fine overnight.

The next day we were off at the crack of 9AM headed for Hot Springs AR and the National Park.

We took Highway 7 in off of I-30. It is a good road although twisty and hilly which doesn't bother me.....this is Arkansas!  Passport America gave us another park......very nice.....Treasure Isle for $16.50.  I cannot believe I didn't take any pictures there. This is a very nice park, friendly staff, pool, full hookups, shade and non-shade spots, quiet, on the lake only 10-15 minutes from the National Park. Definitely great for a longer stay although we only had one night.  We arrived early afternoon so after setting up, we headed into the park.

If you have never been here, you are in for a surprise. The town of Hot Springs is a big part of the park. The RV park manager gave us a map and pointed out the free parking just behind Bathhouse Row which is the main downtown street. Driving my big F250, I opted to park on the upper levels as I'm kind of long.


One of our first sights was this huge mural on the side of a building.
Water is what attracts people to Hot Springs. The Indians drank and bathed in the hot water in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The average temperature of the water is 143 degrees. The water coming out of the springs is over 4000 years old according to scientists and the park collects 700,000 gallons a day for use in the public drinking fountains and bathhouses.

The United States acquired the area through the Louisiana Purchase. In 1832, the federal government set aside four sections of land which was the first U.S. reservation created to protect a natural resource.

Initial bathhouses were wood and canvas tents, then ramshackle wooden buildings. In 1877, after settling all the private claims, the Government took control of the springs. Blueprints for private bathhouses had to be approved and the Government operated a free bathhouse for those unable to pay. By 1921, the springs were very popular with vacationers and health remedy seekers. The Reservation became the 18th National Park. Bathhouse Row was a collection of beautiful and luxurious buildings.

By the 1960s, traditional bathing here was in decline and the bathhouses began to close and fall into disrepair. By 1985, the Buckstaff was the only bathhouse open. In the 1980s, the National Park service began working on ways to return the area to splendor. The Quapaw Baths reopened as a dayt spa with pools and the Ozark Bathhouse opened as the Museum of Contemporary Art of Hot Springs. In 2004, the park service received appropriations to rehabilitate the vacant bathhouses and make them available for lease.

The Fordyce Bathhouse opened in 1989 as the park visitor center and museum. It now looks like it did in the early glory years.

Here you can tour and see exactly what the bathhouses looked like.




Tubs were so deep that a stool was really needed to get in and out.

This shower would hit you from every angle.



Could you imagine sitting here with only your head sticking out?

Men's Bathroom





You have to remember that these were very elegant.



































The Visitor's Center is really well done and takes quite a bit of time to see all the exhibits. We saw three floors but ran out of time to see the basement.



Each building along Bathhouse row was unique and different in style.



We had dinner in the Superior Bathhouse which is now a mini brewery and restaurant. It was delicious and the price wasn't too out of line either.



Pedicabs were available for hire by the block.

There were various other shops and museums on the opposite side of the street.

Another beautiful mural on the side of a building.

We also took a drive to the top of the Hot Springs Mountain to see the tower. The view was pretty awesome.

 
The last thing we did was to take a tour of the National Park Campground. It appeared to be pretty nice. Some sites had hookups. Some sites were level and shaded. A few were very unlevel as in I could not have raised the from of my 5th wheel high enough to make the site work. Some were very well spaced out and nice. The ones along the creek were pretty tight. I didn't get any pictures there as the light was leaving but it was a nice no reservations park.





2 comments:

  1. Great history and tour! When I was there, I stayed at the NP cg, but don't remember them having hookups. I do remember it was hot! Also I never made it to the top of the mountain to see that awesome view!

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  2. Very interesting. They have hot springs in Truth or Consequences, NM too. It was called Hot Springs, before they changed their name for the game show. I went to 3 different spas. One was an old original one, very unique. One by the the river, newer and awesome. And one at Ted Turner's ritzy spa, which was very nice, of course. I love the soaks!! I think you could get addicted to it. So glad to find your blog. RV shopping and looking forward to traveling!!

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