Day 1: Arkansas

Today, I added my 35th state to my list of places I have been.  It took about five hours to travel from Houston to Texarkana, a small city on the border of, you guessed it, Texas and Arkansas.  The drive was beautiful.  We had some gray clouds, scattered thunderstorms and a few flashes of lightning.  We also had some beautiful cloud formations and lots of rolling hills, evergreens and ranches.  The more I see of Texas, the more I like how the terrain changes, but the ranch theme continues on.

I was really looking forward to getting to Arkansas today.  It is day one of our 27 day journey through 20 states and this was the only state that we are visiting that I had never seen.  At first glance it looks a lot like Texas.  I see a lot of the same trees and cattle.  But, pulling into the Welcome Center I was reminded of Arkansas' uniqueness.  Arkansas is The Natural State and it boasts lots of wildlife as well as gems and minerals.  Where else can you go and dig for diamonds in a 37 1/2 acre plowed field?  At Crater of Diamonds State Park you can dig for diamonds and 40 other types of rocks and minerals.  The price is also very reasonable at $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-12.  You can find out more on their website by clicking here.

They also have one of the nicest state Welcome Centers I have seen.  We needed to stretch our legs after riding for 5 hours and they had clean bathrooms, a large visitors center with complimentary coffee and some display cases showing items connected to Arkansas' history and geography.  The highlight for our four kids was a small playground outside and a free Arkansas coloring book.  It has lots of facts about the state with large, detailed pictures to color.  The kids immediately started to color and read them when we got back on the road.  It was a great first impression of the state!

Our youngest two in front of the Welcome Center.  Matthias is holding on to his Arkansas coloring book.

Our destination today was Little Rock, so we are staying at a LaQuinta Inn just around the corner from the capitol, which we plan to visit in the morning.  We enjoyed an easy lunch on the road, thanks to a friend's cooler and some advance planning.  We ordered pizza as we drove into town, thanks to our smartphones and we were able to avoid the stress and chaos of restaurants on our first day of travel, so it made for a very enjoyable day.

I am looking forward to sharing about day two of our journey tomorrow and I hope you will travel with us.  If you haven't read the intro to this trip, just click here.


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