Little Rock . Arkansas
After spending a day driving from Colorado through Kansas and Oklahoma, we Motel Sixed it off the interstate in Ozark, Arkanasas, and drove the remaining 120 miles to Little Rock in the morning. The prairies of Oklahoma give way to big lakes, hills, and wide rivers. Being a beautifully warm sunny Saturday morning we saw plenty of families with boats heading to the lakes for fun and recreation. And witnessed plenty of wildlife dashing across the interstate as well. (They all crossed safely).
We had planned to stop in downtown Little Rock for a quick breakfast before driving to Memphis. Like the urban cores of most medium size cities I expected Little Rock to have modest activity on a Saturday morning, but when we arrived downtown in the River Market District we were greeted with a lively environment. It was a diverse and interesting mix of people, from cyclists and runners having breakfast and lattes, tourists visiting the Clinton Library, and hundreds of people showing off suped up cars at the auto show taking place in the adjacent park
The Clinton Presidential Library is a short walk from the River Market area, at the end of President Clinton Street downtown. It’s been described as “A giant trailer home teetering over the river”, but in actuality it’s a very sleek and modern building. Akin to the 90s tech boom Clinton presided over, the interior seems a cross between a sub zero refrigerator and the Starship Enterprise.
The design aspects reminded me of a 1960s “kitchen of the future”, in which toasters and appliances would pop up from the counter, and retract down when not in use. (I’ve always wondered who you call to repair these). As expected in southern style the staff was very friendly, and I now own an “I miss Bill” bumper sticker.
Much to my kitchy surprise, Riverfront Park was dominated by a restored auto show. Many sport and classic cars were on display and superbly restored for all to admire. Unfortunately most of these beautiful classic cars lost their visitors to the countless number of General Lees from the Dukes of Hazzard. Some of the “General Lees” were authentic cars used from the show, others were personal projects. Although I didn’t wait in the hour line for Bo Duke’s autograph, I’m surprised to say he looks great for whatever his age is, surprisingly muscular and chiseled. Roscoe and Enos? The years have shown. We escaped the crowds by taking a walk up a multi use trail along the Arkansas River, but to our dismay it abruptly ended at the railroad tracks a mile downriver.
In general the area from Tulsa to Little Rock is a far nicer environment than I imagined. Everyone was friendly and welcomed us to the south, I thought Little Rock was a pretty cool town. Nothing could be more “southern” than standing on a hill overlooking the Arkansas River and Clinton Library while multiple General Lee clones fishtailed up and down the street blasting the air horn intro from the “Dixie” song.