Great Bird Watching

The campground in Bella Vista was the front section of a town park called Blowing Springs. The park's name originates from the spring and breeze that comes out of the rocks. Jean told me that the town has concerts in the park and a local restaurant usually caters hot dogs and hamburgs. Due to the spring this area is always guaranteed a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

Bella Vista is a small town full of trees and ravines. In the area where Bob and Jean live it seems like there is a small ravine between each road giving the homes large lots and lots of room for birds and wildlife. Jean has hung a number of bird feeders just outside her kitchen window and they attract a lot of birds yielding some great bird watching.

This afternoon we went and visited the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel. It is a mostly glass building built in the woods. When you sit inside the chapel you can still commune with nature.

For dinner tonight we went to the AQ Chicken House. It was established in 1947 and is still famous for it's pan fried chicken. Both George H. Bush and Bill Clinton have enjoyed this wonderful chicken. Ed and I both decided to try the pan fried chicken and thought it was wonderful.

Blowing Springs is a very scenic park.

I decided to try and keep Zaph clean by getting him to stand on the picnic table. The spring is left of Zaph.

This fellow was well behaved, he left the bird feeders alone and sunned himself on the porch railing.

The finch feeder and peanut butter feeder are todays favourites. This nuthatch was trying out the peanut butter mixture.

The pileated woodpecker is a very handsome fellow.

He's one of the largest woodpeckers in North America.

A Downey Woodpecker and Chickadee share the peanut butter feeder.

There are lots of Bluebirds around Jeans house.

I haven't looked for this one in the bird book yet, but I thought he was very cute.

The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

The interior of the chapel. The chapel was created by renowned Arkansas architect Euine Fay Jones. Fay was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright where he was first introduced to the principle of Organic Architecture (designing to fit the environment).



Visiting Bob and Jean

Surprisingly we were up and on the road by 7:45 am .... yes Ed got up willingly. It helped that we stayed in a parking lot .... nothing to unhook or put away, just get in the truck and drive. We arrived in Bella Vista around 11:30 and our friends met us at the local RV park --- only members or friends of members Property Owners Association can stay at the park. Zaph was really happy to see Bob and Jean --- after all it had been weeks since he had seen them at Oleander Acres. In the afternoon Jean took us to one of her favourite trails and after seeing it we understand why. Jean also cooked us a wonderful dinner.

The trail takes you to a small waterfalls.

Zaph and I had a lot of quality time together as Jean and Ed took lots and lots of photos.

He just had to get drink --- not sure why he's has to go in that deep for a drink, maybe the water tastes better when his belly is wet.

Rapids in the creek.

Another area has rock overhangs, as it was wet there was a fair bit of water weeping through the rocks.

Hey, I could be down there playing in the water.

The swinging bridge was fine until Ed started to jump on it.



Visit with the Dentons

The past couple of years we've stopped at my sisters in Tyler, Texas on the way down and then they come to visit us at a state park on our way home. This year was no different, though they drove the van instead of the motorbike --- too many thunderstorms in the forecast. Andy was happy about that as it meant that he got to visit as well. Darryl and Carol were impressed with the new trailer as there was still room to move around after the couch was opened into a bed. It was good to see them again .... or should I say what's left of them. Both Carol and Darryl have lost weight and look great.

As Carol and Darryl had a five hour drive home they left after lunch on Sunday and we left shortly after them. Tonight we stayed in a Staples parking lot with another trailer as we were told that the manager of the Wal-mart didn't particularly like RV's.

On one of our hikes a women saw Darryl taking some photos and asked if we wanted one of all of us. Zaph, Ed, me, Carol, Darryl and Andy



Devil's Waterhole

Today's hike took us to an area called the Devil's Waterhole. Zaph really enjoyed the water at the end of the hike.

One happy dog.

Ok dad, I'm ready.

In the area called the Devils waterhole.

Another view in the Devil's Waterhole area.



Zaph Approved

The day started foggy then there was a bit of rain and finally we were rewarded with a beautiful afternoon. We had walked around the campground in the morning and decided to do one of the hikes in the afternoon. The hike took us around the lake then onto higher ground.

A view from our campsite.

Looking out at the lake from the trail.

It's nice to see spring flowers.

There weren't a lot of cactus in bloom but we found this little guy.

Ah.... nothing like a dip in a cool lake.



Inks Lake

The drive to Inks Lake State Park was nicely uneventful --- just the way we like it. When Ed was checking in, the office received a phone call telling them there was a severe thunderstorm and tornado alert --- one had touched down about 40 miles away. After minimally setting up, we went into the trailer to wait out the storm --- thunder, lightening, rain but no tornadoes. In less than 2 hours the storm had passed and we were enjoying sunny skies once again.

Ed and Zaph decided to have a nap while they waited out the storm. Now the sun is shining and it's time to get up and finish setting up.



Time to Start Heading Home

The trailer is mostly packed, just hitching and the last minute stuff to do tomorrow morning then we'll hit the road and start travelling north. We're stopping at Inks Lake State Park for a couple of days and will meet up with my sister and brother-on-law there. Another stop is planned for Bella Vista Arkansas to visit RV neighbours that left a couple of weeks ago. If everything goes according to plan we'll be home on April 2nd. Sure hope it's warmed up some.



Still Quiet in Our Trailer

It's still pretty quiet in our trailer, well except for the coughing. Been mostly hanging around the park trying to get better.

Our friends Ken and Carol were leaving so we wandered down and I managed to croak out a good-bye. They are included in the Zaph's favourite people group so he got into the photo.

These buds on the cactus turn into

this flower. Unfortunately, the flower only lasts a couple of days.

The cactus on the right is very interesting .... it's a tall straight normal looking cactus but it has leaf like things growing out of the top of it.

Flowers on another cactus.

Not sure what this tree is but it has very pretty flowers.

Sassy, her and Zaph are buds.

Zaph was watching the game of washer toss. Occasionally, he would try to grab the washer.

Herb has great form.



Quietest Birthday I Remember

Yup, today was my birthday and yup I had laryngitis. I didn't feel too bad but could barely squeak out a word. In fact when I answered the phone call from my mom she couldn't figure out who was on the other end of the phone --- I quickly handed the phone to Ed so he could explain. When Ed handed the phone back to me, mom did a quick monologue wishing my a happy birthday then hung up. Strangest birthday call ever. Later in the evening, Ed's sister phoned and she laughed at me --- guess I did sound pretty funny. I spent the day lazing around but did manage to go out with our group of friends for dinner. Oh, did I mention that I got the cold from Ed ---- some birthday present (actually I already had the cold but woke up to laryngitis this morning).

As I didn't feel like doing a whole lot I suggested that Ed and Zaph take the camera and photograph some of the flowers in the park.



Now That's a Burger

After bridge I was talking to some of my fellow bridge players and they told me they were going to "Granny's" for supper and did Ed and I want to come. When I said that Ed and I had never been to Granny's they insisted, so we went with them and a number of other people. Apparently the more the merrier at Granny's. It was suggested that we try the "Burger" but we would need to share it with a couple of people. Dick and Sandy were sitting across the table from us and they agreed to share.

The burger is served on a cookie sheet along with a machete .... you needed a "big" knife to cut it. The bun is a homemade loaf of bread and the burger is served with all the toppings .... yum.

Judy and John had a couple of daughters and several grandchildren visiting so they decided to get the double burger. It fed eight with a piece left over.



Street Party

Everyone has been so nice to us during our stay in the park this year and previous years we decided it was time to have a street party. The menu was simple .... sausages on a bun, baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese sauce. The guests brought either a vegetable dish or a desert. A few people did question what a Canadian meant by sausage on a bun ---- we have run into a few differences in terminology. Should have seen my fellow card players faces when I handed one of the them the deck of cards and asked them to "mix".

Zaph, as usual was in the middle of things. We were huddled over by our neighbours trailer because that's were the shade was --- yes the neighbour was invited.



On Vacation

A group of us decided to take a short vacation and stayed over night on South Padre Island. The hotel we stayed at was dog friendly so Zaph had a vacation as well and we all know he's the one who enjoyed the beach the most. We left Wednesday morning and stopped at a Wal-Mart in Port Isabella (on the mainland across from the island) and picked up fried chicken, etc. and had a picnic on the beach. The afternoon was spent lazing around for some and chasing a ball for others ... OK just Zaph. After happy hour at the hotel we headed out for a delisious dinner. Today we had more beach time followed by looking for birds .... noon's not a good time to go looking for birds.

Digging to China.

Wet, sandy and a ball in our mouth .... life doesn't get much better.

I'm ready .... throw the ball.

The view down the beach.

This great blue decided to go after a fish .... the splash at the left tip of the wing.

I think these guys might be a bit big for the heron.



Another Walk in the Park

It was a beautiful day so Ed, Zaph and I went for a walk at Bentsen State Park. There weren't a lot of birds visible but there was a record number of winter Texans.

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