Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, May 15, 2009

Re-connected with the world

I'm finally at a location where I now have an internet signal and phone service (if I stay close to my trucker's antenna and amplifier). I'll try to catch everyone up on the last five days without being too wordy.

On last Monday, I left Atlanta State Park near Texarkana, TX, under very cloudy skies. I no sooner got on the road when the skies opened and the rain began. I don't think I've ever driven the rig in such torrential downfalls! After 167 tense miles, I arrived at Ouachita State Park outside of Hot Springs, AR (pronounced wash-it-taw). It turned out to be a great site (so I thought), and soon the feathered ambassadors came to greet me.
This is the view of the site from the lake.

Here's mom with a couple of goslings....

And her whole brood....

Tuesday turned out to be a day of heavy rain all day. I generally only ventured out of the rig to take Emma on a few constitutionals. On Monday evening, the two sites to my right became filled with "the neighbors from he...." There were eight kids and four adults. It has been a long time since I have camped next to such loud and obnoxious folks. The kids weren't really that bad, but the adults used inappropriate language at the top of their lungs and the father was constantly threatening the kids with the belt, in between a barrage of four letter words. By Tuesday night, I was seriously considering changing my site. However, I decided that perhaps I needed a lesson in tolerance and decided to continue in the same site for two more nights.

On Wednesday, I drove the car into Hot Springs and toured the Hot Springs National Park. It was very interesting and I learned a lot about the bath houses that used the 47 hot springs that come out of the nearby mountain. I also went up to the top of the tower on Hot Springs Mountain. It was still pretty hazy, so the pictures didn't turn out well. Upon my return to camp, I had a few hours of peace before the tribe next door arrived back from their day on the lake. They were still going strong when I took Emma for her last outs around 11:00. As I took her out, I literally ran into a ranger walking the campground. He asked if I was bothered by my neighbors, and I replied that I had been bothered for three days! He spoke to them about the excessive noise, and they eventually settled down.

I awoke to more pounding rain on Thursday, but by about nine it had stopped. I hopped in the car and headed for Hot Springs. I went to the Buckstaff Bath House to sign up for a bath and massage. I haven't had a "bath" in over three years, so I was looking forward to the experience, but was a little apprehensive. What an experience this was! The Buckstaff has been in existence since the 20's and is the only continuously operating bath house in Hot Springs. After paying my $59.40 fee, I got on the elevator and went to the second floor which is the women's floor. I was told to undress and put everything in a locker. After I did that, an attendant draped me in a sheet in such a way that I looked like I was stepping out as a Roman goddess. (not easy to do) I was then lead into the bath area where I was instructed to take off the sheet and get into the tub. The attendant then proceeded to wash me with a luffa sponge. The tub was filled with the water from the mineral springs and was at a temperature of 100*. Let me tell you that I haven't been washed by anyone since I was a young child, so it was a little unnerving. The biggest problem, besides having to be naked in front of someone, was that the bottom of my feet are very ticklish! After the luffa scrub, I was told to relax and just enjoy as the whirlpool was started. I floated in the warm aerated tub for about 15 minutes. It was very relaxing.

Next came the sitz bath...good for hemorrhoids and back problems. I think these miniature bath tubs were made for people with longer legs. Picture sitting in a deep bucket of hot water with your legs hanging out. It may be great for hemorrhoids, but it didn't do a whole lot for my leg circulation. Then it was on to the steam cabinet, which I declined. The attendant agreed with me that I appeared to be hot enough. Getting out of that sitz bath was a challenge! But I succeeded and moved on to the hot wrap station. You pick what ever parts of your body ail you and they wrap them in very hot towels. I chose my wrists and ankles. The deep heat was very comforting. After about 15 minutes, I was unwrapped and headed for the needle point shower. There are about 100 spray points that shoot at you in a circular shower. The idea, of course, is to rinse you off after all the hot perspiation producing proceedures. Interesting...

Then it was on to the twenty minute therapuetic massage. A black woman named Robbin took me into her room and began the message. I asked her how she got into this line of work and she said..."devine intervention." I'm not sure what that meant, but she hummed and softly sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" throughout the whole twenty minutes. I mentioned that I've never had a massage before and I must say that I thouroughly enjoyed the experience. I felt like a greased pig when I was done, but I was certainly relaxed. Robbin assured me that my tension over my camping neighbors would dissapate and I would just smile at them when I returned to camp.

That didn't quite happen, but events transpired that lead to their early departure. They had been gone all day visiting the science center and the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, but upon their return the explosive father was stricken with what all thought was a heart attack. Several of the adults rushed off with him in their van to find a hospital, and the children were left to pack things up to leave. I offered them my help, but all they asked for was an aspirin for their dad before he left. I don't know how they got eight kids and two adults and all their camping gear into a truck that didn't have an extended cab, but they pulled out just before midnight. Phew...they got on my nerves, but what a horrible end to their vacation.

This morning, I was ready to head out and did so by 9:45. The weather was cooperative, and after only 117 miles, I set up camp at Woolly Hollow State Park. Many frogs are serenading me this evening. More about that tomorrow.... I'm going to try to upload some pictures now, but I'm not sure how that will go.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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