Heading south from Branson, Missouri into Arkansas there are A LOT of hills. Some of those hills have passing lanes because much of the route is a two lane, winding road. On one of those passing lanes in Arkansas we were in the slow lane and people were zooming around us. As you know, passing lanes give plenty of warning when the lane is about to end. A couple more cars zoomed by us as the lane was ending. There was zero shoulder, just a 15-20' drop down to some trees and pasture. The passing lane was gone and the two lanes had almost finished merging to one.
Bob was still as far to the right as he could be. He totally stressed because an 18-wheeler was STARTING to pass. The driver did not back off. He came so close to us on the left side, I was sure he was going to hit us and we would roll off the edge of the hill. Another car was coming from the front. The oncoming driver must have stopped. I couldn't see because the truck was in the way. Somehow the truck missed hitting us and the oncoming car.
That driver endangered three vehicles plus all the people in them. Here is a photo of his truck and him.
|Heartland Express truck|
Here is scenery from our drive south:
|Arkansas - No grade percentage was listed|
|View out our back window - Arkansas River|
|View out our dining room window - marina|
|Our site - # 14|
Information for the next few paragraphs was gleaned from "Through These Doors: A Self-Guided Tour of the Arkansas State Capitol."
The Arkansas State Capitol is the second capital. The first, now called the Old State House, was not large enough and fell into disrepair raining chunks of plaster onto the Senate floor. Yikes!
In 1899, the state's legislators voted to build a new State Capitol. They found the perfect spot about a mile up the Arkansas River from the Old State House -- a plot already occupied by the state penitentiary. They used 200 convicts to level the prison and build a new Capitol in its place. (The irony of this does not escape me.)
The first architect, George Mann, oversaw the project until 1909. Delays included cost overruns, budget shortfalls, and even charges of bribery. (Where's that penitentiary when you need it?) The state replaced Mann with renowned architect Cass Gilbert who was noted for his designs of the Minnesota State Capitol and the United States Supreme Court building.
Gilbert quickly had substandard materials removed and revised the interior design. Features that were intended to meet a low budget were upgraded. Marble for the floors and wall panels came from Vermont, and the grand staircases were carved of Alabama stone. Elegant fluted columns were quarried in Colorado. Hard, lustrous Batesville, Arkansas limestone formed the exterior walls while softer Indiana limestone was used for the dome.
In 1915, the construction was officially declared complete. The final cost of the project topped $2.2 million, surpassing the initial budget of $1 million.
Today, the neo-classical Arkansas State Capitol looks a lot like it did in 1915. The distance from ground level to the top of the dome's cupola is 213 feet. It is topped by a copper ball finial covered in gold leaf. I didn't get a lot of photos of the exterior because it was raining.
In comparison to the other State Capitols we've visited, this one was, sorry to say, plain Jane, sterile, white-on-white, institutional, cavernous, and very little art. The arches have their own beauty. Here it is.
|Their state seal is backlit and is gorgeous|
The chandelier is suspended from the ceiling by a 73-foot chain. The rotunda chandelier weighs more than 4,000 pounds and is approximately 12 feet in diameter and 18 feet in height. This light fixture, along with several others in the Capitol, was designed for the Capitol by the Mitchell-Vance Company of New York. This grand, intricate chandelier is assembled using thousands of brass, copper, zinc, iron and glass parts.
|Looking up at the fourth floor arches and dome|
|Dome and chandelier|
|Stairs to second floor|
|Lovely fireplace in Governor's Reception Room|
|Stained glass window in a door, Governor's Reception Room|
|"Governor Bob" hard at work|
|You can see how small Bob looks in the Rotunda|
"The six, ten-foot-tall bronze doors located on the eastern side of the rotunda were purchased from Tiffany's of New York in 1910 for $10,000. Today, those same doors are valued at $250,000. In order to keep the uncoated bronze surfaces shining as the architect envisioned, the doors are polished by hand, inside and out, each week.
"The bronze doors served as the main public entrance for much of the Capitol's first century. However, since 2011, visitors have entered via the ground-level tunnel doors through security stations operated by the State Capitol Police."
From "Through These Doors: A Self-Guided Tour of the Arkansas State Capitol
I can report the doors are awesome. They look like they're made of gold.
|Tiffany's bronze doors|
|Governor William Jefferson Clinton|
|Grand staircase leading to the House|
|Bob waiting to go in the House|
|Vaulted skylight over cavernous hall of arches|
He went to get the keys and let us in.
What first impressed us upon walking into the House Chamber was the stained glass skylight and drapes. The drapes were installed to reduce glare and dampen the chamber's lively acoustics. Glasswork and fittings of the outer dome were restored in 2012, and the interior dome and ceiling underwent restoration in summer 2014.
|Beautiful stained glass skylight|
|House Chamber seating|
|House Chamber from the Gallery.|
|Gilded capital and scagliola on column|
|House Chamber, columns, chandelier and stained glass ceiling|
|Many, many arches|
|Looking toward House Chamber|
|Pearl Harbor Memorial|
|The State Senate chamber|
|Looking up toward the Rotunda dome|
|Old Supreme Court Chamber|
|Back side of the Capitol|
|Detailed porthole window|
Finished with our exploration of the Capitol, we found our way back to Maumelle Campground, but decided not to go back just yet. Two miles beyond our campground is Pinnacle Mountain State Park so we continued on the road to the state park. It was sprinkling and the light was fading; however, when we arrived at the visitor center, a scenic lookout trail hooked us into a short hike.
|Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Rocky Valley Trail|
|Old quarry highlighted by fall colors|
|Me in front of lake at old rock quarry|
|Scenic viewpoint (Bob makes good scenery!)|
|1,011' Pinnacle Mountain|
After our quick exploration, we went back to our campsite to relax for the rest of the evening. As usual, I worked on photos and wrote a blog. Bob pored over the Arkansas River Trail brochure to plan his long run for tomorrow morning.
The Arkansas River Trail is a 16-mile loop between the Big Dam Bridge (yes, that's really its name!) and the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock. Bob is stoked to run the whole thing.
All for tonight. Travel Bug out.