Day 18: Up the flooded Arkansas River

Little Rock, AR to Fort Smith, AR

While walking to the Clinton Center, saw some flooded-out areas along the river.

Floods, Little Rock
The Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock

Went to the Clinton Presidential Library. There was a great exhibit called Washed Ashore – art made out of petroleum-based waste found on the beach. Some of the art was playful and some was beautiful. The art was created by a team led by Angela Haseltine Pozzi. Her purpose was to raise awareness of the plastic trash problem.

Trash art
Foam trash representing a coral reef
The river and a pedestrian bridge from the Clinton Library

The Clinton exhibits were interesting, but of course, everything was spun to be favorable to Clinton. There is a restaurant there called 42 bar and table. (Wasn’t open for lunch yet.)

Left town.

I stopped at a Starbucks inside Target and they had Bullseye cookies!

Went through some scenic parts of Arkansas, including the Ozarks. Realized for the first time that Missouri and Arkansas share the Ozarks.

On I-40 stopped at an overlook, where two trucks were loudly idling, ruining any serenity. Why did they idle?

Arrived at the Doubletree Hotel in Fort Smith, AR. It has an atrium lobby with a waterfall.

According to the official Arkansas tourist guide, I am in the West now.

Fort Smith is on the same river as Little Rock, the Arkansas River. The fort was founded in 1817 by the U.S. Army to contain a “volatile Indian feud.” (NPS language from a sign at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.) It’s on the border of what was then Indian Territory, and is now Oklahoma. (More about that story later.) For over 80 years, the federal government used Fort Smith to establish and maintain law and order in the Indian Territory.

Wandered around the National Historic Site and back into town.

Trolley tracks on the sidewalk that come to a halt
A statue of U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves (1838-1910). He was the first African American deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi. [Instagram filter added.]

Saw Bricktown Brewery with outside seating and went in. Though it’s called brewery, they don’t have anything brewed here. I ordered a beer called Wiley’s One-Eyed Wheat, brewed in Oklahoma City. I had a near-perfect moment sitting out in the sun.

Wiley’s One-Eyed Wheat

Afterwards, found the riverfront trail, which is beautiful.

Until 1907 the border was here.
The Arkansas River, Fort Smith

Does Oklahoma own a tiny strip of land on the Arkansas side of the river? Per Google it looks like they do. Haven’t found confirmation of this.

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