Tonight, we’re camped near Joplin, Missouri, heading north and west, aiming generally in the direction of Wyoming.
My intents are to post frequently and share images on a regular basis. No promises, of course, but those are my intents.
Besides the destination spots, I’ll also try to share some of what we see “along the way.” (see note at bottom)
Today was a planned short travel day. We finished getting everything loaded and made it out of the driveway before our intended 10 AM departure time. After traveling west on Interstate 40, we turned north on I540.
Interstate 540 is a relatively new road. For the first 15 years we lived in Arkansas, our trips to northwest Arkansas to visit Karen’s family was over US 71, which the new interstate parallels. Both roads go over some of the roughest and scenic parts of the Boston Mountains. US 71 used to have very heavy traffic – along with a number of fatalities each year.
I540 was fully opened between Ft. Smith and Bentonville in the late 90s.
Today, around noon, we were trying to decide where to pull over to take a break and fix our lunch. Just before we got to the Winslow exit, I remembered a rest area on highway 71 that we used to stop at almost every time we went over the mountains. We weren’t sure that it would be still open since almost all of the through traffic bypasses that area now. We decided to check it out.
We were pleased to find that the rest area is not only still open, but has been significantly improved. The rest room building and the area around it is still much the same, but remodeled, with new fixtures, and cleaner overall.
Located on US 71, between Winslow and West Fork, the park now boasts a 1/3 mile fitness trail and other recent improvements. Part of the trail is on the bank of the West Fork of the White River, which at this time of year is normally little more than a trickle.
No longer a State of Arkansas facility, it is now the Brentwood Community Rest Area. With traffic moving to I540 after that freeway opened in the late 90s, rest area usage plunged. The Arkansas State Highway Department closed it in 2001 because of vandalism and lack of use. It was subsequently reopened with the idea of locating a law enforcement substation there. After that never materialized, the park was on the verge of being closed again when local residents volunteered to take care of daily maintenance.
One of the things I want to do is include video snippets – short little pieces that don’t include voice, but do include sounds and images from what we are seeing. Our little smart phones are video capable – no zoom, so they are kind of limited.
While most photos that I include will be from my Pentax SLR, I will also be using some from my phone – which is the source of both photos in this post.
Tomorrow, we cross into Kansas and head north to Nebraska.