The skies were dark when I finished at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; it was time to drive east to Little Rock. I left glad that I hadn’t skipped the visit because of the storms. Oklahoma City was larger than I expected, had a vibrant area known as Bricktown, and to my surprise, had oil wells littered throughout the downtown area, one a block or so from the State House. I drove east on I-40 through Native Americans lands, from Potowanie to Choctaw to Shawnee to Seminole to Cherokee and somewhere in there is Creek and Sac but I’ve lost the list. And with every new Native American Nation came the requisite casino. The geography changed as well, from flat plains to greener pastures to a few rolling hills. I was beyond the storm clouds in less than an hour and passing the border into Arkansas before 3:00pm.
I stopped at the Arkansas Welcome Center and immediately learned it is nicknamed The Natural State. Does that make the rest of the states Un-natural? This was the third new state I visited(KS,OK were the others) since leaving Boston and I was eager to drive through it, to check out the terrain. It had turned into a beautiful day, as if I had been dipped into Spring. Wildflowers bloomed by the roadside, the trees were shades of light green with their new growth, and the sky was blue. The rolling terrain seemed very familiar, that is until I saw a huge Razonback banner hanging from a large rock formation, then I remembered it was Arkansas and I’d never been here before. I stayed in downtown Little Rock at a hotel along the River. The riverfront area has lots of restaurants, a farmers market, opera, bike path, amphitheater and the Clinton Presidential Library was at the end of the downtown area.
I went to the Clinton Presidential Library in the morning but did not linger. The storm that I was running from appeared to be catching up to me and since tornados were still being warned, I wanted get away quickly. The Library, like the others I had visited, highlighted the good(lots on the economy and the Irish accord) and briefly mentioned the bad(the impeachment). I did get a kick out of video footage of the Clintons poking fun at themselves in situations such as the health care debacle and Bill’s junk food habits. And the Oval Office looked like The West Wing set. The inside of the library’s design was inspired by the reading room of library at Trinity College in Dublin. Having been there a few years ago, I could see the influence. I left pleased that I had visited and wondered if I should make visiting the other Presidential Libraries a part of my trip checklist. There are three in Texas. I’m not sure I have the time, nor if I’d ever be ready to visit W’s library.