Motexarkiana - 4/2009
The Ozark Bathhouse in Hot Springs, AR.
The sun set on our trip in the Delta region of Arkansas.


Dates: Spring Break, April, 2009, for 5 nights.


Areas Explored: St. Louis riverfront, Branson, and then deep into the Ozarks and Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs, the Cane River valley, southwest Louisiana, Natchez, and old Highway 61

Transportation: 2000 LeSabre

New Frontiers: First thorough exploration of Ozarks.

Cast: Scott, Jessica, Andrew


Trip Notes: Day 1: Drove from Chicago to St. Louis stopping at Gateway Arch and Union Station before heading west to sleep in Creve Cour. Day 2: Spent a wonderful morning at St. Louis Zoo, where spring was in bloom. After playing in Forest Park, headed out through Ozarks to Branson. Day 3: Left Branson after breakfast to travel along Scenic Route 7 in Arkansas. It was very cold. Ended up in Hot Springs before deciding to head toward ocean. Stopped in Natchitoches. Day 4: Spent morning exploring plantations before heading south toward the ocean. Spent time at ocean and then headed east to Baton Rouge and then Natchez. Day 5: Left Natchez and drove up Hwy 61, stopping at various points (Vicksburg and Yazoo NWR most notably.) After heading through Memphis we survived the long run down I-57 back home.


Our route through the Ozarks to the ocean.
Stand right under the awe-some Gateway Arch!

Click below to see other panoramas and 360 views!
See a Delta swamp from Collier Pier at the Yazoo NWR. Sit on the porch of a plantation at the Creole Cane River NHP.
See the beautiful Ouachita Mountains from an Arkansas roadside.   Stand on the shore of the wild Buffalo National River.

Photo Diary: Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Technology enabled me to take a photo of the entire Gateway Arch in St. Louis. (See 360 above.)

Andrew enjoys the spring flowers at the St. Louis Zoo.

Andrew looks at the doggies with long necks.

A beautiful blue jay in the bird cage at the St. Louis Zoo.

Look out for people playing in Forest Park.

Andrew had fun rolling around in the grass at Forest Park with Dad.

Spring had already come to Forest Park. Back in Chicago it was snowing.

Andrew somewhere between Eureka and Rolla. The zoo is tiring.

Branson, MO, is a silly, silly town. Behold a Titanic-shaped building.

South of Jasper, AR, the Buffalo River cuts into the Ozark mountains. (See 360 above.)

The Ozarks make Highway 7 a most scenic drive. We stayed in the car due to a freak cold snap.

We stopped at an overlook and gift store high atop the Ozarks' deepest canyon.

A ribbon of pastureland sits along waters on the floor of this Ozark valley.

After crossing the Arkansas River, we headed south into the Ouachita Range.

I found the Ouachitas even more beautiful than the more famous Ozarks.

Cows graze beside a river in the Ouachita region. (See 360 of this view above.)

I stopped to fill my water bottle with the 140 degree water that gives Hot Springs, AR, its name.

Flowers bloomed all over Lake Degray in southern Arkansas.

Past Sulpher, LA, one can walk the wetlands at Sabine NWR along a boardwalk.

We are walking through the grass on the Sabine boardwalk.

Alligators left their mark throughout the Sabine NWR: worn paths through the grass and droppings on the walkways.

Andrew is looking for gators out on the bayou east of the Sabine River in Louisiana.

Andrew thinks he spotted a gator!

One of three alligators we spotted while hiking the baordwalk at Sabine NWR.

I was not smiling. He had a dirty diaper, inspired by the gator poop, and was slapping my head for about half a mile.

People seemed to be just returning to the rubble left by Hurricane Ike in Holly Beach, LA.

The road from Holly Beach to Port Arthur showed evidence of the destructive force of Hurricane Ike.

Andrew practices his walking on the Gulf sands east of Johnsons Bayou, LA.

We finally reached the ocean. It was lonely except for the helicopters jumping to and from offshore drilling platforms.

Andrew loved playing on the beach. He never noticed the oil facilities nearby.

At the hurricane-ravaged coast east of the Sabine River cows graze beside oil refineries. Surreal...

Port Arthur, TX, was as far as we got. Originally a resort, now an unwelcoming oil kingdom.

Good advice at the I-10 welcome center near Lake Charles.

Behold the world's largest rodent, the nutria. It swam toward me, startled by a stick I threw into the bayou.


Photos copyright 2009 by S. Plencner or J. Bezold All other content copyright 2009 by S. Plencner