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Exploring Arkansas January 2014

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Gyroplanes / Artist Point Trail-Falls / Lower White River Museum /Blue Spring Heritage Center
Resembling the Jetsons flying car… the 21st century gyroplane is a personal aircraft that's currently being sold in more than forty countries. We take a test "drive" in one, zooming through the Ozarks. Artist Point along Hwy 71 north of Mountainburg offers one of the most spectacular views in NW Arkansas. The trail leads hikers to Artist Point Falls. The Lower White River Museum State Park in Des Arc portrays the vital role of a river-based economy as pioneers and early settlers migrated west. Blue Spring Heritage Center near Eureka Springs is the second largest spring in the state. It's also the location of an Ozark Bluff Shelter, whose inhabitants occupied the site some 10,000 years ago. The spring and the shelter are along the path of the Trail of Tears.

TRANSCRIPT

WANT TO BE LIKE GEORGE JETSON BUZZING AROUND IN YOUR FLYING CAR CONTRAPTION AND LET'S INTRODUCE YOU TO A AUTO-GYRO A CROSS BEEN  A HELICOPTER AND A PLANE.  WE WERE INTRODUCED TO THIS 21ST CENTURY AIRCRAFT AT BYRD'S ADVENTURE CENTER IN THE OZARKS NEAR CASS. THE AUTO-GYRO IS ALL GERMAN ENGINEERING AND THEY'RE MADE IN GERMANY BUT THIS IS NOT THE GYRO COPTER FROM THE 1950'S.

THE OLD GYRO HAS BEEN OUT FOR YEARS BUT THEY'RE VERY DANGEROUS.  THEY HAD ONE PLACE AND THE MOTOR IS HIGH AND PEOPLE KILLED THEMSELVES AND YOU GET THE TRAINING.  ONE OF THE THINGS DIFFERENT BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW GENERATION IS THE ROOTERS ON TOP.  THEY WERE LIGHT AND THEY DID THEM BY HAND AND WE HAVE A ROTATOR AND HEAVY BLADES AND HAVE INERTIA WITH THE G'S AND STABLE LIEZER ON THE TAIL SO THAT MAKES THEM A LOT SAFER THAN THE OLD GYRO.

SO ENOUGH OF JUST WATCHING. TIME TO GET STRAPPED INTO THIS JETSON FLYING MACHINE.

YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO BREATHE.

OKAY.  THIS IS TRUE OPEN COCKPIT HERE.

YEAH.

OKAY.  NEW WAY TO EXPLORE AND JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT WE COVER ALL ANGLES HAVE THE CAMERA.

CLEAR.

ONE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY THINGS ABOUT THE AUTO-GYRO AND THIS IS WHERE IT GETS ITS NAME FROM AND THE TOP ROOTER IS POWERED AND THIS IS USED FOR THRUST AND TO DEVELOP LIFT.

CORRECT.  POWER STARTING OFF. WE GET TO 200RPM AND THE DIFFERENCE OF A GYRO AND A HELICOPTER AND WE'RE LEANING THE BLADE BACK AND THE AIR THIS WAY AND GETTING FASTER AND FASTER AND ABOUT 320 WE LIFT OFF OF THE GROUND AND HAVE POSITIVE AIR PRESSURE AND FLYING AND I CAN STOP AND SPIN AROUND AND I HAVE AIR THIS WAY AND WHEN I STOP I HAVE POSITIVE AIR AND I SPIN IT AROUND.

SO THE ONLY THING YOU CAN'T DO IS LAND AND TAKE OFF VERTICALLY.

CORRECT.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS ?

WE HAVE BEEN DOING PARACHUTES AND I WE GOT OUT OF THE DAIRY BUSINESS AND I WANTED TO BE A INSTRUCTOR AND I THOUGHT ABOUT WEIGHT SHIFT AND INSTRUCTORS ARE A DIME A DOZEN AND THEN I WENT TO THE GYRO CONVENTION AND THE GUY TOLD ME IF YOU'RE AN INSTRUCTOR YOU WILL BE BUSY ALL THE TIME WITH THIS NEW GENERATION OF GYRO AND HE'S CORRECT.  I AM VERY BUSY.

WHAT THRILL DO YOU GET OUT? IT'S LIKE HAVING A HOT ROD UP IN THE AIR.

OH IT IS.  ONE THING THAT IS SO NEAT ABOUT IT ANY WIND CONDITION -- LIKE I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS SO LONG AND THEY HAVE THEIR PLACE AND WE HAVE STUDENTS AND THREE DAYS LOOKING AT EACH OTHER AND WE CAN'T FLY BUT WITH THIS WIND WE CAN STILL FLY AND LIKE YOU SAID A HOT ROD IN THE AIR.

BY THE WAY THIS IS ONE OF THE MODEL TYPES.  THERE ARE TWO OTHER MODELS WITH A COVERED COCKPIT AND THE ELITE MODEL WITH SIDE BY SIDE SEATING SO HOW EASY TO LEARN TO FLY ONE OF THESE PLANES?

IT'S EASIER THAN YOU THINK IT IS AND LIKE I WAS SAYING WITH THE POWERED PARACHUTE YOU HAVE THE DELAY AND I HAVE STUDENTS AND TRAINED FOR THOUSANDS OF HOURS IN A 747 AND WITH A BIG JET YOU CAN FEEL THE MOVE AND POWERED PARACHUTE THERE IS A DELAY AND THIS YOU MOVE IT AND IT RESPONDS AND YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT IT STALLING OUT LIKE A REGULAR AIRPLANE SO THAT MAKES IT A LOT SAFER.

THAT IS THE MOST AWESOME EXPERIENCE.  I THOUGHT THE POWER PARACHUTE FLIGHT THAT WE DID SEVERAL YEARS AGO WAS AWESOME. THIS IS SOMETHING ELSE AND LIKE A MINICHOPPER TO FLY AROUND AND EXPLORE ARKANSAS.  AFTER WATCHING HOW MUCH FUN I HAD FLYING AROUND IN THE AUTO-GYRO THE VIDEOGRAPHER COULDN'T STAND IT AND HE THEN TOOK OFF TOO INTO THE WILD BLUE YOWNDER.  AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT MICHAD DID ONE UP ON ME WITH AN ARIEL STUNT OR TWO.  YEAH, WE'RE CALLING HIM THE AUTO CRAZY GYRO MAN.

AWESOME.

ALL IN A DAY'S EXPLORATION.

ARTIST POINT ALONG HIGHWAY 71 ABOUT 8 MILES NORTH OF MOUNTAINBURG HAS LONG BEEN A FAVORITE PLACE FOR MOTORISTS TO STOP AND TAKE IN THE SPECTACULAR VIEWS. BECAUSE IT'S A FAVORITE SPORT FOR ARTISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS ALIKE IT'S SIMPLY KNOWN AS ARTIST POINT. THERE'S ALSO A GIFT SHOP HERE WHICH FEATURES A VARIETY OF UNIQUE ITEMS INCLUDE HOMEMADE JAMS AND JELLIES AND A MUSEUM WITH INTERESTING ARTIFACTS. THE SCENERY AT ARTIST POINT IS SPECTACULAR ENOUGH BUT IF YOU'RE ADVENTUROUS AND UP TO IT WE SUGGEST EXPLORING ALONG ARTIST POINT TRAIL WHICH WILL EVENTUALLY TAKE YOU TO ARTIST POINT FALLS.

THE TRAIL BEGINS AT THE RIGHT OF THE GIFT SHOP AND GOES DOWN AN OLD ROAD BED.  THIS FIRST SECTION OF THE TRAIL IS COVERED ON BOTH SIDES WITH KUDZU VINE, SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH.  IT'S A NON NATIVE PLANT THAT WAS INTRODUCED TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1876.  AS YOU MAKE YOUR WAY DOWN TO THE FIRST OF SEVERAL SWITCHBACKS OFF TO THE LEFT IS A ROCK FORMATION RESEMBLING A TOMB AND YOU WILL SEE SOME INDIAN HIEROGLYPHS OR MARKINGS INTO THE ROCKS AND THEY'RE ALONG THE TRAIL WHERE YOU CAN FIND THEM CARVED INTO THE SIDE OF THE BLUFF WITH OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST.  THE SECOND MARKING IS NEAR THE END OF THE TRAIL AND UNDER THE BLUFF SHELTER AND LIKE A PETROGLYPHS RATHER THAN A HIEROGLYPHS AND THERE IS A LOVER'S LEAP HERE AND A NICE POINT TO TAKE A BREATHER AND VIEW THE VALLEY BELOW. AFTER SIX TENTHS OF A MILE YOU WILL HEAR THE FALLS FIRST RATHER THAN SEEING THEM AND DEPENDING WHEN YOU MAKE THE HIKE THE WATER FLOW IS CASCADING NICELY OR BARELY GOING DOWN IF YOU DON'T GO AFTER A GOOD RAINFALL.  WE MIGHT ADD THAT THE HIKE BACK UP IS STRENUOUS AND STEEP BUT EVEN IF YOU DECIDE NOT TO TAKE THE TRAIL THE VIEWS FROM ATOP ARTIST POINT ARE WELL WORTH THE STOP, ESPECIALLY DURING AUTUMN. AS PIONEERS AND EARLY SETTLERS MIGRATED WEST INTO ARKANSAS THE LOWER WHITE RIVER WAS A TRANSPORTATION ROUTE AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THIS UNSPOILED REGION WERE LIMITLESS.

IT WAS THE ECONOMY AND THE RIVER WHY PEOPLE CAME HERE.  I GUESS THAT WAS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GET HERE IN ARKANSAS FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE WAS TO COME FROM RIVER IN THOSE DAYS AND SELTS SETTLED ON THE HIGH BLUFFS AND ARKANSAS AND GEORGETOWN AND AUGUSTA AND ST. CHARLES AND SO ON, AND I GUESS AT ONE TIME IT WAS THE ECONOMY YEAR, THE RIVER WAS.  AS YOU MENTIONED, FISHERIES AND PLASTIC BECAME THE NORM YEARS AGO. TIMBER -- THIS WAS A HEAVILY TIMBERED AREA AND THERE WERE A LOT OF JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES AND THERE ARE WHAT THEY CALL DUMMY LINES ALL OVER THIS AREA. IT'S A RAILROAD LINE THAT BASICALLY RUNS OUT INTO THE WOODS AND INTO SOME AREA AND DOESN'T GO ANYWHERE BUT THERE AND YOU CAN FIND TRACES ALL OVER THIS AREA IN EAST ARKANSAS AND BUILT THE RAIL LINES AND HAULED THE TIMBER OUT OF HERE.  OVER THE YEARS IT'S BEEN TRANSFORMED. IN MY EARLIER DAYS THERE WERE QUITE A FEW HOUSE BOATS ON THE RIVER AND PEOPLE MADE A LIVING FISHING ON THE RIVER, PICKING UP THE PECANS.  THE PECAN INDUSTRY WAS A LARGE INDUSTRY UP AND DOWN THE WHITE RIVER.

THE LOWER WHITE RIVER MUSEUM STATE PARK IN DES ARC COVERS A 100 PERIOD OF ARKANSAS FRONT TEAR LIFE UP TO 1931.

THAT WAS BASICALLY THE STEAM BOAT AREA WHEN THE COMMERCE AND SETTLEMENT HAPPENED IN THE AREA. SOME OF THE EARLY COMMERCE WAS AGRICULTURE AND TIMBER AND EVENTUALLY MOVED UP TO PEARLING AND SHELLING AND WE ALSO DUE TO THE RIVER TRANSPORTATION COMING INTO THE AREA BROUGHT IN TEACHERS SO WE FOCUSED ON EDUCATION AND ALSO SOME OF THE DOCTORS AND PHYSICIANS THAT CAME INTO THE AREA.

THE CIVIL WAR PERIOD IS ALSO OF COURSE COVERED HERE WITH THE DES ARC RANGERS.

YES, THE DES ARC RANGERS WERE ONE OF THE GROUPS OF MEN THAT JOINED THE CONFEDERACY THAT LEFT DES ARC AND THEY WERE A CAVALRY UNIT AND COMPANY B OF CHURCHILL'S MOUNTED RIFLES AND LEFT HERE ABOUT A HUNDRED MEN AND WENT TO LITTLE ROCK AND THE FIRST BATTLE WAS AT WILSON'S CREEK IN MISSOURI.

NEXT DOOR TO THE MUSEUM IS A REPLICA OF A LATE 1800'S LOG CABIN.

THE LOG CABIN WAS A PROJECT FOR THE VOLUNTEERS DID FOR THE BICENTENNIAL AND THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE "FRIENDS OF THE LOG CABIN MUSEUM"  AND THEY NOT ONLY BUILT THE CABIN AND RECONSTRUCTED STYLE CABIN BUT THEY LOANED ITEMS TO FURNISH IT AND WE HAVE A KITCHEN SET UP AND A BEDROOM LIVING ROOM SET UP.

SO VISIT TORS CAN SEE WHAT THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE LOOKS LIKE.

CORRECT.  AND THE AMENITIES THEY HAD AND DIDN'T HAVE AT THAT TIME AND ONE OF THE THINGS THE CHILDREN POINTED OUT THEY DON'T HAVE REFRIGERATORS AND MICROWAVES AND IT WAS A LITTLE HARDER LIFESTYLE IN THOSE EARLY DAYS.

IN THE STEAM BOAT DAYS THEY'RE PAINTED AS BEING KIND OF ROMANTIC, A GREAT TIME TO LIVE, BUT MOST OF THE FOLKS THAT LIVED BACK THEN THEY LIVED A PRETTY BARE EXPERIENCE AND BEFORE ELECTRICITY AND MAINTENANCE.  I LIKE IT NOW AND AIR CONDITIONING AND SCREEN DOORS AND SO FORTH BUT IT HAS CHANGED DRASTICALLY OVER THE YEARS.  I THINK IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO LOOK BACK AND THINK ABOUT WHERE WE COME FROM, BUT I HAVE TOLD PEOPLE WE CAN'T DWELL ON THAT.  IN THE 50'S AND 60'S WHEN MAIN STREET WAS BUZZELLING ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT AND PRIMARILY SATURDAY NIGHT IN ALL THESE TOWNS AND WE CAN COMMISERATE ABOUT IT BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO CHANGE SO WITH THE INTERNET, THE BROADBAND ACCESS THERE ARE WAYS TO CREATE BUSINESSES IN SOME OF THE REMOTE AREAS THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE YEARS AGO.

THE BLUE SPRING HERITAGE CENTER YEAR EUREKA SPRINGS AND A GARDEN AND HISTORIC MILL SITE AND PORTION OF THE TRAIL OF TEARS AND BLUE SPRING ITSELF WHICH PORES OUT AT THE 38 OF 38 MILLION-GALLONS A DAY.

BLUE SPRING IS LOCATED FIVE AND A HALF MILES WEST OF THE EUREKA HISTORIC DISTRICT AND LOOK FOR THE SIGN AT 210 WHICH IN FACT ENDS AT BLUE SPRING. THE DRINKABLE CLEAR WATER PROTECTED VALLEY AND GOOD HUNTING AND FISHING HAVE MADE BLUE SPRING AN IDEAL SITE FOR HUMANS SINCE PREHISTORIC TIMES. BEFORE THAT WERE NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES IN ARKANSAS THERE WERE THE OZARK BLUFF DWELLERS.

THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT.  THEY WENT BACK 10,000 YEARS AGO THEY WERE IN HERE AND LIVED IN THE CAVES AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM HERE AT OUR BLUFF SHELTER WHICH IS NOW ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES AND THE UNIVERSITY GOT THE IDEA TO DO A DIG WHERE THE BLUFF SHELTER IS NOW AND THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY HEADED UP THAT TEAM WITH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND DUG UP ARTIFACTS GOING BACK 10,000 YEARS AGO AND IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE AND WE HAVE SOME OF THE ARTIFACTS IN THE MUSEUM NOW AND IT'S 8,000 YEARS BEFORE CHRIST AND THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD HISTORY.  TOM DILLARD DID A STORY ABOUT THE OZARK BLUFF DWELLERS AND HE CAME UP WITH THE SAME AS I DID IN HIS RESEARCH SO THE PEOPLE WERE HERE.  WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE CHEROKEES AND CHOCTAWS AND THE NATIVE AMERICANS AND THERE IS A LOT OF HISTORY HERE.  THERE IS SO MUCH HISTORY HERE YOU COULD CUT IT WITH A KNIFE.

LOCATED ALONG THE BLUFF SHELTER AND THE BLUFF LINE ITSELF ARE HIEROGLYPHS UNLIKE PICTURE GRAPHS DONE WITH NATURAL DYES AND THESE CARVINGS WERE AN ANCIENT FORM OF WRITING. HIEROGLYPHS AND PETROGLYPHS WERE USED BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AS VISUAL INDICATORS TO LET OTHERS KNOW OF HAPPENINGS IN THE AREA AND THESE WRITINGS SERVED AS A LASTING FORM OF RECORDKEEPING. OZARK BLUFF SHELTERS WERE USED YEAR ROUND.  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE IN THE WINTER TIME? WITH THE SOUTHERN EXPOSURE THEY WERE SHELTERED FROM THE WINDS AND RECEIVED THE WINTER SUN AND THE EXPOSED PORTIONS OF THE SHELTER WERE LIKELY COVERED WITH SKINS OR MATS WITH MUD KEEPING THE INSIDE WARM AND DRY.  WHAT BECAME OF THE OZARK BLUFF DWELLERS IS UNKNOWN.  AFTER LIVING IN THE OZARK MOUNTAINS A LONG TIME THEY SEEM TO HAVE JUST VANISHED LEAVING FEW IF ANY CLUES OF THEIR DISAPPEARANCE. FOR MANY YEARS THE OSAGE CLAIMED BLUE SPRING AS THEIR TRADING POST.

IT WAS A TRADING POST AND THE INDIANS -- THEY CALL THEM THE STRONG BOAT INDIANS AND FLOATED DOWN TO NEW ORLEANS WITH THEIR GOODS AND TRADED THE CANOES IN AND CAME BACK AND REPEATED IT ALL OVER AGAIN SO IT WAS A MAJOR TRADING POST AND THERE WERE THREE MILLS HERE AND CORN MILL OTHER MILLS AND THIS WAS A MEETING PLACE AS WELL AS A TRADING POST BECAUSE BACK IN THOSE DAYS THERE WAS NO ELECTRICITY.  EVERYTHING WAS DONE BY MECHANIZATION, IF YOU WILL.  OVER SHOT MILLS, UNDER SHOT MILLS AND THE MILL WHEELS AND WAS QUITE A THING TO SEE. I WISH I COULD HAVE SEEN IT BUT YOU CAN SEE A LITTLE AT WAR EAGLE I THINK.

IN MARCH OF 18 13 BLUE SPRING WAS A STOPOVER FOR THE CHEROKEE FROM THE FORCED MARCH IN GEORGIA AND 30,000 BEGAN THE JOURNEY AND ONLY 7,000 SURVIVED.  DURING THE EARLY 19 HUNDREDS WATER FROM BLUE SPRING WAS SHIPPED TO VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY AND KNOWN AS THE EUREKA BLUE SPRING WATER COMPANY.  THERE'S ALSO A MEDICINE WHEEL GARDEN AT BLUE SPRING HERITAGE CENTER.  THE MEDICINE WHEEL IS A POWERFUL SPIRITUAL AND EDUCATIONAL SYMBOL WHICH HAS AN IMPORTANT FUNCTION IN MOST NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURES AND RERIFES THE CONCEPTS FROM A WOODLAND CONCEPT OF THE WHEEL FROM NATIVE AMERICANS.  BLUE SPRING ITSELF THOUGH REMAINS QUITE THE MYSTERY BECAUSE ITS SOURCE IS UNKNOWN.

NOBODY KNOWS WHERE IT COMES FROM.  A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE THEORIZED AND MAYBE FROM ALASKA AND WHEN THEY HAD AN EARTHQUAKE AND MUDDIED THE WATER BUT IT'S NOT FROM TABLE ROCK OR BEAVER LAKE.  IT'S UNKNOWN ORANGE AND DIVERS WENT DOWN AND THE CONSERVE EASIER TESTED IT AND IT'S DRINKABLE.  IT'S 38 MILLION-GALLONS A DAY.  IT'S THE LARGEST SPRING IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS AND PURE WATER AND THE LAGOON IS FULL OF TROOT AND PEOPLE FEED THEM AND HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH IT.

IN 2004 DIVERS FROM AQUATIC CAVE XPLORATION BEGAN EXPLORING BLUE SPRING AND DISCOVERED IT TO BE A VERTICAL AND VERY DEEP UNDER WATER CAVE SYSTEM. TRYING TO OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES OF THE TIGHT AND NARROW  PASSAGE WAYS AND TRYING TO LOOK MORE AT THE MYSTERIOUS DEPTHS OF BLUE SPRING.

SO EXPLORE AND EXPERIENCE THE BLUE SPRING HERITAGE CENTER FOR YOURSELF AND FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION PLUS MANY OF THE OTHERS OR ORDER A COPY OF THE EPISODE VISIT US AT AETN SLASH ?ROAR EXPLORE AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE OF EXPLORING ARKANSAS

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