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Exploring Arkansas January 2013

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Ozark Moonshine Run, Prim's Round Rocks, Smackover Ghost Tour, Great River Road
You're not likely to find moonshine, but you will enjoy one of the most picturesque drives in the Ozarks by taking the 110 mile Ozark Moonshine Run which utilizes six highways. Prim's round boulders have been quite the attraction for a long time. They're not so much a mystery, but are related to several geological processes dating back about ten thousand years. It's called Oil Town USA, but Smackover boasts of another attraction  a ghost tour of five active "haunted" buildings plus three cemeteries. A pleasant Delta drive is the Great River Road, which is actually a national parkway of the Mississippi River, extending through ten states.

TRANSCRIPT

WHILE EXPLORING ARKANSAS, WE'VE TAKEN MANY A DRIVING TOUR. HERE'S ANOTHER ONE FOR YOU, THE OH SDARK MOON SHINE RUN. SOME SAY IT'S THE MOST PICTURESQUE ROAD IN ARKANSAS, ALL 110 MILES OF IT. WE'RE ALL LOADED UP AND TRUCKING SO COME ALONG WITH. EVEN THOUGH THE SCENIC ROUTE IS CALLED THE OZARK MOONSHINE RUN, DON'T EXPECT TO RUN INTO ANY WHITE LIGHTNING. THE MOONSHINE HEYDAY IS LONG SINCE GONE. THE MOONSHINE RUN UTILIZES ABOUT 6 HIGHWAYS WHICH FORM A LOOP SOUTH OF HARRISON. THERE'S SCENIC HIGHWAY 7, HIGHWAY 374, 123, HIGHWAY 16 AND 21, AND HIGHWAY 43 BACK UP TO HARRISON, 110 MILES OF DRIVING ADVENTURE. AUTUMN IS ONE OF THE FAVORITE TIMES OF THE YEAR TO MAKE THIS RUN AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF SIDE ATTRACTIONS TO MAKE THE TRIP EVEN MORE ENJOYABLE. SOUTH OF MOUNT JUDEA OFF HIGHWAY 123 IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST, THERE'S SAM'S THROWN, A POPULAR HIKING, ROCK CLIMBING AND CAMPING AREA NAMED AFTER SAM DAVIS WHO, DURING THE 1820'S, USED TO PREACH FROM THE 20'S. FARTHER ALONG IN BOXLY VALLEY, THERE'S THE BOXLY VALLEY CHURCH WHICH HAS BEEN IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAG SDEEP, LOST VALLEY WITH ALL ITS WATERFALLS AND NATIVE AMERICAN BLUFF SHELTER, AND ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK WHICH USUALLY CAN BE SEEN GRAZING TOWARD LATE AFTERNOON ALONG BOXLY VALLEY. THERE'S ALSO HAWKSBILL CRAG OR WHITAKER POINT. YOU CAN ARRANGE FOR A HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHT LIKE MY NEW BRIDE KIM AND I DID TO REALLY SEE THE COUNTRYSIDE. SO TAKE IN ALL OR PART OF THE OZARK MOONSHINE RUN SOUTH OF HARRISON AND SEE FOR YOURSELF WHY THIS TRULY IS ONE OF THE MOST PICTURESQUE ROUTES IN THE OZARKS. THE ROUND ROCKS IN THE TOWN OF PRIM, SOME SPECULATE THAT THEY ARE REMNANTS FROM THE BIG FLOOD OF NOAH'S TIME. OTHERS GO SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT THEY FELL OUT OF THE SKY. IT'S A GEOLOGICAL PHENOMENON THAT WE DECIDED WE GOTTA CHECK OUT. AS YOU MIGHT HAVE GUESSED, ROCKS THIS UNUSUAL HAVE DEFINITELY PUT PRIM ON THE MAP WITH FOLKS COMING FROM FAR AND NEAR TO GET A FIRSTHAND LOOK AT THESE SPHERICKAL WONDERS.

I HAD SOME PEOPLE THAT CAME FROM CALIFORNIA AND I SAID, ARE Y'ALL LOST? BECAUSE WE'RE WAY OUT FROM ANYWHERE. THERE'S NO -- EVERYBODY SAYS HOW DO YOU GET HERE, YOU KNOW, WELL, I SAID, ARE Y'ALL LOST? DO YOU KNOW A WAY TO GET OUT OF HERE? THEY SAID, NO, WE LEFT CALIFORNIA AND WE KNEW WE WERE COMING TO PRIM TO SEE THE ROCKS. WELL, GREAT. AND I SAID, WELL, HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT US? THEY SAID, WELL, WE READ IN THE, IN THIS BOOK OFF THE BEATEN PATH, YOU ARE IN THE BOOK. AND SO I SAID, YEAH, WE ARE. SHE SAID THAT'S WHERE WE READ IT. GETTING BACK TO THE ORIGIN OF THESE ROCKS, GEOLOGISTS TELL US THEY ARE RELATED TO SEVERAL GEOLOGICAL PROCESSES INVOLVING A VAST AMOUNT OF GEOLOGICAL TIME, SOME THREE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS. .

THESE THINGS FORMED IN A SANDSTONE BED AND IN THIS AREA THE SANDSTONE GENERALLY CAPS THE TOP OF A HILL. IF WE WERE ABLE TO LOOK BEHIND ME, YOU WOULD SEE THERE IS A SANDSTONE BED GOING ACROSS THE HILL. GRAVITY WORKS ALL THE TIME SO AS THEY WORKED THERE WAY OUT THEY BEGAN TO MOVE THEIR WAY DOWN THE HILL SLOPE. THEY ARE SEPARATING JUST BECAUSE EACH ONE IS TAKING ITS OWN DIFFERENT PATH GOING DOWN THE HILL. OF COURSE WHAT WE'RE SEEING HERE IS A LITTLE BIT ARTIFICIAL SIMPLY BECAUSE THE OWNERS HAVE KEPT THE UNDERBRUSH CLEARED OUT. BY KEEPING THE UNDERBRUSH CLEARED OUT, YOU ALLOW THEM TO ERODE OUT OF THE HILLSIDE FASTER, SO YOU SEE ON THIS SPOT ANYWHERE FROM COMPLETELY EXPOSED TO JUST BEGINNING TO BE EXPOSED.

BUT THE MAJORITY OF THEM, THEY FORM AS A, LIKE A PEARL.

YES. IN FACT YOU ARE QUITE CORRECT. THE CEMENT THAT FORMED THEM IS EXACTLY THE SAME MATERIAL AS FORMS A PEARL, CALCIUM CARBONATE. HOWEVER, THOSE ARE ORGANIC IN FORMATION AND THESE ARE MINERAL IN FORMATION. THEY FORM FROM CEMENTATION STARTING FROM A SMALL NUCLEUS AND GROWING OUTWARD BY CHEMICAL ACRETION AND LATER WHEN THE WATER CHANGED THEY BEGAN TO BE ERODED OUT OF THE HILL SIDE, THE SAND ADJACENT TO THEM DIDN'T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF CEMENT TO IT AND THAT BECAME THE SANDY SOIL THAT WE HAVE ON THE SITE, WHEREAS THEY HELD TOGETHER. A LOT OF TIMES YOU SEE AN IRON COATING OR A BROWNISH IRON OXIDE COATING ON THE OUTSIDE, THAT'S A VERY LATE SECONDARY FORMATION. IF YOU'VE EVER DRUNK IRONY WATER, YOU KNOW THAT IRON PRECIPITATES OUT. BECAUSE THAT WATER ENCOUNTERED A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT ON THE OUTSIDE, IT PRECIPITATED AND IT MADE WHAT WE CALL A CASE HARDENING WHICH ALLOWED EVEN BETTER PRESERVATION OF THEM. .

THE SIZE OF THESE ROCKS OR BOULDERS CAN VARY A GREAT DEAL AND EVIDENTLY THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND NOT JUST IN PRIM.

THEY SAY SOME BOULDERS RANGE IN SIZE FROM 12 FEET DOWN TO ABOUT 1 1/2 FEET IN THIS AREA. THE AVERAGE SIZE IS IN THE 2 TO 3 FOOT DIAMETER RANGE. WE HAVE FOUND NUMEROUS ONES, THOUGH, THAT WERE 6 FOOT IN DIAMETER. WE ONLY FOUND ONE 12 FOOTER, SO WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE PROBABLY MORE OUT THERE.

AND THEY ARE IN OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE STATE AND IN OTHER COUNTRIES.

YES, YES, WITH OUR STUDY DONE BACK SEVERAL YEARS AGO, WE WERE ABLE TO PLACE ROUND BOULDERS SUCH AS THESE FROM NEWTON COUNTY ALL THE WAY TO WHITE COUNTY. SINCE THAT TIME WE HAVE RUN ACROSS ROUND SANDSTONE BOULDERS IN VELASSY COUNTY AND IN POLK COUNTY AND THAT'S HERE IN ARKANSAS. ELSEWHERE IN THE U.S. YOU CAN FIND THEM IN KANSAS AND UTAH. AROUND THE WORLD MOROCCO IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SOME THAT ARE BUS-SIZED ALONG THE ROAD SO YOU DRIVE BY THEM ALL THE TIME.

FOLKS DRIVE BY THESE SPHERICAL BOULDERS IN PRIM ALL THE TIME. DEPENDING ON THEIR SIZE AND HOW BAD SOMEONE WANTS ONE, THEY CAN BRING IN AS MUCH AS $700 APIECE BUT GOOD LUCK IN TOWING ONE OFF.

IN THE TOWN OF SMACK OVER, WHICH IS CALLED OIL DOWN, USA BECAUSE OF THE BIG OIL BOOM HERE IN THE 1920'S, 26,000 FOLKS SWARMED ON THIS TOWN AND SOME OF THEM ARE STILL HANGING AROUND IN SEVERAL OF THE BUILDINGS SUCH AS THE JAIL HOUSE.

TELL US WHAT THIS DEVICE IS THAT YOU HAVE HERE, TOMMIE.

OKAY, THIS IS AN EMS DETECTOR. IT'S THE K-2 EMS DETECTOR. SUPPOSEDLY SPIRITS WHEN THEY ARE IN THE AREA PUT OFF AN ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD AND THIS PICKS IT UP. WE CAN COMMUNICATE WITH THE SPIRITS THROUGH THIS BY ASKING A QUESTION AND IF THEY ARE NEARBY THEY WILL MAKE THE LIGHTS LIGHT UP AND THEN -- FOR YES AND IT DOESN'T LIGHT UP FOR NO. THIS IS HOW WE TALK TO THEM.

WHAT ARE WE READING, ARE WE GETTING, NOW?

RIGHT NOW IT'S AGREEING BACK THERE A FEW MINUTES AGO IT FLICKERED MEANING THERE'S SOMETHING ON BACK THERE. MOST OF OUR READINGS COME FROM THIS BACK HALLWAY AND IN THE SECOND CELL HERE.

TO TELL US THE STORY HERE OF THIS JAIL CELL?

OKAY, THIS JAIL CELL IS WHERE THERE WAS A 16-YEAR-OLD BOY, HIS NAME WAS JEFF, WE DO NOT KNOW HIS LAST NAME. BUT HE HUNG HIMSELF IN THIS JAIL. AND HE WAS IN THE SECOND CELL WHERE HE HUNG HIMSELF. THAT'S WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE GOTTEN PINCHED, THEIR HAIR PULLED, PUSHED, FROM THIS CELL IN HERE. AND AT NIGHT HE DOES COMMUNICATE WITH YOU QUITE WELL WITH THIS DEVICE. AND THEN BACK IN THE CORNER THERE'S SOMEONE BACK THERE, BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHO IT IS. WE HAVEN'T GOTTEN AN ANSWER FROM THEM AS THEIR NAME, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF ACTIVITY BACK THERE. HOPE YOU WILL EXPERIENCE IT.

MICHELLE, YOU WANT TO MAKE ME DO THIS AGAIN, THIS JAIL HOUSE? MY WIFE IS THE EXPERT ON THIS GHOST HUNTING, YOU KNOW THAT. YOU HERE? REVEAL YOURSELF. REVEAL YOUR PRESENCE. WILL YOU REVEAL YOURSELF?

EVEN THOUGH WE DIDN'T WITNESS ANY ACTIVITY, THERE IS THIS ONE IMAGE OF A MIST THAT APPEARED IN A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN BY A PREVIOUS VISITOR TO THE JAIL HOUSE. ANOTHER BUILDING ON THE SNACKOVER GHOST TOUR IS WHAT IS NOW THE FLOWER SHOP.

WHAT HAPPENED HERE BACK IN THE 30'S?

IN THE EARLY 30'S UPSTAIRS -- DOWNSTAIRS THE FLOWER SHOP AT THAT TIME WAS A GROCERY STORE. UPSTAIRS WE HAD A DOCTOR'S OFFICE AND A LITTLE BOY NAMED JIMMY, 8 YEARS OLD, GOT ILL, HIS MOTHER BROUGHT HIM HERE AND TOOK HIM UPSTAIRS AND TOLD HIM TO WAIT WHILE SHE LEFT TO GO TAKE HER OTHER CHILDREN TO A BABYSITER. SHE SAID MOM WILL BE RIGHT BACK. BY THE TIME SHE GOT BACK, LITTLE JIMMY HAD DIED, HE HAD PASSED AWAY. PEOPLE HAVE TALKED TO HIM HERE AND SEEN HIM, I'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE SAY THEY SEE HIM OUT ON THE SIDEWALK AT MIDNIGHT. BUT SUPPOSEDLY HE SAYS THAT HE'S STILL HERE WAITING ON HIS MOTHER TO COME BACK.

ARE YOU WAITING ON YOUR MOM? OKAY, CAN YOU STOP NOW, PLEASE? STOP SO I CAN ASK YOU MORE. THANK YOU. IS THERE AN ADULT MALE HERE WITH YOU? THANK YOU. JIMMY, DID YOU HAVE BROTHERS AND SISTERS? DID YOU JUST HAVE BROTHERS? HOW MANY? DID YOU HAVE THREE? OKAY, STOP, PLEASE. CAN YOU STOP?

WELL, TOMMIE THE OTHER STOP ON YOUR TOUR IS I GUESS THIS AREA WHERE THE OLD DAIRY QUEEN USED TO BE.

YES, IT IS. THE BUILDING HERE ACTUALLY WAS THE OLD CITY CLEANERS BACK IN THE DAY. AND WE HAVE A PICTURE THAT WE TOOK IN THIS AREA AND 3 ENTITIES SHOWED UP. THERE WAS A LADY IN FRONT OF THE DOOR, A DARK FIGURE IN THE MIDDLE AND THEN A MAN ON THIS SIDE THAT LOOKED LIKE HE WORKED ON THE RAILROAD. HE HAD A CAP ON, WHITE FLUFFY SLEEVES AND A BLACK VEST. AND I TOOK 3 PICTURES. THE FIRST, ALL OF THEM WITH MY FLASH. THE FIRST ONE WAS CLEAR, THE SECOND ONE WAS KIND OF DARK, THE THIRD ONE WAS CLEAR. SO THE MIDDLE ONE IS THE ONE I ALWAYS CARRY WHY IT DIDN'T LIGHT UP AND PULLED UP AND SAW THE 3 ENTITIES THERE.

STILL ANOTHER BUILDING WITH REPORTED ACTIVITY IS THE OLD GENERAL STORE.

THIS BUILDING IS NOW CALLED THE GATHERING PLACE, BUT IT USED TO BE A MERCANTILE STORE. THE MAN IN THE CENTER IS STANDING IN THIS PHOTO HERE. HE WAS STANDING IN THE DOORWAY AND THE MEN WERE THROWING CANS UP OUT IN THE STREET AND SHOOTING THEM. HIS BROTHER TURNED TO HIM AND SAID, THIS IS A HOLD UP, JOKINGLY, AND PULLED THE TRIGGER. WELL, THE OWNER OF THE STORE DROPPED DEAD AND THE BROTHER SAID HE THOUGHT THE GUN WAS EMPTY, IT WAS ALL AN ACCIDENT.

ONE PICTURE TAKEN INSIDE OF THE GATHERING PLACE SHOWS A MOVING ORB OTHERS TAKEN OUTSIDESHOW VARIOUS NEON LIGHT IMAGES. THERE ARE ALSO 3 CEMETERIES ON THE SMACKOVER GHOST TOUR WITH THIS IMAGE TAKEN AT ONE OF THEM BUT VIDEOGRAPHER MICHAD HOLLIDAY AND I OPTED NOT TO TAKE IT TO THAT EXTREME AFTER TAKING A GOOD LOOK AT THE PICTURE. SO PAY A VISIT TO SMACKOVER AFTER DARK IF YOU DARE.

CAN YOU TALK TO US, PLEASE? ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS RUN YOUR HAND CLOSE TO THIS METER. IT WILL PICK YOU UP, IT WON'T HURT. HUNH?

WILL YOU REVEAL YOURSELF?

EARLIER IN THE PROGRAM WE FEATURED ONE OF THE MORE SCENIC DRIVES IN THE OZARKS. FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT LIVE IN THE DELTA REGION THERE'S THE GREAT RIVER ROAD WHICH SOARS UP PARALLELS AND FOLLOWS ALONG THE GREAT MISSISSIPPI RIVER. THE GREAT RIVER ROAD ACTUALLY EXTENDS THROUGH 10 STATES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, FROM MINNESOTA DOWN TO THE GULF OF MEXICO. IT WAS DESIGNATED AS A NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY IN 2002. ARKANSAS'S PORTION EXTENDS FROM BLYTHEVILLE ALL THE WAY DOWN TO EUDORA, A DISTANCE OF MORE THAN 360 MILES. THE ROUTE IS MAINLY COMPOSED OF TWO-LANE HIGHWAYS WITH A FEW GRAVEL COUNTY ROADS SUCH AS BETWEEN MARIANNA AND HELENA AS YOU FOLLOW HIGHWAY 44 LIKE WE DID THROUGH THE ST. FRANCIS NATIONAL FOREST. NOT TOO LONG AFTER ENTERING THE NATIONAL FOREST BOUNDARY, YOU'LL NOTICE ARKANSAS'S NEWEST STATE PARK, THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER STATE PARK ALONG WITH ITS QUITE IMPRESSIVE VISITOR CENTER. THERE'S ALSO BEAR CREEK LIKE RECREATION AREA, OFFERING LARGE MOUTH BASS, CRAPPY AND MAN CHANNEL CATFISH, NOT TO MENTION BIRDING AND A VARIETY OF OTHER WILDLIFE OPPORTUNITIES. GREEN PILOT'S WHEEL SIGNS MARK THE GREAT RIVER ROAD AND THROUGH THE ST. FRANCIS NATIONAL FOREST ARE SHARED WITH CROWLEY'S RIDGE SIGNS SINCE IT'S ALSO THE SOUTHERN TIP OF CROWLEY'S RIDGE PARKWAY. BY FOLLOWING ARKANSAS'S SECTION OF THE GREAT RIVER ROAD, YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF BOTH WORLDS, THE DELTA AND THAT GEOLOGICAL ODDITY KNOWN AS CROWLEY'S RIDGE BORNE BY THE MISSISSIPPI AND OHIO RIVERS ERODING SURROUNDING LANDS. THIS RICH ALLUVIAL SOIL, ONCE ONLY NURTURED SWAMPS, B IT'S BEEN HOME TO MANKIND FOR MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND YEARS. NATIVE AMERICANS USED THE RIDGE AS A REFUGE DURING HIGH WATER AND HUNTED THE FOREST. THIS AREA SAW SOME OF THE EARLIER EUROPEAN EXPLORERS AS THE MISSISSIPPI WAS A MAJOR TRAVEL ROUTE. JUST A FEW MILES WEST OF THIS AREA WAS THE STARTING POINT OF THE SURVEY FOR THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE TERRITORY. OVER TIME, THE RIVER'S FERTILE SOILS HAVE BEEN ADAPTED INTO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE FARMLAND IN THE WORLD. IF YOU HAVE EXTRA TIME YOU CAN TAKE A SIDE ACCESS ROAD ALONG THE ST. FRANCIS FOREST ROUTE OF THE GREAT RIVER ROAD WHICH WILL LEAD YOU RIGHT UP TO THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI. HERE YOU CAN REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT THIS MAGNIFICENT RIVER HAS MEANT THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF AMERICA AS IT FLOWS TRANSPORTATION ENERGY AND INDUSTRY AND RECREATION ALONG THE HEARTLAND OF THE NATION. FROM THE DAYS OF NATIVE AMERICANS, DESOTO, MARQUETTE & JOLIET, THE CIVIL WAR, STEAM BOATS AND MARK TWAIN'S UNIQUE INSIGHT, THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER HAS PLAYED A VITAL ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR COUNTRY. EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD. SO TAKE A DRIVE ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD FOLLOWING THE MIGHTYMISSISSIP AND FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS DESTINATION OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE VISIT OUR BRAND NEW WEB SITE at aetn.org/exploringarkansas

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