Welcome To Hot Springs, America
If you agree to travel on the cheap dime like I do, you are always planning ahead for your next bath or shower.
I travel in a four year old 4X4 Freightliner 25’ long Van, powered by a nifty little fuel-efficient turbo V-6 Diesel Mercedes engine. I have outfitted it with a useful but lumpy day bed, a small fridge and freezer, a small micro, a small electric heater, and a small TV/DVD combo. There’s even room in the rear for my not so small 10’ long Kubota side-by-side.
And it’s all hooked up to a powerful 120-volt inverter powered by an auxiliary rechargeable 105 amp battery. Although it contains no sink or toilet, I carry drinking water and an excellent one-burner cook stove, and the Sprinter van has a great sliding side door.
I only occasionally stay in campgrounds or have to pay for a shower. One good reason for this is that I know where a lot of the warm or hot springs are located across the country, especially in the west.
East of the Mississippi River there are “warm” springs but no real hot springs that I am aware of –– Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, the water is superficially heated; White Sulpher Springs, in eastern West Virginia, same thing; and then there is Franklin Roosevelt’s old haunt, Warm Springs, Georgia, where the water comes out naturally between 80-82°.
Of course the Ozarks has lots of great springs, including the largest in the US, Big Springs on the lower Current River (over 100,000 gallons daily flow). But the problem here is that Ozark springs are 56-58° – okay for a hot July soak but way too cold for any lasting relief. In fact, I have two great springs on my land next to Hunter Creek. Icy cold!
In Part II, we will discover most of the “truly” great hot springs in the US, Canada, and Mexico, west of the Mississippi River, many of which I have ventured to.
Note: Another sad passing. A respected former logger, farmer / rancher, and cattle hauler, JW Collins, nearing age 80, but always looking at least a decade younger, died a few weeks ago as a result of cancer and blockages.
While JW was always a hard worker, he still found time in his busy schedule to help his neighbors if in need. In fact JW was an accomplished auctioneer, successfully presiding over 100 charity benefits during his lifetime. He also loved old-time hillbilly music. He will be missed. While we celebrate his full and respected life, my sympathies go out to his wonderful family.
On the happier side, I want to applaud the terrific job Rex Sawyer and what the Ava High School Bears Baseball Team accomplished in May. In reaching the semi-finals, the result was very impressive.
Rex knows his stuff. There are at least two things that Rex Sawyer is an expert at doing: dirt track racing and softball / baseball. I personally thought Rex and the team were especially deserving to participate in the Class III State Championship Game.
Oh well, as old-suffering Chicago Cubs fans used to say, there’s always next year. And even with Ava’s star, Caleb Johnson graduating and moving on, Ava promises to have another good salty team next year. Congratulations to Rex and the whole team.
Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!