Sunday through Sunday, June 1-8—Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

We got off to a late start this morning (Sunday) to Hot Springs Village for a month’s stay—to test the waters, so to speak.  We left at different times, drove separately, and traveled different routes as Kay stopped by Benton to drop off Kaden’s graduation present.  I arrived at the Village about mid-afternoon, stopped at the Vacation Rentals office just outside the west gate, payed for the month, and picked up the keys before driving to our home away from home.  It proved to be very nice, on the 4th fairway of Magellan Golf Course, and plenty spacious for any guests we have as well as Kay and me.  I unloaded the Expedition, and waited for Kay who showed up just minutes after I arrived.  I immediately headed off the half mile or so to Magellan Golf Course to the driving range, taking advantage of the lost cost of a bucket of balls (about half of what I pay in Mountain Home).  Magellan Golf Course was built as a 9-hole golf academy, complete with driving range, practice putting green, and two pitching/chipping areas with greens, sand traps, and roughs. I hit slightly better than previously, but it is an ever slow process to become somewhat proficient.  We spent the rest of the evening familiarizing ourselves with the rented house.
The weather forecast is pretty yucky for the foreseeable future, but there was no rain Monday morning.  I drove to Conway for my 6th golf lesson, and the golf instructor was not too encouraging—“managing expectations” as we used to say back in the working days.  He gave me some exercises to control and eliminate the fade that has recently developed, as well as turning the hands over during the swing.  He also measured club speed, and was pleasantly surprised.  He was a bit more encouraging after that.  During the course of the lesson, it began raining, and rained throughout the lesson, and on the drive back to HSV.  Located west and ever so slightly south of Little Rock, the Ouachita Mountains appear a bit more pronounced and “rugged” than the Ozarks where we live—very nice!  While I was in Conway, Kay visited the mall in Hot Springs to check things out, get her bearings, and do a little shopping, coming back by Walmart to stock up on groceries and supplies.  We both enjoyed evening quiet time, spending most of the late afternoon and early evening in the sun room reading.
Kay enjoyed a girls’ day on Tuesday, beginning with exercise at Christ of the Hills United Methodist Church with book club friends, followed by lunch, shopping, and a movie in Hot Springs.  Three of her longtime book club friends live in the Village, 

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Lake Estrella is a small 22-acre lake in the eastern part of HSV.   Builders and developers are just beginning to exploit this area; our lot is at the end of one of the long arms of the lake, adjacent to the launching ramp.  The kayaks were unloaded Wednesday morning at the launching ramp, PFDs and paddles were unpacked, and we gently shoved off, kayaking around the small lake, with a particular interest in viewing the different types of seawalls and lakefront landscaping, and assessing the fishing potential.  Not to be disappointed, about a dozen bream (bluegill) beds were counted and quite a few small bass and bream were observed along the edges.060107 E 003  After kayaking, we drove around the rest of the eastern part of the Village to a house being built with a plan we very much like, and interestingly, it sits on a lot similar to the Lake Estrella lot, i.e. pie shaped and sloping from right to left and front to rear (looking towards the front of the house from the street), providing a great perspective of what the house would look like on Lake Estrella.  After lunch, Kay read and I exploited the driving range at Granada Golf Course.  Shortly before 3 PM, kids began showing up, and overwhelmed the place.  Hot Springs Village has a great youth golf program, widely supported by Village residents because a lot of life lessons are taught:  behavior, etiquette, sportsmanship, ethics, dress, etc.—quite refreshing. We spent a great evening with Jim and Ginny Passe who hosted us for adult beverages followed by a pontoon boat ride on Balboa Lake ride to the Last Chance, one of the Village’s most popular eatery.  A good time was had by all.
Kay returned to Christ of the Hills UMC for exercise on Thursday morning while I took advantage of the driving range.  HSV residents think the approximately $5 for a large bucket of balls is expensive, but compared to the $9.77 at Big Creek, it’s pretty cheap for us.  And, there is an outstanding putting green and a couple of pitching/chipping areas available for our use, making for a good practice opportunity.  Kay continued reading in the afternoon, and I played golf at Cortez, one of the oldest courses on the west side of the Village.  It was a beautiful course and we had a great time.
Friday, only a golf game was scheduled, in the afternoon.  We drove into Hot Springs to buy a few groceries at Sam’s Club, and walk through a couple of other stores.  As the day progressed, clouds began building in the west, and rain and thunderstorms were forecast for mid-afternoon, forcing us to cancel golf.  Kayrn called and indicated they might come down for the weekend, but were unsure of their departure time and day.  Consequently, we didn’t schedule anything Friday evening.

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With company expected later Saturday, I was off to the driving range, putting green, and pitching/chipping practice area Saturday morning.  Ridge, Karyn, and Matt had arrived by the time I returned; Matt and Ridge were napping and Kay, Karyn, and I spent time on the deck and sun room catching up.  Ridge, after awaking, was a bit subdued, having gotten carsick on the way down from central Arkansas.  We all suited up and drove to Lake Balboa beach for “fun in the sun” time, having fun playing in the sand and throwing pebbles in the lake.  Karyn and Matt headed off to kayak and fish Lake Esrella, and managed only a few minutes and a few fish before a thunderstorm rolled through.  Kay prepared a great meal of grilled salmon and all the fixin’s.
We missed church again Sunday morning; this morning’s service was to be at the Lake Balboa pavilion and included baptisms in the lake and a box lunch.  However, because of potentially bad weather and a sick host, it was postponed.  The kids left after breakfast, and we spent a quiet “rest of the day” reading and hanging out since rain and thunderstorms continued for the third day in a row. We joined two other couples, golfing buddies of Jim’s, at Jim and Ginny Passe’s for adult beverages, burgers and the fixin’s, and a great boat ride around Balboa Lake.  The food was great, but the company and visit were even better as we had a super time, despite threatening weather.

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