Our Arkansas Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 987 miles, and drove for 20 hours and 19 minutes during our week in Arkansas while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Arkansas the past week.

Famous Person: George Takei

Famous Food: Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy

Roadside Attraction: The Clinton Home Museum

State Capitol/Museum: Little Rock

National Park: Hot Springs National Park

Historic Location: WWII Japanese American Internment Museum

Can't miss attraction: Holding $1,000,000 in cash

Made in the USA Tour: Walmart

Please view our previous blog posts for further explanations of our experiences in Arkansas over the past week.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $171.00

$ 2.19 gal. in Hot Springs ,AK was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.30 gal. in Little Rock ,AK was highest price paid.

Comments:

Groceries: $170.00

Walmart $124.00

Natural Grocers $46.00

Comments:

We spent more than usual at Walmart, because there are no Costco’s in the state.

Dining out $50.00

Starbucks $6.00 (Tea 21 in exchange for free WiFi)

Ozark Café $9.00 (Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy)

Moe’s $14.00 (Veggie burrito x2)

Cici’s $14.00 (Pizza Buffet on the go)

Walmart $7.00 (Centennial Sundae x2)

Comments:

We did great in this category!

Entertainment: $6.00

Redbox $6.00 (Movies x3)

Comments:

We did great in this category!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x7 nights)

Comments:

We did great in this category again!

Miscellaneous: $13.00

Parking $5.00

Goodwill $8.00 (Lori’s 2 hoodies)

Comments:

We did great in this category again!

Arkansas Expenses Grand Total: $ 410.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Arkansas Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.

Economy:

Nate: 6

“Arkansas is home to six Fortune 500 companies which include: Tyson, J.B. Hunt, Dillard’s, Murphy USA, and of course Walmart. Agriculture, mining, food processing, machinery and electronic equipment are pillars of an overall lackluster economy.

Lori: 5

“Arkansas unemployment rate is 10% lower than the national average, but the state median household income of $41,995 ranks 49th in the nation!!! OUCH!! Hey, at least they beat out Mississippi!”

Economy score: 5.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 3

“With an income tax rate as high as 6.9%, and a sale tax as high as 11.25% after local surcharges, I feel like I am going to faint! In addition, they tax food at 9.25%! At least they have the 8th lowest property taxes in the nation! “

Lori: 8

“Compared to the national average, in Arkansas: food is 5% cheaper, gas is 10% cheaper, and housing is 33% cheaper. The state ranks 2nd in the nation for the cheapest cost of living in the US! Go Arkansas!”

Cost of Living score: 5.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 3

“Arkansas has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. The state ranks 9th for natural disasters which include tornado’s, flooding earthquakes.”

Lori: 3

“Arkansas violent crime rate of 5.52 is 25% higher than the national average. That is totally unacceptable in a potential new home state!!!

Quality of life score: 3

Culture:

Nate: 7

“BBQ, digging for diamonds, bathing in hot springs, boating, fishing, college football, museums, music festivals and unique local cuisine like biscuits and chocolate gravy are just a few of the things that await you in Arkansas”

Lori: 5

“Only 12% of the state’s energy is generated from renewable sources. While Arkansas ranks 34th for access to healthcare, it racks the 49th for effectiveness in healthcare. This is very disturbing!”

Culture Score: 6

Environment:

Nate: 8

“Arkansas features 52 state parks, 7 national parks, and the Ozarks are beautiful! The state has a very diverse topography within a relatively small geographical area. The roads were well maintained, very well signed and I encountered very little traffic!”

Lori:6

“Outside of Little Rock, and the heavily populated Northwestern corner of the state, most of Arkansas consists of farmland, rivers or wilderness. There were no Costco’s and very few Starbucks. Walmart clearly rules in Arkansas! Yuck!”

Environment Score: 7

The verdict is in:

The final score for Arkansas was 5.4, and it will NOT be our new home. Nate already used his wild card, and Lori chose not to use her wild card on this state

Below are the current standings:

Colorado 9.2

Michigan 8.3

Oregon 8.2

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

Texas 7.3 (NATE’S WILD CARD)

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Washington 6.9

Georgia 6.8

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Arizona 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Florida 6.2

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

California 5.9

Alabama 5.9

Nevada 5.8

Nebraska 5.7

Utah 5.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

New Mexico 4.5

South Carolina 5.4

Arkansas 5.4

Mississippi 4.7

Louisiana 4.3

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9