Having lived in Arkansas for 23 years, I have seen all sorts of weather. Yes, it has hailed when I lived here, but not very much, and I did not have to drive through hard hail the entire 23 years. Our route today took us west into Louisiana, north on Highway 65 at Tallulah right up into Arkansas. The first town in Arkansas along this route is Eudora, a sleepy little town of just over 2,000 people, a largely Black population with a median income for a household of roughly $17,000. From nearly the moment we entered the town, and for a good mile after we left town, we had hail, hard pea size to small marble size hail. Do you stop and sit through it for who knows how long…or continue to drive, slow and steady, until you get out of it??? I picked the latter. Luckily, no damage…no dents, no broken windows, all was well.
Which leads me to a funny thing…at least I think it is funny…one would have to ask my wife what she thinks, because it has to do with my sense of humor. The first place I could safely pull over was in the town of Dumas in a Walmart Parking Lot so I could check out if there was any hail damage. The first rest area, which has a small parking lot, was too full. The second rest area was closed. This always happens after I have been driving while drinking a 24 oz cup of coffee…which means, yes, nature was calling. So as I am getting out of the driver’s seat and stepping outside, Marcia says, “I thought you needed to ‘use the bathroom’, which is the polite way of saying it. I said, “I do.”, and I shut the door, walked up to the front left tire, reached down and “acted” like I was relieving myself…looking into the front window at her…while she puts her hand over her forehead, shakes her head, and burst out laughing.
I don’t know why I get these urges…not the urge of nature calling, I know it is the coffee doing that…but the urge to spontaneously commit a mischievous act…or blurt out something funny. It has been five years of doing this type of thing and Marcia still loves me to death. Of course, my Mom is saying to herself, "If I can only tell everyone of the MANY times when David was small that he really would 'whip it out and go' ... at parks, front yards, playgrounds....the entire outdoors was his bathroom!"
Fort Smith was our goal, so Pine Bluff was a quick drive through along the Interstate. All was well, traffic a bit thick from Little Rock on along I-40. Shortly after getting on I-40, I decided to call Spring Hill COE park to be sure they were open. The guy assured me they were, but they had only one spot left! What!!!! in mid-March!!!! And he could not hold it, it was first come, first serve. So we hurried along I-40, and as I got close to Alma, mile marker 13 (13 miles from Oklahoma) I called and he said he still had the spot open, and another opened up. So we went on to Springhill, a US Army Corps of Engineers park. With National Park Pass, it was $9 for the night.
We like COE parks, and this one, which we have been to a few times now, is really nice.
With all the rain, the water is real high. I doubt we will hear any barge traffic along the river with this high water and fast current.
After so many miles in the past 50 hours, the dogs were ready for a stay in a park. What they did not like was that we were only parked for 90 minutes before Marcia and I left to go visit her cousin Sophie (92 years old) and have dinner with her, her son Jim and his wife Pat. Since our plans in the Pine Bluff area fell through, we came to Fort Smith a day early, which is allowing us to drive the RV up to just south of Kansas City for a two night stay where we will be taking my son Ryan out to dinner Saturday night, and visit my Aunt and cousins on Sunday.
When we know we will be gone for a few hours, we always try to give them a nice chew treat…in this case, some Healthy Hide, Good 'n' Fun, Triple Flavor Chews. It keeps them occupied for the first 10-15 minutes that we are gone, and they seem to settle down quickly after that. (look at Bubba’s new collar!)
We had a nice dinner at an Italian Restaurant that recently opened…good food at a decent price, but I failed to get the name of it. We always enjoy our visit with Sophie and Jim and Pat...and hope to see them again when we pass through again in October.