Moving North and East

Current Location: Tom Sawyer’s RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas

Yesterday’s Location: Sunrise RV Park, Texarkana, Arkansas

Thursday morning, we packed up and headed out from Livingston. We had an easy drive up US 59 to Texarkana, Texas, then on I-30 for just one exit to Texarkana, Arkansas. We stopped for the night in the Sunrise RV Park. We had seen this park on the way south as we had stopped at the same exit to fuel up the truck. The place looked nice then, and it was. The park is built on the former property of a drive-in theater, so the rows are semi-circular.

We were directed to a site when we arrived and asked to come into the office a little later to pay. When Malcolm went to pay for our site, he decided to pay the additional $15 to allow him to wash the rig. He washed the trailer and the truck. The trailer was last cleaned when we took delivery in late March. The truck was last washed in mid-February, so it really needed a bath.

Our clean rig

Our clean rig

This morning we headed out early and arrived in West Memphis right at lunch time. We parked on the river row near several Heartland friends that are also ultimately heading north to the National Rally.

Set up on our site

Set up on our site

The MIssissippi River

The Mississippi River

Barge traffic on the river

Barge traffic on the river

After lunch, we were relaxing in the trailer when Kelly and Michael Barnett dropped by to say hi and take a quick tour of the rig. After that, Malcolm did a little work before we headed into Memphis to check out the new Bass Pro Shop set up in the old pyramid stadium building.

Bass Pro Shop pyramid

Bass Pro Shop pyramid

The pyramid was originally built as a stadium for the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team in the early 1990’s. However, when the team moved to another stadium, the pyramid sat empty since 2004. Bass Pro Shop set up a store, hotel and observation deck (with another restaurant and bar) in it. The building claims to have the tallest freestanding elevator system in the world.

Elevators to observation level

Elevators to observation level

Val stayed on the first floor while Malcolm paid $10 to go to the observation deck. There are two outdoor observation decks – on on the south side of the building giving great views of downtown Memphis, and one on the west side, giving great views of the Mississippi River and Arkansas. Malcolm took a few pictures while up there.

The bar (and soon, restaurant) in the observation level

The bar (and soon, restaurant) in the observation level

View from the top

View from the top

People out enjoying the view

People out enjoying the view

Death-defying look down the front face of the building (OK, not really)

Death-defying look down the front face of the building (OK, not really)

We purchased a few things in the store and ran them out to the truck. We went back inside to get a table at the ground level restaurant. The food was pretty good, nothing out of the ordinary. There are several bowling lanes in the restaurant. The menu was mainly sandwich type fare.

We headed back to the campground after dinner, fueling up the truck on the way in. This evening, a small storm rolled through, knocking out power to the park. It is currently still off as Malcolm writes this, a couple hours after it originally went off. We have our Fantastic Fan running on low and a couple windows cracked open, as the air cooled off when the rain moved through.

Today’s license plate count – 24 of 51 found.

License Plates

License Plates

Back on the Road

Current Location: Hot Springs National Park KOA, Hot Springs, Arkansas

We are back on the road as of today (Monday). We pulled out of the Nashville KOA early in the morning and headed west on I-40 and I-30 to Hot Springs, Arkansas, landing here around 4:00 PM. It was an uneventful trip (after passing an overturned truck on the Briley Parkway in Nashville).

During our lunch stop west of Memphis, Malcolm reserved a regular space here at the KOA. Once we arrived, he felt like we needed a nice looking space, so he upgraded us to a patio site, just because. It’s pretty scenic most anywhere in the park, but our site is really nice. We had dinner outside on the patio after Malcolm grilled our food. He worked outside for a while on his laptop and also aired up the trailer tires.

We are heading on to Livingston, Texas tomorrow so that we can get a license plate on the trailer and get both vehicles inspected. Once done, we’ll be heading back the same way, then turning north onto I-65 to head to Indiana (not all in the same day, of course).

Our site

Our site

Our neighbors

Our neighbors

Malcolm having a rough day at the office

Malcolm having a rough day at the office

License plate count today – 35 of 51 found.

License Plates

License Plates

Heading West – Arkansas

Current Location: Ivy’s Cove RV Retreat, Russellville, Arkansas

We were pulling out of the KOA in Nashville this morning at 7:30 AM. Our plan was to make it to Russellville, Arkansas as it is about halfway to Wichita Falls, Texas (via I-40 and I-44) to visit our son. We made it, rolling in about 5:15 PM. We hit a couple backups due to construction that weren’t too bad and a backup due to an earlier accident that put us behind about an hour.

Callie "hiding" because she know's we're packing up to leave

Callie “hiding” because she know’s we’re packing up to leave

Traffic fun

Traffic fun

We called ahead to the campground here, Ivy’s Cove, and got an answering machine. However, they called back a few minutes later and put our name on a nice, long pull-through spot. Once we got here, paid and pulled around to our spot, we decided to just drop the front jacks, stay hitched to the truck, hook up the 50 Amp cord, put out the slides and turn on the air conditioners.

Pulled into our spot.

Pulled into our spot.

Malcolm tossed a couple hamburgers on the grill to keep the heat down inside and we just had hamburgers and chips for dinner. The temperature was 97 and the humidity was fairly high when we arrived. As Malcolm is writing this post at 8:50 PM, the rear air conditioner is still playing catchup and blowing on high. It’s almost there, though.

Burgers on the grill

Burgers on the grill

We started back on our license plate sightings this trip. We had given our board away to some traveling friends that have younger children but missed it enough that we bought another. Today’s trip across I-40 garnered quite a few plates – 34 of them.

License Plates Sighted

License Plates Sighted

Halfway Home

Current Location: Hot Springs National Park KOA, Hot Springs, Arkansas

“Home” being Nashville for about three weeks, that is. We left Houston about 8:30 this morning and headed up US 59 to Texarkana where we picked up I-30 into Arkansas. Mapping software indicated almost exactly 800 miles between Houston and Nashville, so we picked this area as being about halfway there.

Hot Springs is actually a bit off the path (about 15 miles away from the interstate), but we decided to stay in the KOA due to the ratings and the ease of verifying that a site was available and booking it on the road via our KOA app. There are a couple dozen campgrounds in this immediate area and we didn’t feel like spending a lot of time digging through campground reviews.

We should roll into Nashville tomorrow around dinner time tomorrow (depending on how quickly we get rolling in the morning from here and how much traffic is involved in various construction projects on I-40 in Arkansas).

 

Very Wintry Drive

Current Location: Pecan Grove RV Park, Lake Village, Arkansas

We left northern Arkansas early this morning to try to get a jump on the weather. Seeing that east Arkansas and Memphis were calling for wintry mix weather, we decided to try to head due south through Arkansas. Snow flurries picked up as we headed down US 65 towards Little Rock. Snow was falling full steam by the time we got on I-40.

We got off I-40 and headed into a Cracker Barrel for lunch. When we left, it was starting to sleet. As we headed south on US 65 towards Pine Bluff, the roads were getting a bit dicey, but traffic was slowing accordingly. After we got south of Pine Bluff, US 65 traverses miles and miles of farmland, with no towns or other facilities in sight. That’s when we got to a stretch of road with vehicles all over the place, in ditches, crashed into each other and so on. We all stopped and when I started moving, I realized the whole road was just glaze ice.

We finally managed to get moving, but only at about 3 mph. We were both extremely nervous and, at one point, Malcolm just pulled off onto the shoulder and turned on the flashers. We sat there for about 10 minutes wondering what to do next when we noticed that the road didn’t seem to be as bad as we thought. We pulled back out once all the traffic was clear and slowly made our way down the road. The road gradually just turned to wet after a while and we made it back up to normal speeds (55-60).

We stopped at a WalMart in McGehee, Arkansas and called a campground about 20 miles south. They had spaces and told us to come on. We made it in before dark. Malcolm set up the trailer, leaving it hooked up to the truck and plugged in the electrical cord. We’ll run on water tank and pump again tonight. Tomorrow, so far, promises to be better (i.e. warmer) weather. We are shooting for at least Hattiesburg, MS or as far as the Mobile area.

Here are some pictures taken at different stops along the way, showing ice buildup on the truck and trailer.

Front hub cover on the truck.

Front hub cover on the truck.

Front cap on the trailer.

Front cap on the trailer.

Landing gear on the trailer, directly behind the truck tires.

Landing gear on the trailer, directly behind the truck tires.