March 31, 2018 Hickory Creek COE Park, Arkansas

My Campsite at Hickory Creek Park
My Campsite at Hickory Creek Park

On to Oklahoma

Tonight ends my two week stay at Hickory Creek Park, yet another great COE campground. This park is, theoretically, closed until April 1st, but they apparently always leave one section of the campground open for winter camping, although I could not find anything about that with an internet search. The sites are paved, level, and some can accomodate a large rig, I had to detach my tow dolly and move it to the side of the campsite to fit my 32′ rig in and still have enough space to park the Prius off the roadway.

The sites do have 50 amp electric but no water nor sewer. There is a dump station within the park and maybe water ( not sure since I am planning to fill up before I leave ). Fairly strong Verizon signal here and I was able to grab one of the few sites in this section that would allow my satellite dish to see out from under the tall trees.

Rapidly Rising Waters
Rapidly Rising Waters

My winter of lousy weather continued while here, with maybe three or four nice days and a lot of rain. The base of those trees you see behind my motorhome, now under a couple feet of water, were about 100 feet or more from the water’s edge two weeks ago when I arrived.

Flooding
Flooding

In fact, some of the campsites across the lake, with that section of campground set to open tomorrow, appear to be underwater, and there is more rain coming today. Notice all the flood debris floating on the water.

My Campsite at Hickory Creek Park
My Campsite at Hickory Creek Park

Pearl has been with us almost three weeks now and is growing fast, probably doubled in size since she came aboard. Doing pretty well with doing her business outside about 75% of the time, can’t wait to get to 100%, but that’s not too bad for a 13 week old pup. Already responds to her name and has mastered the four steep steps up into the motorhome after I had to lift her up the first two weeks. Very independent nature and absolutely fearless, kind of unusual for one so young, and small.  Does not want to be picked up and will back away if I want to pick her up to do something, but will actually position herself in my hand when I reach down for her when she wants to get up in the recliner with me. In other words, OK to be picked up when she wants, but not OK if I want … pretty sharp independent puppy.

Loves terrorizing poor old Sam, not sure I did Sam a favor by bringing on a companion for her, but for now, she can escape by hopping up into the dog bed by my recliner, about two feet off the floor. Pearl will probably master that jump in another week or two and then Sam will get no more relief from puppy exuberance. However, Sam does seek her out when she shuts down for naps and almost always will be laying with her when they are both sleeping.

Prius damage
Ouch!

I didn’t bother to mention it when it occurred a couple weeks ago, but my year of living lousy seems to be continuing, and the Prius, as well as my wallet, got the worst of it.

As I was exiting I-49 in Fayetteville, on my way to investigate whether Hickory Creek Campground was really open or not, I was rear-ended at about 60 mph by a driver who was later led from the scene in handcuffs. DUI in a stolen car! The rear panel of the Prius was crushed, the hatchback door thrown out of whack, and the force of the impact actually broke the back of the driver’s seat from my being thrown against the steering wheel and whipped back into the seat. Fortunately I was wearing my seatbelt. Unfortunately, the dogs and my photo gear were not, and all were thrown into the dash. The dogs came out of it OK, not so the photo gear.

My poor Prius, rear end ground off in the Yukon, pelted with golfball sized hail in Oregon, and now crunched by a drugged out car thief. Yet it keeps on going, though I am starting to be a little embarrassed by it’s appearance.  Three quarters of the exterior look like the surface of a golf ball, the windshield is cracked, and now the rear end is held on with duct tape, while I drive around with a driver’s seat that looks like I am laying down trying to get some shuteye while cruising down the highway.

Because of the car being  supposedly stolen ( the investigating State Trooper suggested there probably was a relationship between the driver and the car’s owner ), USAA, the owner’s insurance provider is giving me the runaround, trying to drag this out to discourage me from pursuing the claim for damages, even though Arkansas law provides that they are responsible for damages even though the vehicle was ” stolen “. In the meantime, I will continue on my journey with my sad looking Prius, but without some of my expensive photo gear.

Sunday I head a little north and west into Oklahoma to another COE campground. With cold weather still hanging around in the plains where I am eventually heading, I am in no hurry to proceed farther north at this time. In fact, the forecast for tomorrow calls for the possibility of freezing rain where I am heading, but I am hoping I can arrive at my destination and get set up before it hits. We’ll see.

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March 26, 2018 Springdale, Arkansas

Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring

A Trip to the Pet ( Toy ) Store

Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring

I arrived at the Hickory Creek COE Campground outside of Springdale, Arkansas last week and set up for a two week stay to visit with my older brother Bill and his wife Jan. Not having seen each other in many years, there was a lot of catching up to do.

Magnolia and Pines
Magnolia and Pines

Signs of spring are beginning to appear here in the economically booming northwest corner of the state. Walmart makes it’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville just a few miles north of Springdale and that presence has brought prosperity to this part of Arkansas. New strip malls and housing developments are going up almost everywhere you go in the region.

The Whole Pet

Maltese
A Kid Let Loose in a Toy Store

Bill and Jan own The Whole Pet, with three pet stores in the area ( in Springdale, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith ) and Pearl, Sam, and I drove into Springdale to visit their newest operation.

Maltese
Man, Look at those Toys!

Pearl is now 12 weeks old and continues to amaze me with her fearless, no holds barred attitude. A visit to a store is a new experience for her, and rather than staying by my side and cautiously  poking around, she hopped through the door and galloped in to check out what must be a pretty exciting place for a dog to explore.

Sam and Pearl
Sam and Pearl

Only took her a few minutes to wear Sam down, sliding around the slick floors.

Maltese
Oh, the Choices!

I’m sure Bill and Jan know better than I, but I’m not sure I’d leave so many interesting toys at puppy height.

Maltese and Golden Retriever
Playing Keepaway

The store offers do-it-yourself dog bathing facilities as well as professional grooming and this twelve week old Golden Retriever had just been groomed. Pearl wasted no time getting acquainted and teasing the him with a game of keep-away.

Pet Shop Action
Pet Shop Action

The action was just too fast and furious for me to keep up with.

Maltese
Playing Fetch

They have a few different sized tennis balls for dogs displayed on a floor level shelf, so it didn’t take long for Pearl to find one that was just the right size. She quickly picked on the new game of fetch.

Maltese
I Wanna Play Something Else

Not having the longest of attention spans, the game of fetch didn’t last all that long. Besides, there was a lot more to explore in this new place.

Maltese
Playing Tag

After the Golden left, it didn’t take long for Pearl to find a new playmate, here chasing this youngster around the shop. Without a doubt, the boldest little pup I have ever been around.

Maltese
A New Playmate

Playing fetch, or more like Keep-away, with her new playmate.

Maltese
Where’s He Going

I had to step out to the car to get a different lens for the camera and when I turned around and saw this, just had to take a shot.

Maltese
Think I’ll Choose the Horse

Some one foolishly placed stuffed animals on the lower shelf and Pearl found a Clydesdale that seemed to need some attention.

Maltese
Playtime

Hope I’m not expected to buy all these toys.

Maltese
Timeout

After an hour or so, she finally just had to take a break before resuming her explorations.

The Whole Pet Store
The Whole Pet

If you are ever in this area, don’t miss checking out The Whole Pet.

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March 20, 2018 Springdale, Arkansas

Aux Arc Campsite
Aux Arc Campsite

Leaving Aux Arc Campground, North to Springdale

The image above is of my campsite at the Aux Arc Corps of Engineers Campground in Ozark, Arkansas. This is yet another very nice facility with decent separation between sites, large level pads, water and electric hookups for a very reasonable price. A small section of the camping area is located in a fairly open area backed by pine trees and fronted by the Arkansas River. Most of the other campsites are located under tall pines.

Maltese
Pearl

I have fallen a little behind in doing new posts mostly because of a certain young, very active little maltese. Both Sam and I are having to adjust to a new pace because of her presence.

Maltese
Pearl

Pearl is learning fast as to how things work at her new digs, and she does seem to pick up things rather quickly, though she does have a very independent and fearless nature. Since she cannot yet manage stairs or jump up into Sam’s bed, old Sam can get away from her from when she just becomes too much for an old dog to manage.

Arkansas Cabin
Arkansas Cabin

I have taken several long drives through the mountains in this area, but have yet to discover anything really scenic, though the time of year has  a lot to do with that. Just bare trees and a lot of distant haze. Very few birds here at this time of year and the only wildlife I have spotted on my drives have been whitetail does. I would imagine that a lot of the forest roads I have covered would be quite impressive during fall foliage.

View From the Ridge
View From the Ridge

Last Sunday, I moved from Aux Arc to the Hickory Creek COE Park just outside of Springdale, Arkansas where my older brother and his wife live. I plan on spending a week or two there catching up with them while waiting for the weather to get a little warmer before continuing north.

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March 12, 2018 Aux Arc COE Campground, Ozark, Arkansas

Rainbow Over the Arkansas River
Rainbow Over the Arkansas River

Hail, Rainbows, and Picking Up a Passenger

Rainbow Over the Arkansas River
Rainbow Over the Arkansas River

The weather forecast for my 385 mile trip up from Texas yesterday was causing me a little bit of concern since it was calling for high winds and possible severe weather as a front was coming through. I prepped for an early start the night before and thus was on the road by 7:30 AM. I made the long drive in just under 8 hours without encountering any rain or wind, but just after unhooking the Prius and getting backed into my site, the skies opened up, thunder cracked and lightning flashed all around. After 10 minutes of heavy rain, there came a new sound on the roof …. HAIL! Soon the ground was white and I was having flashbacks to my first night in Bend, Oregon last spring when I lost all the plastic on the motorhome roof and the Prius was destroyed by golf ball sized hail. Fortunately this was just pea sized hail and it was over fairly quickly and no damage was done.

Not long after the hail stopped the double rainbow appeared and I was able to get a couple shots.

White Pelicans on the Arkansas River
White Pelicans on the Arkansas River

Couldn’t get any photos of it since the hail was so intense, but it was interesting to watch the white pelicans on the river ride out the hail storm. Floating along in the middle of the river, they grouped tightly together and all had their heads dipped under their wings to shield from the hail. Never had thought of how birds manage to cope with something like a nasty hailstorm.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

In addition to a lot of water birds on the river, cormorants, pelicans, ducks, terns and gulls, as well as a pair of common loons that I have seen through the rain, the woods behind my campsite have revealed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers as well as a Red-headed Woodpecker and a Red-shafted Northern Flicker, plus an Eastern Bluebird. Maybe I will find something to shoot here!

Maltese
Pearl

Pearl Joins the Crew

Say Hi to Pearl, a new passenger to keep Sam and myself company as we continue on this journey.

Maltese
Sam and Pearl
Maltese
Attack!

Sam was always glued to Jenny’s side for the 10 years they were together so I have actually been looking for a pup for the year and a half since Jenny left us. She seems to like the new addition, but it is readily apparent that she is in for a little more attention from said new addition than she may be prepared for.

Pearl is ten weeks old and is not the least bit shy about letting old Sam know that she is her new plaything. It has been over a decade since I have had a puppy around and I forgot how much work is involved keeping an eye on one and cleaning up after her, while attempting to puppy proof the motorhome.

Maltese
Pearl
Maltese
Pearl

All puppies are cute and this one is no exception. A live wire with a pretty bold disposition, just a great attitude, not the least bit concerned about the abrupt change in her life, leaving her littermates and coming to live in a completely new foreign environment. Doesn’t seem to have missed a beat.

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