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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March 9, 2018 Sandy Creek COE Campground, Texas

Sandy Creek COE Campground, Texas
Sandy Creek COE Campground, Texas

Last Five Days in Texas

Sandy Creek COE Campground, Texas
Sandy Creek COE Campground, Texas

Still looking to kill time and let the weather warm a bit more before heading farther north, I moved from the state park to the Corps of Army Engineers Sandy Creek Campground, just six miles away by road, but only half a mile away as the crow flies. You can see the State Park beach across the lake from my new campsite at Sandy Creek.

I was blessed with a couple perfectly nice days of weather while staying here and made a couple more forays out into the surrounding country exploring but still did not come up with anything to shoot.

This is a very nice COE campground with long level sites, mostly shaded, but there are a few that are in the open enough to allow for satellite reception, my lakefront campsite being one of them. Fairly good Verizon signal here. All sites have water and electric with a covered picnic table on a separate concrete slab and there is a dump station in the campground. A real bargain at $20 a night and we seniors get 50% off of that. Pretty hard to beat $10 a night lakefront camping.

Tomorrow I travel north almost 400 miles to another COE campground on the Arkansas River near Ozark, Arkansas. Stay tuned.

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March 4, 2018 Jasper, Texas

Entrance to Martin Dies State Park
Entrance to Martin Dies State Park

Martin Dies State Park, Texas

I arrived at Martin Dies State Park, located 11 miles west of Jasper, Texas, last Monday after traveling from New Orleans on a dreary, rainy day that did see occasional glimpses of the sun as I travelled west. However, by the time I reached my destination, it was raining once again.

Flooded Campsites
Flooded Campsites

As you can see from the accompanying images, they seem to have had a bit of wet weather hereabouts too. Note the campsite utility posts and picnic tables under a foot of water. Most of the campsites in the park were closed due to flooding when I arrived, but fortunately, there was pretty much no one here and thus I was able to grab one of the high and dry sites.

The park is located on a large body of water and overall is a pretty nice place to stay. The RV campsites are fairly well spaced and I was fortunate enough to find one of the few sites without a tree canopy that would prevent my DirecTv from finding a signal. No park WiFi, but there is a fairly strong Verizon signal. The town of Jasper has a Walmart, a Lowe’s, several fast food restaurants, and most anything else one would need for shopping.

My Lakeside Campsite at Martin Dies State Park
My Lakeside Campsite at Martin Dies State Park

Water and electric at each site and there is a dump station in the park. Each site has a paved pad as well as a picnic table on a separate concrete pad. All but a few sites are well shaded. The nicest sites along the lakeshore near the swimming beach are for tent campers only.

Closed Trail
Closed Trail

There appear to be some nice hiking trails through the woods and wetlands, but, unfortunately, they were all closed off due to flooding during my stay.

Flooded Dumpsters
Flooded Dumpsters

It was nice of the park to drag a dumpster out where you could access it without waders.

I have taken a couple of 100 mile drives out into the surrounding country on two very nice blue sky days during my stay here, but, alas, have found little to bother photographing. This region is primarily mixed forest, very green with some redbud starting to show along with some colorful yellow flowered vines now in bloom. I encountered some hilly terrain, and with all the dense mixed forest, I have to say it almost reminds me a bit of parts of New England, if not for the fact that all the streams and lakes are muddy rather than clear. Plus I am quite certain, come the summer heat and humidity, the resemblance would be lost.

I am treading water here, planning on visiting my long lost brother a bit farther north in Arkansas, and kind of waiting for the chance of ice and snow to pass before heading another 400 miles northward. So, although I have enjoyed a quiet, peaceful stay here at the State Park, I am going to move a couple miles tomorrow to the Army Corps of Engineers Sandy Creek Park that is located on the shores of this same B. A. Steinhagen Lake. On a drive through of that COE park, I was very impressed with the facility and, of course, the $9 camping fee ( half price with Senior Lifetime Pass, $18 for youngsters ) for a water and electric site on the shore of the lake is a ridiculously good deal that I couldn’t pass on.

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