The Adventure Continues…
The Adventure Is Getting There
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. -air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. -all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” –Cesare Pavese
Something has come up and I really should have heeded the advice of a dear friend to wait another couple of weeks to go on this, the next adventure. Cranky and armed with a strong desire to change my environment, I departed on October 1st… but you already know that.
After the phone call I received on Monday, I am kicking myself in the butt for not listening and staying put. I’m over a thousand miles from home, the map app says it would take me fifteen hours to drive back. It will actually take longer because Willie James needs to empty his pea-size bladder and the gas tank needs to be filled every couple of hours.
But then I would not have experienced the events of the past week nor joined the ranks of a Selfie-takin’-junky.
I need to find a better map app. Plain and simple. With the National Park programmed, I ended up taking a tour of Hot Springs, Arkansas, that I didn’t intend with a camper in tow. This is the third time I’ve been lead to the headquarters of a national park versus the campground. The city is beautiful with its steep hills, brick buildings and homes constructed many generations ago.
It took me two more tries to find the Gupha Gorge National Park Campground. Hint: There is a small, faded sign that informs drivers (driving 70+ mph on the busy highway) to take the next exit. In order to find the campground, I used GPS to track my location and match it up with the actual location of my destination.
What did I find once I got there? A roadblock with the easy-to-read words “CAMPGROUND FULL” routered into a wooden sign.
There was a state park thirty minutes away and according to their website they had availability, so off I went. By then it was getting dark, the roads of that campground looped this way and that way and, in the dark, made no sense to this exhausted gal. I left and headed back to the rest stop I drove past on the highway miles up the hill.
Hot, tired, cranky and very hungry, I found my spot for the night. Cooling off was next to impossible since the evening temperatures dropped down to the high eighties from the daytime temperature of ninety-eight degrees.
Willie James and I laid on the bed crossways so we had a view out of both the open windows. We watched the traffic enter and exit the rest stop conveniently located in the median of the north and south bound lanes.
A semi pulled into their designated area (parallel to the highway and not next to other semis). The driver began to climb out of the cab, and BOOM!! one of the rear tires on the trailer exploded! Smoke billowed from the axel side of the tire and the whoosh – flames! He nonchalantly got the fire extinguisher out of the side bin and puts out the fire like it’s another day at the office.
Willie James, who is still learning about the concept of close neighbors and space boundaries barked at the driver and a second semi-truck driver standing a safe distance from the smoldering trailer and BOOM! a second tire exploded. More burning rubber smoke billowed. Eventually a firetruck arrived to assess the damage and extinguished any remaining flames.
In the morning, it took some time to located a state park that had availability for the weekend. Since I am parked here for an undetermined amount of time, for safety reasons I will share this location in next week’s installment. What I can say is that the view of the lake is stunning. And silence. I cannot remember staying at a campground that was so silent. I can hear the stillness of nature at my site.
On our first walk along the lakeshore, Willie James and I were greeted by two small kittens at the boat launch. They ran up to us from a wooded area looking hungry and eager for loving. The orange one was more bold than the gray cat even though the gray one never left my feet. After the orange kitty swatted Willie James’ nose, I carried him while I led the two darlings the quarter to half mile up to the state park office so they could be properly re-homed. One of the employees shared with me how common it is that kittens and dogs get dropped off here. I am happy to report that there are two young girls thrilled to have new kittens.
Determined to fulfill my promise to revisit Wegner Crystal Quartz Mine south of Mt. Ida, I drove the long distance on Saturday to try my prospecting skills again. You can read about the experience and finds in a separate post titled, Mining Quartz Crystals In Arkansas. It felt good to walk around the Crystal Forest Mine again and look for Arkansas quartz. Taking the 11:30 to 1:30 tour wasn’t one of my more brilliant decisions on a day the temperatures scaled well into the nineties again. This Michigander is not acclimated for this heat!
Even though I am kicking myself for not staying in Michigan for another couple of weeks, I am glad I’m back on the road experiencing life.
Captured moments along the way…
Explore the adventures that got me here…
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