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Friday, October 04, 2013

24 States in 27 Days - Day 21:

Oct. 30th, 2012, Tuesday: Awake at 5:21, before our alarm, we tried to fall back asleep, but it wasn’t happening so we got up, put on our shoes, slipped out the back of the truck and spotted a line of taxis waiting on the far side of the parking lot. Quickly we moved the cooler and our two bags to the back, then zip, we were in and ready to go. 

With the help of a police officer downtown we found an Exxon on the way to the freeway and stopped for gas and mediocre coffee. Nibbling honey roasted peanuts we continued to I-40 - next stop: Memphis. 

Once there, it felt a bit like we were repeating last night, but since it was daylight the neon lights were dull and the music scene was nonexistent. We walked through a seedy mall area, with a dirty, abandoned feel, then past busses and church school students in lines, to blocked off Beale St., Memphis’s blues music hub - all quiet this morning. 

Brad popped into a souvenir shop where a friendly fella tried to sell him a compilation music cd, but Brad just wanted postcards. We walked around, he took photos, and luckily we were pretty quick. 

After checking the menu, we went inside Automatic Slim’s for lunch - an upscale looking spot off the main drag. On the menu was a make-your-own-salad list - we chose: heart of romaine, spinach, tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, parmesan crisps and real bacon bits with a creamy avocado dressing along with a bowl of gumbo to share. Both were delish. After lunch, Brad drove to Sun Studio for a quick tour. 

Then it was back to the freeway entrance and over the Mississippi River into Arkansas! 

Time for some backroad exploring as we exited onto hwy. 64. 

At Bald Knob we hopped onto I-67. It was lined with thick groves of trees - a pretty backlit corridor, but we couldn’t see anything beyond. At Beebe we turned back onto hwy. 64 and continued west to Conway. This area had lots of ranches, and was greener than the east side of the state.  At Conway we again got on I-40 and zoomed through the rest of Arkansas. Most of the day was sunny, but the further west we drove clouds started piling up, creating cool patterns and textures in the sky. We pulled off into a vineyard driveway for a snack break and to take some cloud photos. 

While there we studied the map and decided to get a camp spot just over the Oklahoma border. 

We turned off at Sallisaw exit and drove through town towards Brushy Lake Park

It was an amazingly warm evening - probably over 60º and the light turned the trees and lake gold with the glow of the setting sun. 

This campground was lovely, and we picked a site right by the lake. Soon after, a couple came up carrying cocktails, happy to chat with us---pretty much the only other visitors at this park. They’d also just arrived - traveling from Arizona. After a bit of a visit they walked on and I tried to capture some quick photos of the sunset over the lake. 

Soon a couple with a little boy drove up in golf cart. They were the camp hosts, there to welcome us and offer drive-up service! Cute little Conner was probably two-ish, sporting a pumpkin shirt as he wandered around with his grandma, while grandpa filled out the form and took our check - only $15 with electric hook-up too. We plugged in our chargers, set up camp and I worked on uploading pics. While eating a salad and pb & j we heard the rush of wings as a big bird flew over us in the twilight - an owl? A hoot off in the distance confirmed it. Bed came early after our lack of sleep in Nashville - it was blessedly quiet here, and we slept real well, only the sound of coyotes nudging us out of our dreams. 

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