Sometimes intentions are just that. Vivian and I had every intention of spending quality time in Arkansas this year, mostly because we didn’t get to do it as planned last year. That’s when Vivian broke her ankle while fly fishing the White River on the first day of our month-long Arkansas adventure. Consequently, reservations got cancelled as we hobbled out of Arkansas feeling defeated.
It is now 2020, Vivian has fully recovered and we’re back in Arkansas to give it another go. To ensure we didn’t miss anything, I booked four Arkansas campgrounds giving us almost one month to explore its backwoods country. And it all began in the tiny town of Gilbert on the beautiful Buffalo National River.
Next on our whirlwind tour of Arkansas was Lake Dardenelle State Park where we secured a coveted full hookup site on the water. The campground was quite generous with its real estate as we enjoyed a full view of the water from the RV and halfway down to the water from our own patio large enough for a couple of chairs and table.
Our next stop was Lake Oauchita (pronounced WAH-shi-tah) where we had six days at Denby Point, an Army Corp campground.
As always, we keep a wary eye on the weather. When we arrived at Denby Point, forewarnings of tropical disturbances was vaguely on our radar screen; that is until Laura came along. No doubt, being hundreds of miles from a coastline makes one cavalier toward tropical storms, but not this time. Tropical storm Laura was heading toward Arkansas and Denby Point was in the middle of it.
So we left. For the second time in two years, I cancelled reservations at Mississippi River State Park, Arkansas’s newest. It was not meant to be. Instead, we left the southern mountains and drove north to Illinois, barely out of Laura’s cone of certainty. Laura approached the Louisiana coastline as a category 4 hurricane on August 27 and became the tenth-strongest U.S. hurricane landfall by windspeed. Louisiana was devastated – Texas and Arkansas were struck hard. Laura entered Arkansas as a tropical storm and generated eight tornadoes, the largest tornado outbreak recorded in the state during the month of August. Widespread flash flood warnings were issued throughout the state, along with 57 mph wind gusts.
Nimble with our 33-ft fifth wheel in tow, we were safe in Benton, Illinois. Never heard of the little town before, but dang if it didn’t turn out to be one of the highlights of our trip. Not because George Harrison visited it (the first U.S. visit by a Beatle) or because it was the site of the last public hanging in Illinois, or where John Malkovich grew up. No, instead, Benton, Illinois will always be in our memory because, through happenstance, we spent quality time with good friends and fellow fulltime RV’ers who were camped nearby.
While we were running north away from a hurricane, our friends Lorraine & Spencer were making a beeline across the country from Oregon to South Carolina attempting to get there in time for a wedding. As luck would have it, our paths intersected in Benton, Illinois. Didn’t seem like it, but it had been two years since we saw them last in Indiana. So with our friends, we toured Benton and had a blast.
Were we disappointed that our Arkansas plans were once again foiled? Absolutely not! But to Arkansas, our nemesis, I say “We’ll be back!”
Our friends Spencer and Lorraine keep a wonderful travel website with blogs, campground info, travel itineraries, etc. And Spencer adds his wonderful sense of humor to the blogs, very fun and informative! Please check it out.
2 thoughts on “Aug 26, 2020 – Running from Laura”
And a good time was had by all!! Great post and great pics. Connie, only you could make a disgusting bug look attractive! Btw, Vivian looks so lonely in the picture of her sitting in the canoe. Reminds of when we used to give our kids time outs (not in a canoe, of course).
Glad I could make the mayfly look attractive to you! The canoe would be an interesting time out. Reminds me of a Dove chocolate candy wrapper quote “Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.”