After the "interesting" experience at Graceland, we got a taxi to downtown Memphis to have a look around. We went to an area called Beale Street which caters to tourists and is reputed to be home of the Blues. What we saw appeared to be a low-budget Bourbon Street without the sex sleaze. There was music, but we were hungry and instead found a nice restaurant.
next morning, we broke camp and headed out of Tennessee into
Arkansas en route to see our buddy Scotty in Siloam Springs.
The photos below are what we saw.
drove most of the way across Arkansas in one swoop via the
freeway. Freeways are not that much fun, but when you want
to get from Point A to Point B in a hurry, they work.
Kathleen found an interesting Corps of Engineers campground at
Toad Suck. Toad Suck is a dam and lock installation on the
Arkansas River. The dam has a bridge on top that allows
passage over the river.
believe that the dam was built for flood control and the locks
were required to allow passage of ships and barges past the
dam. The level of the lake upstream of the dam is adjusted
via the heights of the gates.
went down to the water to look around and spotted this large bird
fishing near the river bank. I believe this is a Blue
Heron. It was very hot and humid and the bird was attempting
to keep cool my opening it's mouth.
watched him from afar for quite awhile and he finally decided to
locks at Toad Suck had plenty of warning signs. During the
night, we heard the siren's scream as the water levels were raised
and lowered in the locks to allow passage of barge traffic.
left Toad Suck and headed to Russellville, AK. Our plan was
to do a resupply stop there and then head north to Siloam
Springs. Along the way, this LMTV passed us on the
freeway. This is some kind of service and repair vehicle.
the LMTV exited the freeway at Russellville, we got a good look at
the cargo area. There is a crane just aft of the center of
the frame. Also note that this truck has an extended
cab. I believe that this vehicle was built by BAE
Systems. BAE lost the LMTV contract to Oshkosh when it came
up for rebid. When seen from the side, it is easy to notice
that Thor was the precursor to the current LMTV.
had a mediocre lunch at the local Mexican restaurant (what were we
thinking?) and after lunch we decided to check out the state park
at Lake Dardanelle on the Arkansas River. We had no
intention of camping there, but thought it would be a good idea in
case we were ever in the area again. We drove through the
campground and spotted this rig.
next to it, we spotted this monster. We dismounted and went
to talk to the guys at the camp and were told that they were part
of the Steel Soldiers "Run to Alaska" convoy. The truck
above was purchased and built-out especially for this convoy and
will serve as the mechanic/support vehicle for the trip. The
owner told us he had been working on the rig for over 2 years in
anticipation of the trip. The local group was very
interested in Thor and during the conversations they told us that
they would be meeting more members of the convoy in Denver and in
Montana prior to crossing the border into Canada.
setup here consisted of a 5-ton truck with a fifth-wheel trailer
mounted on top.
was a clean setup but it lacked one vital item - air conditioning
in the living compartment.
visited our friend Scotty in Siloam Springs for a few days and
then headed east toward the Buffalo River. We descended a
steep grade to get to the river and were treated to large
limestone cliffs in addition to a nice strip of bottom land.
was a state park in the river bottom, but it was too early in the
day so we motored on. Later in the day, we visited the
Wilson Combat factory in Berryville, AK. Sadly, they did not
do factory tours so we chatted awhile with the front office crew
and then headed off to a camp in Jasper, AK.
of Jasper, the ridges gave us a nice view of the Boston Mountains.
headed south to Hot Springs, AK. Hot Springs is a rather sad
place with many miles of abandoned buildings on the highway.
Near the somewhat revitalized downtown area we passed this hulk.
the hotel, the shot-crete coating on the cliffs had fallen off
revealing the uplifted bedding of the bedrock.
were plenty of businesses mining the tourist stream.
of town we passed this unlucky fellow. EMS came for a visit,
but I doubt that the injuries were severe.
headed west into the Ouachita Mountains and the state park at
Queen Wilhelmina. Given that we were on the crest of the
mountains, I was surprised to find an operational model train at
addition to the model train, they also had this old steamer at the
drive mechanism of steam locomotives are a mechanical wonder.
I wonder how they actually worked.
headed west along the crest of the Ouachita mountains and got nice
views to the south.
into Oklahoma, we saw a logging operation based on the Cherokee
Reservation. These logs will be turned into telephone and
over-sized, over-weight monster passed the two vehicles behind it
just in time to miss me.
spent the night at an Oklahoma state park at Natural Falls.
It was hot. Very hot. Next morning we went to check
out the falls and discovered this nice garden on the path to the
was a very hard shot. My camera has a dynamic exposure range
of about 8 stops. The falls, still in the shadows, was about
12 stops of range and resulted in an over-exposed sky. I
cannot easily do HDR because my version of Lightroom does not have
that ability and it would have required a tripod anyway which is
too much hassle. The falls were nice, but not very large due
to the extended drought in the area.
the bank of the pool at the base of the falls we spotted this nice
headed north across Grand Lake and spotted these casino tour
I mention it was hot? When we saw 108 degrees on the sign,
it just confirmed what we already knew. Kathleen used the IR
thermometer on items in Thor's cab and got readings that were
higher than 108. My leg was 109 and the lens on the camera
was 112. Kathleen drank 6 liters of water that day and I did
at least that much.
were a number of fiberglass buffalo statues along the side of the
only spotted 3 buffaloes on our route, but I am sure that there
are many more in town.
Our destination for the night was Osage Hills State Park. The place was nice, but it was very hot and we got just enough rain to make it nice and humid. The good news was that there was 30 amp electrical service so we could run the a/c. During the night, a hose came loose in our internal plumbing spilling many, many gallons of water into the camper. So, at 0300 when we heard the water, we ran outside and turned off the water and then tore the whole cabin apart to mop things up. Next morning, we had the guts of the camper out on the slab drying in the hot sun.
would head through the Tallgrass Preserve to see some free-range
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.