Sunday, November 8, 2015

Alpine Ridge on the shores of Degray Lake Arkadelphia AR Nov 8

The drive to Alpine Ridge, on the shores of DeGray Lake outside Arkadelphia, would be our shortest in awhile.  Just over an hour, or so we thought because we'd mapped it on Google maps.  But, the website directions were different and since we did not know if this was because of weight/truck restrictions or because Google maps had something wrong we followed the website ones...the longer, the MUCH longer ones. The drive down I-30 was quick and mostly smooth.  We ignored the signs to Degray Lake at exit 78 and kept going to exit 73-as directed and were relieved to see signs for the campground at the exit.  We got on a state highway and then we drove up and down and mostly slowly and for 19 miles and then we saw the road where we were to turn and Don, who was already getting antsy, was not happy when I said "and now 8 and half more miles..."

It was and when we got to the campground the ranger station was closed but we saw several RVs and drove in.  The ranger was passing by right at that time and told us how to register - "Just fill out an envelope from the tube and put your money in."  What "tube"?  "The yellow post over there at the rest rooms."  OK it took awhile to find the envelopes and I asked a fellow camper if I could write a check and to whom but our tag is on the post next to us and the ranger passes by each day with a wave so we got it right. As the receptionist at the Corps of Engineer Visitor's Center the next day would say "They are pretty relaxed out there." Later, the old timer I had asked about registering for the site was asking about our trip and asked how we'd come out here.  When I told him he kind of smiled and said "Took the long way didya?"  It appears our route was a good 30-40 minutes longer than the way those "in the know" come and I was promptly given directions of how we should have gone...and it just so happened Google was right.

We found another beautiful spot in a campground that is quiet and beautiful.  It turns out that many of the maybe 10-12 RVs here stay here most of the fall- switching sites every 14 days to observe the limit set for camping times.  They all have fishing gear and boats except a few guys who appear to be hunters and leave each day very early.  Yesterday one came back with a deer on the back of the truck which looks like it should last them through much of the winter.

These guys are not "sportsmen" they are deer hunters and they eat what they kill. When one of the couples (she went to high school with "Billy" Clinton) invited us over to sit at their campfire we got to talking about hunting.  It isn't allowed on these lands but a Hunting Club owns 35,000 adjoining acres so they stay here.  When I asked about eating the venison he told me that he, and "most everyone" he knows eat what they can and then donate the rest to homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Somehow it seems a lot more responsible than buying packaged beef at the supermarket, much of which will be tossed in a dumpster because it has "expired."

One other couple we met, who gave us a bag full of fresh "tuhmaters," was friends with Billy Bob Thornton's Aunt Maude.  She knew the whole family and regaled me with stories about Aunt Maude. an "intelligent and handsome woman" who did taxes for the people of Alpine, AR, where this woman had grown up, and his parents, Peggy Bob and Biscuit. 

According to our weather pattern, of course the first night's sunset was beautiful because, although there was rain forecast, we were driving so it did not come.  There were only a few clouds in the sky  so after setting up camp Don went for a paddle and I went for a walk with Phoenix.  Just glorious.  We walked down through the woods and along the lakeshore which is scattered with small white shells and flowers and ...oh, cockleburrs.  Didn't notice until Don came back to shore and patted Phoenix that her ears were FULL of these burrs that are the size of a peanut.  Her paw pads were too and she and I spent a good 15 minutes on the floor of the RV as I worked them out.  She gave me a grateful lick and wag of her tail when I was done.  But, before we returned I stood at the water's edge turning from front to back trying to capture the beauty that surrounded me.

Heading down to the shore-those plants are almost all cockleburrs

cloud reflections to the east 

a jagged shoreline

 cloud reflections to the west

Red tree Green tree 

As I turned to go back I saw the light streaming from the clouds and as I lifted the camera the bird flew into the frame

And according to the weather pattern the next morning was...yup, drizzly and cool.  So into town I went (the shorter way-though it still takes 1/2 hour) with our laundry and the grocery list.  I left Phoenix with Don since he is enjoying talking to all the fellows around here and would not be going for a bike ride.  Laundry done, groceries purchased I was just leaving town when Don texted and asked me to stop by the visitor's center at the dam and pick up some maps.  Well, the dam was a whole other route so I went that way and in 2 days managed to see more of Arkadelphia than I'll bet some of its residents have seen.  The rain from the night before had washed thousands of copper colored pine needles down onto the road so I drove through long stretches with towering trees, their trunks black from the wet, and reddish roads.  

I woke at 5 this morning and looked out my bedroom window to see the sky full of twinkling stars.  As regular as an alarm Phoenix got up at 6:30 and asked to be taken out so out we went into the crispy, COLD morning and walked along as the sun began to light the sky.  Don and I took a long walk later with Phoenix and then as the afternoon "warmed up" Don paddled for 7 miles while I wimped out because the wind did not make me feel like it was "warmer."

We decided to stay here until Tuesday rather than rushing off to another campground for just a few days and maybe we have broken the pattern.  Today, this gloriously sunny one was supposed to be the day we left so we'll see what Tuesday brings as we head down further into Louisiana, headed for New Orleans.


  1. Love hearing from you! And the pictures are awesome, too! Have you heard from Joe & Bev?

  2. Hi Sandy!! No we haven't. I "see" Joyce most days on FB but haven't heard a word from anyone else. I was just wondering about you and Eddie today and hoping you got back OK. How Cali?

  3. Amazing photos, Lisa. Maybe a book at some point?

    1. Ha! First I have to write the one my mom has been after me about my years in the Middle East :-)

  4. Love that you are having such a wonderful time. I am leaving the stix and brix today. First a rally in Kissimmee and then 30 days at Sunset Isle (cedar key, florida). Then I head to Calfornia. I won't be back to Florida until February.
    Stay safe and healthy.

    1. We'll be in FL all of Feb and up at Lake Louisa the last week so hopefully see you then?

  5. Wonderful, post, Lisa. Your writing is that of an artist--and so are the photos!

    1. Thanks Lyn!! BTW have fun at Thanksgiving. We'll be seeing Tim (staying in their driveway even!!!) when they get back from Beantown.

  6. Amazing photos, especially "Cloud Reflections To The East".

  7. Thanks!!! And the camera could not do it justice!

  8. Ditto all of the above! You are an amazing talented woman!! When you get to CA, be sure to stop and stay in Santa Barbara.


Anyone can comment. You do not have to sign in, just post your comment and it will come to me for moderation. That's just so I can weed out the extraneous Anonymous who is up to no good :-)
I'd love to hear from you about what you think and if you have any questions, especially about the places we've been, living in an RV or living on the road.