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On the Road Again [Jan. 25th, 2012|10:48 am]
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We finally left Hot Springs in mid-January after a stay of precisely two months, if you don’t count the brief jaunt to Texas between the holidays. We’d elected to do a short drive day the first day, as we knew the cats had gotten out of the habit of travelling. And as expected, no one wanted to go into their carriers. Normally we just set the carriers down and two out of three cats nip right in. In fact, I have to be careful to set the right carrier in front of the right cat, or they will be mis-boxed. (In which case they stay there; getting it “right” isn’t worth the trauma to their little psyches of prying them back out.) After a brief tussle everyone was boxed up, and hitching up proceeded smoothly.

Our planned drive was just 75 miles, to Pine Bluff, AR, where there was reportedly a very nice regional park campground. Then we would take two more travel days to make the rest of the trip to Pensacola, FL, where we have reservations for ten days at a National Park campground on the beach. But we ran afoul of one of the hazards of picking campgrounds sight unseen. Despite very good reviews online, the campground was unprepossessing when we pulled up. No one answered the door at the office. That’s not so bad, at these small volunteer staffed parks sometimes the only staffer can’t be there full time. We figured that we’d drive the campground and pick a site, then come back and pay. As we circled the campground I was taken aback to see trash and debris on a few of nicer sites; we took two rounds to pick a site that might be ok, deciding to just overnight rather than staying several days as planned.

Once we got a good look at the site, I was even less happy. The main campground road was circled with a ditch, and the site driveways all ran over culverts with a steep drop off on both sides. To add to the difficulty, the driveways were not slanted well from the road, and they were very narrow. We had to get the rig perfectly lined up or it was going in the ditch. If I was in practice, I probably could have done it. But we failed one attempt and decided to stop before something bad happened. With everything else wrong at this park, the site issues were the last straw. I got back in the rig and we got back on the road.

We wound up going another eighty miles to Lake Village and finding another nice regional park, Chicot County RV Park, but this one lived up to the online reviews. There was a bit of confusion when we got in; the camp host wasn’t there (see above) and the maintenance guy wanted us to go to site five. We hated site five, it was unlevel and unlovely. We were going to get a better site or move on. The fact that we were frustrated and tired and a bit cranky might have had something to do with the fuss. Thankfully, the camp host drove up just as we were getting ready to drive away, and we got the site we wanted. All set up and happy before the sun set in a blaze of glory over the lake, perfectly framed in our picture window.