After wrapping up my summer 2019 trip throughout the Rocky Mountain states I landed back at The Vineyards in Grapevine the week after Labor Day weekend. ‘Twas time for football watching with the guys!
The last week of September I pulled anchor and headed to Orlando to join Julie & Brad at their home-away-from-home. We caravanned much of the way into Florida and after two days of boring drive through the southeastern states’ tree tunnel known as I-20 we setup in adjoining sites at Fort Wilderness. Tight spaces but a nice campground—full Disney quality.
We spent a month at Disney World. Wait … it was a week (I kill myself sometimes!) Anyway, Julie’s inside track makes visiting the parks so much better with the fast passes, free parking, free access, reduced food costs. All-in-all we had a really good time. The 2-day return along I-20 uneventful and I reestablished at The Vineyards. Nice to be home.
Through the rest of the football season I enjoyed hanging with the guys several times to watch Saturday and Sunday games. But after a fun Super Bowl game I felt the draw of the road. So I decided to make a mini-trip to Arkansas.
After being stationary about 4 months (other than playing musical campsites a couple times within the park) it was time to get the wheels rolling a bit. So on a day threatening winter weather I headed east with my sights set on Hot Springs.
I got a late start, pulling out about 11:15 for the 5-hour drive to HS. I failed to grab a paper map to reference and my plan to run northeast on US-70 instead of I-30 fell apart when the bitch in the box headed me direct east in Paris toward I-30. I didn’t realize I was falling off course until it didn’t make sense to adjust. I was out of practice; I almost always have a real map to reference. Added about 45 minutes is all but I wanted the different scenery of US-70.
By the time I arrived in Hot Springs the larger sites in the National Park Service campground were taken. I made an effort at backing into one but realized that, without a spotter, the swing room was just too tight. So I hit up the KOA a couple miles away and setup just as twilight faded.
Snow was flurrying Thursday morning and stillness of the morning snow on Hot Springs Mountain was so peaceful. In the middle of town I felt like I was miles into the woods. Good stuff. Bathhouse Row, the highlight of Hot Springs National Park, is a cool throwback to the early 1900s. I had no idea they were so elaborate. The visitor center does a good giving you an idea of what life was like then. Interesting? Odd? Both. I didn’t realize these early 20th century joints were so elaborate. The physical therapy room reminded me of some kind of torture chamber. Bottom line: it wudda been interesting…
After lunch I enjoyed two flights at the Superior Bathhouse Brewery. The old bathhouse now is a brewhouse—a better use in my humble opinion! Decent brews, especially Felipe’s Photo Finish farmhouse ale. I dunno where the day went but I headed back to camp, streamed a movie on their unexpectedly fast campground network and then hit the hay.
After a couple days I headed up the highway to spend the weekend in Little Rock. There’s a campground/parking lot downtown on the river, across the bridge from a cluster of breweries. Despite being a short walk from the Clinton double-wide, I opted to visit breweries over the presidential library. I tasted flights at Lost Forty Brewing, Rebel Kettle Brewing and Flyway Brewing.
Monday morning I winded my rig into the hills to Mountain Home. That was a mistake. I figured being a college town MH would have a couple cool pubs to offer up. They did not. In fact, the top two contenders (of the three pubs I town) were closed on Mondays. So Tuesday I visited the pub in old downtown—and got run out at 3pm when they were closing. Good grief. The town has basically died; it’s just forgot to cover itself over.
Wednesday morning, in steady and near-freezing rain I broke camp and headed to Eureka Springs, where Julie & Brad would join me for a few days. Along with Rachael & Noah we enjoyed kicking around old town ES. It’s a cool place but can be fully seen in a couple days. The weather was chilly; one morning the low temp was 11 degrees. I stupidity left the electric fireplace heater on at night and as a result the propane furnace didn’t run enough to keep the basement of my rig warm enough to keep from freezing a water line. I got lucky, though, since there wasn’t any freeze damage.
Back in Grapevine a few days later I once again established myself at The Vineyards. Until the lake flooded. Again. That forced me to the KOA in Arlington to wait out the effects of #%&%@! COVID-19.
Despite the government’s overreaction and overreach which told me to stay in Arlington I headed to Austin for ten days to hang with Brad & Adam, who were working on a huge job in Round Rock. In addition to being a change of scenery the trip gave me an opportunity to try a few techniques on my new pellet grill. They were my willing guinea pigs. Plus, Brad modified my sofa’s built-in end tables to make them functional storage cabinets. Thanks mucho, Brad!
I also joined in on the #OpenTexas protest at the State Capitol. It was time to tell our so-called leaders the state was ready to go back to work and to remind elected officials that they work for us. I could get on my soapbox here but I’ll spare you the diatribe.
I returned to the comfortable Arlington KOA to wait out the stupid virus overreaction. I plan to head to Nevada the end of next week to visit Pam & Billy, then across the country to Tennessee and Kentucky. I’ll visit Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon North Rim along way. Maybe Zion again, too. Stay tuned my friends. I’m jonesing to hit the road!