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September 23, 2013

nell in goodlettsville

Before I continue with the stop-by-stop migration south, I have to mention that during our stay in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, Nell’s niece and her husband took us to an arts and crafts fair nearby.  On display was a replica of the bus that the Grand Ole Opry stars used back in the day.  I’m posting this just simply because I love this photo of my gal being her usual shy, reserved self.

Now back to the travelogue…

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Village Creek State Park, Wynne, Arkansas

village creek rv park arkansas

Another very nice state park with a variety of campsite options.  Again, this one is a few miles off I-40, but it’s a beautiful wooded campground with good spacing between sites.  The campground was practically empty, so we had lots of choices.  We asked for a site with electric and water close to a bathhouse.  The regular price was a little over $19 and with a senior discount we paid $15.

Once again, we found ourselves in a park with no internet and no cell phone service.  In order to let the family know we were okay, we drove two or three miles out of the park to the nearby town of Wynne, Arkansas in order for text messages and a Facebook post to go through.


We had seen these bikes and trailers at the campground office earlier.  They set up nearby and we had a chance to talk a bit.  They are members of the International Brotherhood of Motorcycle Campers (IBMC), and the lady riding the yellow one was in her 70s.  They were delightful folks on their way to a club cook-off somewhere in Arkansas.  They also proved to be very understanding when they rapped on our door a little after 9pm to tell us our water hose had burst and the water was running downhill past their campsite.

Fortunately, we had water in the fresh water tank and made it through the night and down the road the next day with plenty of water.  We added a water pressure regulator to the shopping list (long overdue anyway) along with some new hoses.


Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, September 18-20, 2013

Maumelle Park, Little Rock, Arkansas

maumell park2

There are several different passes to federal lands and national parks, but the Senior Pass has a one-time cost of $10 for a lifetime pass.  This pass, which we purchased at Mammoth Cave, proved its worth at Maumelle Park.  Maumelle is a Corps of Engineers (COE) park, and therefore is included in those facilities covered by the Access Pass.

This is a popular park in the Little Rock area.  We arrived on Wednesday, and if we had not made reservations, it’s possible we might not have gotten a spot.  Now that we know the layout of the campground, we’ll know which sites to look at for reservations.  There are a few waterfront sites that have great views of the river.  The park is beautifully laid out and maintained.  Every site has a concrete picnic table surrounded by a gravel area with a fire pit.  All sites have water and electric.  No sewer connections, but there are several dump stations throughout the park.  With the National Parks Access Pass, we paid $11 per night for our three night stay.

maumelle park1

We had one full day of thunderstorms and heavy rain, and rather than sit inside, we chose to drive across Little Rock to Camping World.  We picked up a couple of holding tank necessities, two new water hoses (which, surprisingly, were cheaper than those at Walmart), an in-line water pressure regulator (finally), and a couple of other things.  We also looked at satellite TV antennas.  An over-the-road truck driver heard us talking and recommended the Tailgater, which works with Dish Network.  Said he’s used his all over the country and loves it.  It’s a bit of an investment, so we decided to look and compare a bit more.

Our first evening at Maumelle, Nell’s niece and her husband and son dropped in for a quick hello.  Then on Friday evening, since her niece works, Nell made dinner.  “You shouldn’t be cooking dinner for us, you’re on vacation!” she was told.  I thought her reply was a classic fulltimer’s response: “We’re not on vacation,” she said, “this is how we live.”  We had a very enjoyable evening of dinner and conversation sitting in the motorhome, and since they are campers, the fact that it was wet outside didn’t matter a bit.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Shady Pines RV Park, Texarkana, Texas

shady pines rvpark texarkana tx1

Shady Pines RV Park was a little off our route, but very much worth the extra few miles. This is one of the nicest RV parks we’ve stayed at.  We chose this one because the KOA, which was right on our route cost a whole lot more than the $27 per night that we paid here.  I had checked out the various COE parks (Corps of Engineers), but the reviews indicated they were not being well maintained, something very unusual for COE parks.  The reviews for Shady Pines were all very complimentary.

There was a sign on the door that said “Find an empty site and come back at 3pm to check in.”  We did exactly that, parking and hooking up in the first site we came to.  Then we walked next door across a huge park-like expanse, past a big fishing pond with a fountain in the middle of it, and window shopped at the RV sales center next door.

shady pines2

There are beautiful tile showers and separate restrooms in the same tile.  There is a huge, very beautifully decorated clubhouse.  At each site there is a lighted electrical pedestal, a clean, ground level sewer connection and a water spigot all stubbed out of a little concrete island.  The grass is green, well manicured, and a combination of Bermuda and St. Augustine that was soft and cool under bare feet.

We drove into Texarkana and had dinner at David Beard’s Catfish King, a longtime favorite of ours.

Shady Pines sits right on 7th Street, which is also US Hwy 67.  Hwy 67 does have a lot of auto and truck (semi) traffic.  The traffic noise was definitely noticeable when we went to bed, and might be a problem for light sleepers.  It did die out sometime between 1 and 2 am.  In spite of the traffic sounds, we would definitely stay here again, just maybe try to get a site a little further back with other rigs between us and the highway.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shady Creek RV Park, Aubrey, Texas

greenville tx detour

As we neared the exits for Greenville, Texas, our Garmin took us off I-30 at an unexpected exit.  After some confusing turns, and crossing the highway we normally take, the GPS took us straight into the town of Greenville.  And, as luck would have it, the town of Greenville was having a festival in the middle of town.  Narrow streets and intersections tested my driving skills, but we made it through and ended up on Hwy 380, exactly the highway we would have taken anyway.  We were getting close to where we used to live before moving into the motorhome, and in our two year absence, the highway had been almost finished, and was a pleasure to drive, much different than we remembered.

lake lavon

Highway 380 crosses Lake Lavon, in years past a great place for picnics and weekend outings.  Now, like most of Texas’ lakes and waterways, drought has taken its toll.  In the past, the view above would have been nothing but water here at the northern end of the lake.  It was a shocking sight.

We arrived at Shady Creek RV Park Sunday afternoon, 12.5 miles from our former sticks and bricks house.  Although there isn’t much shade, and I haven’t found a creek yet, this is a decent park, with asphalt paved streets and gravel sites edged with wood railroad ties, and plenty of grass.  A little more space between sites would be nice, but it’s very liveable for a one week stay.  We have doctor appointments in nearby Allen and Plano, and there really are very few acceptable RV parks in this area.  The weekly rate here is $125 plus electric and water.  Paying for water separately is something new to us, but when we compare the cost to other parks, it’s reasonable, and our Good Sam’s discount brought the cost down some.  We can control the water cost by using the very clean showers up at the bathhouse.

It’s a bit windy here, and the park owner recommended not putting the awning out.  We’re on a bit of a prairie (did I mention we’re back in Texas?), and wind gusts can do bad things to awnings.

Nell has already made plans to meet a group of former co-workers for dinner and another group for lunch.  We’ll probably do a little RV shopping later in the week, and I’m going to do some studio painting, or at least start some prep work.

We’ll be here a week before heading down to the Austin area for a couple of months.

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