Village Creek State Park to Devil’s Fork Campground, Greers Ferry Lake, AR
Monday, June 19, 2006 … 141 Camper Miles – Total 2,267
Low 90s, partly cloudy, humid!
We showered and left the campground about 11:00, headed west. As we came down off of Crowley Ridge we got back to the fields of rice, cotton, soy and grain elevators … flat, flat, flat. One of the Visitor Center facts we picked up was that Arkansas is one of the biggest rice producing areas in the world, so it was not surprising to see lots of flooded fields with rice planted in them.
Nearing our day’s destination, we stopped at the visitor center at Greer Lake Dam. Greer Lake is another Army Corps of Engineers project and looked like a nice place. On advice of a fellow at the visitor center, we decided to stay for a night at Devil’s Fork Campground, about half way up the lake. We set up trailer on a lake-front site ($17 w/ water, electric & hot showers) … the Army Corps of Engineers knows how to do campsites right!
Bill called the Aliner factory and talked to a guy about the problem with the hole in the wheel well and asked him to verify that he’d hooked up the trailer wiring correctly. The factory guy said that we needed to make an adjustment, moving the axel toward the rear of the trailer a fraction of an inch. Doing the job will require us to lift the trailer by the frame and will require bigger wrenches than we have. So, we’ll have to look for a place to have that job done soon and drive very carefully in the meantime.
We “toured” the very small town of Greer’s Ferry, near the campground. There, we found and two good grocery stores and we patronized them both. We also found a decent looking hardware store, an air-conditioned laundry and a pharmacy. We also picked up some hydrocortisone cream to try to treat a case of poison ivy that Bill picked somewhere. Net, net … we decided to stay another day to do laundry, write and be lazy on the beach.
What’s for dinner? Burgers and a veggie stir-fry did the trick!
Devil’s Fork Campground
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 2,267
Hot, sunny, low 90s but nice breeze.
We took the easy way out and went to town for breakfast at M&R Country Kitchen. It was a nice change from the usual cereal and banana. The restaurant was fun, too, because we got to talk to some of the locals and got some good advice.
Afterwards, we hit almost all the town’s retail shops including a flea market, the pharmacy, where we got more serious stuff to treat Bill’s poison. It’s really a mess and the itching and inflammation are terribly annoying. We also hit the Ace Hardware and an odd place named K & Her Four Sisters Variety Store in our continuing pursuit of parts for a grill. And, voila! Bill actually found a well-made, purpose-built, stove-top grill appliance at K&4, exactly what he’s hoped for. To boot, it cost only $3.95! We picked up cheapie water shoes while we were there, too.
It was really pleasant back at the campsite. We were right on water and there was a great breeze. Sandy took a swim at the lake while Bill read and made another phone call to the Aliner folks. He again attacked the car’s wiring for the trailer after learning the correct pin-out for the connector. It turned out that the connector on the car was wired incorrectly from the get-go.
Later, we enjoyed our neighbors, Boyce & Louwena, who were from nearby and camped here often. For dinner we decided on a sandwich from Subway for Bill while Sandy tried our new grill to do one of her gluten-free pizzas.
Devil’s Fork Campground to Tyler Bend Campground, Buffalo National River, AR Wednesday, June 21, 2006 … 61 Camper Miles – Total 2,328 Hot, humid, mid 90s, no breeze, no electric to run AC at Buffalo River!
This morning we left the campsite about 8:00. We stopped just a couple of miles away for fuel, air in the tires and a car and trailer wash at a small garage. Bill asked them if they could try to adjust the axle as the Aliner factory had suggested. They raised the trailer and loosened the bolts but the axel would not move back. It dropped down about ¼ inch and we tightened it up there. They charged only $5 for their efforts! Guess we’ll have to figure something else out.
As we drove west, the terrain started to become more hilly … a good sign. We stopped for groceries in a small town named Marshall. Their local grocery chain, called Harps Market turned out to be a good place. We set up camp in at Tyler Bend campground on the Buffalo National River. Later we checked with the Visitor Center and local outfitters about doing a half-day float trip. We decided to rent kayaks the next day.
Afterwards, we stopped at Bay Springs Trading Company where the owner, in a one-man show, smokes his own meats and is chief chef. We reviewed his ingredients and Sandy can have his products so we had Nachos with smoked turkey. It sounded like a odd combination, but the turkey was outstanding and tasted good with the Nachos. We decided we’d have dinner there the next evening.
Back at the campsite late that afternoon we took a swim in the river to cool off. Dinner was a chicken stir fry with asparagus and salad. It finally cooled down enough to make sleeping comfortable.
Tyler Bend Campground
Thursday, June 22, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 2,328
Mid 90s, sunny, hot and humid, late afternoon, much-needed rain.
As planned, we rented kayaks, donned our crispy-new water shoes and paddled and floated six miles down the river from Tyler Bend to Gilbert. We might have done a longer run, but the river was really low and the section above Tyler Bend would have required dragging the boats through long stretches of shallows and that didn’t sound like much fun. We had a great time. The water was very clear so we could see lots of fish and turtles. And, there were lots of awesome rock overhangs. We talked to a few other floaters about what they looked for in the river and had fun learning how to best negotiate the small rapids. This was just right for us for a first river running experience.
We had dinner at Bay Springs Trading Company. Bill had the smoked ribs which were delicious. He was very accommodating to Sandy and made a smoked turkey sandwich on Sandy’s own bread (from Gluten Free 4 Me … thanks, Cindy!) When we got back to camp, we talked to our neighbors, Pam and Jack. They live not far away in a solar powered home and were in camp to give a travelogue to a local outdoors organization.