I love it when I wake up and the lake less than 100 feet from me is invisible! It got cold last night and the temps dropped enough to cause a temperature inversion: Voila! Fog! It was wonderful. Spooky, and wonderful.
We’re making a slight tweak to our plan involving one less day near Hot Springs and an extra day near Galveston. The changed seemed best and a couple phone calls were all it took.
So, having finished our two nights in Cranfield Point, we turned our nose to the South and headed for Arkadelphia AR and the Iron Mountain Corps Campground. It’s our only walk-in overnight of the trip and I know nothing about it.
Getting there proved to be a repeat of the Friday drive. The first 60 miles or so were narrow, serpentine roads — let’s not even bother calling them ‘highways’ as they may have been HIGH in elevation but that was the only thing superior about them. I had forgotten how often back roads in Arkansas come equipped with Steep Hill signs. Our Pac Brake got a good workout! And I was happy to have it! Diesels and gas engines behave a little differently on a downhill and the power of an engine compression brake makes a big difference in the life of your brakes when you’re 35,000 lbs and gaining speed going downhill! There is a psychological thing about becoming comfortable going slowly downhill — specially if there’s a car or several behind you on the downhill — but safety is important and I’d rather someone be upset at me for a mile or two than end up in a ditch. Water off a duck’s back.
I’m not all that sure how eager I would be to return to this area. The US highways are fine. But the CORPS has a way of putting projects way off the beaten track and there are other states who have better secondary and tertiary roads than Arkansas. They aren’t as bumpy as Wisconsin — but that may be the only way they are better than Wisconsin roads. Fortunately, it’s not a decision for a moment and we’re still on our way South.
We exited the Interstate at Arkadelphia on our way to DeGray Lake. The lake (on the Caddo River) is smaller than the two we’ve just left. At 15,000 acres it’s a beautiful sight in the hills, near the Ouachita National Forest. But this particular campground is showing it’s age. There are several Corps campgrounds on this lake, and others nearby. Iron Mountain has 50 sites, Arlie Moore has 87 and they are open year round — but this time of year they all walk up.
Having never been here before we shot craps and picked on campground at random. Upon our arrival (which isn’t as well marked as most CORPS campgrounds) we found the sites smaller, messier, and maneurerabilty much tighter than most of the campgrounds we’ve been in. I’m almost never fussy about whether we have a back-in or pull-through site but I’ll admit that arriving here knowing that there were 2 pull through sites that fit our criteria I might have been willing to move on to the next campground — some 25 miles away — but that might not have been any better. As it turned out one of the pull through sites was available and I snagged it — at the cost of irrirtating Peggy because of a snippy comment I made when I was feeling the pressue. But we’re on the edge of the hill, far from level, with only 3 of our four slides extended — and we’ll hang here for 2 nights before moving on.
As mentioned, we had planned on three nights because Peg has never been to Hot Springs, and we thought we’d want to have an extra day to check things out. After a little discussion, and taking into consideration commitments for later in the trip we decided that we’d satisfy with 2 nights here and extend one of our other stops instead. Still, two nights in a less than level site is challenging. We’re almost crooked enough to require sleeping with our heads at the foot end of the bed — but not quite. There were limited other sites we could have gotten into. Long enough with approaches that we could have managed backing into — but as I was already in place before we saw them, and finding a place to turn around would have been tricky — I opted for the lazy-man’s solution: pick the first site and stick with it! 😜
Monday we’ll snoop around Hot Springs.
Thanks for stopping and please do stop by tomorrow!