You’d have to know me pretty well to figure out why me having a Lynyrd Skynyrd song in my head would make me feel like my mom.
I don’t like the band. I don’t even know how to spell the band’s name (and it’s weird that spellcheck in WordPress does). But like my mom, no matter how tired my body is or worthless my brain after a day of travel, of course I have some esoteric song stuck in my head.
Now you do, too. You’re welcome.
Ain’t No Change in the Weather
I did a fair bit of complaining about our neighbors in MIssouri, but Stockton Lake is clear and lovely. And where else can you encounter a parade of pajama-wearing girls sprinting down a hill on their scooters at 6 am?
We did have a final, peaceful day there after most people left our campground, so we packed up for the beach. We made all preparation to stay off the sand because dogs aren’t allowed, and we set up in the grass and took turns walking out to the water so Banjo wouldn’t feel abandoned.
As our luck goes with campground neighbors, of course the only couple to walk out on the beach that day had their dog with them, off leash and in the sand, without even a glance at us in apology. Injustice, I say.
Nature, though, wins again.
On the final morning before we packed up, on my walk with Banjo I discovered a ghost campground. It’s on Google Maps as a trail, and I found it by slipping around the concrete barriers beside our campground loop.
It’s just an overgrown paved road through the woods, with vultures and a young buck, a fruiting persimmon tree, and lots of spider webs across the trail. Man it was fun to walk through, though
Just as we were warming to the campground, it was time to go.
I Got that Green Light Baby, I Got to Keep Movin’ On
Banjo as always hopped in the truck and waited patiently while we hitched up, pulled the chocks, drove off the leveling blocks, and stowed them.
This time though Tracy took one of the truck wheel flaps off to measure it because he wants to order longer, more protective ones, and Banjo got curious and jumped out of her open door to see what was taking us so long.
Then she did it again in the parking lot of the last liquor store before we hit Arkansas (you never know what county might be dry) and again in the parking lot of the mysteriously placed cheese curd “factory” on the state border. Note to selves: Banjo now knows she can jump down from her bed in the truck any damned time she chooses.
A Surprise in Arkansas
So we finally hit Arkansas while we were listening to a podcast featuring Friend 1 (who loves the band Phish) trying to convince Friend 2 (who thinks he’s nuts) that Phish is actually good. We’d listened to three episodes so far, where the Phish-loving guy was hilariously doing such a terrible job persuading his friend that he was actually doubting the band himself. This fourth episode was recorded at a Phish concert that Friend 2 promised to attend, and I’m sure all listeners were betting this would be the turning point.
Just as the two guys were about to announce the verdict—Is Phish a stupid-ass band?—we missed a crucial turn while driving and ended up way down a country road in Arkansas, with no cell signal and no clear way to turn around.
Now, to your at-home brain this may seem like not a big deal, but we’d already walked a ghost campground, packed everything up, measured for new mud flaps, stopped twice and gotten Banjo back in the truck twice, and really just wanted to park in our new home and be still for a bit. So a blank screen on the GPS and a bunch of tiny roads ahead of us where turning wasn’t likely seemed more daunting than you’d think.
Thanks to Tracy keep this cool though and me having downloaded at least part of the map on my computer, we did barely make the turns in a pretty sketchy neighborhood (sketchy is my new least-favorite word), and we made it to the campground.
Bull Shoals Lake
This place is a surprise. We’ll be here only two nights, and I’ve barely seen it, but so far it’s a weirdly quiet, flooded oasis.
In true form, when we pulled up to our campsite, a guy was napping in his boat parked right where we needed to be, When I got out of the truck and approached him to ask him to move, his greeting was, “They don’t bite. Okay, they do growl.” He was talking about hid two boxers (on leash, I can hardly believe it) in his nap boat. Once he woke up fully he realized moving his boat before we backed into the spot would be a good idea.
I don’t think he got enough of a nap, because later we saw him out swimming beside his boat. Maybe it got away from him while he was launching? Maybe he fell out? Another mystery of campground neighbors.
And flooding. Half this campground is underwater.
Maybe I’ll learn about that tomorrow. And maybe I’ll listen to the final five minutes of the podcast episode to find out if Friend 1 convinces Friend 2 about the glories of Phish.
I’ll sign off with something my former coworker says at the end of his newsletter:
Stay safe, and stay strong.