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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Across Arkansas and Half of Oklahoma!

Ok, so I let the cat out of the bag (not Bobbi) with the title of this post. I started to call this one "Across Hell and half of Oklahoma", but I didn't want to offend any Arkansans that might read this.

Actually Arkansas was pretty interesting for a while. Cross the mighty Mississippi first thing this morning, and then through RICE FIELDS!. I should have known more about our great country, but I didn't know Eastern Arkansas was a major rice producer. Miles and miles of I-40 through the rice fields.

Little Rock was our first little issue with regards to missing a turn and having to make up for it. The intersection of I-40 and another freeway was under major construction, with a very small sign pointing to the temporary ramp to stay on I-40. No problem, we just proceeded until we were able to get out of the construction, exit and re-enter the other side, then watch CLOSELY for the I-40 West marker.

Back on track and to Fort Smith trying to figure what mountain range this is we are passing through and finally realize it's the Ozarks. (The town of Ozark was a dead giveaway.) For some reason though I was thinking Branson MO and the Ozarks were further east.

We stopped at a Flying-J Travel Plaza in Russellville AR for fuel and some lunch. Flying-J is relatively RV friendly with many of them having large parking areas for RVs separate from the truckers areas. This one had a separate fuel pump for RVs from the cars, but the parking area was kind of small. Flying-J is supposed to have cheaper fuel prices but this one was $3.05 9. The Citgo across the street was 10 cents cheaper but I didn't notice it till we pulled out.

On across Arkansas and into Oklahoma. Moving west out of the Ozarks things began to change to more rolling farmland, cattle and grain production. So what kind of time are we making today? Pretty good it seems. No traffic to speak of and no unplanned stops or slowdowns like yesterday.

Stopping for a mid-afternoon break we pull out the CG guide and notice that there are several options for the evening depending on how far along we get. El Reno OK just outside OK City has a Best Western Hotel with a RV lot. Some of you know that Pam has a preference for Best Western's when it comes to staying in a hotel/motel. Then another 30 miles west in Elk City are several campgrounds right on I-40.

We get to OK City at about 7:30 PM and decide we need to make the closer stop in El Reno. But going through OK City we pass by a super Wal-Mart that is right off the exit ramp for I-40, and it is full of big-rig RVs.

Moving on toward our exit 20 some miles away, we get there and see that there is a Wal-Mart there too, with another large motorhome already parked in the outer portion of the lot. It is in a nice area with several restaurants around it so it seems safe. And after our experience from last night at that so called "campground" the Walmart looks great.

We pulled in next to a Monaco coach with a mini-van in tow and park. I went into the store to ask permission to park for the evening. Once in customer service I find the manager on duty, and ask if its ok that we park in the lot for the evening.

"Of course" she said with a big smile, "help yourself." And with that she began to give me a tour of things to do and see in the area as if we were going to be there for several days. She even indicated that if we got "tired of looking at their parking lot" there was a free city park with several RV hookups nearby.

Sounds good, so back in the RV, Pam is defrosting a couple of the casseroles that she made last week. After eating and getting take another trip back into the WM for a few grocery items. While we were in the store, we were joined in the parking lot by a big 5th wheel rig with Michigan plates.

With the windows cracked open for ventilation, it was nice and cool. It's breezy here in OK with cooler nights even thought he temperature earlier in the day was in the upper 80s. During the night I woke up when I heard a lawn mower outside our window! Peeking out, I see that it is not a lawn mower, but a parking lot vacuum cleaner. It looks kind of like a 0-turn radius mower but he was cleaning the lot,,, and from the length of time it took, he must have done a pretty good job.

Other than that, no problems. We awoke with the alarm clock at 6:00AM and found that another Motorhome had joined our little "Camp Walton" sometime in the wee hours. So we started the Bounder, pulled on the street, started the generator, turned on the coffee maker, and were back on I-40 west bound by 6:45 AM.

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