LOCATION: Near DeQueen, Arkansas, in SW corner of state
CAMPGROUND: Bellah Mines Campground Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) park on DeQueen Lake. One of 3 ACOE parks here. Beautiful! Small. All sites face the lake. Ours is a pull-through with electricity. Paved, level site. Stand-up grill, fire pit, and picnic table. Very peaceful and quiet. With senior pass, $8/night! Definitely 5 stars out of 5
WEATHER: Overcast. The day warmed as we got farther south. High 77
DRIVE: 7 hours
To keep ourselves occupied as we drove along today, we counted roadkill. Here are the results:
Sheep (!): 1
Unidentifiable body bits smashed to smithereens (although likely to be skunk based on the smell): countless
I’ve come to believe that “scenic byway” is a government euphemism for crappy road conditions. We took one of these byways today all the way from southern Missouri across the state of Arkansas, to the far south of Arkansas. Indeed, we did see some nice scenery. The trees are just starting to turn but are not as brilliant as up north, due to a drought they have experienced here this summer.
I drove through twisty, narrow roads through the Ozark Mountains. We were on the Pig Trail Byway. I first thought it was Pig Tail due to the curly pigtail-like shape that was the highway. After many turns and twists, a road sign appeared that said “Caution – Extremely steep and dangerous curves next 3 miles”.. What? Could it get worse? Oh yes, it could. It seemed to be about straight down, with lots of 20 mph curves, and then 10 mph switchbacks. Unfortunately, there was a lot of traffic (hunters) coming toward me so I had to make sure I stayed in my lane. I applied the brakes so frequently that they got hot. We could smell them, and then a warning sign came up on the dashboard telling me to let off the brakes. Finally, we came to a little valley and I drove without the brakes and they cooled off. Then, another one of those same signs!!! I had 3 more miles to go. Thankfully, this time it was mostly uphill. My idea was to just coast from curve to curve, going so slowly that I didn’t have to apply much brake when I approached the switchbacks. This worked fairly well, but I’m afraid I annoyed the long string of cars behind me!!!
We arrived late afternoon at this ACOE campground. What a gem! Due to Covid, the ACOE campgrounds require you to make reservations online or via the phone. They are trying to minimize contact with the hosts. The problem here is that we had no signal. The host kindly loaned us her phone so we could make the reservation. (no fears of Covid, I guess).
Our sight overlooks the large lake. One fisherman was out.
After that long drive, George made me a martini – shaken, not stirred.
Joy is happily set up for 2 nights here.
George loves stand-up grills. I collected dead branches and twigs and he made a good fire. We grilled our dinner on it.
After dinner, we moved the coals to the firepit and enjoyed the ambiance.
We are indeed “Traveling with Joy”!
DINNER: Blackened tuna steaks. I covered them with a lot of black pepper, then blackened them quickly in the very hot iron skillet on top of the fire. They were still pink in the middle – the way we like them.. Side was steamed vegetables to which I added a dollop of spinach dip for a nice, subtle creamy touch.