|Bill's Arkansas homestead and where his babies were born.|
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The Road to Atlanta
The next stop we had planned after Hot Springs was Atlanta, Georgia, but I had an itch to see my old house in Cabot, Arkansas, which is about 25 minutes north of Little Rock. And as usual I had a friend in the area. One of my classmates from the Air Force Academy, Bob Marston, lives in Little Rock and we had seen him and his wife at the reunion in October and thought it would be fun to visit them while we were in the area. I didn't know Bob while we were at the Academy, but met him at the Little Rock hash when I was stationed at Little Rock AFB in the 80s. Bob and his wife still do a lot of running and we knew they’d be full of good advice on hashing as well as where to go and what to do around town.
Since this was really just a stop on the way to Atlanta, we didn't spend much time here. Debby found us a great place to stay, Riverside RV Park, right on the Arkansas River and right across the bridge from the Clinton Presidential Library and the River Market District—a perfect location. As it turned out, hashing didn't work out for us, but we did get to meet Bob and Donna for dinner one night at a place that had some vegan options that worked for us. We also took a drive to Cabot one morning to see my old house. This was the first house I owned and we built it in a new subdivision on a golf course. Things had changed a bit, but it was still pretty much the same neighborhood as it was when we left there about 20 years ago. We also made a stop at the Cabot Walmart, where one of my friends had been approached about joining the KKK back when we lived there. Interesting place this.
Probably the highlight of our brief stay was walking across the footbridge to see the library and visit the river market district. We found some marks from an old hash that led across the bridge and to the market district. We thought they might be for the hash that was being run that day, but after checking, realized they were running well north of town. The library was pretty cool and provided an interesting trip back in time to the nineties. They had replicas of several rooms from the White House, but I didn't see the infamous closet where Wild Bill “did not have sex” with that girl. We visited a couple of bars/restaurants in the market district, but had a hard time finding one that didn't allow smoking and had anything vegan on the menu. Nonetheless, we had a good time and a great walk, and the next morning we were off to see another old friend in Gadsden, Alabama, but not before we got new tires for Bebe.
I’d been noticing that the front tires on Bebe had been wearing a lot on the outside of the tread. When we were getting ready to leave Hot Springs on Friday, I took another good look at the tires and noticed they were getting scalloped and that made me nervous. The tires were already five years old and due for replacement so we found a place on the south side of Little Rock where we could get them installed on Monday and extended our stay for a day. This worked out just fine. We got Michelin’s for under $600 a piece and were on the road before 11:00 am, pretty good for us. We decided to split the drive to Gadsden into two days and Debby went to work finding us a spot to stay for the night.
I've got to hand it to her; Debby has become a pro at finding incredible overnight stops. After exploring several options, including a few Walmarts along the way, she found an Army Corps of Engineers RV park just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi, that had great reviews. It was situated on a waterway with excellent views, especially from the fishing pier that was just down the path from our site. I whipped up a couple of martinis and we went down to watch the sunset. There were hundreds of ducks, geese, and coots swimming in the shallow water and the sun put on the best show we've seen in a long time. It was a great spot and we’d love to come back some day and do absolutely nothing for a couple of weeks (except maybe go fishing, which is kinda like doing nothing while drinking a few beers). One of the best things about this stop was that we got in for $12 a night thanks to my national parks pass, and we got a pull through site. Wish I had known that before unhooking the toad.
Don’t you love how the internet can get you connected to people you haven’t seen in a long time? A lot of our travel destinations have been determined by the opportunity to visit friends and family that we've found online after years of being apart. Our stop in Gadsden was just one of those opportunities. A few weeks back, Debby got a message on our blog site from someone that I had gone to navigation school with back in 1974, Steve Alex. After nav school, we saw each other once or twice when I was stationed in the Philippines, but not since then. He was inspired to find me after he and another friend had been reminiscing about the good old days, and find me he did. So we made our way to Gadsden and through some very narrow roads to his house. Apparently, one of the previous owners of his house had an RV and had set up a place to park it next to the house with full hookups—50 amp electric, sewer, and water. We hooked up to the electric and after cocktails in the RV, got started preparing a vegan dinner for everyone. It was great reminiscing with Steve and Jan and catching up on the past 35 years. We had debated staying for another day and going for a ride on their pontoon boat, but the weather was crappy with rain in the forecast, so we packed up and beat feet to Atlanta, Georgia where we would, you guessed it, visit some old friends.