• A. Skinner

On to Arkansas. Stop #2


The bridge on I-40 in Memphis was closed – cracks found in the bridge literally just a few days prior our trip. This meant finding another route to reach Arkansas.


Mike and I elected to do a crazy turn by turn adventure in the… lets say scarier parts of Memphis – but we did cross the river and enter Arkansas. Success! Until another detour put us in a tiny little neighborhood with a eleven foot bridge to go under – ummmmm – we are 13”6’. Yep - we had to unhook our tow vehicle and plan to back up and find a new route into Batesville. Thankfully a nice local stopped and asked if he could help. He guided us right to a gravel road about 500 feet from the low bridge, toward one we could easily go under. Now success for real…. He even gave us a better route for a big rig right into Batesville.


An hour down the road – we saw the Batesville Speedway which meant Bill and Gail’s cattle ranch was only 20 minutes in reach. Just in time for cocktail hour ( trust me, I had already called Gail and requested a large one upon arrival ) we pulled into The Chimney Rock Cattle Ranch in Concord, Arkansas. As promised, Gail had a chilled glass full of gin, soda and lemon wedges. Now… where are Tom and Laura???


They selected the more recommended route to cross into Arkansas, which meant a lot of stop and go traffic. So they were just a couple hours behind. We got the call they had passed the race track which was code for Mike to head toward the entrance to help guide them in.


Bill, Gail and I waited…. And waited….. and waited – Just as the sun set, we see their Prevost Marathon slowly driving down the paved path toward the cow palace. I was filming for RV Round Up and cheering their arrival, but one thing was missing! Their tow vehicle which is a black jeep. Where in the hell is the jeep? Just 8 miles prior the entrance of Chimney Rock, they blew a back tire on the jeep. Exhaustion caused Laura to just leave the jeep alongside the road for an early morning pick up. We were ALL done with traveling for the day – and this was only our second stop. What else could happen?


Thankfully Gail had a cocktail also waiting for Tom and Laura – as well as a home cooked prime rib dinner. Ok…. Things are looking better already!



The morning was a start to a new day and some needed relaxation.


Bill and Gail’s ranch is spectacular with wonderful paved roads leading to their new home under construction lined with Oak trees. The dogs enjoyed the un-leashed walk and run and I enjoyed the morning air and sense that I had NOTHING scheduled to do at any time.


I love to cook, and the cow palace has a chefs catering kitchen – so I made myself at home and made the group BLT’s to enjoy late morning. Since the pans are HUGE and stove hot, I cooked an extra pound for our trip to Santa Fe. I am always thinking of quick snacks, food while driving to limit too many fast food indulgences! I am also thinking ahead for dinners that can be quick and easy after a long day of traveling. This was the perfect opportunity to make up an enormous pot of spaghetti. I could make my friends dinner for the evening, and freeze a few bags for the summer tour.


NASCAR racing was on the big screens inside the cow palace. Another bottle of wine, spaghetti…. This was a great day.


We felt we should depart by noon the following morning. I wanted to make sure and take the opportunity for the dogs to run wild again, so we got up early for coffee on the ranch porch and watched the dogs enjoy un-leashed freedom. One more walk down the oak tree lined path, and a quick truck tour of the ranch to check on the cows. Another start to a great day.


We left right on time. High Noon and en route to a pit stop night in Shawnee, Oklahoma.



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