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Friday, February 23, 2024

Days 22-29 Moving on to Pendleton Bend Corps of Engineers Campground

It was time to leave Craighead Forest Campground. Our 14 days were up. The host did say if we wanted to stay longer, we could move up to the beginning group of sites where they have longer term deals for the winter. Once April 1st starts, then all of the sites are subjected to the 14-day rule. 

But no, we decided that we were going to move on. As much as we enjoyed our stay, it was time to look for something else. 

We are both so funny, we had to go take one more ride on the bikes on the last day before leaving. It was our last chance to go for a ride on the park trails. We went the opposite way this time which was facing the challenge of a big, big hill to climb. On our previous bike rides before, we've always gone around counter clockwise so we were always going down the hill. But this time I said let's try it cuz Steve kept asking to go clockwise. So we decided that I could face my fears tackling a big hill climb. 

I did it! With the pedal assist that helps me pedal uphill and being in a low gear, I was able to get my way all the way to the top of the tallest hill!

We explored every little peninsula of the park going down the trails and getting in our fill on our last ride around the park. 

In the morning, we pulled up stakes and headed out. Our first stop was to head over to the Love's truck stop to fill our propane tank. We were down to about a third of a tank and figured we better get it topped off before our next campground. Well, we got there about 8:00 a.m. they said sorry, nobody around to fill propane tanks until 10:00 a.m. Arrgghhh!!

So we headed on south down our intended path. We stopped for a grocery replenishment, fresh things like vegetables, milk, and eggs. 

We needed to stop at a post office, and found a little town to mail out a couple things. This was their only gas station:

I wonder if they have fresh diesel fuel? 
They certainly didn't have propane!! 

Each town we went through, we scanned ahead on the GPS looking for propane. Honestly, we even stopped at bulk home delivery companies and they all said "no, we don't fill motorhomes". We stopped at another Love's truck stop and they did not even have propane filling facilities. We stopped at two TSC Tractor Supply stores which normally have bulk propane, and neither one had it. This was getting frustrating! Finally after our fifth try, we found a little town called DeWitt. And there we found a place called Blue Seal Petroleum that was more than happy to fill our propane tanks. Even their sign said RVs and Campers! Steve filled our main motorhome tank as well as our 5 lb extra barbecue tank. It was probably the cheapest price we have ever paid for propane. $2.40 a liquid gallon. So for $15 we were all topped off and on our way. 

As we were cruising along, I also reminded Steve that he was out of beer. Many of the grocery stores in these areas do not carry any type of liquor at all. They are dry counties. But we did see a drive-thru liquor store coming up and took a quick turn in. Honestly, it was a little metal shack in the back of this lot with a drive around gravel path. It had a drive-up window similar to a bank!

But surprisingly, Steve found his favorite Modelo brand from Mexico. So he was all set for another week of camping.

We drove on down to the Arkansas River. There were two Army Corps of Engineer parks that we wanted to check out. The first one was Pendleton Bend. We read some really good reviews about it. We decided to drive on a little bit further on the same road to the Wilbur D Mills Campground. This one was completely closed! It didn't say that on the website. So we turned around and went back up to the Pendleton Bend one. 

There are three beautiful campsites along the river, as well as another 28 sites across the road scattered in the woods. We chose site C2 along the river, and spoke to a passing worker who said just pick a site and wait for the ranger to pay. There are no pay posts or envelopes. There is a telephone on the gatehouse with a direct line to recreation.gov. But we decided to just wait for a ranger to come around to collect. 

So that is what we did, these beautiful sites have level cement parking pads, concrete tables and benches covered by a pergola, and a very nice fire ring.

The edges were leveled out with a retaining wall and landscape stone. It was like we had our own private patio within the fence. All for the bargain price of $12 a night! The regular fee is $24, but the Army Corps of Engineers accepts our America the Beautiful Senior Access Pass to give us half price camping. This includes electric and water at the site, as well as a dump station at the entrance. There is a shower building with free showers and flush toilets, and all of the campsites are spaced far apart. 

The motorhome fit on the pad as well as our cargo trailer backed right in behind it. The view of the river right across from us was absolutely amazing. From time to time large barges float on past. More on that later...

We kicked back in our lawn chairs to enjoy an amazing sunset. Steve had his beer, and I had my wine and my camera. The dogs were relaxed at our feet on their tie out cables with nobody else around. There were two other campers back in the campground and one small stealth cargo trailer. That was it. Total peace and quiet for us!!

Just before the sun went down we walked down to the parking lot nearby for the boat ramp. There's a large dumpster there to dump our garbage. It was a nice walk back and we settled in for a quiet evening.

The reviews on this site said there was little to no cell phone service and no TV broadcast stations. Well, we went on with both our cell phones and got two to three bars. I am on a roaming plan from a Wisconsin-based company. Steve is on a Verizon plan through Visible. Both of us got adequate signals, and we were even able to stream some shows off Roku during the night. Scanning with the antenna, brought in 15 broadcast TV stations. Yes, some of them were substations of retro TV or police drama shows. But they were still TV stations nevertheless.

The next morning we decided that we would stay here for a week. It is good to try a place out for one night before committing to a full week or more. The ranger still hadn't come around but we did go online to reserve our site C2 for 7 days. Rut roh, the site we chose was going to be reserved for the weekend by someone else. But site C1 right next door is going to be open so we clicked on and reserved that for 7 days. It would be very easy to just move over because we really weren't set up much from our first night. 

Just as Steve started to get things ready to move, a campground host pulled into the site up by the gatehouse. She was getting all set up herself on her own site, but came over to talk with us. There would be no ranger coming to collect money, she said they don't do that. She had been gone for 3 days and came back to collect the fees for the weekend. She helped us get online in the gatehouse and pay for the previous night on C2.  Then she double checked for us that our 7 day reservation went through for C1. We were good to go and she was extremely helpful. Very nice lady. We moved on over to site C1 which is exactly the same view and same amenities as C2 was. Now we were set for the week!

It was a little cloudy in the afternoon, but all in all it was a great day. We had windows open and fresh air, and enjoyed ourselves in the quiet peaceful campground.

We tossed some burgers on the griddle and enjoyed an absolutely wonderful evening. The sun was setting as the clouds were rolling in. We knew we were going to be due for a big thunderstorm during the night. So we better enjoy what we can while we can!

The temperatures here are up in the '70s during the day and in the '60s or high '50s at night. Exactly what we were looking for...

205 miles today
1,073 Total so far


  1. You did very well indeed! That place sounds perfect to me.
    Linda Sand

  2. You and Steve find some great campgrounds and have fun with your bikes.

  3. This campground reminds me of the COE park in Petosi, WI! Only downside to that one is the frequent train, but it never bothered us. Love watching the barge traffic. You have found some great parks. COE were always our favorites.
    Liz W

  4. sounds like things are going well. And you had a very good ride on the bikes.

  5. It looks great, glad you found propane and then a nice, quiet spot to settle.


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