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Monday, February 26, 2024

Days 22-29 - Pendleton Bend COE, Dumas, Arkansas

Some kinds of things you don't really see around Wisconsin... Like dead armadillos smushed on the side of the road! 

We are here for a week at Pendleton Bend Corps of Engineers Campground near Dumas, Arkansas. In my previous blog I talked a little bit about the campground, and in my next one I will do a complete campground review. But for now I will just talk about what we've been doing for the first four or five days here.

Of course, we got out our E-bikes and toured around the area.  There really aren't any bike paths, and we are just riding on the edges of the road. We decided to not pull the trailer for the dogs at this time. It needs a little wider area and we really wouldn't want to go off into the gravel with one wheel and make it topsy-turvy if there was a car passing us. 

On the way out to the campground, along the banks of the Arkansas River, is one of the Riceland rice storage areas. Riceland is one of the biggest companies in the country and is privately owned, with a board of directors that comprised of 33 farmers from the 33 counties that are elected to the board. We read up a little bit about the company and it seemed really interesting. From this particular spot, they load the rice up into barges and ship it on down the river.

After it goes a certain distance down the Arkansas River, the barges shift over to a 9 mile long man-made canal. From there it goes into the White River and out into the Mississippi. Next week we are going to camp over at another Corps of Engineer Park by the canal. I will write more about that then. 

It has been really interesting watching the barges get lined up by the tugboats. They maneuver the barges around in different spots sometimes in front of the campground. Once they get four or six lashed together, they take off and head down the river. 

I made a little video clip of where they were maneuvering them around just south of the campground, we thought maybe one was stuck. But then we realized later, that no, it was just a staging area until the other tugboat could bring down the rest of the barges.

We found some dead fall branches laying here and there from the storm that went through the night before. Incidentally, the new dog Nicholas didn't even flinch at any of the thunder or lightning or torrential rain that went on for a couple hours. Yay!

Steve has along this cute little electric chainsaw and we were able to cut up enough firewood for an evening campfire. 

One of our favorite RVing YouTubers, Kenny Of All Trades, uses these little fire starter packages. We never really thought much about them but once we saw them on his videos, we saw how quick they worked for him. He starts up fires with full pieces of wood. Not even really starting with kindling!!! 

They can be bought in boxes of 12 or even larger from places like Walmart or Amazon etc I think he mention that he buys his at Cabela's. 
They work great! 
In no time we had a roaring fire!!! 

On one of the days we took a ride further to the east, down to the dam on the Arkansas River. I believe this is the Wilbur D Mills Basin, and there is another campground down there which is not open yet this time of year.

The dam is huge and they are currently putting up a another section with a separated route of the river for a hydroelectric dam. We were able to ride the bikes out there and look around. There's even a small picnicking spot on the damn itself with picnic tables and pergolas.

There were a lot of people fishing along the banks of the dam. Even though there were big signs posted NO FISHING. There are a lot of parking spots and boat ramp access sections all over in this part of the river. The website says for these Corps of Engineer campgrounds in this stretch they are highly used by fishermen year round. 

So far, there were three other campers here on the weekend. They have all left and now there's only us and one other camper today. I don't know if they are staying or leaving. It doesn't appear they are reserved on the website. The host even left. We may be the only ones here until Thursday when we leave??

But the sites are so nice and spacious and roomy. We are really enjoying the covered pergola over the concrete picnic table. Steve set up our Camp Chef oven AKA my "Easy-Bake Oven"! 

I whipped up a couple pans of my chicken pot pie casserole. If you notice, underneath, on the metal shelf above the burner, I have a pizza stone. This helps dissipate the heat and spread it out within the oven for even baking. 

My chicken pot pie casserole recipe is pretty basic. I use a roll of flaky biscuits and split them in half crosswise. I put one layer of them in the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then on top I put shredded chicken. I use either leftovers picked from a from rotisserie chicken, or maybe excess chicken that I cooked in the pressure cooker and tossed in the freezer for later use. Then I put on a layer of frozen vegetables. You could use fresh, but I am limited on access to fresh ones right now. On top of that I put a layer of cream of celery soup. Some people use cream of mushroom but I think that's too heavy. Cream of celery seems much lighter. And then on the very top I put the other halves of the flaky biscuits. I brush them with butter and add a little seasoning to the top. I cover with tin foil and toss them in for about 375 for 20 minutes. Then I take the tin foil off and rotate the pans. I put them back in for about another 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the contents are bubbling up around the corners. Done!

The extra pan I will toss back in the freezer for an easy quick meal down the road. 

The dogs have really been enjoying this camping trip so far. We've been gone now for almost a month. They are truly the reason why we have the motorhome. We can travel at will, and not be searching for hotels that allow pets. We can have them with us all the while and not be leaving them alone in vehicles if we were eating in restaurants. That's why we like RVing... Our pets can be with us and we can operate on our own schedules.

But----- they also need attention too.  Steve is the doorman letting them in and out anytime they demand it. 

We have been relaxing out on the patio area in our lawn chairs. The dogs are always tied up on secure cables but they do have the reach to cuddle with us when they want to.

This weather has been absolutely fantastic. We are up in the '70s and it might even go into the low '80s later this week. We actually kicked on the air conditioner yesterday for a while while we laid down to rest. Can you believe that? Air conditioning in February?

It was so warm, that Mr. Blue Jeans Steve decided to take them off and put on shorts and sandals! 



  1. Nice to get out and feel free. Even the dogs are loving it.
    Definitely been wearing those jeans for too long Steve.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Love to travel along with you. I really enjoy your blog and can’t wait for the next update. We are currently wintering in Florida away from our cold Canadian winter.

  3. OMG! Steve's legs=my husbands. The first outing of the legs IS blinding. Too funny!

  4. Seeing your firestarters reminded me that we used to make them from the sawdust my husband generated with his woodworking. I would use an old muffin pan, line with cupcake liners, fill the liners with sawdust and pour in melted candle wax from the short candle ends I had saved. Could be a bit messy and you had to be careful melting the wax, but they worked great. Could also put in a pinecone if you wanted a "fancy" starter. Very easy to carry along in a bag and didn't take up much room.


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