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Saturday, February 10, 2024

Days 6-13 Craighead Forest, Jonesboro Arkansas

 I am finally feeling up to snuff at least 90%. So we decided to leave Cave in Rock State Park in Illinois and head south and west towards Arkansas.  It looks like we were going to be in four different states in one day. 

While we are cruising along, I am writing in my quilted journal. This was a gift from my friend Judy back in Wisconsin. We used it on our last trip out east. So now I started a new section on this trip.

When logging things in, I'm using my pen from my beloved late mother-in-law, Mary Anne Pfundtner. I think these are some promotional pens saying "Happy Holidays" on them from a long time ago, before she passed away. I like writing with it, it makes me smile! The other thing that makes me smile is my sea turtle sticker on my computer laptop. That's from my granddaughter Chelsea! She loves sea turtles and plastered them all over this laptop that I inherited from her. Boy oh boy, that's technology when you inherit hand me down electronics from your grandchildren!

First we had to zig zag our way down along the banks of the Ohio River and cross over into Kentucky near Paducah. From there we had to loop back up into Illinois again! There's a lot of flooding in this area from the high amounts of rain that they've been experiencing the last week or so. 

The big bridge was open over at Cairo, Illinois but the smaller bridge that went over the Mississippi to get around down towards Arkansas was out of commission. So we had to loop over even further north towards Urbandale to be able to make our way south!

Here it is, the Mighty Mississippi! 

I know there are reflections of the window in this photo but it was amazing how much product is shipped up and down this river on barges. Year round everything is always functioning no matter what. Quite the busy piece of transportation that we sometimes forget about. 

So we left Illinois, went into Kentucky, went back in Illinois, and then made our way into Missouri. Once we were in Missouri, we were able to angle our way down towards Arkansas. 

We were headed towards the Jonesboro area. I had read some really interesting reviews online on the Campendium app about this beautiful city park at the southern end of town. I wasn't so sure we wanted to stay at a city park but the reviews really sounded interesting. It turns out it's this huge portion of land was set aside to develop the most wonderful recreation area!

It is called Craighead Forest. It has myriads of trails, pavilions, children's playgrounds and picnic areas, as well as even an ATV park and a dog jumping platform into the water. Everything is so well planned out, that the RV section is in a quiet peninsula all of it's own. The only people that come down here are the people who are actually staying in the RV park itself.

The facilities are so beautifully developed and meticulously maintained. Everything is pristine and new and well kept. It is actually all first come first serve for the 41 RV sites. Each one has electric and water. They furnish a large rack of firewood, free for the taking. The bathhouse facility has hot showers and a laundry room with $1.50 wash, $1.00 dry.

What is really amazing are the rates. To normally stay here it's $25 a night. But if you are a senior you get it for $15. That is amazing in itself. But the next best part is that if you stay for 7 days it's only $90 for the entire week! That comes out to about $12.85 a day. 

We drove in and there were about 9 or 10 empty sites to choose from. We chose site 39 down near the water. We walked back up to the host lady and paid for our site. They accept all credit cards except American Express. So we paid with cash. Normally we don't like to pay this many days in advance.  For the great price, as well as how quiet and clean and peaceful it was, it was worth it to save a site for a whole week. We could have paid day by day if we wanted to, because there are no reservations and you could just pay each day to maintain your site--- up to 14 days.

Along the shoreline around the entire lake is a gravel walking trail. Throughout other parts of the park are paved trails for bikes and joggers. The ATV section is down in the lower left part of the park and they are not allowed in the rest of the park. There are mountain bike trails and even a bike park with jumps for mountain bikes. Along the fitness trail are various pieces of equipment, and I will show you later on how we utilized them. LOL

The cloudy skies opened up and bits of blue were shining through. The temperatures were up in the mid-60s and it was absolutely gorgeous!! 

Down at our end of the loop the sites are spaced quite of ways apart compared to up closer where they are a little tighter. This is just exactly to our liking. Green grass, trees, and sunshine with a beautiful view. 

Although we were not on a waterfront site, our front windshield has a beautiful expansive view of the water across the road. There's nobody directly across from us. 

We set out the lawn chairs and relaxed for the afternoon until it was time to start dinner. This is exactly what we were looking for!

In the evening, we set up Steve's Visible phone as a hotspot and plugged in our Roku stick. We were able to catch up on a few of our favorite shows on HGTV and Amazon Prime. There are also about 30 TV broadcast stations in the area so we could catch local news and weather when we wanted to. 

Steve was craving something sweet so I whipped up a pan of brownies in our convection microwave combo. Because it's only a square shape, a rectangular cookie sheet does not work. But my round deep dish pizza pan fits!  He wanted to cut it into big pizza shaped wedges, but I decided it could be smaller squares, with a few odd corners. 

It was after dark, otherwise I would have taken out our propane Camp Chef oven and baked them out on the picnic table. 

With more people around, Nicholas has to learn more of his "camping manners". We really have to be consistent and train him absolutely every single time about barking at anything he sees. He is learning, but he is still a baby at 1-year-old and needs a lot of attention and guidance. He is learning by leaps and bounds. And by leaps and bounds I mean we have to get him out and walk him a LOT so he's not leaping and bounding all over inside of the motorhome!!

On the fitness trail, we found a couple things to keep him occupied and challenge his trust in us... 

We noticed that our neighbor across the road had his water heater compartment open and was draining water onto the ground. Of course, that is the universal sign for any guys to get together to see what they can do to help fix something! The same way a raised hood on the front of a vehicle attracts passerbys to help out.

Steve wandered on over and lent a hand. The problem was a cracked nylon drain plug that was leaking and needed to be removed and replaced with a new one. The only problem was is the old one was not coming out easily. 

They put their heads together and assorted tools were brought out. Soon they got the thing out in pieces without damaging the metal threads!

They had the new one in and put back together in no time with the use of Teflon tape as well as a layer of TFE plumbing paste. The leaks were gone and he was back in business.

We visited for a while, his name was Tom and his wife is Donna and they are from Little Rock Arkansas. He furnished us with some wonderful treats of products that he sells part-time on the side at Sam's Club's. He also furnished Steve with a can of a local honey type microbrew beer. How nice was that? We brought over a couple of fresh brownies on a paper plate in return.

Later on that evening he invited us to join him at his campfire, along with a few beverages of choice. It was a nice evening and we sat out until 9:00 p.m. The temperature is in the '60s and we have absolutely no complaints about sitting around a campfire in the evening with a light jacket or sweatshirt on.

I know the weather back in Wisconsin is unusually warm, and on our security cameras we are seeing the snow banks disappear daily. We also can keep track of our furnace at home via Wi-Fi and we know it's been so warm it hasn't even needed to kick in during the day. This is really unusual for the month of February in Wisconsin.

But we are still glad that we took off and got away for a couple months!

Staying here until the 14th, and then not sure where we are going next. Somewhere further south and west?

256 mi travel today
868 mi so far


  1. Excellent article and you write like a pro. We are heading towards Tucson area after fish o Rama. Hopefully now we will check out this beautiful place.
    Yooper would be telling us all about your travels.

    1. Oh, I sure know he would be telling you! Really miss that old fart. Enjoy your time by Tucson. We don't think we're getting that far west. I think we are just going to go further south into the edge of Texas and Oklahoma.

    2. Oh, I sure know he would be telling you! Really miss that old fart. Enjoy your time by Tucson. We don't think we're getting that far west. I think we are just going to go further south into the edge of Texas and Oklahoma.


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