And…We’re Off!

It’s always a good thing when a long trip gets off to a good start. Although it’s kind of a mixed bag for us so far (five days), we’ve had magnificent weather, which makes up for plenty of other shortcomings. And, for this post, we won’t talk about those at all.

Leaving home in a snowstorm is never a good thing, but for us, it’s better than sticking around because we pulled out of the driveway, put on the windshield wipers, and never looked back. Less than a hundred miles out of town, the roads were dry, and all the snow was gone after another 100 miles after that.

We spent our first two nights at the Evansville Spa (our name for John’s brother’s posh home). Our time there was marred only by the fact that they were both sick with hacking coughs/colds. Is it better to get sick before the holidays, and get it over with, or wait until January? The Evansville duo apparently went the pre-Christmas route. Modern pharmacology is hopefully speeding them toward recovery.

Our first camping night was at T.O. Fuller State Park in Memphis. When we stayed there in the spring, it was jam-packed, so the nearly-empty campground was a pleasure for a quick stop. Our sunny day turned into a brisk night (temps in the low 30s). Deluxe sleeping weather for our deluxe new flannel sheets. Two days later, we found that Jezzy also loves these new sheets. She had very neatly unmade the bed so that she could sprawl in warm comfort on the warm sheets. Are all dogs such princesses, or just ours?


Since our goal is Christmas in Vegas with my entire immediate family (all ten of us), were doing a bunch of one-night stops. So, the next night finds us at Arlie Moore Campground, near Texarkana AR. What a gorgeous campground! Our large site was near the water, and we enjoyed a another quiet, cold night.


For sure, we’ll be back to this spot – $9 with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass.

After a long day on the road through beautiful Arkansas and Oklahoma State highways, we arrived at Buckhorn Campground, at Lake of the Arbuckles in OK. It’s part of the Chickasaw Recreation Area. Tonight, our rate for  this spectacular spot for just $12. (Every now and then, it pays to be old!)

20171215_171938442154091.jpg20171215_171758740144347.jpgAnd the bonus? For the first time, I saw a (live) armadillo! In the past five years, there have been plenty of unfortunate armadillos along the roadside, but this beauty is alive and well. I named her Arnette.20171215_172119882436188.jpgI especially like this photo of her with her natural camoflage, standing next to a corrugated pipe. Looks very organic, doesn’t it? 20171215_193732995633263.jpgAlthough you can’t really see it in these photos, armadillos have very cute little cone-shaped ears. She was much bigger than I would have imagined.

We’re taking a little highway hiatus for the next three days after we get to our next destination. Palo Duro State Park near Amarillo is a spot we have enjoyed in the past, and were hoping to (finally) snag a site in the Juniper CG there for the next three night to hike and bike, and just generally get out of the truck for a few days. In past years, we’ve never been able to get a site in this area. Hopefully the camping gods will see fit to help us out this time. The other campgrounds are fine, but we really want a site in this smaller campground, nestled back in the rocks. Keeping our fingers crossed.

Hope you all have something to look forward to over the holidays, whether it’s time with family and friends, or maybe an extra day or two away from work.

22 thoughts on “And…We’re Off!

  1. I love your posts. Having lived in Arkansas for a short while I remember both live and dead armadillos.

    The campgrounds you stayed in are beautiful. Makes me want to hit the road.


    • We’ve decided that we need to plan more time in Arkansas. Seems like we’re always hurrying through in our way West, or trying to hurry home. We’ve enjoyed all the places we’ve camped there – lots of natural beauty.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to commenr.


  2. I’ve never seen an armadillo but would dearly love to see one. They aren’t mean are they?

    And flannel sheets are the BEST! I do’t even own any percale sheets and we’ve been known to haul at least a top sheet into motel rooms (along with our pillows and favorite blanket).

    Looking forward to seeing you in February providing we are still in GV. It depends on whether or not we follow our fickle ways and put the condo on the market. I’ll keep you posted.

    Safe travels!


  3. You’ve escaped at just the right time, the cold and snow has continued every day. I loved the armadillo, I’ve never seen a live one either.

    You’ve found some very nice campgrounds on your trip so far, I hope that your luck continues, and you get the spot that you want at your next destination.

    It will be interesting to see Vegas at Christmas time, although it probably isn’t much different than any other time of year there.


    • We just returned from Vegas yesterday and there are definitely holiday decorations are n the casinos and hotels, plus there was nonstop holiday music (except the Orleans which was playing country music in honor of the rodeo and cowpeople), some quite loudly which got a little annoying. However, it still wasn’t as prevalent as it is in my home of Oregon. We are now in Arizona and are liking that we aren’t as heavily bombarded with holiday “cheer” on the TV and in the stores.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jerry. We had to drive thru a hundred miles of snowy slop, which made us wish we had left a day earlier. Heading thru Flagstaff tomorrow, and hoping to get thru there with good weather. All the forecasts are for crappy weather beginning Thursday. Well see, Flagstaff is about 7300′, so it could get ugly fast.

      So far, we have had great camps. Wait til you see tbe Palo Duro photos. Fabulous site there.

      Hope you get time to enjoy the holidays. Vegas Is bizarre – some of the casinos have very elaborate displays, but lights on palm trees will always be an oddity to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Judy, I don’t remember which state your house is in so I’m not sure where the Evansville of your first night out was. What state? Someone mentioned Grand Rapids in his post so I assume you live in Michigan?
    Obviously you were somewhere North because the SW has not yet had any snow. The two ski places in Arizona have just opened, using man-made snow; nights finally got cold enuf that the “snow” could pile up.
    Is Arlie Moore Campground a federal or state campground? I’m making notes of the campgrounds you stayed at in case I wander off in that direction again some day/year.
    You got good pictures of Arnette, the little plated dinosaur. Her cone-like ears are very visible in the first foto.
    Looking forward to seeing your fotos of Palo Duro Canyon in the winter. And of Las Vegas at Christmas — I have heard the city does not put up Christmas decorations. I wonder how true that is.


    • We do live in MI, so Evansville IN was our first stop. Arlie Moore is a Corps of Engineers campground. We always seek out those camps when available – always clean and beautiful. There wasn’t any snow at Palo Duro – cold at night and quite windy, but warm and sunny in the day. We loved camping in the Mesquite campground there – beautiful and quiet. We really needed a break from hours of driving every day.

      Merry Christmas, Sylvia. Hope You are planning your next adventure.


  5. Thanks for sending the pictures, I have never seen an armadillo, unless it was dead, hope to see one someday. keep it coming, love the history.


  6. Where did you come up with the name Arnette? Never heard of that one before. We’ve got plenty of snow here. Overdid it yesterday running errands on the slippery roads before my doctor’s appointment. I, too, have the pre-Christmas cold on top of the surgery. Arghhh!


  7. There’s a rumor going around that armadillos are born dead beside the road. If you ever take a trip to northern or central Florida state parks, you’ll see plenty of live armadillos. Have a safe trip and a Merry Christmas to you both.


    • Funny to think of armadillos in Florida – I have always thought of them as desert or dry prairie critters. Are you and Sheila heading to FL for a while this winter, or taking skiing lessons at home? Enjoy the holidays.


      • No trip to FL this year. We wanted to experience the winter in our new home in the mountains. We will hit the pause button for a week in early Feb to go to Puerto Vallerta though.


      • February is always a great time to escape winter. Michigan’s population shrinks by about 50%. We’re in NM at about 7500 feet, and it feels like Michigan, sans snow. Brrrr….


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