Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lake Dardanelle State Park, Arkansas

There was light rain overnight, by morning the rain was over but the whole top of Mt. Magazine was surrounded in fog. It was a very eerie sight, the clouds moved across the campsite pretty quick since there was a light breeze this morning. Unfortunately we had other matters to attend to this morning, so I didn’t even get one picture of the fog.

I woke up with a fat tick attached to my ankle. Serves me right, I brought my hiking boots but it was so nice and warm last night, I wore my flip flops at the camp site.

Mike had heard that lighting a fire under a tick would make it loosen it’s grip and fall off. So he grabbed a lighter and tried to heat this sucker off but this tick was refusing to let go. Each time we flamed it, it would tighten it’s jaws on my skin and try to attach itself even more. It was a bit painful. After a few tries to get the tick off with fire, the tick finally died, but it’s crispy body remained attached to my skin.

We googled “removing a tick” on the internet and many of the websites just said to grab the whole tick with a pair of tick tweezers. We didn’t have tick tweezers, but I did have an Army Swiss knife and it had some small tweezers. The dead tick was easy to remove now with tweezers now that it wasn’t wiggling around. I had to dig in deep to remove some of the flesh along with it’s jaws to make sure nothing got infected. The first aid kit was handy too. I always carry it but I have not used it until now. I wanted to disinfect the whole area and stick a band-aid over it, so that it didn‘t get infected. Then I got my hiking boots on and pulled up my socks. No more running around in the woods with flip flops for me.

I woke up and found a tick on me

Check out the bear proof garbage containers next to our camp site

A late breakfast or early lunch at the campsite

A scenic overlook at Mt. Magazine State Park

Another scenic overlook at Mt. Magazine State Park

We continued south on 309 leaving Mt. Magazine behind us. The road continued to twist but the pavement wasn’t as pristine as through the State Park area. Then we turned on 27 South, another twisting wonder. I missed the “Crooked and Steep” sign on 21, but did manage to take a quick picture of the one on 27.

The route for today 309 South to 27 South to 298 East to 7 North

We arrived at 298 and turned East. From now on we would be riding either North or East, instead of West and South. We were starting to heading in the direction of home now. 298 was a fine road, very relaxing with no traffic and many sweeper type curves. We stopped to grab a cold drink at a general store on the corner of 298 and 7. It was very hot today, about 90 degrees and a lots of humidity. I don’t do well in high temps and humidity. We already decided that today would be a shorter riding day, we left Mt Magazine State Park late and wanted to relax somewhere and possibly do some swimming to cool off. We saw Lake Dardanelle State Park on the map and we would by passing really close to there, so we decided we would check it out and possibly stay the night there.

Continuing on 309 heading south

A sign on 27 "crooked and steep"

Tight stuff on 27

Many nice sweepers on 298

We continued on 7 north, another fine road with many twists and turns, and it’s also a designated scenic road of Arkansas. There was a bit of traffic on this road, and at times it was difficult to pass cars, there wasn’t many straight sections and passing zones.

We passed a few general stores that also sold gas, but the pumps were ancient, and we didn’t trust them. So we kept riding, passing about two or more places selling gas, thinking that anytime now we’d find a modern gas station.

Arkansas scenic RT 7

I was on reserve now and starting to get nervous. 20 more miles and I started to coast down the hills, and keeping my revs lower (kind of hard to do on a really twisty road). I was definitely using more has on these twisty and hilly roads, so a tank full of gas just wasn’t lasting as long as it does back at home. Just when I thought for sure I’d run out of gas, we up on a modern gas station in Ola. All the pumps were being used, this was a busy place. Since they had food inside and it was already almost 3 PM, and all we had this morning was a small can of tuna and crackers, we decided to eat an early dinner, then ride to Lake Dardanelle and relax.

Early dinner in Ola, AR at a gas station consisting of chicken, beans and bread, Mike tried friend corn on the cob and I had jalapeƱo poppers, down south they fry everything

The food was good for a gas station, and cheap. The ride from Ola to Lake Dardanelle was short one. The Lake looked very refreshing and inviting on a hot day like today. We rode around the State Park and the campsite, it looked full. We found the campsite host and found out there were only two camp sites left, both electric and a bit more then what we wanted to spend and there was no swimming allowed at the lake.

The map above shows the overall route for the trip, Lake Dardanelle S.P. was not a scheduled stop, it's located off 22 not too far from 7

It was 4PM, still early. We passed another state park on the way to this one, Mt Nebo S.P. I’ve heard of it and was curious if it was a better place for us to camp tonight, but it was hot and we were already here and we didn’t feel like gearing back up and looking for another place. Being a holiday weekend there was a good possibility that the other park might be full. On top of that there was a large storm heading our way and we didn’t want to get caught riding in it. We decided to stay and picked the better of the two sites to set up our tent on. The site was $17 but we didn’t have exact change so we had to put a $20 in the envelope.

Lake Dardanelle State Park campground, it was packed, there were only 2 sites left when we got there at 4PM

Lots of RV’s, pick up trucks and fishing boats at Lake Dardanelle State Park

By the time we got cleaned up and got the tent up, we heard on a near by radio that a tornado was spotted just north of us. The tail end of the storm was moving just over us and we thought for sure we would get rained on. There was thunder and lightening, it got very dark but it passed above us not spilling one drop of rain.

This was a sign posted at the park showing the evacuation procedure in case something happened at the near by nuclear plant

Large storm rolling through above us

The nearby storm and clouds sure made for an awesome sunset. The clouds were moving fast across the sky, so every 5 minutes the sky looked different. We sat down at a picnic table and for 30-45 minutes did nothing but watch the sun set and the cloud formations.

I did notice yesterday and today, that the mosquitoes around here bit more during the daylight hours then at night. I was so happy that I picked up a bottle of Coppertone sunscreen with insect repellent, but either I wasn’t applying enough or it just wasn’t working. The stuff was also very greasy or I don’t recommend it. I was bit all over by the time the sun had set.

The storm clouds produced a really nice sunset

This was a fast moving storm, we watched it for over half an hour as it passed across the sky and the setting sun

The storm had passed and the sun had set

We had the tarp on top of the tent again, incase of heavy rain. More rain was on the way. I left the fly open to get some air, the temperatures stayed very pleasant all night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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