Travel Day to the Memphis TN Area

Thursday August 6th 2020

Today was a travel day of about 150 miles to the Memphis area. Since Maumelle Park has a 3PM checkout time, I took my time getting ready to leave. I also didn’t do as many tasks the day before travel as I usually complete. That was a mistake. I had plenty of time to do everything, but doing all the packing, the driving and the setup during the day takes a lot of energy. I’m very tired tonight.

I departed around 1PM. It is much later time than I usually hit the road. The only stop I made on the journey east was for gas about halfway to my destination. Traffic was heavy on Interstate 40 and the road conditions seem to deteriorate as I got closer to the Mississippi river. The road passes over a number of creeks and rivers. The transition from road to bridge and back are very uneven. It can really get the motorhome into a porpoising action until the shocks can regain control.

Site 33 at the Memphis KOA.

My destination for the next few days is the Memphis KOA. It is actually in Marion Arkansas. This is the same location I stayed at in the summer of 2018. I was even assigned the same site. It isn’t as nice as campground I departed, but it will do for the weekend. I’m still working on reservations for next week and beyond.

Last Day at Maumelle Park

Wednesday August 5th 2020

The weather forecasters weren’t kidding when they forecast bellow normal temperatures. I woke up this morning just before sunrise to close a few windows in my RV home. The temperature was in the sixties. Today’s high temperature was a little over eighty once the sun broke through the high cloud cover late in the day. Tonight is forecast to be similarly cool.

I said goodbye to the local Great Blue Heron.

This is my last full day here at Maumelle Park on the Arkansas river. It is hard to believe I’ve been here for two weeks. I’ve really enjoyed my stay. There is the right mix of relaxation, easy hikes and action on the river to watch. This was my second visit and I wouldn’t be surprised if I find a reason to stop here again.

I found the Amazon Locker at the Wholefoods store easily this time around. The part for my water pump was waiting in the same bin as my last pickup. I thought for a moment that I was going to have difficulties picking up the package. Just before I went to scan the bar code on my smart phone to open the locker my phone shutdown. The battery management hardware in my old phone decides out of the blue that there isn’t enough charge in phone battery and shuts down my phone. Usually I have to put it on the charger before it restarts. This time I got lucky and it restarted right up with about 80% battery life remaining. I’m going to have to put more effort into upgrading my phone. It’s almost five years old, so it’s time.

Calm water on the river.

Similar to yesterday, there was very little breeze today. The river was very calm. It seems to draw family fishing trips when it’s like this. Tonight there were several families along the banks of the river in the park. They all had lines in the water trying for an illusive fish. On the hotter, breezier nights there aren’t nearly as many people along the banks of the river. Tonight they even had some comic relief. Three adults with an old plastic peddle boat and an electric trolling motor attempted to cruise around in the river. The three people almost swamped the boat with their weight and the motor didn’t have the horsepower to move them. They got out fifty to one hundred feet from the boat launch before they decided to fight their way back to shore. The combination of peddle power and the motor got them back before anyone ended up in the river, but it took forever. When I left the show they were trying to decide which of the three was going to stay on land. This is the kind of entertainment I’m going to miss at this park.

Catching up on Grocery Shopping

Tuesday August 4th 2020

My sleep was interrupted last night by the arrival of a new neighbor. It isn’t unusual for people to arrive late in the ten to midnight range. This is particularly true at RV parks along the highway, but destination places like this don’t usually get late arrivals. In this case a trailer from Missouri arrived near 2AM last night. It pulled into the back in site next to mine. They weren’t particularly noisy setting up but voices carry and tend to wake me up. The occupants got up late and left early in the afternoon. Just another one of the odd things you see in campgrounds around the country.

Today was a resupply day. In my attempt to minimize my trips to the grocery store it had been seventeen days since my last excursion into the maze of food. I still had plenty of things in the freezer, but the stuff that makes it a meal was starting to get low. I was out of OJ and bread, getting low on Milk and butter substitute and generally needed lots of little deserts. The nice modern and relatively large Walmart wasn’t very busy. It also wasn’t very well stocked. Some of the stocking issue was the same not keeping up with demand problem I’ve seen since the start of the pandemic, but there also seemed to be a different focus on the volume of product stocked. For example, the amount of space allocated for water wasn’t anywhere near as large as at other Walmart stores. Every store is different and I get some entertainment from comparing and contrasting them.

Upstream bound tug and barge.

The weather today was the first of several days with below normal high temperatures. It seemed to draw a lot of people out of the city to the enjoy the river this afternoon and evening. There were several family picnics going on this evening in the day use area of the park. Along the banks of the river a number of family were fishing (not catching). Overall it was a nice evening along the river.

Up, Down and Around in Little Rock

Monday August 3rd 2020

The temperature made it into the mid eighties with increased humidity. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as last week, but not as nice as the weekend days. A lot of heavy wind went through the area late in the day. It has gradually becoming more comfortable since everything blew around. The next few days are forecast to be unseasonably cool.

A day with many wispy and puffy clouds.

I went on a drive today in search of a package in an Amazon locker. What looked like a simple task on Google Maps turned into more of an adventure than I’d planned. I seem to underestimate distances and scale reading on-line maps. This area has more hills and valleys than I expected. On today’s circuitous route to the holefoods store I climbed over some hills and went around others. I arrived at two clusters of big box stores before I found the right shopping area. It was an interesting exploration around the outskirts of Little Rock.

Blossom of the day.

The package I picked up had a new HDMI splitter. The unit that distributes my satellite TV signal from the receiver to all the TVs bit the dust a few weeks ago. This is the second time I’ve had to replace the unit. It is located in an area that has poor ventilation. The last few weeks of heat, particularly when the sun had direct access to the outside of the RV near where the splitter is located, did it in. Later versions of this model RV have additional cooling vents and fans around the storage area for this piece of electronics.

Long distance shot of the local Great Blue Heron.

It took about half an hour of work to swap out the old broken unit and replace it with the new one. Now I don’t have to retreat to the bedroom to watch satellite TV. The signal once again gets routed to the living room TV as well. That’s one repair down. I’ve got another part from Amazon on the way to fix the water pump. I’ll need to make another trip to the locker at Wholefoods when it arrives either late tomorrow or Wednesday.

A Quiet Sunday

Sunday August 2nd 2020

The day started cloudy and ended with only a few puffy clouds in the sky. The main difference from Saturday was the total lack of wind. Once in a while there was a very light breeze, but for the most part it was still. The result was a much warmer feeling mid eighties day.

Today’s colorful blossom.

The weather also resulted in a very lazy day. The lack of sun and very little noise this morning allowed for sleeping in. I wasn’t planning on it, but I didn’t wake up until after ten. I only had time for breakfast and my first walk around the campground before I got caught up in watching the return from space of the two astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon Space X space capsule.

I felt some degree of national pride when the astronauts were successfully transported to the International Space Station aboard a US commercial spacecraft back in May. Today completed that success by getting the two men back to earth safely in the same capsule. I remember watching the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules land in the oceans. It is hard to believe they haven’t done it since 1975. Watching the coverage today brought back memories of watching those landings and the space shuttle.

Calm day on the river.

The campground didn’t empty out as completely as I expected today. Some of the weekenders departed during the day, but others seem to be staying longer. It looks like a few of my neighbors will be leaving tomorrow. They have been packing somethings up this evening. The activity over the weekend has been entertaining. The quiet of the weekdays will also be welcome.

Surrounded by Activity

Saturday August 1st 2020

After another brief rain shower during the night, the weather rebounded into a beautiful Saturday. The humidity and heat are gone. It was a comfortable mostly sunny day in the low eighties. The next few days have similar forecasts.

Morning swim into the wind.
Sky full of fluffy clouds.

The tranquility during the week has given way to an active weekend for most of the residents of the park. Kids are riding bicycles up and down the roads. There is a line up at the boat launch waiting to load and unload boats. I got my answer about launching a pontoon boat with a motorhome; they don’t. A pickup truck pulling a fifth wheel camping with the people in the motorhome did the duty. I really wanted to see them try to launch the boat with the motorhome, but I’m glad they had a more sensible solution.

Blossom of the day.

In addition to a couple of walks around the park, I spent a lot of time siting outside my RV home watching the activity on the river. In addition to the usual fishing and general boating there were people cruising by in big live aboard boats and fast moving boats trying to set speed records. It was a real circus. I thought I was going to be a witness to more than one collision, but somehow they always managed to dodge disaster. As darkness arrived I retreated inside my RV home, but some of the action on the water continued. A couple of boats with huge bright led light bars are cruising around the river at high speed as I’m writing this blog entry.

A little color to the west as the sun went down.

Improving Weather at Weeks End

Friday July 31st 2020

There has been rain, wind, clouds and sun over the last twenty four hours. During the night a strong wind blew in followed by heavy rain. This morning the sun was out for a little while before the sky darkened and more rain passed through the area. The sun returned in the afternoon for a couple of hours followed by the dark sky of a near miss storm. The TV weather talkers say the weather pattern has completed a change with that last storm’s passing. It certainly is less humid.

Afternoon Parade
Proud sentinel.

I’m not sure if it was last night’s storm or an accumulation from recent storms, but the park staff was busy picking up downed tree branches today. A smaller tractor made several trips past my site with tree branches in the bucket. Later in the day into the evening the same operator was on a riding mower catching up on all of the tall grass around the park. It was a very busy day for the park staff.

Another tug and barges heading down river.

As I predicted the park filled up this evening. This is a very popular park for people with water craft. Fishing boats and pontoon boats arrive with many of the RVs. Watching a forty plus foot motorhome pulling a pontoon boat is interesting. How do they plan to launch the boat? The diesel pusher can’t get the rear engine wet at the bottom of the boat ramp, so I can’t envision the launching task. I’ll be watching tomorrow to see if I can catch how they do it.

Blossom of the day.

Gloomy Thursday

Thursday July 30th 2020

Yesterday’s rain continued into the night time hours. Between the rain noise and the roof AC that I had to run because the rain necessitated closed windows, I didn’t get a thorough nights sleep. The day today was mostly dry, but rain is expected overnight into tomorrow. I don’t anticipate getting much better sleep tonight.

Great Blue Heron on an island in the river.

It was a cloudy and very humid day. The combination of the clouds and the shade produced by the pine forest I am park in made for a very gloomy day. I took a couple of walks around the park, but I really didn’t have the ambition for much more. I also tried to work on my travel plans without a lot of success. The gloomy day influenced my mood into a gloomy state as well. The uncertainty of travel in these virus infected times kept getting in the way of committing to a plan. I vacillate between just pushing on with normal one and two week stops versus finding a place to stay for several months. It isn’t a health and safety concern that is influencing me. The risk isn’t much different either way. It is the uncertainty of government reaction that continues to worry me. Both Tennessee and Mississippi, my next possible stops are being advised to take action against the virus. What kind of action will they take?

The activity level around the park was also low today. A few more people arrived for the weekend. I think the park will be full again. The uncertain weather kept the number of fishing boats on the river down. I only saw a couple of empty boat trailers in the parking lot on each of my walks. There are usually more and most of the time I see one or two launching or returning. I didn’t see any fishermen on the river today.

Blossoms of the day.

From Sun to Rain

Wednesday July 29th 2020

Today was all about the weather. The first half of the day was sunny and humid just like the last few days. The second half of the day was the start of a new weather pattern. A line of storms arrived with a little bit of wind, some lightening and lots of rain. This evening the clear skies are gone, but the humidity remains. More rain is forecast over the next couple of days.

This morning I went for a walk in Two Rivers Park. It is a county park about three miles down river from my RV home. When I was here two years ago I saw a lot of wildlife at Two Rivers Park. This morning I was disappointed. The water level this summer is higher than it was on my last visit. The area I saw deer and other creatures was underwater today.

Storm clouds moving in

I was not prepared to explore deeper into the park. There are some very nice bicycle trails to follow, but my bike was back at my RV home. I also didn’t bring anything to carry water comfortably. Shifting a bottle of water from hand to hand is OK for a short walk, but not very practical for a real hike. Back at camp, I started to air up my bicycle tires and put a little lubrication on the gears. I don’t remember the last time I road my bike, but it sure has a lot of miles riding around the country on the back of my SUV. The rain decided to arrive before I got very far preparing the bicycle.

Calm after the storm.

The campground has been pretty quiet the last few nights, but it is starting to fill up tonight. I get the sense that many of the campers are from the local area. There are very few RVs with out of state plates and some sites seem to be occupied by families that go home or to work during the day. It is a little different atmosphere.

Stay at Home Tuesday

Tuesday July 28th 2020

If anything, it was a little more humid today. The temperature peaked around 90, but a simple walk in the shade generated enough sweat to soak through my clothes. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow.

Today was another do nothing kind of day. I didn’t have anything planned for the day and the weather helped push any real ambition away. I spent the day around my RV home with a couple of walks around the campground. One of the rewards of staying home was seeing the second barge since I got here last week pass by in the Arkansas river. The waterway is navigable from the Mississippi River all the way to the Tulsa Oklahoma area, but doesn’t seem to have a lot of traffic this time of year.