5/20/13 The weather said the strong storms were going to start earlier in the day around Oklahoma City Monday so we didn’t waste any time doing our morning routine and hit the road at 8am.
We had a 245 mile drive ahead of us and our destination at Devils Den outside West Fork Arkansas had a forecast of thunderstorms late in the day so we hoped to get there and set up before they rolled in.
It seems all of a sudden we have switched from a carefree,, which way should we go next,, where are we going to camp next,, and a no worry in the world mode to a,, where can we escape the worst weather at this particular time mode. And it seemed that the only real way to escape almost all of the weather right now was to head back west and get behind the weather front but we decided not to take that option. It was bound to happen,, we have really had pretty good weather the last 6 months but I think it‘s basically impossible to travel across the country and not catch some bad weather.
We wasn’t on the road 10 minutes and BANG!!! The support brace on the automatic sun screen in front of my drivers seat fell. A screw had loosened and allowed it to fall. Good thing I had just gone to the bathroom LOL!!
It was dangling right in the middle of my view so had to be dealt with. Luckily we hadn’t gotten on the freeway yet so I was able to find a large parking lot to park in and had it put together again in short order.
Even though we had a early start the winds were blowing pretty steady already and driving wasn’t all that relaxing for the first 100 miles I guess. And parts of the freeway certainly were not the best we have ever driven on LOL.
Our route took us right through were the large tornado past through Shawnee, 29 miles from where we had been camped, and crossed the freeway. We tried to take a couple pictures but I’m afraid we didn’t do very well. But you can see a little of the destruction. It was pretty easy to see the path it took. They will be dealing with that mess for some time.
Before we crossed the Arkansas state line the winds had subsided a lot and the drive became more pleasant. The freeway was lined by trees that were pretty, the grass was green, and we were headed away from the storm front. Things were getting better.
When we crossed the state line we stopped at the rest area and visitor center. Another very nice one I might add. Diane and I took advantage of the restrooms and toured the visitor center and gathered up some literature. It was a little hard doing so because we really don’t know what path we will take across the state yet for sure.
Then it was Jacks turn!! Diane took him out for a jog. I kicked back in the grass and watched LOL! Then everyone was refreshed and we only had around 75 miles to go so away we went.
Now let me tell ya’ll,, that’s proper language here in the south,, if you happen to go to Devil’s Den State Park do NOT follow your GPS. It will probably tell you to take exit 45. DO NOT TAKE IT if you have a large rig. Go on to exit 53. Exit 53 will put you in the park closest to the E campground where you will want to be anyway and will avoid some very winding and narrow roads with low branches.
Once we made our way to E loop we checked all of the sites that had reserved signs on them looking for our name with no luck so we unhooked and found a site that said available and parked the RV there while we went in search of the office. As it turns out the site we parked in was in fact our site. So we paid for our 3 nights and headed back to set up.
Once all set up we headed out to pick up a few things at the store in West Fork just 13 miles away. It seems that during our short busy stay in Oklahoma City and our hurried up departure we neglected to find a food store.
The town was very nice and they have a great grocery store. While driving around we found some people having a good time jumping off a ledge into the river.
After shopping we headed home and still had time to jump on one of the trails for a short hike before the rain came.
As soon as we returned from our walk the thunder and lightning started,, and the rains came. It continued all night. Almost 12 straight hours of thunder!! The power went off and on a few times but stayed on for the most part.
The good thing about this is that Jack has been cured of being afraid of thunder!! He just lay’s in his bed and ignores it now instead of shaking and needing attention.
It’s a shame that we are having all of this rain while here because the park has a bunch of great walking and hiking trails that we wanted to take advantage of.
We also have no cell or internet service in the park so the updates will be late and in a odd order I’m sure.
But the next updat will cove a very cool hike!!