Winter 2021 – From Arkansas To New Mexico
This post documents our activities from October 30, 2021 to November 15, 2021. Additional pictures for this leg of our journey can be found here.
Continuing our winter of 2021/2022 westward journey started in the previous post, our next stop was another familiar place – Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis, TN where this time we spent the night on site #106, which is actually the towable section, so despite a riverfront site we were facing away from it. There is another waterfront section for motorhomes, where the front of your coach will face the river, but it was full. We still had a decent view out the passenger side windows tho, at least until someone pulled in next to us. There are no trees at the sites in this section and there were some muddy spots.
At $50 a night, this park is a little pricey for what you get, but I guess anyone who stays here is paying for location, location, location.
Watching the barges and tugs float by on the mighty Mississippi is always fun.
Maumelle Park in Little Rock, AR, another Army Corps of Engineers (COE) park, was our next destination where we had reservations for four nights.
Very strange check in process, most likely due to Covid. People were forbidden to enter the office but instead had to talk to a staff member through an intercom. Since they do not provide any printed maps, directions to our site were very quickly rattled off to me (Rob was unhitching). Being a weekend the park was very busy!
Guess the directions didn’t mean anything to me because when we arrived at our riverside site (B31), we were at the wrong angle to pull into our site. Luckily when Rob was trying to maneuver the coach, two women in a pick up truck, stopped to tell us that there was a loop down the road where we could turn around. Spacious site with lovely view of river! A favorite!
During our stay, we went to Delicious Temptations Restaurant for breakfast. Half order of eggs benedict for me and a croissant sandwich for Rob. Decent breakfast.
Prior to our arrival here, I had made an appointment at a nearby Walgreens for the Moderna Covid booster so when we first arrived sightseeing was briefly put on hold for that appointment. Fortunately no reaction felt by either of us except for the usual sore arm.
Although we didn’t have a lot of time to explore Little Rock, we did take the time to explore the Riverfront Park which was enjoyable. Junction Bridge in the photo below has an interesting history.
The Indian Head sculpture below is located in the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park and was carved by Peter Toth in 1975. This statue was about the twenty-fifth of sixty Native American likenesses that he carved in all 50 states as a tribute to Native Americans.
On another day, we took a ride to Pinnacle Mountain State Park where we were treated to some very pretty scenic vistas.
When it came time for us to depart Maumelle, checking out of the campground was as strange as the check in process – everyone is required to park their RV/camper, walk to the office and tell the staff member via the intercom what site number was being vacated. Although we didn’t have any issues, during busier check out times, this would likely create a major traffic jam!
Wow, even though it is somewhat off the beaten path, what a gem our next destination was! Wish we could have stayed longer at Belle Starr COE Campground on Eufaula Lake, OK. Our huge, spacious and private pull thru (#C27) site was right across the road from a small beach on the lake. Very pretty!
El Reno Lake City Campground in El Reno, OK was our next stop for a two night stay. Usually we don’t like campgrounds that are first come, first serve because you never know if a site will be available when you arrive. But fortunately we took a chance on this one and it worked out for us, perhaps because we arrived there early around 1:30 p.m. One section (sites 1-20) offers water and electric only ($20) while the other section (sites 21-52) are full hookup sites ($25).
When we arrived we were surprised to see a number of sites had cones on them. We later learned from the very friendly woman (camp host who directed us to full hook up site #37) who explained that these were because local people prepaid for the sites, but then would only physically be there over the weekends.
The next morning we went to nearby Sid’s Diner. No tables available in this very small place so we had to sit at the counter. No problem as it was quite entertaining watching and chatting with Adam, the owner, cook and son of Sid. If you are watching your calories, then don’t come here – ladles of melted butter are poured over the hash browns and more brushed onto their home made bread! Guess that’s what makes everything oh, so yummy.
When Adam learned we were RV’ers, he told us that the restaurant was part of the Harvest Hosts network offering free overnight spots for members. Behind the diner is a small grass field where RV’s can park. When we walked out there, we realized that this area would be okay for a smaller unit but definitely not enough room for a big rig to maneuver.
After breakfast, we drove to Oklahoma City where we visited Scissortail Park, taking a walk along the many scenic pathways.
After that we visited Bricktown, a former warehouse district, now filled with restaurants, nightlife and entertainment options, as well as Chickasaw Ball Park, home of the minor league Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Being the water loving people that we are, we had to take a cruise along the Oklahoma River on the Bricktown Water Taxi ($13 for Adults, $11 for Seniors). It’s is no where near as extensive as the San Antonio Riverwalk but was very informative, interesting and fun! Plus it saved a lot of walking. Of particular note is the Oklahoma City Land Run Monument which is the largest series of sculptures in the world, consisting of 47 statues spread across a distance of 365 feet. The views of it from the water taxi are excellent.
After an exhausting day of sightseeing, that evening we went back to Sid’s Diner, placing an online order for two smashed burgers with grilled onions, tater tots and onion rings. Delish! Sid’s burgers easily made it onto our top 5 burgers list.
Next stop – Texas!
At $70 per night for a big rig, the pricing of a site at a campground in Amarillo we had stayed at before seemed a little steep so the Oasis RV Resort was temporarily crossed off our list of places to stay. Instead we opted to stay at the The Silos at Canyon RV Park in Canyon, TX where sites at the time were $35/night. All sites must be reserved and paid for on-line. Another place where the website photos look way better than what it is in person! Basically just 12 hookups in the midst of a dirt field! Also it was pretty far afield from the interstate and required driving several miles on narrow roads. Nevertheless the site was long, the utilities all worked well and it was quiet. I think though, next time we might pass due to the inconvenience of getting there.
During our 3 day stay there, we revisited a number of places we had been to in 2017. First there was a visit to Cadillac Ranch where you can buy a spray can of paint from a “paint truck” vendor on-site or bring your own, then spray paint one of the Cadillacs to your heart’s content. We didn’t!
That was followed by a visit to give our regards to the 2nd Amendment Cowboy (formerly the Muffler Man), who can be seen tipping his Stetson to folks driving along I-40. Behind him three vintage Cadillac’s are angled on pedestals near a derrick-style RV sign.
And to get back to nature, another visit to the very scenic Palo Duro State Park.
A three hour drive along I-40 would bring us to our next destination, Santa Rosa State Park in Santa Rosa, NM which is off the beaten path, about 7 miles from I-40 but well worth a visit. We couldn’t find anywhere else to stay along the interstate and are so glad because this was a great find. We stayed on pull thru site A12 in the Rocky Point Camping area. Electric only (50 amp on our site) but there were a few potable water spigots available to fill your water tanks. Very quiet and peaceful with a huge covered cement picnic table and elevated with great views of the surrounding terrain.
Next stop was another been there, done that spot – Route 66 RV Resort in Albuquerque where we stayed for four nights on site #1302. I-40 between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque was pretty good until Cline’s Corners where the road deteriorated for a few miles.
On Saturday, we went to Loyola’s Family Restaurant, where both the very popular Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul TV shows have been filmed.
Excellent breakfast! Mine was the usual breakfast with 2 eggs, a homemade sausage patty, hashbrowns and toast while Rob had a Relleno (with green sauce), 2 eggs and hashbrowns.
Since Loyola’s is on the old Route 66, after breakfast we drove down several miles of it through central Albuquerque which was pretty neat. Click here for a four minute video of us driving thru the area. For us, it’s always been fun driving around this town!
Then we went to the ABQ Bio Botanical Gardens.
The botanical gardens ticket also included admission to their aquarium. Neat place. Except for our very sore feet which were killing us by the end of the day, it was a very enjoyable experience.
Once back at the coach, we later did takeout at the nearby Pit Stop, another one of our top 5 burger & fries joints. So good!
Our next stop, one of the most geologically and climatically diverse states – Arizona!
Had a friend who in June spent a couple of weeks touring Lubbock-Midland-Odessa-Amarillo. Lots to see. He is thinking of going back in early November (after he returns from 3 weeks exploring/hiking in the Amazon). He wants to hike in the Palo Duro State Park. Any advice/suggestions would be appreciated.
BTW, Ron’s chile relleno has me salivating. Was it as good as it looks?
Thanks for your comment. It sounds like your friend is an experienced hiker so I’m thinking he knows all the rules of hiking in a hot desert climate. We didn’t hike any of the trails so I can’t recommend any one in particular. Yes, Rob’s chile relleno was delicious!