We headed out later than I hoped, the alarm went off at 2 and I heard Matt hit the button. I thought it was the snooze and shut my eyes, I opened them again at 3:21 and we were running around getting out the door just after 4.
We got to Memphis by just before 9 after stopping for gas and breakfast on the way.
We were at the campsite by 1 after a quick drive to the wrong place. There are 2 Lake Dardanelle State Parks in Russelville, both located on Marina Drive, both have camping, but only one had our reservations. The second one.

We got set up quickly, I brought next to nothing other than our clothes and food.
It was SO hot, the heat index was around 108, the camper was like an oven. We cranked the AC and headed to the lake to swim. The water was like muddy bathwater. It was not cooling us off at all and it was really shallow. We stood out in the lake about an hour and then went back to the camper. As we loaded the van to drive to the campsite, clouds popped up FAST. At the camper, about 3 minutes later, there was a 50 MPH straight-line wind that whipped the camper and our stuff all over the place! It was amazing and scary and seemed to go on a while. There were whitecaps on the lake and the temps dropped about 10 degrees in 15 minutes. Then, it stopped. BAM. Not even a breeze!

We gathered our tattered stuff and checked the camper for damage. There was a small tear that could be fixed with vinyl seal and that was it.
We changed into clothes, had a hearty snack and hit the road for Mt. Nebo, about 20 minutes away.

The road to Mt. Nebo was scary! It had several, like 12, hairpin turns and each was covered in ruts and scrapes like someone's camper bottomed out over and over. I would not take Poppy up there for anything, I was not even convinced the van would make it! It wasn't the angle of the curves so much as the angle of the road. It KEPT going up, I have no idea how they paved that thing. You'd turn and the road was 45 degrees uphill, turn, another 45 degree climb. Okay, maybe closer to 40 degrees, but that's all I will allow, it was STEEP in the curves. That's just wrong. You can't drive anything longer than 24 feet up there, it will get stuck in the curves. Again-HOW did they pave that?

At the top, the drive was happily blocked from memory because the view was spectacular. We mucked around on the rocks and waited for the sun to set at...Sunset Point! You can tell a lot of thought went into that one. "Okay, boys, we've named Campground Loop, Playground Road and Visitor Center Circle. Next up, naming the rock outcropping on the west end of the mountain. Let's really put on our thinking caps for this one!" Oh well, it really was nice to be able to look at the map at the Bench Overlook (no! I saw no benches!) and see 'sunset point' on there. It took a lot of guesswork out of where to go next, since it was nearly 8 p.m.

Back at the camper (I won't even detail the drive DOWN the mountain *green*) we had dinner and showers and went to bed.

 

I need a slightly higher receiver on the hitch so Poppy will sit level!
But there they are, the dynamic duo.

Our Route!

 

Rainbow in the distance

Over into Arkansas:

Rice fields!

Lake Dardanelle swim beach

The wind blew open the camper door, which I caught with my arm. Owie!
The worst of it was and currently still is my wrist bone that got bruised. The cut stung for a couple days, but did not get infected.

Ben at site 8, it was just...not what I wanted.

The drive up Mt. Nebo.

SUNSET DAY ONE