Monday, August 19, 2013

On the Road Week One

After a hectic couple of weeks prepping and stocking the Falcon and Royals, trips to the farm to sell cows, and visits to John’s mother in Lake Jackson and to Johnson City to see our friends Jimmy and Nine we left Austin on at noon on Thursday, August 1.  

The first leg of our trip was uneventful (always a good thing!) and around 4:00 we rolled into the Texan RV Park outside of Athens.  The park is open, with large pull-through sites.  There is little shade, and with the thermometer reading 105 degrees, we didn’t spend much time outside.  There is, however, a good open area for walking dogs, weather permitting.  There are also two small ponds with a number of ducks that certainly attracted their attention.  

Our second stop was at one of our favorite parks, Brushy Creek Corps of Engineers Park outside Jefferson.  We were lucky to get a lakeside spot, #130, which gave us a nice view of the lake and a big yard for the dogs.  In fact, they were so good about staying close to the RV that they only spent a short time on their tethers.  

In spite of the heat, we took some nice, long walks, and let the dogs play in the lake a couple of times each day. 

Rue is also learning about life on the road.

While at Brushy Creek, we experienced some electrical power fluctuations that initially concerned us and caused us to run only one A/C unit most of the time.  It seems that space #130 is at the end of the electrical line for that section of the park, so when the park was crowded it caused some minor problems for us.

On Monday, August 5, we finally got out of Texas.  We arrived in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and camped at Catherine’s Landing RV Park.  It is a lovely park right on Catherine's Lake, with a couple of short walking trails through the woods and a nice dog run.

Catherine's Landing is built on property that until 1993 was a working dairy farm.  Humphreys’ Dairy was known throughout the area for its excellent milk product.  The National Register of Historic Places said, “It started small with two cows and a small number of acres in 1911.  As the farm and family grew, so did the importance of the dairy farm to Hot Springs and the surrounding towns.”  In the 1990s, competition from larger operations finally forced the family operation to close.   We had hoped to explore the old barns and the lovely old home, but were told they were not safe to enter and that access was prohibited. They are considered historic, and have been sold and are expected to be renovated.  

We found that there is plenty of “hot” in Hot Springs.  Although the temperatures were no higher than when we left home, they came with higher humidity than we are accustomed to.  The countryside is lovely, but I haven’t sweated (not perspired, not glowed, but really sweated!) like this in a long time.  

We had only planned to stay in Hot Springs a couple of days, but actually spent a week.  Sweet little Rue celebrated her first birthday on Monday, and on Tuesday began vomiting and refused to eat.  By Wednesday she was very uncomfortable, clearly in pain, and we were quite concerned.  Since she is still a puppy and chews a lot, I had visions of half a tennis ball, a plastic toy or some other foreign object lodged in her stomach or intestines.  

We called our vet, Dr. Robert Rhyne of Northwest Veterinary Hospital in Austin, and asked if he could make a house call.  Failing that option, we asked for the name of a vet in the area.  We were directed to Countryside Animal Hospital, where they told us to come in immediately.  Rue was treated by Dr. Jarod Williams, an internal medicine specialist who knows his stuff and has a great doggie-bedside manner.  After numerous tests and a barium series, he determined, thank goodness, that there was no tennis ball.  She did have a severe case of gastroenteritis, so was on antibiotics and a special diet for several days.  Fortunately, she seems to have gotten past it all and is her lively self again.  John said that it was a very expensive "gas bill" but we were very relieved that she didn't need surgery.

In fact, in a couple of days she was up for a game of ball at the Hot Springs Bark Park, which we highly recommend.

The park is located adjacent to a city park with a lovely steam running through it...a good place for dogs to cool off after chasing balls.

We took some day trips in the area, including a visit to the historic Bathhouse Row in the Hot Springs National Park where we had mineral baths and massage at the Buckstaff.  

Since they wouldn't let me take a picture of myself wrapped in my "bath sheet," I have substituted a photo of the lovely restored interior.  Sorry if you're disappointed.

Another day we visited several COE parks on beautiful Lake Ouachita.  We had originally planned to spend one or two nights in Hot Springs, then move to an RV park on the lake.  Unfortunately, the parks we visited were crowded, and there were only a few sites that would accommodate us.  So, we took a few photos and stayed in town.  In addition to the fantastic views like this one....

...there were interesting roadside attractions (note the  sign).

Another beautiful spot we visited, and where we may stay the next time we are in the area, is Lake Catherine State Park.  A few miles outside of town, it has nice big sites, good lake access and offers full hook-ups (always important if we want to say more than a week). 

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