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Old 06-07-2009, 12:01 AM   #1
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1998 25' Safari
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 65
The Arkansas Ramble

Well, we're back from our tour of Arkansas. Thank you to everyone who suggested things to do and see and places to stay. Arkansas is a beautiful state with a great State Park system. Here is a synopsis of our journey:

Leading up to the departure was a trip unto itself. I was in the process of buying a new TV, so I had to fly to Houston to finish the purchase of a 2005 Chevy Suburban 2500 (more on the vehicle later). I also had to buy a new weight distribution system, which took forever to setup. I am always a last minute guy and it stresses the hell out of my wife. Only a few hours late Sunday, we were packed up and hooked up and on our way to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.
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This attempt to reach the park was thwarted by a blowout on the curbside rear tire. Luckily we were driving right by a Wal-Mart in Greenville, TX, where the people were extremely friendly and helpful. The blowout did extensive damage to the wheel well, but what can you do? I bought the Airstream to take family on trips with and by golly I wasn't going to let a little aluminum rash get the best of us.
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So, about 2 hours and $500 later, we push on. Whether we like it or not, we decide we are going to make the campground that night. So, we stop and eat some dinner in the Silverback.
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We make Crater of Diamonds State Park at around 10:30p.m., whipped from the 12 hours of travel, yet hopeful for what lies ahead. We're in a new state and ready to rock. My daughter even made up a song about camping in Arkansas. We did the mining for diamonds thing, which was neat and scorching hot, all at the same time. The park has an awesome waterpark for kids with slides and all sorts of fun things. If you go, you must eat at Buddy's in Murfreesboro. The Chicken Fried Steak is incredible and will feed you for 2 days. We stayed there one more night and then left for Petit Jean State park. We drove over to Hot Springs and cruised the strip then turned north on 7 and drove thru the Ouchita Forest. This was an awesome drive full of tight turns, fairly steep climbs and really narrow bridges that will test you. The one thing I took with me from Arkansas is that it is a place full of beauty. I highly recommend Petit Jean State Park. We stayed where there were full hookups right on the lake and right under some enormous Loblolly Pines.
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The hike to cedar falls is wonderful and full of rock hopping and stream crossing. It's a 2 mile round trip and worth the effort.
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We did tons of sightseeing and hiking at Petit Jean, but decided it was time to pack up and shove off. We drove to Little Rock and stayed at a place owned by the City of North Little Rock. It was downtown and right on the Arkansas River. It was a very urban place with a gravel parking lot and full hookups. It also had a view of downtown Little Rock and the Clinton Library. Since we were only staying one night and cruising around much of the day it was perfect. Despite the raw nature of the place, we would have loved to stay longer and enjoy the town. It was very close to the Dickey Stephens Baseball Stadium, right across the river from downtown, and close to the interstate. We caught a baseball game at the ball park between the Arkansas Travelers and the Corpus Christi Hooks (hometown team) and had an awesome time. For those of you that haven't been to a AA baseball game, they are immensly fun. For the kids they usually have all sorts of playgrounds and inflatables and for the adults plenty of beer and room to roam. We also toured Little Rock which turned out to be a really cool town. Maybe undergoing a transformation? My daughter's favorite was the trolley.
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Cont'd
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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1998 25' Safari
Austin , Texas
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Here's the view from the Clinton Library, can you spot the Silverback?
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The Market in Downtown Little Rock.
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We finally packed up and got on the road. 12 hours later we arrive at our home in Austin. We drove roughly 1200 miles, which is by far the longest road trip I have ever been on.
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This was an awesome trip in which many memories were made, and I would like to thank everyone that helped me put this together. Now, on to a few interesting observations.

1. Just when you think there are a ton of Airstreams on the road, you only see one. We met a nice couple at Crater of Diamonds with a 31' classic. They said we were the youngest Airstreamers they've ever met! That may be true, but they were young at heart and very nice to talk with.

2. The Suburban 2500 as a tow vehicle is not near as adept as my F250. It is a way better family vehicle and has plenty of power with the 8.1 Liter engine, but something was lacking. Even with a WD system it never felt like it was in full control. Maybe I need to do some tweaking on the equalizer. I've never felt any sway with it attached to the bumper of my F250, but I suppose they are just different beasts. That being said, I love my Suburban. Ever since I got rid of my Excursion I've been pining for another big SUV.

3. I learned that when you have your family in your hands, you just need to take care of business. For instance, I have always been a little leary of the tires on Silverback and thought I'd just get by. Well, when you pack the family in the wagon, you better figure on more than just gettin' by. When the tire blew I didn't feel a thing. The Suburban didn't even move; however, it could have been disasterous. When I compared a new tire to the old tires, there was no comparison. The old Marathons were craked and dry, but not overly worn. So, I just decided to put on 4 new ones. It always pays to pay attention to everything.

4. It is a good idea to name your vehicles. It's a great family experience. Even though my 1 year old can't speak, I'm sure he had fun. My daughter named my car "Razorback," as we were in Razorback country. I like it, but I'm an Aggie and don't know if I can handle it. Then, we somehow got the idea of calling the Safari "Silverback." Get it, we're on a Safari.....you get the picture.

5. Taking the back roads takes longer sometimes, but there is a lot to had back there.

6. I have solid oak floors that need to be refinished in a bad way.

Hope ya'll enjoy and have fun gettin' out there.
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:29 AM   #3
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Oh, and I forgot to show you what the site in downtown North Little Rock was like.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #4
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Looks like a great trip, and sweet babies! You will find you learn something new every trip. (We are going to have to master posting pics.)
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:15 AM   #5
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Doug and Maggie, thanks. As far as the pics go, this has been my best attempt ever. Before this trip, our longest venture had been about 4 hours away, so this was definitely full of lessons.
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:29 AM   #6
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Looks like a great trip!
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:08 AM   #7
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Thanks Jules, it was definitely memorable.
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Old 06-25-2009, 07:59 PM   #8
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Sounds like you all had a great time. On your next trip to Ark stop in Mountian View Ark. We took our two granddaughters there last summer and they loved it. (Ozark Folk Art Center) Check it out on the inter net. The locals show up in town around 8 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening and play music and it is free. Just take a lawn chair and enjoy.In fact we are headed back in a week because the girls want to go back. We also did the Creater of Diamonds Park and yes Buddy's will make any Texan feel at home with that Chiken Fried Steak and don't forget the Blackberry Cobbler its to die for. Keep those wheels turning and make memories with your family.
Happy Trails to You all.
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