If you’ve been following our blog, you know we’ve had our share of dangerous moments (See GUNS N” ROSEBURGS). Since then, all was fine and dandy until today – Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Tim always uses the app, Gas Buddy, to find the best prices for gas in the area.
If you haven’t used it, you might want to check it out. For any location it will list the gas stations in your area, including prices, and the number of miles you have to travel to get there. But back to the story. We needed gas, and as usual, Tim checked Gas Buddy. He found a station about 2 miles from where we were, with gas 10-20 cents per gallon less expensive than everyone else. Is it worth It? Heck yes, if you put on as many miles as we do. As we entered Pine Bluff, (we knew because of the “Welcome To Pine Bluff” sign),
it was apparent that this was a town that had seen better days. Beautiful but dilapidated homes, and closed shops.
A bit farther along, we determined that maybe we shouldn’t be here. Hmmm. A few blocks away was our destination. How bad could it be, right? When we pulled into the station, a car was blocking the gas pump. Not buying gas, but just kind of sitting there. Tim thought better of honking the horn as if to say, “move on”. But then, right before our eyes, there was a very real drug deal. A thirtyish, rough looking man leaned into the passenger window, and gave the driver something. When he emerged, he had a large wad of bills.
If you don’t recognize this guy, watch “Breaking Bad”.
We filled our tank, all the while continuing to survey our area to make sure we weren’t in any imminent danger. Then, a car boxed us in from the front. The car next to us finished pumping, but didn’t move, and the people inside were staring at us. Tim anticipated a hold-up. We were blocked in and agreed that the hairs on the back of our necks were standing at attention. Finally, Tim honked, and motioned for a car to move so we could get out. When you are in a situation like that, believe me, you do not HONK, you very politely beep. Thankfully, the car moved, and so did we – quickly! As we moved, we saw the drug buyer’s car pulled to the side of the station. The driver was now slumped over the wheel. With mixed emotions, we pulled out of the lot. I immediately checked out the Internet for the crime rate for Pine Bluff, Arkansas. OMG! This tiny little town of 49,000 has the second highest crime rate in America, second only to Detroit, Michigan, with a population of about 700,000, in 2014. We couldn’t get out of Pine Bluff fast enough!!! Maybe in the future we should check crime rate statistics in unknown towns before following Gas Buddy. Or suggest that Gas Buddy add crime rates to their list of info. What a world…
Currently, we are in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the former retreat for celebrities, movie stars, and gangsters. In fact, we ate lunch at Al Capone’s favorite saloon, the Ohio Club. I had a Bloody Mary that sported 2 different cheeses, pickle, salami, jalapeño pepper, 2 olives, a cucumber slice, a wedge of lime and a wedge of lemon. And yes, it was fab! Please note, the table is an authentic roulette wheel.
Hot Springs is now a National Park, with it’s visitor center located in one of the old hotel/bathouses. The park we’ve chosen for the weekend is called Catherine’s Landing – an RVC Destination. (see Review). It’s pretty darn nice. Given all of the rain we’ve had, it was great to have a concrete, level pad, that sits high and dry – and seems to be in a nice, quiet (and safe) area.
Today was my birthday – aside from being another year older, it was a great day. Even though we lived on a sailboat for about 10 years, I have never been on a pontoon boat – until today. Tim rented a boat for us to enjoy Catherine Lake, here in Arkansas. I packed a lunch, and we explored the lake for a few hours. So peaceful and quiet. I loved being on the water again.
We also did FaceTime with our three grandsons. Shout out to Timmy, Danny, and Matt. We were able to show them the lake, with us riding across the water.
I bought cupcakes at Fat Bottomed Girl Cupcakes.
They were delish, with flavors like Creme Brûlée, Chocolate Turtle, and Salted Caramel – how could I go wrong? I have to scoot. We’re going out for dinner, then early to bed.
OK, so now we’re driving along in Oklahoma, and we’re getting news from every radio station, that says a fierce storm is brewing, a dangerous storm, and we needed to be prepared to take shelter. I called a few RV parks, and each one said we’d be better off just staying right where we are. Unfortunately, we are ON THE ROAD ! This is a forecast of the storm that is about to hit.
In the bottom right corner it says, Grand Casino. It’s the casino we drove into 20 minutes later, because they had an RV park. As the skies darkened, we picked up the pace. We drove to the casino hoping to snag an RV site, but after speaking with the hotel manager about the storm coming our way, we decided to take a hotel room. We unhitched the trailer, and put the truck in a parking garage. Truck – safe. Us – safe. Trailer – good luck little buddy. We didn’t know what to expect.
When we woke up the next morning, the sun was shining, and our vehicles were safe. Others. not so much…
Whew, close call…
Two nights later, we’re in Amarillo, Texas. When we checked into Oasis RV Resort, the woman told us not to unhitch, that a huge storm was coming, and the trailer would need the weight of the truck for stability and safety !!! Is this a cruel joke???? What the heck is going on? The skies are blue, and all seemed well, but we did as we were told. At about midnight, we woke up to hail banging on the roof and windows of the trailer.
The trailer was shaking quite a bit. I thought we were in an amusement park, only this was no fun at all. We hardly slept a wink, waiting for the tornado siren to signal us to move into the safety shelters. This morning, we woke up to a strange grayness. Not raining, but not sunny. We’ve decided to go about our business today as usual. Cadillac Ranch, an RV museum, and The Big Texan for dinner. Our only decision is whether we would like to be picked up in this complimentary limousine and taken to the restaurant.
We’ll take our chances and drive…
Note – “Danger, Will Robinson”, is a line from “Lost in Space”, a science-fiction TV series that followed the adventures of the Robinson family, their pilot, and a stowaway, as they tried to get back to Earth after an accident. It ran from 1965 until 1968.