Miles 566 – 716

We headed east past farm fields in Kansas along state roads to meet Interstate 49 in Arkansas so we could turn south. It felt great to finally be able to enjoy sunshine, the open road and green landscapes.

A shady spot was found for our lunch break near the Interstate by Lake Bella Vista Park in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Lake Bella Vista Park

Lake Bella Vista Park in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Further down the Interstate we parked among large trucks and trailers at a nice Arkansas rest stop. But, the big rigs didn’t hide us from a friendly man interested in finding out more about our Vistabule.

Later, bored with driving on the Interstate Highway, I glimpsed a faded sign enough to read the word “scenic” and that was all it took for us to make a spontaneous exit.

We didn’t know it at the time, but we were taking the Pitkin Corner exit onto Arkansas State Highway 71, the southern end of the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop.

Enjoying the slower pace and passing through small towns, we eventually stopped at a roadside pull off to shake our legs, determine where we were in relation to the Interstate and check for a campground.

State Hiway 71, Arkansas

Roadside Stop on Sate Highway 71, Arkansas

Wifi definitely was not available, but we still had cell phone coverage at that point for online searches. Earl made a call to reserve a campsite at Lake Fort Smith State Park which was just a few miles ahead.

Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas nestled in a valley edging the Ozarks National Forest. The lake was created from two reservoirs which were connected as the surrounding communities were growing and needed additional water supplied.

Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas

Overlooking Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas

The park office is in a beautiful building with exhibits to interest children and adults. Along the back of the exhibit area there are large windows overseeing paths and a stone lookout to the lake below. Near the windows there were handouts with bird information and binoculars set out for visitors to use freely.

Earl was fascinated with what he called the “rock gardens”. They were large rocks or boulders with striations of colored deposits, sometimes grouped with plantings. The landscaping was definitely top notch, enhancing and suiting the natural setting.

Rock Garden, Arkansas

Rock Garden, Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas

Our campsite was on the upper level section of the campground, near the rest rooms. It had a level concrete RV slab, with a separate shaded gravel section for a grill and picnic table. Forest lined the back of the site.

Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas

Campsite at Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas

After Lily the Vistabule was secured, I stretched out on the sofa with a delightful cross breeze coming through the side windows and promptly fell asleep. It felt like I was in a hammock; a very refreshing nap. Earl took off on a walkabout of the park.

That evening we fiddled with the multi-settings on the fan. The changing weather during the trip helped ease us into getting familiar with the features of our Teardrop Trailer. The only equipment that remained untested was the air conditioner and the solar panels for the Vistabule and the outdoor shelters we had bought at REI and Walmart.

The next morning as we prepared to leave, our campground  neighbors came over for a closer look at the Vistabule.

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