I debated staying another night at Piney Campground (see posting below) in LBL, but with possible storms entering the area I opted to head west again. The next night I spent in Crowley’s Ridge State Park, near Paragould AR. I went through Paris TN (seems to be a favorite town name), to Martin on TN-54 and TN-22 to Union City, then took US-51 south to Dyersburg. This is when I started encountering the swollen rivers and waters from the overflowing Mississippi River. A lot of farmland was underwater in the Delta area and looked like huge lakes on either side of the roadway - with trees growing in the “lakes”.
I crossed the Mighty Mississippi River near Caruthersville AR on I-155/US-412. It seemed like it took forever to get from one side to the other because of all the water on both sides. You could tell it was flowing pretty fast too. The water was up to Caruthersville and a little town of Hayti. At the junction of I-55 and I-155, I continued on US-412 thru Kennet (the hometown of Sheryl Crow) to Paragould and Crowley’s Ridge State Park.
Crowley’s Ridge is another interesting historical and geological spot. This is another area covered by ocean millions of years ago. The eventual retreat of the ocean left behind marine sediments and fossils. Geological evidence shows that a gently rolling plain, consisting of layers of clay, sand and gravel, extended from Little Rock to Memphis. During the decline of the Ice Age, two major river systems - the Ohio and the Mississippi - scoured out massive trenches - the Mississippi carved away at the area between Little Rock and the western edge of the Ridge, and the Ohio carved out the area between Memphis and the eastern edge of the Ridge. This thin strip of land became known as Crowley’s Ridge. The Ridge, eventually became settled and a few towns sprang up - Jonesboro being one of them. The Ridge is named after Benjamin Crowley, a pioneer of the area.
The State Park is a beautiful area and the dogwoods were in their best form. This Park is small with only 18 sites but there are several other State Parks with camping in the area, many with great fishing opportunities, they boast.
The next morning I continued my westward trek across northern Arkansas on US-412. At Black Rock, I encountered a raging Black River, which is a tributory of the White River at Jacksonport. People were gawking at the overflow - as was I - and one had to keep an eye on the traffic at the same time. Fortunately, Black Rock was built high up off the River. I am now entering the Arkansas Ozarks and the terrain has become very windy with lots of ups and downs - the familiar roller coaster ride. I pass through Cherokee Village and Mountain Home. One little town, I want to go back and visit, is the little historic town of Hardy. It is an apt name for the town and the folks who live there. The Spring River runs through and it has proved to be a testy River for the locals this spring. The town has endured three floodings within a month and to top that off within the same time frame, a tornado that almost wiped out the west end of town. Thankfully the historic part, or downtown, was missed but the newer part up on the flat part of the ridge (a “tornado magnet”) was hit hard. I was told that Oprah Winfrey was coming to town that afternoon to do a segment for her Big Give show (don’t know air date). Many interesting shops downtown, including antiques and the Flat Creek Dulcimer Shop. I had an excellent Reuben sandwich at the Hardy Malt Shoppe, an old fashioned ice cream parlor with a 50’s & 60’s atmosphere.
Following US-412, I ended up for two nights in Harrison AR, staying at Parker’s RV Park on the west edge of town. The folks were great and the campground was good, except for the highway noise but it settled down after dark. It would be a good place to go exploring around the area as many Ozark attractions are near by, so it could be a place to return to for exploring for me. Here I was able to catch up on my blog. The second day there, I stayed inside pretty much because of lots of smoke from controlled burns being conducted by the Forest Service southward. I later learned from the local TV news, that there was a “red flag” condition, meaning that there should be no outside burning due to wind conditions. DUH?
Well tomorrow will be either my next to last day on the road OR the last day on the road.