It's Not Nice to Be Fooled with by Mother NatureWestward Ho, Days 54 & 55: Fort Smith, AR, to Vicksburg, MS
And then there are those days where most of what you see is what's in front of the windshield... We woke up in Fort Smith Thursday with the intention of driving to Little Rock to visit the Arkansas Capitol building and a national historic site devoted to the 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock's Central High School. We had hotel reservations in Little Rock for Thursday and Friday nights.
However, with the foot of snowfall that hit central Arkansas on Christmas day and all the reports we had heard about power outages, we decided to check with the Little Rock hotel before starting that way. Sure enough, we connected with a recording indicating that their phone system was out. A lengthy call with Marriott later, we learned that the hotel had power but no phone, internet, or cable, and we weren't sure what else might be lost in the storm.
Meanwhile, we were trying to hook up with cousins Ann and Eddie, who live in the Oklahoma City area, but were vacationing in Hot Springs. We learned from them that the same foot that had stomped Little Rock had also kicked Hot Springs. The condo where they had been staying was without power, and they had moved to temporary quarters to wait out the repair.
Now what? We decided to cancel our Little Rock accommodations and found a place in Conway, just north of Little Rock, still hoping to hook up with Ann and Eddie in or near Hot Springs. As we drove east, however, the weather forecast changed, introducing a new little twist. From Hot Springs and Little Rock north (including Conway), more wintry precipitation was forecast, primarily freezing rain, which would lay a nice coat of ice on the roads.
|Poor pines just can't take the weight.|
Of course, at this point, the other few hotels in the town had been filled with the locals who had lost power, so we were stuck with the choice of staying in Caddo Valley or trying to find something an hour or more away. But should we go north or south? And we were still hoping to meet Ann and Eddie and their kids the next day. We decided to stick it out at the Dismal Inn. When we scraped up dinner from the groceries and leftovers we had in the car (not too many restaurant choices locally), we found a very fitting message in a fortune cookie Ken had from P.F. Chang's.
stumbled into them in Kansas a few weeks ago, we all decided it was best to go our separate ways today and see each other at a more propitious time.
As we continued south on Friday toward Louisiana, the amount of snow along the roadside dwindled, with light rain falling throughout the day. When we entered Louisiana, we began searching for a place to plant our Louisiana letterbox. Passing the D'Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge near Farmerville, we thought it might provide a shelter for our letterbox. Driving into the area, however, we discovered that it doesn't even provide a refuge to wildlife.
|Deer carcasses in so-called National Wildlife Refuge|
Disgusted, we left the so called 'protected' area immediately, hoping to never be subjected to such 'protection' and continued south to Monroe. Though we found a nice lunch in the city at a local Greek and Lebanese restaurant, we did not find a place for our letterbox. So we continued east toward Mississippi in the fog.
|Foggy day in Louisiana|
|Spearpoints, or 'arrowheads' as they are familiarly known, found at Poverty Point|