And so the journey continues. After leaving Durnago, Colorado, Ville and I headed south through New Mexico and tried to camp at Santa Rosa State Park on a lake there, but it turned out to be the setting of a horror film and so we checked into a motel in town instead. After leaving there, we drove straight through the northern part of Texas (Amarillo) and into Oklahoma City where I got to stay with my cousin Jason who I hadn't seen since I was 16. Probably haven't matured much since then. Great to spend time with his family and kids. In Oklahoma City, Ville and I checked out the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum there and know all there is to know about cowboys, indians, and heritage. Actually, this museum is pretty cool if you have the time to check it out. After leaving we drove on east and into Arkansas where we were pleasantly shocked at how pretty it was. We headed off the interstate and onto some country roads into a town we picked off the map called Buckville which appeared to be on a lake (Lake Ouachita). We were getting worried as the sun went down and we hadn't seen a drop of water, but the lake finally appeared and it was a beautiful camping area right on the water of a huge lake. We ended up spending a full day here soaking in the sun, relaxing, reading, and Ville tried his hand at fishing (no, he didn't catch anything, but we saw a bunch of turtles.) Ville and I were pretty popular in those parts and we had a couple come down to see us with some Miller Light to just hear Ville talk. They owned the local fishing store and gave Ville a new fishing pole to help him out a bit (he was using a stick because we forgot our poles). It was really fun and a much needed break from the road.
From Arkansas we drove northeast to Memphis which is a huge, happenin' city and headed straight to Graceland. After realizing it cost about $40 to find Elvis, we walked down to his house, snapped a couple pictures for free and called it good. Back on the road we headed through Mississippi (which is really green with medium sized trees everywhere) and into Alabama where we, again, picked out a spot in a forest on a map. We stopped on the Lewis Smith Lake and the camping was not our favorite, but a spot. The lake was murkey and a ways down the hill, but it was a lake. The next day we drove out and stopped at a one-room Post Office and got to hear the history of the nearby jail that is the only one the is wood with about a million hand-made and hammered nails spaced an inch or so apart throughout the entire thing. Some man saw us checking the place out, and pulled over to introduce himself, and suggested a local place to eat some lunch. We headed to Arly's Coffee Shop and it was so awesome. A bunch of older locals and everyone in town there eating (must have been the most popular place in town) and had the lunch special of chicken and gravy, corn, green beans, yams, rolls, and even a brownie for desert. The conversation there was the best. Back to the road and found one of the craziest places I had actually seen on t.v., by accident. In Scottsboro, Alabama there is a huge building called Unclaimed Baggage where all of the unclaimed luggage and stuff goes the airlines loses and they sell it. I was on a mission to find my stuff from my life in Thailand and southeast Asia travel that they lost, but no luck. The woman said they have a high turnover rate of the stuff there and so if it was there, it would be gone now. Ville found an Obama shirt and a What Would Rambo Do? t-shirt. On to Chattanooga, Tennessee where we finally stopped for the most amazing bar-b-que we had ever had! And our last stop was at a hotel in Sweatwater to shower and recharge before we head into the Smokey Mountains today.
Thanks for all the love family and friends along our route, that has been the best part of the trip so far. Keep in touch. We will as well. Some words from Marty Stoufford, Until next time, enjoy our wild America!