Remember that family reunion where we naively tried to take our aluminum tent two years ago? Well, it's a bi-annual reunion. This year, the reunion was near Hot Springs, AR the second weekend in July. We planned to go for a long weekend. Sometimes things just don't go as planned. Instead of a long weekend, we spent three terrific weeks in the Midwest!
On our first travel day we breezed through Birmingham (breathing a sigh of relief ) and headed toward Memphis. Much of the day was rainy and some portions of the day were downright treacherous. The rain let up just enough for us to spot "Tupelo" on a road sign. Aaaaahhh! Tupelo, Mississippi. Birthplace of Elvis. We were smitten when we stopped on our way back from Texas last October. I was ready for a break from driving and I knew just the place to refill my coffee cup, Cafe 212. (Or maybe getting my coffee refilled was just an excuse to visit the clothing and all things wonderful boutique, The Main Attraction.) I parallel parked the trailer on Main, next to Tupelo Hardware.
We frequent hardware stores in small town Georgia almost every time we camp someplace new. Do people who work at hardware stores read from a script? Religiously, we are greeted with a "Can I help you?" to the tune of "You're not local. What do you need?" Tupelo was no exception. We rattled off our usual list of hard-to-finds. Then heard "We used to have that. Yup. Used to have that, too." A little disappointed they didn't have our metal window screen corners, if unsurprised, we wandered around ogling all the Radio Flyer toys and White Mountain ice cream makers.
Finished at the hardware store, we left at the same time as some other "out of town-ers" who gushed about our Airstream earlier when we were walking into the hardware store together. We offered them a tour (as much of a tour as one can give when the table and everything else is strapped down.) Soon after, two people from the hardware store sheepishly peeked into the doorway and asked for a tour, too. We were happy to oblige.
In our trailer, one of hardware folks told us that Tupelo Hardware was the very place where Elvis Presley got his first guitar. He came in with his mother and asked her to buy him a gun. They compromised and she bought him a guitar for $7 instead. I'll be darned! See what cool things we learn just by giving trailer tours!
We made it to Little Rock long after dark. I might have stopped sooner but I erroneously kept thinking that our "sleepy little bit" in the back seat would fall asleep if I would just keep driving. It was getting close to midnight and she still wasn't sleeping. (She's too much like me, afraid she might miss something.) Not long after Little Rock we found a quiet place to stop for the night.
After a short hour and a half drive in the morning we arrived at our Lake Ouachita campground, where we were reminded that this "camping in a trailer" thing is something we don't have all figured out yet. First of all, it was kind of an ordeal to get parked in our spot. We followed the one-way road to our site (picked at random several months ago) and found that we had to make a three point turn (to turn completely around) in order to back into the site. Weird. We got the trailer in just the right spot, turned the kids loose, unhitched, and started setting up. Ahh! At last! We're here. The weather is perfect. There's a nice view of the lake. I finally got around to hooking up the fresh water...except... um... Where is the spigot? Hmm. Oh, look. Our neighbors don't have a spigot either.
I will be the first to admit that our camping experiences thus far have mostly been limited to state parks. Campsites with power and but no water are a new one to me. Lesson learned. We'll be checking the power and water first from now on. We hitched up again, drove to a "freshwater filling station" near the dump station then came back and did the whole set-up again. (Boy! It's a good thing we got our water pump and inlet installed before we left!)