Maumelle Campground – Little Rock, AR

Maumelle Campground is a very very nice place to stay outside the city

Our latest dodge out of severe weather led us out of Oklahoma and into Arkansas. We avoided highways again and took very nice backroads through western Arkansas. We stopped for a lunch break in a cute little town called Greenwood, that had a well done historic park, full of restored or recreated buildings from the late 1800s. Dory got her daily selfie there, but people guessed it pretty fast.

First Waffle House sighting as soon as we entered Arkansas

This stop was planned with an agenda of seeing a very dear high school friend. This visit adds another state that neither of us has ever visited. Of course, the most important part of the journey was to eat at a Waffle House. We were in fact able to accomplish that primary mission for our first dinner. We have been told we cannot say we’ve truly had the full Waffle House experience, because we did not go there at 2am, drunk. Fair enough. But we did have cheesy scrambled eggs and Texas toast, along with our waffles, so that’s pretty good.

Big Dam Bridge

For our full day in town, Richard accomplished Mission #2: get a blood draw while traveling. This was a planned event, whose timing as requested by the doctor, would fall awkwardly in the middle of summer. Richard loves these kinds of challenges and came armed with lab papers, the location of a LabCorp, and his veins (Armed. Get it?). After that, we had time to meet my friend downtown for lunch, followed by a Little Rock tour.

Clinton Library and Museum

He had us meet him at the Clinton Library and Museum. We got a nice run down on the history of the city, including the pivotal role its history has played in the civil rights movement. We had a very nice lunch at the restaurant, named 42 (after Bill Clinton, the 42nd president). Richard and I were introduced not only to hushpuppies, but also the story of where the name comes from (literally: “Hush, puppies,” and here’s a fried dough ball to keep you quiet).

Very nice public park, complete with water play areas

After lunch, Richard rode around the river trails system, and I got a lovely tour of the nearby public parks. These are really beautifully designed, with sculpture gardens and children’s playgrounds seamlessly woven into rock borders that swoop and stack, as though they were part of the natural landscape. There are lengthy boardwalks above the marshlands, where enthusiastic swarms of turtles (“bales,” apparently) will come see if you have anything to feed them.

The “Little Rock” with Junction Bridge

We found what may or may not be part of the original “Little Rock,” which was actually a small rocky outcropping from the river’s shoreline that was once used as a navigation marker. And we wandered along Junction Bridge, where people fasten locks to declare their undying love for each other. It was fun to ponder the people behind some of the more unique tokens. There were some ornate animal shaped locks, as well as some combinations of multiple locks and/or chains, indicating, “it’s complicated,” we supposed.

Ciao Baci

We then peeled off so Richard and I could do some big city grocery shopping, but met up again later for dinner. There we met his friend, a native Little Rockean (“Rockie” “Rockstar”?) who gave us great advice about taking highway 70 to get to Memphis. We got to dine in the area south of Main, or SoMa, and a restaurant called Ciao Baci. This beautiful old converted house serves up a modern and eclectic menu. We chose a half dozen of the shareable appetizer dishes and that was both delicious, and plenty of food for dinner.

Terrible attempt at a “facie,” but good shot of a 12 scoop flight (and that’s the important part)

Of course, there was also dessert. For this, we moved to Loblolly Creamery and got a 12 scoop flight. It’s like wine tasting, but with ice cream! That way, you get to sample everything that sounds interesting, without the commitment. It’s all very risqué and edgy and I felt cool and hip. You can even walk a half block with your ice cream orgy to a little park, but they will blast loud music and turn on the bright lights at 9:00pm to drive you out, you crazy kids.

Loved Little Rock (and yes, I know I was supposed to be in that frame)

I loved my time in Little Rock. Seeing my lifelong friend, plus making a new friend, was a huge treat. There are some stories that just never get old in the telling. And considering we’ve known each other since before our teen years, that’s saying something. That’s the really good stuff in life.

Total miles from Arrowhead: 222.3, 19.2 mpg, 5 hours 47 min. Site A 14 hookups. 5g for both. Good dump. Short drive/bike ride to bike trail. River and marina view. Covered picnic table.

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