It was a perfect travel day. All day long, we were on the trailing edge of a weather system. Ahead of us it was raining, but we stayed in sunshine the whole way. In fact, we even benefited from a tail-wind.
The route took us straight north along highway 59. Most of it was divided highway, generally in good repair. The biggest town we encountered was Lufkin, Texas. Both of us were surprised at how much logging there is in this part of the state. Right around Houston, conditions are favorable for pine trees and the area is covered with them. We were sharing the road with logging trucks and from the CB chatter, most of the truckers knew each other. Each town seemed to have some sort of wood-based mill or processing plant. Living in the city most of my life I used these products, but had no idea where they came from. Now I know. How many of these trees did I send through the copy machine during all these past years? And then the shreader? I suppose in a small way it contributed to the prosperity of the east Texas region.
After what seemed like an eternity behind the wheel, we arrived in Texarkana. The first order of business was fueling the coach. The second order of business was finding the RV park.
As it turned out, the RV park was not far from the center of town and was located in a dicey area. No, the area was downright scary. Our first clue was the lobby door was kept locked. Here’s the situation: it appeared the RV park was a small part of a larger motel-looking facility. We guessed that after the interstate was built the motel was converted into small efficiency apartments. As an afterthought, some RV sites were carved into an adjoining hillside. It just wasn’t going to work for us and it was time to leave. I got our money back while Jeanne worked on Plan B.
We ended up at a KOA on the north end of town. The KOA was set up for big-rigs and was handy to everything we would need for a brief stay. We had planned to stay in Texarkana for five nights, but after our initial encounter, we decided two nights would be enough.
After setting up, we were tired from the drive and didn’t want to hassle cooking. Dinner was a marginal meal at the local I-HOP. It was cheap enough, we got two early-bird seniors dinners. Two for the price of one.
Returning to the coach, we got into conversations with some of the fellow campers. One guy named Butch was visiting from Alabama to attend a Harley-Davidson rally. His motorcycle was towed behind the coach in an enclosed trailer. It was a good looking custom-built ride and he was proud of it. Nice guy.
Another camper, Robert, was from a town only about 60 miles west of Texarkana. His wife was going through radiation and chemo treatments at a Texarkana hospital and it was just more convenient to stay in the rig close to the hospital than make the drive every day. Not a bad plan for a lousy situation. They had been married for 50 years. Although he made a good effort to hide his feelings, you could see it was breaking his heart. I wished him well and hope his wife can return to a normal life. She had been a smoker most of her life and was suffering from lung cancer.
Contemporary Note: The scary RV park in Texarkana experience is one of our favorites stories to tell. Anyone who lives the smell of cooking methamphetamine in the morning would fit right in. We couldn’t leave fast enough.
In no way should our experience with the scary RV park rub off on the KOA. The KOA was neat, clean and well organized. It was a good place to stay if you ever wander into Texarkana.