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Six Ozark Lakes of the White River Basin

Our Summer Plan

The Plan

We’ve decided to do something a little differently this summer than what we’ve been doing over the past 8 summers. (Are we really in our 9th summer of camping? Hard to believe.) We’ve already been to all 48 of the lower contiguous states and so this year, rather than traipsing all over God’s green earth, we’re going to stay in the Ozarks and visit the many large Corps of Engineer lakes in the region.

The past few summers we’ve taken the pontoon boat for day trips to Stockton Lake and Pomme de Terre Lake north of Springfield in Missouri and last year we even took it as far as Beaver Lake in the far northwestern corner of Arkansas. But it was a lot of driving hauling the fifth wheel to the campground on Beaver lake and then going all the way back to Buffalo, MO to get the boat. So this year we purchased a Jeep which I’ll drive pulling the pontoon boat while Tim drives the truck hauling the fifth wheel as we travel from lake to lake. It’s a plan!

The White River Basin

We decided to concentrate our travels this summer on the White River Basin in Missouri and Arkansas. Our pontoon boat is a perfect vehicle for exploring the six Ozark lakes of the region – Beaver Lake, Table Rock Lake, and Bull Shoals Lake on the White River; Norfork Lake on the North Fork River which flows into the White River in Arkansas; Clearwater Lake on the Black River in Missouri which flows into the White River in Arkansas; and Greers Ferry Lake on the Little Red River which also drains into the White River further south in eastern Arkansas.

The Corps of Engineers operates all six of these reservoirs which make up the integrated water resource system in the White River Basin.

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The White River is a 722-mile long river that flows through the US states of Arkansas and Missouri.

The source of the White River is in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest southeast of Fayetteville. The river flows northwards from its source in northwest Arkansas and loops up through southwest Missouri through Branson, MO. In Branson the river is known as Lake Taneycomo since it is held back by the Powersite Dam created in 1913 when the Empire District Electric Company built a dam just south of Forsyth, MO. From there the river flows into Bull Shoals Lake where it travels back into Arkansas, and then heads generally southeast to its mouth at the Mississippi River.

On entering the Mississippi River Delta region near Batesville, AR the river becomes navigable to shallow-draft vessels, and its speed decreases considerably. The final 10 miles of the river serves as the last segment of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System; this part of the channel is deeper than the rest of the river.

Despite being much shorter than the Arkansas River, it carries nearly as much water—normally more than 20,000 cubic feet per second and occasionally more than 100,000 cubic feet per second during floods.

Authorization for construction of six flood control dams in the White River Basin was part of the Flood Control Act of June 28, 1938 with the Norfork Dam being the first one authorized. The Act was revised in 1941 authorizing Bull Shoals Dam and Table Rock Lake Dam.

Posted by JudyandTim2015 06:00 Archived in USA

June 1st to June 18, 2016

Atlanta, GA, Land Between the Lakes, KY and Buffalo, MO

Atlanta, GA

We left Florida and drove the usual mind numbing route of I95 north to I10 west to I75 north stopping at Atlanta South RV Park in McDonough, GA. It is a nice campground just south of Atlanta with easy access to I75. The site was paved and roomy and the campground has a nice large pool and lodge. But we were just stopping for a few days to visit with my son, Kevin, before heading on northwest.
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The new grandbaby, Avalee Baker. She’s a little doll.

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Kevin, wife Amy, and little Avalee.

Land Between The Lakes, KY

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Our route north this year took us through a new area that we’ve been wanting to explore. We drove north from Atlanta on I75 to Chattanooga, TN where we picked up I24 northwesterly to Clarksville, TN then onto US79 west.

Located in western Tennessee and Kentucky, Land Between the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area is the largest inland peninsula in the USA. Originally created when the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers were impounded (creating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley), LBL features over 170,000 acres of forested & protected public land, and over 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline. It is maintained and managed by the USDA Forest Service.

The campground we selected, Buchanan Resort in Springdale, TN, was NOT somewhere we’ll be returning to but it was sure popular with the locals. It’s is a mystery because the National Forest Campgrounds within the National Recreation Area are lovely! We explored five of them: Hillman Ferry, Crockett Frontiers, Energy Lake, Wranglers and Piney.

Our favorite was Piney Campground on the southwestern tip along the shores of Kentucky Lake. It offers 384 well-defined lake front and wooded sites with 283 electrical hookups, 44 sites with electric, water, and sewer, and 57 primitive sites. Most sites are capable of handling large 5th wheels like ours. They have a swimming beach area, archery range, ball field, bike trails, a campfire theater, hiking trails, two boat ramps, and a fishing pier.

We didn’t have our pontoon boat with us yet because we’d left it in Missouri last fall so we were really just researching the area for a future visit when we can bring the boat and stay longer.

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There are many nature features that we didn't have time to explore but one we came across accidently as we were riding along was this Bison Range.

Buffalo, MO

Leaving LBL we drove US79 west to Paris, TN then west on TN54 through Dresden, TN to TN22 northwest through Martin, TN to Union City, TN where we picked up US51 southwesterly; it became I155 which took us across the Mississippi River into the “boot heel” of Missouri. We took I155 west to I55 north to US60 west into Springfield, MO and then US65 north to Buffalo, MO. We like this route across the Mississippi River into Missouri because the bridge is one of the newer, more accommodating bridges (unlike the narrow, single lane antiquities on US60 further north near Paducah, TN), and it is a route that doesn’t have all of the horrible tractor trailer traffic congestion like you find if you go through Memphis.

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Things were pretty overgrown when we arrived but Tim had it cleaned up in no time.

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OMG! Is that really Tim wearing red suspenders?

We went into town to the bank in Buffalo one afternoon to get our candidate papers notarized to submit for our positions as Precinct Committeeman and Precinct Committeewoman in the November elections. (We didn't have to run in the primary because we have no opposition in our Precinct.) The Bank Manager's office was a hoot! She had all four walls covered with cases displaying her PEZ collection! There were hundreds, if not thousands of them! Amazing the things people find to entertain themselves out here in the boondocks.
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Posted by JudyandTim2015 13:11 Archived in USA

June 19 to July 1, 2016

Table Rock Lake

Lake Information

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Table Rock Lake in southwestern Missouri is the second largest of the three lakes on the White River and the closest to our property in Buffalo. The Table Rock Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1941, for “flood control and hydroelectric power, and other beneficial water uses.”
Construction of the Dam began on the White River near Branson, MO by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on October, 1954. As though to emphasize the need of the dam for flood control, the rains of 1957 brought on flooding conditions while the dam was yet under construction. Though the waters were sufficiently contained to prevent downstream flooding, the unexpected quick rise in the reservoir surprised property owners who were still in the process of moving their houses and property out of the reservoir area. The towns across from Branson though were saved from considerable damage. The flood delayed construction for a short period, but the project was completed in August of 1958 and power production was online in June of 1959. Two additional generating units were completed in April and August of 1961, overall construction was concluded at a cost of approximately $65,420,000.

Table Rock Lake has a surface area of between 43,100 to 52,300 acres and a shoreline of 857 to 745 miles depending on the flood control pool. This lake is huge!

Table Rock Lake is billed as the Bass Fishing Capital of North America.

Baxter Campground – June 19 to July 1, 2016

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Our first stop is at Baxter Campground (a Corps of Engineers facility), on Table Rock Lake in southwestern Missouri. It is a beautiful, well-appointed campground with paved and landscaped sites and beautiful views out over the lake. All but a few sites have 50 amp electric and water. And it is only 15 minutes to the nearest town, Kimberling, MO. Plus there is a full service marina so we splurged and rented a slip at the marina for the duration of our stay here. So convenient! In the past years at Beaver Lake in AR we simply pulled the pontoon boat up onto shore when we weren’t using it but there was always an issue with the wind and storms dislodging it. So renting a boat slip for a week was quite a treat.

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I love the location of this campground because it is about midpoint on the White River channel in the Lake. In other words we are about 23 miles upstream from the dam on the Branson end of the lake and about 35 miles downstream from the White River influx.

To reach Baxter Campground from our location in Buffalo, MO I drove the Jeep towing the boat and Tim followed pulling the 5th wheel with the truck. We drove south on Hwy 65 through Springfield, MO onto the James River Expressway west to US13 south. At Lampe, MO we turned west onto HWY H which took us into the campground. I had no problems at all towing the pontoon boat and I even pulled into a gas station about midway to the campground to pee. An old guy was filling his truck next to me and said, “Are you really driving that all by yourself? Well, good for you!” LOL! It was about a 1 ½ hour drive from Buffalo – and excellent roads the entire way.

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One afternoon we drove the boat upstream following the windy White River channel for two hours and were on wide, scenic areas of the lake the entire way. We never reached the end. As I said before, this lake is huge!

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I think we got the best site in the whole campground with site no. 31. It is the only one with cell coverage (on the rear bumper of the trailer only though), it is just a hop, skip and a jump from the water’s edge where I float on my raft and Sunshine swims around me and fishes from the shore, and it has trees that shade the trailer both morning and afternoon. I would be perfectly happy to spend the whole summer right here.

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Yes, I do have a tube and hat to match every bathing suit. LOL

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I don’t know why I packed clothes though. I’m spending all my time in my bathing suit! So it’s back into the water for me now. I tie a rope to the raft handle and to the tree on the shore when I’m floating here at the campground or to the boat if we’re off somewhere, so I don’t float away.

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This is the narrow bridge I drove across on US13 when pulling the pontoon boat here from Buffalo. It was scary!
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One of the things we love best about Table Rock Lake is that so many of the marinas have really nice restaurants that you can pull the boat up to. We sampled three different ones. The one at the marina where we have the boat docked even has hand tossed pizza! You can guess where we've been eating a lot.
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And we've been doing a lot of fishing - not catching, just fishing. LOL
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In Missouri we found we can get our fishing licenses online.

Posted by JudyandTim2015 14:34 Archived in USA

July 1 to July 10, 2016

Beaver Lake

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Lake Information

The lake's name comes from the town of Beaver in Carroll County, originally homesteaded by Wilson Ashbury Beaver. At first the dam was to be built near Beaver, but then it was determined that the area's geography and geology weren't suitable. Instead the dam was built six miles northwest of nearby Eureka Springs.

While the possibility of a dam on the upper White River was examined as early as 1911, the first feasibility studies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for constructing such a dam were made in 1929 and 1930. However, it was not until 1954 that Congress passed a flood control act authorizing its construction.

The 2,575-foot-long dam consists of a 1,333-foot-long concrete section keyed into a limestone bluff, 1,242 feet of earth and rock embankment, and three small earth and rock dikes that fill gaps between adjacent hills. The spillway section is 328 feet long. Maximum height of the dam above the streambed is 228 feet. At full conservation pool, or normal managed lake level, the reservoir covers 28,370 acres (or 44.06 square miles) with a shoreline of 487 miles at an elevation of 1,120 feet – the highest of the three White River Lakes.

The overall project was completed June 1966 at a cost of $46.2 million. The money was used to purchase property, relocate cemeteries, roads, and utility lines, clear the reservoir area, build the dam, powerhouse, and auxiliary embankment dams, and engineer and supervise the entire project. The reservoir reached normal operational pool in 1968.

Beaver was one of the first Corps of Engineers reservoirs in the country to provide for municipal and industrial water supply. This additional use was authorized by the Water Supply Act of 1958, provided a local sponsor could be found to pay for the extra storage capacity. The cities of Rogers, Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Springdale agreed to buy water from the newly formed Beaver Water District, which paid a share of the cost of the project.

Unlike the earlier projects of Bull Shoals and Table Rock in Arkansas, this time the Corps only acquired flowage easements around the White River. As soon as the Federal Beaver Land Office opened to acquire land for the reservoir in October 1959, developers began to buy and sell property around the proposed lake. Out-of-state investors were quick to buy large acreages that could later be subdivided. By and large, Beaver reservoir is known as a residential lake. Situated close to the cities of Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville (home of Walmart) in northwest Arkansas, the lake area is home to many people who commute to work.

The construction and maintenance of Beaver Dam has not been without technical challenges. A large cavern a few hundred feet upstream of the dam site was discovered during initial excavation work and was filled with 200 cubic yards of grout material. The earth embankment also rests on the Price Mountain fault line, and the dam underwent seepage repairs from 1989 to 1994 at a cost of about $33.5 million.

The Laird Property on Trillium Dr., Rogers, AR

We left Baxter Campground at 11:00 am and headed west to our next destination – our friends Dee and Dan’s new property on Beaver Lake.

Our route was:
• MO County Road H east to MO13 south to MO86 west to MO39 south into Arkansas onto AR221 south to Berryville, AR.
• We followed a tractor trailer route through Berryville to Walmart on the west side of town by driving west on North Ave to HWY 62 Spur then we drove west on US62 to Eureka Springs.
• There we turned South on AR23 to AR12 then onto AR127 west toward Rogers, AR. At AR303 we turned northwest to Larue Rd then north to Bittersweet Dr. to Trillium Dr. That’s fourteen turns. WHEW!

I was in the lead and I don’t have a GPS unit in the Jeep so it was a little stressful finding all the turns and cutoffs. The fear in making a wrong turn is that when you are towing a boat or especially a 36 foot 5th wheel out here in the boondocks, there isn't always a place to turn around. A mistake can be disastrous. You can’t rely on cell phone coverage out here in the Ozark Mountains either. Next time I think I’ll let Tim lead the way as he has GPS in the truck.

We had a wonderfully relaxing 4th of July holiday with our friends. Their 2 ½ acre lot on the lake is spectacular. They plan to build a home there in the next year or so after Dan retires (they live in Colorado now) but meantime they’ve put in a circular drive with a large storage barn and a dock.

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There are many deer in the forest here in the Ozarks and Sunshine entertained herself for hours watching for them.

Tim saw a 6 point buck and two does walk past him one morning not 25 feet away while he was having his morning coffee out on our “Redneck Veranda”.
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Redneck Veranda

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We even had satellite TV on our Redneck Veranda. LOL

We launched the pontoon boat at the nearby Rocky Branch marina and were able to dock it at their site for the week.
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One afternoon we all boated upstream toward Rogers to Prairie Creek Marina Restaurant and later in the week Tim and I boated to the other end of the lake to Starkey’s Marina Grill for pizza.
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Prairie Creek Marina and Restaurant

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Starkey’s Marina and Grill

The highlight of our week was the 4th of July weekend festivities with fireworks over the lake. July 3rd we drove to Prairie Creek Marina to watch the firework display there but on the actual 4th holiday we went out on the pontoon boat to watch a firework display at a neighboring town. What a sight! There were dozens and dozens of boats (maybe a hundred?) and as darkness fell, the fireworks were set off almost over our heads.
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Fireworks

There was no moon; after the fireworks were over it was pitch black dark, and boats were motoring all over the lake returning to their home docks. Unlike the waters on the eastern seaboard that I’m used to, the lakes here in the Ozarks have no channel markers. The only navigation aids are numbered signs posted in the forest on some of the points – no help at all in the dark! But with Dan’s expert knowledge of that part of the lake, we somehow made it back to their dock. That’s when the real fun began.

Dan had purchased mortars, bottle rockets, and all sorts of loud things which he then proceeded to light and set off out over the lake from their dock. We were having a grand ole time and were down to a few poppers (and almost out of beer LOL) when the Corps Rangers came zipping into our cove shining their blindingly bright spotlights on us from the Ranger Boat! (At least they didn’t have sirens wailing like the police cars do.) It seems that it is illegal to set off fireworks out over the lake without a permit. Who knew??? But they only gave us a warning; no fines were issued.

Beaver Lake is a wonderful lake for scenic pleasure boat rides and fishing. We always stop in a cove somewhere and float on tubes to cool off. And in the evening it is so pleasant having cocktails out on the dock while watching the sun set. This is the life!
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Posted by JudyandTim2015 15:47 Archived in USA

July 10 to July 31, 2016

Bull Shoals Lake

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Lake Information:

Bull Shoals Dam was the first dam created to impound the White River. It has one of the largest concrete dams in the United States and was the 5th largest dam in the world at the time of its construction. Work on the dam began in 1947 and was completed in 1951. It was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman in 1952.

Bull Shoals Lake impounds the White River for the last time as its waters travel toward its mouth on the Mississippi River. Bull Shoals is thus the most easterly lake and the one farthest downstream in the chain of three artificial lakes along the length of the White River. As with the other two lakes, it is controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and has the primary purpose of flood control. The level of the lake regularly fluctuates from an elevation of 630 to 680 feet.

The shoreline of the lake is highlighted by limestone bluffs and is totally undeveloped and protected by a buffer zone (locally called the “Corps Line”) owned, operated, managed, and controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The dam is designed for a maximum elevation of 695 feet (top of the flood pool). Bull Shoals Lake covers between 45,000 to 70,000 acres (70.55 square miles) with a 1,000-mile shoreline at 690 feet.

This lake is beyond huge! It’s humongous!

Hwy 125 Park Bull Shoals COE Campground – July 10 to July 14, 2016

Site 29

We planned out our route from Dee and Dan’s home site on Trillium Drive, Rogers, AR to Hwy 125 Park COE Campground on Bull Shoals Lake just north of Peel, AR. This time I followed Tim who had put the directions into his GPS in the truck.

Our route:
• Trillium Drive to Bittersweet Drive to pavement on Larue Road (“the road road”?!? LOL).
• At AR303 turn west to AR12 south then east on AR127 to AR23 north back to Eureka Springs, AR; pick up US62 east thru Berryville.
• Continue on east on US62 through Green Forest to Alpena, AR where US62 east joins US412 east to the junction with US65 north.
• Turn onto old Hwy65 through Omaha, AR and Lead Hill, AR to AR268/Marion County Rd 2059 to Hwy125 north thru Peel, AR to Hwy 125 Park Bull Shoals COE Campground.

Tim was towing the 5th wheel and I was following along behind with the Jeep and the pontoon boat, enjoying the beautiful scenery without a care in the world (because he had put the route on the truck GPS as well as on his iPhone). About an hour into what we anticipated being less than a 3 hour drive, the AC suddenly went out in the Jeep. It was in the high 90’s outside so it didn’t take long for the interior of the Jeep to become unbearable. I called Tim to let him know but we didn’t have any option but for me to continue on following behind him.

About 5 minutes after the AC went off I was driving across a bridge when I decided I had to put the windows down. When I did the Jeep suddenly lost all power! I was barely able to coast off the bridge to where I stopped off to the side of the road in the weeds (there was no shoulder!) I called Tim with the bad news and he said he had just passed a State Trooper coming in my direction and to flag him down. He had hardly gotten the words out of his mouth when I saw the Trooper coming and stuck my arm out the window.

To make a long story short I had to get towed to the nearest Jeep dealership which was in Harrison, AR – a 50 minute drive in the wrong direction. So what should have been a 3 hour drive ended up being a miserably hot, stressful 8 ½ hour day.

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Jeep being towed

Side note: When Bubba Long showed up with his tow truck, the Trooper let out a long sigh of relief. When I asked him why, he said that usually the truck was driven by the man’s daughter who is mute and who brings her physically handicapped mother with her to do the talking. Really, you can’t make this stuff up. LOL

Being Sunday, the dealership was closed so I left the Jeep in the parking lot, put the keys in their drop box and had Bubba take me to the nearest restaurant – a little take-out Pizza Hut with just 3 tables. Tim was going to come pick me up there after he dropped the 5th wheel at the Hwy 125 Park campground. I guess at this point, the way the day was going I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that their AC wasn’t working. OMG – a pizza oven and no AC on a 95 degree day is not a good mix. Somehow I lived to tell the tale.

Thankfully the campground was really nice and we loved our site which was right on the water with beautiful views out over the lake.
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There was a lot of activity at the Purple Martin birdhouse on the shore near our site; we had no end of fun watching them.
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We also spotted a new bird to add to our list – the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.
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The campground gets its name from Hwy 125 which if you look at the map you can see it comes to the water on one side of the lake and leaves the water on the other side of the lake. Rather than close the Highway, the state of Arkansas operates a free ferry from 7:00am to 6:00pm, 365 day a year! It crosses every 40 minutes.

We braved the heat one day and hiked out to the highway and down to the ferry. We rode across and back again just for the fun of it.
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Hwy 125 Ferry
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Views of the lake taken as we rode across on the Ferry
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Note where the sign is in the picture – a record elevation of 696.51 feet! That’s a foot and a half above the maximum flood pool elevation. Amazing.

We’ve gotten spoiled with having private dock space for the boat so we splurged again and rented a slip at the marina. It is really a good thing we have the boat along this summer though because there has been an unprecedented heat wave all across the middle of the country. All kinds of records are being broken every day. We barely set foot outside except to take Sunshine swimming or go for a boat ride. It’s even been too hot to fish!
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On one of our boat rides we spotted this interesting looking house high on the limestone bluffs overlooking the lake. What a view they must have!
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We stopped to swim (or in my case float) and were just drifting along when suddenly the wind picked up and the boat took off! This is why I tie my float to the boat! It was great fun skimming along behind the boat but then I realized I didn’t have a lifejacket on and if the tube gave way, I’d be sunk. Literally.
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It was a very busy service department at the Jeep dealership in Harrison according to their service technician and they kept putting off giving me a commitment on when the car would be ready to pick up. (Remember I dropped it off on Sunday.) As the days went by without any satisfaction we decided we were going to have to make a personal appearance to get the straight story. So Thursday we drove to Harrison.

When we arrived at the dealership we learned that the reason for the delay was that they had been unable to replicate the problem! They told us that they had no codes appearing on the computerized trouble analyzer so they had tried driving the car for over 100 miles and still could not find a problem. Also it turns out that the car was just 5 months out of “bumper to bumper” warranty. If it had still been under warranty they said they would have replaced the Totally Integrated Power Module; it was possible that there were no codes because the very thing that returns codes was in fact the item that failed. I asked how much it would cost given that there was no warranty and they told me $1000 just for the part! But then the manager came to us and offered to give us a “Dealer’s Courtesy Warranty” for $200 and cover the replacement with that; we agreed.

They weren’t able to complete the replacement until Friday noontime though which was when we were scheduled to move on to our next spot on Bull Shoals Lake on the far easterly end of the lake. So once again Tim and were going to have to travel separate paths.

Oakland Park COE Campground - Friday, July 15 to July 31

Site 26

Our plan is to tow the boat with the truck from the campground to the Jeep dealership in Harrison, AR and pick up the Jeep. Tim will hook up the boat to the Jeep in the dealership parking lot and then he will head back to the campground at Hwy 125 Park to retrieve the 5th wheel while I drive the Jeep and tow the boat from Harrison to Oakland, AR where we had reservations for the coming week.

My route:
• US412 east through the small Ozark towns of Yellville, Flippin and Cotter to AR126 north to AR5 north.
• Just before the Missouri state line turn west onto AR202 for the last 10 miles to the Oakland Park COE Campground.

About 40 minutes into what I anticipated being about a pleasant scenic 2 ½ hour drive the fuel alarm dinged signaling I was almost out of fuel! OMG what next? It seems that the repair shop had run all the gas out of the car trying to replicate the problem I’d had.

It was a nail biting experience as I made my way (towing the boat remember) through the Ozark Mountains along US412, a curvy, hilly road with no shoulders and no place to pull over, all the while waiting for it to run out of gas. After what seemed like forever, I came to the small town of Yellville where there was one little gas station. I managed to get into and out of it while towing the boat which was no small feat, I can tell you.

This idea of Tim pulling the 5th wheel with the truck while I tow the boat with the Jeep is turning out to be a lot more complicated than I anticipated. LOL

After a challenging 10 mile drive on AR202 (a constant stream of right arrows, left arrows and curvy steep hill arrows with 15 mph caution signs) I finally arrived at the campground – only to discover (in the 95 degree heat) that our site had no shade, no pretty views of the lake (our site overlooked a storage field full of old boat trailers and junk and the marina inlet – ugh!) and only 30 amp electric service which means that we can only run one AC unit, not enough to keep the inside of the 5th wheel cool during the day when we're having record setting temperatures like the past few days.

The moral of the story is don’t even consider taking up the RV lifestyle unless you’re prepared to be challenged by the unexpected!

But all things work out for the good for those who persevere. The next morning we learned from the camp host that there was a “first come, first serve” site coming available and it had nice shade and a beautiful view of the lake. So as soon as the campers left it, we quick like little bunnies ran over and placed our chairs on it to claim it as our own.

Site 2

Our site in the shade
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Our View
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After moving the 5th wheel to the new site, we rented a slip at the marina and launched the boat without incident. Yes, that’s a clue that there have been incidents, LOL, but we’ve decided that our theme for the rest of the summer is going to be, “What happens on the boat, stays on the boat.”

As the days passed the temperature soared. Day after day with temperatures in the high 90s and even into 100 degrees for a few days! It was too hot to even enjoy boating and there was absolutely no fishing because it was too sweltering hot to stop the boat! We were just slugs, hanging out in the trailer except for when we would take a scenic drive.

These pictures are from our scenic drive through Ozark Isles - a huge campground on its own peninsula; owned by the Corps but no longer maintained by them. What a pity because it is a beautiful setting and could be gorgeous if updated. You can register at the marina and dry camp there if you wish but you'd have to be nuts to do that in this heat.

Sunset looking out over Ozark Isle Campground
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Scenic Drive through Ozark Isle
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Ozark Isle from the water
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It was a 45 minute drive from the campground to the nearest town with a grocery store, Mountain Home, AR, and we found the town lacking. It does have a movie theater but … are you ready for this? … the theatre only had PG movies! This is a town with a population of 14,775. We stayed and watched The Secret Life of Pets – and actually enjoyed it in spite of ourselves. LOL

Finally we had a day where the temperatures were only predicted to be in the low 90s so we got up at 6:00am and went fishing for the morning. This lake is so large and so rustic, you can go for miles and miles, hours even, without ever spotting a dock! We felt like we were the only people on earth. It was just us, a couple of Great Blue Herons, and one Bald Eagle fishing all morning. I caught a small large-mouth bass and Tim caught a nice spotted brown bass which we baked for breakfast the next day.

Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron - the only other fishermen on the lake!
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The Vulture Tree LOL
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I should mention that the water is crystal clear in these White River lakes, especially Bull Shoals which I think has the clearest of the clear. One evening we walked down to the boat launch ramp and met a young man just bringing his fishing boat in. He had a cooler full of 5 and 6 pound Walleye! Green with envy I asked him what lures he had used and he pointed to his scuba tanks – he had been spear fishing! He said he didn’t think he did too bad for an hours work. Wow.

Boat ride to the Bull Shoals Dam
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Cove where we drifted and swam (floated)
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Climbing the limestone bluffs and jumping in the water - a favorite teen pastime on the Ozark lakes.
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Another sunset as seen from our campsite
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Last day boating and fishing on Bull Shoals Lake
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The weather can change in a flash out here on the lake. You have to keep your eyes peeled!
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Tomorrow, July 31st, we leave Bull Shoals Lake and head further south in Arkansas to Greers Ferry Lake, our fourth lake of the six Ozark Lakes in the White River Basin. Our route will take us west on Hwy412 for a bit; this highway has not been kind to me the last two times I've travelled it. I've got my fingers crossed that "third time's a charm".

Posted by JudyandTim2015 16:22 Archived in USA

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