Day 9 - Friday 18th September 2015

Written by Kev

I sleep in until 8.30am. The others have been up and around for an hour or so.
The coffee has been percolated, so I sit on the balcony and write up my trip report while enjoying a cup and enjoying the smell of the pine.
The temperatures are going to be in the 90’s today, but it’s a dry heat and so a little more tolerable than the humid conditions found in Florida. We have breakfast of cereal and toast and are ready for the day.

We climb into The Beast and the first stop of the day is Carson’s Creek in Beaver’s Bend State Park. This is really just a car park with picnic tables and a slipway for boats. The only other vehicle there has an empty boat trailer, so they must be out on the water.

It’s very beautiful and very peaceful. We wander around for a bit taking video and photos and then jump back in the car and drive to Walmart where we need a few things lacking in the cabin. One of these things is a method for playing music, so we buy a $20 portable speaker to link to an mp3 player. Another missing item is a lime squeezer, most important when making margaritas.
Pruett’s Foods is next, where Matt nips in to by a good supply of limes.

We drive to the Ouichita National Forest Visitor Centre, where we talk to the ladies there and even they are unsure how to pronounce Ouichita. I think we settle on Wee Cheater, although it could equally be Which E Tar.
One lady has a skunk hand puppet, which reminds Susan of when she was a child and had a pet skunk. She called it Stinky.

Next is the Heritage Centre, where we look at a 100 year old cabin and learn about the forest and it’s history before getting back in The Beast and driving over the dam to the marina. We walk down to the boat dock and enquire about boat hire as we might take one out on Sunday.

We finish driving through Beaver’s Bend State Park and then make a stop for refreshments at The Grateful Head. This is a bar and restaurant just a mile or so from our cabin. We have beers and a snack of cheesebread and chicken wings to share between the 5 of us.

We return to the cabin and leave Deb, Matt and Susan to relax while Tam and I drive back to the Heritage Centre to start a 3-mile walk. The tracks are fairly well defined and signposted and we walk through the forest entirely on our own. It’s very peaceful and rather hot as well. At 5.00pm it’s 94F and Tam gets a bit overheated at one point, as there are some rather hilly sectors to the walk, so I pour water over her head. It runs down over her top half and she looks a little like an entrant into the Miss Beaver’s Bend Wet T-Shirt competition for a short while, but the sun soon dries her out again.

The last part of our walk is through one of the RV campgrounds. It runs alongside the water and must be a lovely place to relax. Some of the RV’s are massive, they are more like mobile homes and some people have set out a sort of garden in front of them with seating, tables, lights and lanterns.

Back to the cabin where Tam and I jump in the hot tub to relax. Deb and Matt join us after a while and we have fun chatting and drinking beer in the late afternoon sunshine.
After showering I make a batch of margaritas in our makeshift cocktail shaker and then it’s time to eat. The pork butt that we bought back at Hominy Meats has been cooking away slowly all day. When I get it out of the oven it falls apart very easily. We mix this with BBQ sauce – also purchased at Hominy Meats – and this makes our pulled pork rolls. We eat these with broccoli slaw and Susan’s homemade pickles. Tam isn’t normally a big fan of pickles, but she likes these a lot. They are thinly sliced and sweeter than the normal pickles we get. All in all, an entirely satisfactory meal.

Outside, Tam and I light the campfire and Susan joins us to enjoy the night and listen to music quietly on our little portable speaker we bought earlier. Matt and Deb turn up an hour later as they both fell asleep on the bed!
Deb chats for a while then dozes off again. She is the only person I know that can sleep, wake up and party, drop off to sleep, then wake up and party again.