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MONDAY - This morning we're headed to another Army Corp of Engineers Park, this time in Mississippi.

It's only about 100-miles from here as the crow flies, but we're not a crow, so we'll have to drive. Since there are only two roads that cross the Mississippi River between Arkansas and Missisippi we have a choice to make, head north and cross the Helena Bridge on US-49 or head south and cross the Greenville Bridge on US-82.

The northern route is shorter at nearly 150-miles, but that's the way we came in on. The southern route is only a little bit longer at 195-miles and we haven't seen that roadway yet.

Guess which way we went?

Approaching the Greenville Bridge from the Arkansas side.

By the time you reach the other side you're in Mississippi.

There it is, the Mighty Mississippi River and one of the large transport barges.

No matter which route we decided to take we would have been crossing the Arkansas/Mississippi border and guess what, we've never done that before. So for the 88th time since we started traveling we've crossed another pair of state borders that we've never done before.

We're running out of borders to cross with only 19 left to do, we've got one more coming up next week (#89) and then we won't be talking about this again until next April when we go for #90.

Any guesses which border that will be?

This is the advantage you get when you're willing to plan and book your reservations 6-months in advance. We've got an entire week here on what I believe is "THE" best campsite in the entire campground and not just "A" campsite somewhere in the back of the campground.

We don't always pick winners, but this time I feel we hit a home run!

We're all alone out on a peninsula and aren't expecting any neighbors until the weekend.

TUESDAY - Today was errands day. First up I need to find a Walk-in Clinic where I can obtain a 90-day extension on the prescriptions I already am taking, then drop them off at a pharmacy where I can pick them up later.

Next up was a stop at the local Tractor Supply where we filled an empty 30-lb propane tank.

Since we got a bit of a late start by the time these few stops were done it was lunchtime. I chose Chili's for lunch, mainly because it was located right outside of the Walmart here in Batesville, where we intended to refill one of our 3-gallon drinking water bottles and grab just a few grocery items we don't usually see anywhere else.

After that was out of the way (FYI - this Walmart location doesn't have a water refill station) we drove across town to do the rest of our grocery shopping at the Kroger Store. We prefer their produce selection over Walmart's.

BTW - It was at the entrance to the Kroger parking lot where I snapped the photo of the semitruck parking right in front of a yellow sign that clearly states "NO 18 WHEELERS"?

I guess there are some people who are "rule followers" and some that are "rule breakers".

Which side of that fence do you feel you fall on?

I should mention part of the reason we were running late this morning was because we were about 5-miles away from the campground when I remembered that I forgot to bring my prescription bottles so the physician would know what it was I was trying to get refills for.

So with no other choice we turned around and went back to camp. Then when we were all done with our errands we were once again about 5-miles outside of town when I realized we never went back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions.

Maybe it's time I start writing myself little notes or a "To Do List" for each day. Nah, I just need to rely more on Tricia to remember things. Nah, that's not going to work either!

WEDNESDAY - Today I have a morning appointment at the local FORD dealership to get an oil change and have them check out an odd noise I've been hearing coming from somehwhere towards the rear of ROVER.

I left early enough, at 6:30AM, so I would have time to stop at Waffle House for breakfast. It's been a long time since we've seen one on the road and well, I just love their hashbrowns! I always order mine smothered, covered and country. That means with sautéed onions, melted cheese and sausage gravy for all you non-Waffle House eaters.

By 8:00AM I arrived at FORD right on time for my appointment and they wasted no time getting ROVER in for an oil change. Then I watched them put him out in the parking lot to wait for a technician to check out his rear end noises.

Two hours later I got the bad news! ROVER's rear end is just plain worn out and is in need of replacement to the tune of $2000. Lucky for us when our original 100,000-mile warranty ran out back in July I purchased a Ford Protect Continued Service Plan.

For a monthly premium we are covered for just about any mechanical breakdown and this $2000 bill just got knocked down to my $500 deductible charge. There were other plans with lower deductibles, but they just seemed too expensive for the same coverage.

The other bad news is that it will take until Friday afternoon to finish the repair and the dealership here in the small town of Batesville, MS (pop. 7523) has no loner cars. They also have no rental car agencies in town, the closest being over in Oxford, MS (pop. 26,430) some 23-miles away. Oxford is where you'll find the University of Mississippi (Ole' Miss) campus.

BTW - When Enterprise Rent-A-Car boasts "We'll Pick You Up", thats only if you're within 10-miles of their lot. At least that's the rules here in northern Mississippi.

Hallmark FORD offered to take me over to Oxford to pick up the car, but then I'd face the same problem when it came time to return it. I opted instead to have FORD drop me off at our campsite, some 18-miles from the dealership, and have them pick me back up on Friday when the truck is ready to come home.

So we'll have to wait until Saturday to check out the other four Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds located here on Enid Lake and also time it so we can pickup our General Delivery mail at the Post Office in Pope, MS (pop. 264) during the two hours they're open (8AM-10AM).

FRIDAY - Just like they promised, FORD delivered ROVER back to our campsite around 10:30AM this morning, of course I then had to drive back to FORD to deliver their employee and pay the bill.

I was even able to stop at the Post Office and pick up my mail on the way back to FORD, they're open 7:30AM to 11:30AM during the week.

I surprised Tricia by bringing back lunch from Zaxby's Chicken, that was her pick for lunch on Tuesday when we ended up at Chili's instead, not that she was disappointed with my selection.

Just wanted to share a few photos from Tricia's early morning walks.

SATURDAY - Today we're going sightseeing, not that there is that much to see around here.

We're camped here at Chickasaw Hill Campground on Enid Lake at the end of a dead end street. There are 7 Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds and one Mississippi State Park campground located on the shoreline of the lake. They are all on dead end streets. As a matter of fact, there is a sign you pass on the way to each campground that warns you that "THE ROAD ENDS IN WATER".

If you picture a wagon wheel with spokes, that's what a roadmap of the area would resemble. The lake is the center hub and the spokes are the roads that lead to each campground with a road that travels around the lake.

We're going to drive around the outside wheel and down each spoke to visit all the Army Corp campgrounds. By the time we return to THE POD we will have traveled 80+ miles.

At the Wallace Creek campground we saw this debonaire gentleman driving around.

After visiting Wallace Creek campground we drove across the Enid Dam,
which upon it's completion in 1952 created the 21,000 acre Enid Lake.

This is the outflow canal on the backside of the dam.

While visiting the Persimmon Hill campground there was no mistaking that Halloween is near.

There is that 1951 MGTD again, he must be doing the same thing we're doing,
driving around and visiting all the campgrounds.

Every single campsite at Persimmon Hill was decorated for the "Trunk or Treat" night tonight.

In the end we decided the three best campgrounds, in no particular order, were Persimmon Hill, Chickasaw Hill and Wallace Creek. Some of the others were no more than a parking lot at or near the boat ramp and in many cases the water level was so low it was no where near the ramp, rendering it unusable.

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THURSDAY - When we were dumping our tanks in the campground this morning Tricia noticed that one of the tires on the driver's side was wearing more rapidly than the other three.

The two inside rows of tread are all but gone on this tire, meaning the alignment of that tire is probably way off. I estimate we have over 30,000 miles on this set of trailer tires. We put them on in September of 2021 and remember, we did go all the way to Alaska and back on them last summer.

We only have 125 miles to travel to our next campsite and I decided we would replace that tire with our brand new matching spare tire when we arrived.

About 75-miles into our drive it was time to start thinking about filling up with gas. All the stations we had passed up to this point were all between $3.39 and $3.49 a gallon. Looking 25-miles ahead using our Gas Buddy app we saw that in the town of DeWitt (pop. 3,292) there were two gas stations both selling at $2.99 a gallon. We decided to wait and fill up there.

While filling with gas I noticed there was a large paved and level empty parking lot across the street that would probably be a better location than a campsite to change a tire. So just 25-miles from our destination we rolled over to the parking lot and began the process of changing the tire on THE POD.

First up, locate all the tools needed for the job (wheel lock key, ¾-inch deep well socket and ¾-inch drive breaker bar, and last but certainly not least is our large ramp we place under the good tandem tire to roll up onto and lift the bad tandem tire off the ground so it can be removed, no jack necessary.

Next we had to locate the key to the lock on our spare tire rack under the front of the trailer. Then drop down the rack and remove the spare tire. This all went off without any problems, thanks to Tricia's previous experience with changing a tire on THE POD.

When we removed the tire we saw that the problem was worse than it first appeared. The steel belts were actually exposed due to the significant wear of the tire. Would it have made it another 25-miles down the road? Probably, but even if it didn't our TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) would have alerted us to excessive heat or low pressure before we would have been in any danger of an accident.

Just 30-minutes later we were ready to get back on the road, but it's lunchtime and there's a restaurant across the street named "The Catfish Shack" and I'm starting to get hungry.

Always willing to eat out instead of cooking and cleaning, we made our way across the street and enjoyed a delicious lunch. I ordered a pound of deep fried catfish nuggets and Tricia ordered herself some chicken strips.

When we came out of the restaurant we saw this sporty looking truck in the parking lot.

You can even see the parking lot across the street where we changed the tire.

No longer hungry, we pulled back onto the road, but just 5-miles later we were stopped in traffic, waiting for the road crew that was resurfacing the road up ahead. That's a good thing because it needed some work!

While waiting for the oncoming traffic to clear we had a "dust devil" come spinning it's way across the road right in front of us. Once across the road it made it's way across the field and then just disappeared into thin air, as they say!

At least the final 20-miles of our journey today were uneventful and we arrived at the Pendleton Bend Campground. It's an Army Corp of Engineers park, so we get to camp at half price, just $9 a night for waterfront property with water/electric hookups as a bonus.

From this angle it just looks like your typical campsite.

But from this angle you can see we're right on the banks of the Arkansas River.

Yes, Tricia has already started decorating THE POD for Halloween.

Our first of four sunsets here on the Arkansas River.

SUNDAY - Four years ago, nearly to the day, we camped for two weeks just down river from here at the Merrisach Lake Park in Tichnor, AR.

While we were visiting back in October/November of 2019 we thoroughly explored the surrounding area, including the nearby Arkansas Post National Memorial site.

This time around we're just "Takin' It Easy" and enjoying the view! That doesn't mean we didn't head over to the "Triple P" restaurant to enjoy a Sunday lunch. I was checking out their Facebook Page and was happy to see all the local support they received throughout the whole COVID pandemic and were able keep the business afloat.

This small privately owned and operated restaurant is 10½-miles northeast of the small town of Dumas, AR (pop. 4706) and is situated under the Pendleton Bridge on US-165 that crosses over the Arkansas River. We can easily see the bridge from our campsite!

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TUESDAY - Our Walmart "campsite" was only 13-miles from the Mississippi River bridge that would have us crossing the Tennessee/Missouri border.

This crossing would be our 87th such crossing between states that we haven't done before, that only leaves 20 more to do to have the complete series.

This is not the first, or even the last time that we'll be driving across the Missipssippi River...

..., but it is the first time we've done it between the states of Tennessee and Missouri.

WARNING: If you're not at least a little bit interested in U.S. geography and history you might want to skip this post and rejoin us on the next one!

The area inside the purple outline is called the Missouri Bootheel.

The only reason this border between Tennessee and Missouri exists is because of one man, John Hardeman Walker. Walker was the prominent landowner of the current boot heel region and apparently had enough clout in Washington DC to have his request that his land be part of the new state of Missouri and not that of Arkansas.

In 1820 the State of Missouri was created and the only part of the state that is located south of 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude is the "bootheel" in the southeast corner of the state.

Why do I find this interesting?

If John Hardeman Walker had not had his request approved, we would have had a second "4-corners" location in the United States.

Presently, only the states of UT/CO/AZ/NM meet in one location.

If you move the bottom of the boot heel up to the latitude with the rest of the state, where it was first chosen to be, the states of MO/KY/AR/TN would all meet in the center of the Mississippi River.

Granted, it wouldn't have made such a great tourist location to visit if you wanted just to stand in four states at the same time, which is what the location out west offers to it's visitors.

If you're still reading this I have one more tidbit of geographical oddities to share.

The "Kentucky Bend" is located right in the same general area that we've been looking at.

When the borders of the states of Tennessee and Kentucky were established, the western border of Kentucky was designated as the Mississippi River and it's southwestern border with Tennessee is that same 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude that Arkansas and Missouri used.

Tennessee of course challenged the inclusion of the bend region being part of Kentucky, but in 1848 they eventually dropped their claim.

What do I find interesting about this?

If you want to drive to this bend area of Kentucky, you can't get there from anywhere else in Kentucky, unless you first drive through Tennessee!

If you haven't already guessed it's been a pretty slow "news day" for us.

We're just spending two days here at Village Creek State Park in Arkansas enjoying some down time in this nearly empty campground.

Here are a few campsite photos to hold you over until our next stop.

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