It was terribly hard to leave behind the nicest park we'd been in. I could have stayed and kayaked the lovely Ouchita River for many, many days.
We took off early to get the jump on a long 320-mile drive to Oklahoma City. It was just a one-night stop on our way back home; tomorrow would be another long day to get to Amarillo. The first half of the drive was difficult. In order to avoid a hundred extra miles, we had to take a fairly winding, bumpy road through the hilly country of central Arkansas. Finally we reached the interstate again to finish off the trip to OKC.
Our KOA-for-the-night was about a mile off I-40. The road in was a bit narrow for Behemoth, compounded by some road construction, but as usual Mike was up to the task. The campground was typical KOA, narrow spaces too close together on less-than-level ground. It had some nice shade trees, a little too much shade for us; the Dish antenna was flummoxed for the evening. I usually remember to ask about that, but in this place I don't think it would have mattered, all the spots looked similarly shady. Oh well, it was one night.
Mike was fascinated by the storm shelters he found. According to the desk person, the two cellars could accomodate a total of 16 people uncomfortably. Hey, this is Tornado Alley. In fact, we'd seen a billboard on the nearby highway that looked more like a pretzel. I took it more in stride, I'd grown up with a grandmother that built her own storm cellar.
The next day's drive was quite a different experience. Fortunately it was all on I-40. Unfortunately the weather was in a whole 'nother place.
It started the previous evening when a bodacious thunderstorm woke us multiple times with its sonic booms. The next morning we timed our departure for a temporary break in the rain. Mike squeegeed off the sides of the slideouts and we tilted Behemoth backwards to remove as much water as we could, and then we were off through the puddles.
As we passed by the downtown of Oklahoma City, I shot a gray, blurry picture of the skyline with low clouds obscuring the tops of the taller buildings. The rain hit us again before long. My cellphone was starting to pay for itself; I could watch The Weather Channel's radar map and predict when the worst parts would hit.
The rain wasn't a problem for Mike's driving; it was the wind. We were into high prairie now, as attested to by the many giant windmills alongside the highway. The forecast, alas, was for even worse winds to come.
We got to the Oasis RV Park in mid-afternoon, a few hours before the snow -- yes, snow -- started.
That night the temperature hit 31 degrees. The radiant floors did their best to keep up, but I still needed all my layers and my electric throw and we ran the miniature electric heater nonstop.. Mike went around taping up any cracks where cold air could come in, including the carpet under the refrigerator.
The wind blew constantly all night and most of the next day. Some rigs in the park put in their slideouts; some who didn't had wind damage to their vinyl toppers. We hunkered down for the day in all our layers and waited for the snow to melt, which it slowly did that afternoon. By the following day, it would be sunny and 72 degrees. Welcome to Texas.