7.21.2017

Southen Route Out

Gwen and I are in Pennsylvania right now, relaxing at my parents, but I'm taking the chance to review our drive out. We took a much more Southern route to the East Coast this time around, checking a few more states off of our list in the process!

We left first thing on Wednesday, our longest day of the trip out. Our destination was Arcadia Lake in Oklahoma, first meeting a friend nearby for dinner, then camping by the lake.


It was a long drive out, 9.5 hours without stops, driving halfway across Kansas, before turning south and heading into Oklahoma.


It was hot that night, but the breezes off the lake were nice. And we got to awake to a pretty great view.



Gwen loved that we could walk right down to the water from our site. She was very mad at me that we were just staying there for the rest of the trip! Ha!



The next day was followed by the shortest day of this drive out... only 4 hours on to our next stop, so we got to take it easy and stopped at a National Wildlife Refuge for a break and lunch.



They had a 1-mile paved loop trail to walk along and see some water loving wildlife. We saw a few Egrets, and one of my favorite birds, the Indigo Bunting.


There were also about a million frogs!


We had a mini picnic in the car when we got back, before doing their 6-mile scenic drive, then heading back on the road.


That evening (Thursday) we arrived in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas.


This was a rustic site in the woods (pit toilets only) which Gwen wasn't sure about, but it was beautiful and had one of our favorite water areas... and absolutely beautiful creek with waterfall.




Gwen was such a fish this trip, and was in the water swimming every chance she got.




She even got brave and jumped off the waterfall.


It was a beautiful place and we were happy to have stopped there.
The next morning we drove the rest of the way across Arkansas and into Kentucky.

(Friday) we passed through Tennessee before getting to our destination, the beautiful Land Between the Lakes.


Our site was nice, a quick walk to the bathrooms and to the lake. Gwen of course wanted to swim!


I was thrilled that night to be able to hit up a warm shower! Gwen made some friends with the kids from a neighboring site, so while she played I got to fit in a quick wash.

We also got to enjoy something we miss greatly in Colorado... Fireflies!

video


We don't have fireflies in Colorado, so we always look for them when we come out East.

On Saturday we left Kentucky, heading into our final camping stop in another National Forest, this time in West Virginia.


Monongahela National Forest was another more rustic site without anything but a pit toilet, but Gwen was okay with it this time. Especially since I surprised her with pancakes for dinner!


We also made friends with the people camping in the next site, a lovely family with three boys.


Gwen ran around with them that night, and the Grandmother brought ma a cup of coffee the next morning!



There was another creek nearby and of course those lovely trees that are so familiar to me on the East Coast! It was so much cooler here too then in any of the other stops. Oklahoma and Arkansas had been in the 90s until well into the evening, and Kentucky hadn't been much better. But in West Virginia it was in the 70s when we arrived and probably dropped into the high 50s during the night. We slept great!!


When we woke on Sunday, we were invited to breakfast with the sweet family next door, bacon and sausage and eggs, biscuits and pancakes, and orange juice until we were full! Thanks to weather conditions, a nice site, and sweet tent neighbors, I think this ended up being our favorite stop overall.

We started out after that, finishing the journey East by heading to DC and my brother!
5 days, 3.5 new states, and ~2,150 miles down. The first part of our journey is done!

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