27 degrees.

27 DEGREES! Yesterday, I was walking Z, bundled up in leggings and long socks and blue jeans, with a long-sleeved shirt, two hooded sweatshirts, and my windbreaker, my gloves and scarf, and white flakes were falling out of the sky on me.

It was April 15th.

I feel that’s simply crazy. I would like to speak to the weather police and report Arkansas.

However, my campground is lovely.

And I really shouldn’t complain too much about the weather, because it could have been so much worse. On Friday, when I needed to decide whether to stay at Toad Suck or if I was going, where I should go, Zelda helped make the decision for me in the strangest way. She peed on the bed. And not trivially. It soaked all the way through the memory foam mattress topper and into the couch cushions below.

It was so odd! She seemed totally oblivious to it, too, so much so that I spent about ten minutes trying to figure out where this liquid could have come from if not her bladder. But it was definitely urine and since my clothes were dry while the sheets were sopping, it had to be hers. Not that I really thought I’d wet the bed completely without noticing, but she was so… not guilty, I guess?, that at least I considered the idea.

I googled, of course, in total worry, and discovered that middle-aged female dogs who have been spayed sometimes suffer from hormone-related urinary incontinence and that if it happens again, there are drugs that might help. I’m obviously keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen again — living with an obliviously incontinent dog in a van sounds like a nightmare. If it turns into a real problem, I want tile floors, a washing machine, and a bed with one of those liquid-resistant covers. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it, and meanwhile, Friday turned into an urgent laundry day, which meant a) I was leaving Toad Suck and b) I wasn’t going too far away.

Fortunately for me, that meant I didn’t try to make it to Devil’s Den State Park, which was high on my list of places to visit. As a result, I didn’t drive straight into the tornadoes that hit Arkansas Friday afternoon. I call that the positive side of spending two hours cleaning up dog pee. 🙂

Instead, I did laundry in Conway, then headed to Tyler Bend, a national park service campground on the Buffalo River. In nice weather, Tyler Bend is probably a pretty nice place — the trails looked very appealing. But it was not nice weather. It was rain and thunderstorms and more rain and more thunderstorms. And the campground didn’t have electric hook-ups, which I probably should have realized before I stopped there. It meant I was spending $16 for a parking spot, which is fine if you’re using your outside space wisely, but pretty darn pricey to be huddled in the van, wondering if the lightning will stop long enough to walk the dog.

On Saturday, I got back on the road. I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, but my dad had sent some mail to a Facebook friend for me, who was about an hour away. (Thanks, Dad! And thanks, Scott, for collecting it!) We met up for a nice lunch at the Ozark Cafe in Jasper. I was the pain-in-the-ass customer for them, unfortunately — there was only one thing on the menu that I thought would be safe, a salad, and when they brought it out, they’d put a dinner roll on top of it. Ouch. My gluten reaction is so ridiculous now that even that level of cross-contamination might have made me sick for several days but they were very nice about giving me a new salad.

After lunch, I started driving. I really didn’t know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my options and by the challenge of choosing between them. But I was worried about the weather. Not the tornadoes, because the radar map showed that I was safely to the west of that storm system, but the weather app was saying that it would be cold and rainy. I wanted electricity. And I wanted not to need to wake up the next morning and need to move again. Somehow that added up to me just continuing to drive, until I made it to Dam Site Lake Campground, past Eureka Springs.

The view from the van door.

I haven’t checked out the bathrooms, because it is ridiculously cold. And I have to say, not all campsites are created equal at this campground: mine is quite nice, but the one below would be a challenge…

underwater picnic table

(Pretty sure they’re not actually letting people take this campsite right now.)

But we are literally camped on a little island in the middle of a beautiful lake. It is approximately 700 steps to do a full loop of the campground, so our exercise is going to be walking in circles. Cold circles. But the view from the windows can’t be beat.