After leaving Hot Springs, we traveled north to Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas. Our campsite, Downtown Riverside RV Park, was right in the heart of the city. We had heard a few bad reports about this campground but fortunately none of them proved to be true. It was clean, safe and conveniently located (next to a pedestrian walking bridge that takes you across the Mississippi River into downtown Little Rock). The only negative was that the park staff (two people) were a little squirrely. Friendly enough, but didn't make eye-contact or small talk. And always responded to inquiries with incomplete sentences, forcing you to ask a half dozen more questions just to get a clear answer.
Our spot gave us wonderful views of the river as well as the skyline of the city.
The bridge in the above picture is illuminated with multi-colored lights providing a unique light show every evening.
And our campground even threw in a little unexpected excitement. As we were nestled into our RV one evening, there came an urgent knocking on our door. This is always disconcerting because it is difficult to see who (or what) is on the other side of the door and late night knocks rarely bring good news. Although we always hope to find this:
The fear of the unknown, turns us into highly suspicious creatures:
This time, we were greeted by one of the squirrely staff members we mentioned earlier. She thrust a hand drawn piece of paper at us, that looked somewhat similar to this:
And then proceeds to inform us that the city has issued a Tornado Watch. If it turns into a Tornado Warning she was going to drive through the park blowing her car horn. If we hear her coming then run to the shelter (marked by the "X" on the map). This news rendered me momentarily stunned. Suddenly questions started pouring out of my mouth in one giant incomplete sentence: "Is it normal for Little Rock to get Tornado Watches this time of the year!? What's the likelihood it will turn into a Tornado Warning!? Should we hitch up now and head for higher ground!?" etc..
Her only response, as she headed to the next trailer, was "listen for the car horn". And then she was gone. We have grown accustomed to expecting the unexpected, but this was really unexpected! Our t.v. suddenly blared this message:
Forgive my french, but WTF!!!
We begin running around like chickens with our heads cut off gathering up important papers and other necessities. Lorraine starts throwing her important things into a suitcase and I'm throwing them back out to make room for my own. (Okay, it really wasn't that bad but we both were like, "what do we do now?")The skies started looking really ominous. Dark, puffy clouds rolled in and the winds started picking up. We quickly shoved our important papers (passports, birth certificates etc..) and essential medications into a "bug-out" bag and placed it by the door.
We then decided it would be wise to find the location of the giant, life-saving "X". Fortunately, we ran into other campers that were just as confused and concerned as us and we hunted for the location together. The map failed to indicate that the shelter was outside the park, across a construction zone, and on the other side of a levy! We think this was the entryway (or the magic door leading to Narnia):
It was at the base of the pedestrian bridge we mentioned earlier. Having found it, we returned and prepared ourselves "mentally" for the worst..
After a sleepless night of rain, whipping winds, and Lorraine's snoring (obviously not as worried as I was) the storms passed and was last seen by radar heading eastward. We did learn that a tornado touched down 30 miles north of us, fortunately with no loss of life and minimal damage. Whew!