We were no where near Kentucky or Virginia but we were about to discover some Bluegrass. We headed north out of Louisiana for Arkansas. We noticed how close we were to the Oklahoma border – so we diverted west again just a bit. The first day we drove on a winding road to a state park called Broken Bow. Wow – a huge park on a river and lake with superb facilities, store, restaurant etc. We hiked for an hour or so and enjoyed a nice étouffée dinner followed by a warm crackling campfire. It was to be a cool night and we were up by 7h30 raring to go a little farther into OK the next day.
As we were about to leave we noticed an Ontario plate at the campsite across the road. We had a nice chat with a friendly couple, Charlie and Cathy from Perth, Ontario. They were on their way home hauling their 5th wheel travel trailer from Harlingen, TX which is near the Rio Grande border with MX. Many Canadians spend the winter there in the dozens of RV parks that abound. Well it turns out they like music – specifically Bluegrass and were on their way to an informal festival with friends in Arkansas at which they would be playing. They invited us to join them there the day after next.
We googled things and realized that we were smack in the heart of ‘tornado alley’ in tornado season. Keeping a wary eye to the sky and listening to weather forecasts, we headed farther north in OK. It was a scenic drive through beautiful trees and we stopped for lunch at Windy Stop National Park. Continuing we stopped for the night at Talemena S. P. and found a nice grassy site. We went for a 90 min hike along the historic Ouachita military trail. The shrimp and dirty rice dinner tasted so good that night that we danced for joy.
The next day we headed east for our rendezvous in Adona, AK not too far from Little Rock. We found the Cypress Creek Music Park and checked in for a very unique night. That evening the fiddles, guitars, mandolins, base and banjo came out and we enjoyed an impromptu concert. Charlie and Cathy were great hosts and made us feel welcome. They were also very visible Christians. We enjoyed their presence. We promised to meet up in Canada again someday – and we did by chance at the Bluegrass Music Festival in Renfrew, ON a couple of years later.
So a chance encounter in tornado alley lead to some really good Bluegrass times. Check out Bill Monroe: