Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

We had mentioned that Lana, our couchsurfing host in Memphis, is a glass blowing artist. Before we left, we were hoping that she would show us her studio and maybe a demonstration of how she makes some of the beautiful pieces that we saw on her website.

And she did.

This would actually be a pretty neat hobby that could be done while travelling in a motorhome. To do the basic stuff, you really just need a propane/oxygen torch kit, and the raw materials which would include some glass tubes and rods, and some colored powders. But I can see where it would take a lot of practice to get the items to turn out as attractive as the ones she produces now.

First, the glass is heated to the point where you can stretch the tube and it becomes a pipe about the size of a plastic straw. This is the part that you would end up blowing in, in order to have the glass expand at the other end.

Then, you can decorate the finished end with other different colored glass, or powder that melts and fuses to the glass to make different designs.

Once the colors meld together, the glass starts to take on a very cool appearance!

Here are some of the pendants she makes and sells. You can see more at her website here…

We said our goodbyes, and hopefully we will meet up with Lana and Wayne again sometime.

Heading out of Memphis, Ruth got a good picture of the Pyramid. This structure used to be where the Memphis basketball team played, but has been sitting empty for a few years. Rumour has it that a Bass Pro Shops will be opening there next year. A bit of trivia, this is the 6th largest man-made pyramid in the world.

It was a pretty uneventful drive into Arkansas, a state which neither one of us has ever been to. I have to say, that the part we drove in today did not give us any reason to return. We did have a bit of a plan…we were heading for the town of De Valls Bluff because we had been told about “the pie lady”, an older woman who sells homemade pies out of a shack at the side of the road. I even looked it up online, and she’s become quite popular. But we didn’t see her, or her shack, and I think it was because we had got off the interstate highway quite a bit before the town, so the route we took into town didn’t go by her shack. And we didn’t see anywhere worth stopping for the night so just continued on.

Online, we had found a municipal park and campground in Pine Bluff, Arkansas (pop 56,000). It looked like a nice spot, and reviews said that it was $14 for water and electric. No tenting sites, just RV’s.

But when I was looking online at reasons to go to Pine Bluff, I came across quite a few websites that proclaimed Pine Bluff, AR to be “the most dangerous city in the U.S.” and “highest crime rate in North America”. One site said that Pine Bluff, AR made Gary, Indiana look like paradise. Oh well, we’re always up for a new adventure!

Our route to the Pine Bluff Regional Park didn’t take us through town, so we haven’t seen the town yet. But the park itself is really pretty nice. There’s a golf course on one side and a model airplane flying field near the entrance. Further on is the boat launch and picnic area, and then the RV park. There are 52 sites, all with a paved pad and water and electric service. The hookups are older, but there is even a 50 amp plug at our site. We would say that nearly half of the sites are being used by locals who are actually living here for $300 per month. Our site did cost $14 for the night, and we were happy with that.

We took Whiskey for a walk after we got set up at our site. They have made some pretty fancy preparations for Christmas lights in this park, and we wish we could have seen it all lit up.

Slept fine, and now headed out of Pine Bluff. Haven't seen any heads rolling or anything. Pine Bluff seemed a little rundown, but not any more so than many other places we've seen.

Headed to a State Park for tonight.


  1. You guys please be very careful...especially in Mexico. We don't want to be reading about you guys in the newspapers. Do you have people who read your blog daily and will check on you if they don't hear from you? I think all of us bloggers need someone to "miss" us!

    Don't mean to nag, but this post got me to thinking.

  2. From what I have seen Pine Bluff is a blue collar town, a little rough around the edges, but many towns have a rough area. and are not extremely dangerous, just alway be aware of your surroundings, anything that doesn't look right usually isn't and keep moving. Looks like you had a positive camping experience despite the bad press. Be safe out there Sam & Donna.

  3. I just thought I'd let you know that none of the pictures on this blog have come up. Maybe it's just my machine but this hasn't happened on your site before.
    I'm enjoying your travels.
    Continue to have a good trip.
    Elaine in BC Canada

  4. Same here. Something screwy with the pics. See if you can sort it out. Enquiring minds want to know. (OK, that's polite speak for being "nosey".)

  5. Glad your stay with Lana and her family worked out so well. We also had trouble with some of the pictures. Be safe!

  6. Pine Bluff sounds like a peaceful kind of place. Hard to imagine it's the crime capital of North America, but who knows! Glad you made it out alive!!

  7. Hmmm, we've tried 3 different internet connections, with 2 different laptops and the website and pics come out fine every time. Maybe there was an intermittent problem that is now fixed? I dunno. Anybody still having problems?

    Thanks for your concern Karen and Al...we're always careful. Yes, we have family who read our blog daily. Usually, we'll include a comment if we know we're going to be away from the internet for any period of time. Pine Bluff wasn't THAT bad, however just a bit further southwest are the communities of Camden, and Hope...and either one of those towns are much nicer than Pine Bluff. Wonder why people don't move to the nicer towns.

  8. No problem with the pics here, all good. Travel safe, have fun!
    (pine bluff doesn't sound all that bad!)

  9. All I get are the Red X boxes! When I click on one I get the following message:

    The requested URL /_osiER0_mbKU/TNgdM66IDaI/AAAAAAAADVY/lr3C1UHEPRU/s1600/001.JPG was not found on this server.


  10. Not having a bit of trouble with your pictures. That park looks nice to me, but I think I would sleep with one eye open while there. :)

  11. my pictures are not coming up either!!!

  12. I removed all the pictures and then put them in again.

    Fixed now, I think.

  13. Thanks. Your pics are fine today.
    Happy Trails!
    Elaine in BC Canada


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