Lake Ouachita + Hot Springs, Arkansas

Well, we spent our first week searching for warmer weather frequenting Walmarts more than we would have liked, but we made it. Not to the warmer weather part per se but to a view that could take your breath away. Oh how cliche? But seriously. 

Thanks to freecampsites.net we were able to find Big Fir campground in Mount Ida, Arkansas. It was the perfect little spot we thought as we danced our hearts out and were finally glad we had made it to this point. 

We learned that night to choose our spot wisely. There were two small campgrounds and we found that our site endured the brutal force of the wind – not just the night before, but all the nights before, now, and after. Not much our scene. 
After overpaying for boring food at the small local grocery store, we decided to scout out the other small campground that held 5 spaces. There were two older gentlemen fishing. They had the works with their generators, slide out fifth wheels, and all. They were out ‘jugging’ as you call it for catfish. We thought better of moving. So back to the windy spot we went. Within minutes,we were back in the car at the other campground enjoying the distant company and comfort the two men brought. We had an unspoken agreement to look out for each other — though we really knew no threats of behemoth animals or strange shit heads would come. The most wildlife we heard were a few birds and maybe a frog croaking it’s heart out to its lover in the distance. Ooh la la. Not one squirrel did we see. 
We stayed at the new campsite for 4 nights. Definitely a great change from the Walmart parking lots and hours of driving. Hell — if we wanted to sleep until 10am you bet we damn well did. We read books, went on short walks and collected a shit ton of sticks, even some trees. Who knew how much wood it took to keep a fire going? And then because we knew we had to we collected more. 


We did however need to go into town, like a town that had more than a Family Dollar or Dollar General and get some real food. Oh and showers. Did I mention — we were a bunch of filthy animals? Planet Fitness, where you at? Hot Springs, AR was calling our name, or rather our wretched armpits. Turns out, we spent two hours trying to find PF and it wasn’t even finished! They had a trailer signing people up for gym memberships to a gym that wouldn’t be open for another month. Naturally, I went on a cursed rant that makes Lil Wayne sound like a lullaby for little children and so we devised a new plan. We could go no longer without a shower. 
“Anytime Fitness!”

‘Yes, we are new to the area and trying to find a gym we like. Do you have any free trial memberships?’

“We do! A free 7-day pass.”

‘Perfect.’
So we signed up at Anytime Fitness while we were judged and scrutinized like a tabloid picture because we were outsiders and not roided out on pills. Not to mention every girl in there was sporting a smokey eye. WTF? You’re there to work out, not check your ass or biceps out in the mirror. And I thought to myself, I couldn’t be happier that I have this ring around my little finger. Anyways, I’ll try and stop judging them like they were us. We got a free shower didn’t we? 
I know that sounds awful but it was necessary. You get to a point of unsanitary insanity that you will do almost anything to get a shower. 
We had a few other errands like groceries and thrift shopping to get to. A couple hundred dollars later and an entire day spent in town. We also checked out the historic downtown village that was adorable. With its bathhouses and hot spring brewed beer from Superior Bathhouse Brewery. We welcomed the solidarity Big Fir provided with its rather minimal expenditure and came to the conclusion we were neither city people. 


Other than the slightly cold temperatures and wind, there was definitely one thing this campground lacked –hiking trails. For Pete’s sake! I mean I can read a shit load and tend to a fire and make food but I also like seeing things, doing things, being active. So we thought why the hell not leave today? 
So I woke up extra chipper ready to get the coffee going and stoke the fire. I was excited to see what the world holds for us ahead. I mean really it’s like a surprise vacation where you have no clue where you are going or what you are going to see until you say, “There! Stop the car! Right f*cking there is where we are going to stay!” You both look at each other and get giddy like a little school girl all over again. 


Well, let’s rewind to me making the coffee while The Beard is still shaking his sleeping beautiness off. So, I’m getting the fire going again like a champ and I think to myself ‘Ya. You’re a badass.’Then, I’m like ‘Coffee! I need the damn coffee!’ I walk over to check on it so I can be the dutiful wife I am (being rather sarcastic; I love the man with all my might) and provide my husband with his morning cup o’ joe — only to realize the inverter light has been blinking the entire time which means ‘oh no. The battery is gone.’ So I get all worked into a tizzy and try to start the car to no avail. Come on! This just had to happen the day those two old men left. 
Thanks again In-laws and to cell reception for AAA. Two hours later the tow truck pulls up because obviously it is difficult finding someone and giving directions when you don’t know where you are and your gps and phone both say you are on an unnamed road. Thankfully, this man was determined to find us. Within seconds of getting there, he puts a battery charger on and presto Jessica is roaring like she is hangrier than ever to get back on the road! We immediately agree we need to purchase one of those battery jump boxes. It fit in the man’s hand, I’m sure we could find room for one of those. 
We cheer and realize that AAA will be a welcomed and frequent friend on the road. 
Good bye Big Fir. Hello World! We are back! Did you miss us?


Wandering where we want. Oklahoma? Texas? We’re not sure but we know one thing — cell reception sucks. But that’s okay. It’s good to unplug. 
Big Fir — Mount Ida, AR campground review:

We would rate this campsite a 3 out of 5. The lake is beautiful and quite clear. However, it is difficult to find and there is a lack of activities for adventurous people. Unless you bring a canoe or kayak (which we’re thinking of purchasing), you’re pretty much stuck reading books, admiring the water when it’s cold and walking the long road to the campground. It is a beautiful setting though that will cost you NOTHING which is very secluded and has an outhouse with FREE toilet paper! The Beard and I like just about any necessity that’s free. Housing and toilet paper — it’s what we call a win-win. 
Well, we’re off to wander. Hopefully, it just keeps getting better! We’re loving van life, just wishing it was a bit warmer. Keep reading to find out where we are staying next! Share your favorite places to visit in Oklahoma or Texas! Who knows? We might make a guest appearance. 


With Love,

The Beard and The Bohemian 

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