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Goodbye, Arkansas

December 4, 2012

Arkansas – Saturday, December 1

Before I left the motel this morning, I talked with the voluntary services director at the Central Arkansas Veteran’s Healthcare System. It’s one of the largest and busiest VA medical centers and is considered a flagship of VA healthcare providers. The director wasn’t normally supposed to be in on a Saturday morning, but I believe he said he was showing Miss Arkansas around the facility. We talked about the wish list of items on the website, but he told me what they really needed at the moment was plain white t-shirts in a variety of sizes. I told him I would stock up on them and bring them by, only to realize that this particular facility was in Little Rock, not in Pine Bluff where I was (I think the Pine Bluff website is tied in with the main one in Little Rock.) Little Rock was the exact opposite direction from where I was headed, and I simply couldn’t get up there, so I told him I’d send a donation check instead, and he said that would work out just fine. So that is my military-related donation for Arkansas.

Since I had camped a couple nights in Arkansas, I had a little money left, and was able to stop and get more dog food and treats for Tula, and a few groceries for me. I still had a bit extra and was happy to be able to buy some toys to donate to the big Toy Collection that the Jefferson County Police were collecting for foster children. They had a big semi out in the parking lot along with some of the officers, and I was able to give them some sticker books, matchbox cars and Slinkys.

I headed southeast toward Mississippi, through lots of very flat farmland, and I think I was looking at rice fields. Most of the fields were freshly plowed – the rows were long mounds – so I’m not positive, but I know it’s a rice-producing region. I passed through a couple tiny towns, and none of them really had places where Tula and I could get out and walk. Then I came to Lake Village, right by a big oxbow lake, and there was a walking path (kind of in rough shape) along part of the lake, and long sidewalks through some lakefront neighborhoods, so we walked for a couple hours, enjoying the warm weather and the lake views, and got all 6 miles of walking done. The lake is 20 miles long, and used to be part of the Mississippi River, but when the river changed course centuries ago, this part of it somehow got cut off and turned into a lake.

Because of the Mississippi River, there are only 2 ways to drive into Mississippi from Arkansas, and about 15 minutes after finishing our walking, I said goodbye to Arkansas. Mission complete! Seven donations given (Turpentine Creek Wildlife Rescue-the big cats; The Little Chapel Food Pantry; Thorncrown Chapel; Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter; Mt. Comfort Church of Christ Food Pantry; Community Services Clearinghouse; and the Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System). And I walked 56 more miles – most of that with my new walking shoes, bringing my total number of miles walked to 672 since I began this adventure.
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