Jasper, Arkansas and The Ozark Grand Canyon
Saturday / Sunday and Monday
August 24,25, 26
1100 miles straight, a day to recuperate, and then the Big Cat Rescue
Saturday / Sunday
I mentioned at the beginning of this story that I am in full throttle "GO MODE" on these trips until I drop. That goes for the start, all the way to the end. It is literally 1,100 miles from Jasper Arkansas to Tampa. If I'd have had my preference we'd have driven straight through on the way there. I just don't want to stop. We spent Friday loading up the truck and then the original plan was to stop midway and sleep and then spend Sunday driving in to Tampa.
A word about Friday night. We brought the dogs on this trip and I am VERY glad we did. Friday night, actually Saturday morning around 3am, the dogs went NUTS. I rolled out of bed to see a car parked outside my cabin. Ok, well, good morning. I'm awake now.
I grabbed my pants, my handy-dandy-CWP-Glock and went outside to see what was going on. No one was around. Certainly no one easy to see. You'd be surprised how fast people move when you rack a round though. This skinny, bearded, shirtless meth-head came popping out of the dark in a hurry.
He tried talking to me, asking me about our trip, the cabin, etc. "It's 3am" was my first reply. He pressed for information. "I'm not having a conversation with you" is what I said, my hand moving to the butt of my pistol as I stepped back. "HEY man, I'm not a threat to you!" "Mister, I don't know you." I never threatened, I moved back, sat down on the fender of the trailer and never took my eyes off him. He looked at me for about 3 seconds, jumped in his car and drove off.
Suffice it to say I didn't sleep for the rest of the night.
I talked to the owner of the cabin and she apologized profusely. Apparently, crystal meth is SUCH a problem that the local roaches will come out and try to take anything that isn't bolted down. Ladders, ropes, anything they can trade for meth. So much for the safety of the country. He wasn't threatening, he was more like a greasy rat than an actual predator. Regardless, you don't come sniffing around me and my family at 3am if you value anything about your existence at all. I've done this dance already, nothing good comes visiting when everyone should be asleep.
Back to Saturday.
So we get up and basically drove to Tampa straight. STRAIGHT through, something like 18 or 19 hours of driving. We'd stop, get gas, eat a meal in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel and then keep moving. I pushed myself as hard as my mind and body could take and I actually ran down - it was fantastic. I was having a tough time with hallucinations by the end of the trip and maintaining mental focus was a real challenge.
Sunday we slept. Pretty much the whole day. It was awesome. No meal ever tastes as good as they one you eat after being deprived and no rest is EVER as good as what you get when you sleep because you simply can't do anything else.
Big Cat Rescue
Since we rested ALL day Sunday we had Monday to actually enjoy being on vacation in town. We had been talking about visiting Tampa's Big Cat Rescue. It was a lot of fun, kind of wet from all the rain but lots of really good stories about big cats that have been rescued from some HORRIBLE situations.