Checking in from Lake Village, Arkansas …
Friday, May 4, I walked from Indianola through Leland to Greenville, Mississippi. In Leland, we learned that this was Jim Henson’s (of Muppets fame) boyhood home. It was along Deer Creek that wanders through the town where Jim found the inspiration for many of his characters. In fact, Leland bills itself as the Birthplace of Kermit the Frog. There is a very nice exhibit on Jim and his creations, hosted by a very nice lady, Ms. Dot Turk. Kids of all ages would enjoy this stop.
Following the recommendation of Guy on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” as well as several guidebooks, Brenda and I had dinner Friday night at a famous restaurant, Doe’s Eat Place, known for its delicious steaks with a savory sauce. Doe’s first opened back in the 1941 in a dilapidated grocery store. It does not look like a restaurant, much less a great restaurant. Doe’s is located on Nelson Street in Greenville, the street where all the juke joints and nightclubs used to be located as part of the blues “chittlin’ circuit.” The place has been around since the 1940’s and is truly unique. You enter directly into the kitchen and wander pass the preparation area to reach your seat. Today, many dining tables still are located in the kitchen, spread helter-skelter among stoves and counters where the staff dresses salads and fry potatoes in big iron skillets. Before integration,the blacks entered in the front door for meals of fried fish and tamales; and the whites came through the back door and ate in the kitchen. The steaks, then and now, were as good as billed. Newcomers may be shocked by the ramshackle surroundings, but Doe’s is easy to like once the food starts coming.
Friday night was another Wal-Mart parking lot night but with a twist this time. An hour or so after falling asleep, we were awakened by a banging on the door. It was a security guard and a lady who was looking for her credit card, most likely lost in the parking lot. We were no help, and it was tough getting back to sleep. Such are the perils of public parking areas.
Saturday was a milestone day as I crossed the mighty Mississippi River into Arkansas. I know it is not halfway across the country, but it feels good to say I’m now west of the Mississippi. The bridge over the river was new and very nice with a towering superstructure. The river, of course, is big but difficult to picture from just a single vantage point. Couldn’t help but think of paddle wheelers, Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
We are parking the RV for a couple of nights at a nice campground, Pecan Grove RV Park, in Lake Village, AR. We are directly across the road from beautiful Lake Chilcot, a 22 mile long lake that once was part of the river before it cut new channels and closed off what is now the lake. Really a pretty area. This RV park is a haven for weekend fishermen seeking bream, catfish, big mouth bass and small stripers. One of our neighbors said he caught 77 fish today. Dinner was at another highly touted stop “Rhoda’s Hot Tamales and Pies.” Certainly not a fancy place but really interesting to see the assembling of the tamales which at least one guidebook calls the best in the country. While no expert, they were very good. This has been the first time on the trip that we have eaten out two nights in a week, much less in a row. Just couldn’t resist special places like Doe’s and Rhoda’s.
This journey has now crossed five states with six remaining. We enjoyed Mississippi, particularly the Delta area and the blues trail. Our schedule for the next few days will be dictated by where we can park the RV since many of the small towns we will pass through appear to lack public parking. Our projected schedule:
Sunday, May 6 … on US 82 through Montrose toward Hamburg
Monday, May 7 … through Hamburg to Crossett
Tuesday, May 8 … still on US 82 to Strong, AR