Checking in from El Dorado …
I walked from Crossett to El Dorado Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8 and 9. Upon leaving the Arkansas Delta, there was an area that featured mature pecan groves, well spaced and well tended. This was followed closely by miles and miles of extensive pine and hardwood forest. Logging is the big business around Crossett which bills itself as the “Forestry Capital of the US,” (though the Pacific Northwest might disagree). The town is dominated by a massive complex of plants operated by Georgia Pacific—pulp mill, pine lumber, studs, plywood, pressboard and hardwood planking. And the roads are loaded with trucks hauling timber to the plants and dressed lumber to markets across the South; and I know this for a fact because many of them have come within inches of me on the roads.
El Dorado is more diversified and is an interesting town. In 1921, oil was discovered in El Dorado starting a boom to the area. 275 wells were drilled within 6 months with only 26 being dry holes. Within a year, a strike was made nearby in what became known as the Stackover Oil Field. This huge field produced even more wells, many of which produced 50,000 barrels of oil a day and one of which produced a record 74,500 barrels a day. By 1926, El Dorado had one of the largest concentrations of millionaires in the US and more money flowed into the town than the appraised value of all the property in the rest of the state. The town built the biggest and most elaborate county courthouse in the state, 3 magnificent churches and an extensive downtown area. Even though the oil boom has waned (just a few working wells remain), the town and particularly the downtown remain alive and vibrant. In fact, in 2009 El Dorado’s refurbished Main Street was selected “Best Main Street in America.” The town also claims several favorite sons—architect Frank Lloyd Wright, oilman and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt (whose daddy, H. L., was one of the original wildcatters in the twenties oil boom) and baseball Hall of Fame base stealer Lou Brock.
Wednesday, we are overnighting at Tucker RV Park in El Dorado. I had an interesting conversation with the owner of the park, Ralph Tucker. I asked him if there was a restaurant he would recommend for dinner. He proceeded to tell me the best places for what I call lunch. Apparently in Arkansas, dinner is the noon meal particularly on Sunday and the evening meal is supper. We ended up having supper in the RV. Thanks to Mr. Tucker for the complimentary one night stay.
Just a couple more days in Arkansas, then a couple of days in the very northern part of Louisiana. The route is a little iffy as we are having some problem locating dump sites for the RV’s tanks. We may have to shift to parallel roads occasionally. Our projected schedule:
Thursday, May 10 … Hwy 82 toward Magnolia
Friday, May 11 … thru Magnolia on Hwy 371
Saturday, May 12 … across the Arkansas/Louisiana border to Springhill, LA