We put in our final day at The Red River Gorge with intense hiking, Fred did some challenging rock climbing, packed our tent, and hit the road for Arkansas. The overall time spent in The Gorge was extremely fun, satisfying, and the landscape was mind blowing. The drive from Kentucky to Fayetteville, Arkansas is twelve hours. Twelve hours, in the car –highway driving! Leaving Miguel’s Pizza and Campground around five in the evening (a very late start) we assumed we’d pull off at a campground or rest area to sleep that night and finish the drive late the following day…
The trip was uneventful until we hit Missouri – I guarantee you will never hear that ever again. For starters, we started noticing a remarkably large amount of porn shops, and then of course strip clubs, adult bookstores, etc. I think “The Show Me State” had only one thing in mind. At about 1 or 2 in the morning extreme fatigue set it. We began keeping an eye out for campgrounds or rest areas, then searching for a rest area, and then desperately looking for a rest area. After a while we finally saw a campground sign, however after a 15 minute drive that dead ended and there was a sign “campground closed” (we’ve yet to forgive the sign). Okay, back on the highway.
An hour or so later we let out a huge, satisfying sigh of relief upon spotting “Lazy Days Canoeing and Camping”. We pulled off the highway was immediately in…Pornopolis. Every type of sex devoted business was on the road that lead to the campground. Bad omen, number one. We kept following the sign to Lazy Days and began driving down, down, down very steep hills. “Oh no” Fred says, “Canoeing? This place is probably deep in some valley!” He was right. We just kept driving down for 10 minutes –I began worrying about the welfare of the car and the very probable scenario of not being able to get back up the hill. Bad omen, number two. We level out and the first place we see is a rundown shack with every type of crap in the yard with a giant sign informing, “BLASTING ZONE!” Seriously?! Bad omen, three. I start panicking and begging Fred to turn around. But he kept driving deeper into the valley, we then see an upside down canoe with “Lazy Days” spray painted on it in drunken font. Wow, what kind of campground could this be? We pass more and more rundown trailers –did we miss the tornado that hit this place? That bad, just horrible, run down appearing homes. On our left we notice what looks to be a pasture, with farming equipment and animal enclosures. Ever seen Changling, with Angelina Joylee? That is what all that farming stuff looked like –straight out of a horror movie! Even Fred was freaking out! “They probably lure people down here with the hope of good outdoor family fun and then trap you and harvest your organs,” we reasoned. “Won’t be too long before they send The Hounds after us” Fred says.
At that point we give up on the (in our opinion) imaginary Lazy Days Canoeing and Camping. Fred turns the car around to go back and starts screaming! At the top of his lungs!
“What?! What?!” I shriek, he wouldn’t answer, just kept screaming. Fred slams his foot down hard on the gas and we skid off on the dirt road, up past the homes and up the hill. I was fiercely hyperventilating and gripping the sides of the car. “What was it, Fred?!” My mind was flashing pictures of every horror movie I’ve ever seen; zombies, deranged country folk, murders, killer animals, psychos, etc.
“Right when I turned around there were three giant black Figures, they were DOGS” he said, calming down. “Dogs?” I asked a little confused. “Hounds! Came out of nowhere –right up to the freaking car! They really sent The Hounds after us! We almost got killed” he said. I kept on sobbing and gasping for air. But half way up the remarkably long, high steep hill our cries turned into laughter.
And just because it was Missouri, it had to add insult to injury. The strip club we passed when we drove out of the valley had an illuminated sign saying “Tonight Only Midget Sierra!” Strip club, midget Sierra? Really? Now Missouri’s getting personal.
On paper the whole thing sounds like a big dramatized, overreaction moment. But I have never been so scared in my entire life –neither has Fred. We were so terrified we drove through the whole night only pulling off the road twice for an hour of sleep. We marathoned the entire twelve hour drive, arriving in Arkansas at about 9 or 10 in the morning. We stopped the car on Blackberry Road at Ozark Alternatives Farm and Orchard –relieved beyond belief to be out of that state.