13th & 14th Weeks In Review – Fires, Floods, & Tornados – Oh My!

Somehow we managed to miss a week in review, so this summary covers the last two weeks.  There is a lot to update and a lot of posts to add when we get a chance and some free wifi.  The week started with a great weekend of celebrating with family and friends as we saw little Katie Wimmer become Mrs. Kate Osborne.  Congratulations again to the happy couple!  That was one fabulous party….

Jay and Sharon in Dismals Canyon

Us exploring Dismals Canyon near Phil Campbell

After traveling through wildfires in Texas, we entered flooding in Arkansas and Mississippi and tornado damage from Arkansas to Alabama.  I tested my fear of driving through water in Arkansas when I drove through a few feet of flooded roadway with Jay’s encouragement and a serious weighing of the consequences.  The worst damage was in Hackelburg Alabama, but the floods in Arkansas and Mississippi are sure to have detrimental effects on the region for years to come.

flooded road in Arkansas

the view out the windshield of the flooded road we drove through

With 8 out of the last 9 nights spent in our tent, camping under the stars, this leg of the trip has been a chance to reconnect with nature.  It may be a sign of too much time by ourselves in the woods that we spent one evening coaxing caterpillars off our picnic table and onto leaves so that we could transport them closer to their food source.  We were so caring with our animal friends, but then Jay realized these might be the type of caterpillars that eat fruit and we may have just led them to devastate a fruit tree.  Alarmed, Jay wondered aloud if he should have “snuffed them out” while he had the chance.  Apparently fruit trumps butterflies.

dismals canyon

Dismals Canyon, a National Natural Landmark near Phil Campbell

In other memorable nature moments, this morning we saw a red shouldered hawk pick up a branch from the ground a few yards from where we were standing.  Amazing.

Hopefully we can add a photo review, post about volunteering for tornado relief, and a review of the biking trails in Alabama soon.

Hours volunteered:

5 in Vilonia Arkansas going door to door letting residents know about the tornado relief services available

10 in Phil Campbell removing debris from an elderly woman’s home that was destroyed by the tornados

10 in Guntersville sorting and stacking donations for tornado victims at the Salvation Army

bird on floating wreckage

Bird finding a place to rest in the flooded area next to the Helena, AR levee along the Mississippi River

States: 4

Oklahoma – Talihina

Arkansas – Mena, Hot Springs, Sunshine, Vilonia, Helena

Mississippi – Sardis, New Albany

Alabama – Tuscumbia, Phil Campbell, William Bankhead National Forest, Grant (Cathedral Caverns), Guntersville, Huntsville

Budget: over — splurged on a hotel in Tuscumbia and had an unexpected car breakdown that we are in the middle of resolving

People Visited: none, just meeting new folks along the way

Nights under the stars:  8 out of 14 — we’re getting serious use out of our camping gear!

wild mushroom

Did not cook and eat this, but wished we could have

Best meal: Frank’s pasta at the Wimmer’s pre-wedding get together – most delicious Italian food anywhere

Best beer: Franconia Brewery’s Wheat Beer (with their Dunkel and Lager a close 2nd and 3rd)

Please remember to VOTE for us everyday in the Travel for Good contest.  We appreciate that you guys remember to vote even when we are out of cell reception and can’t remind you.  We are in 14th place!

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