Posts Tagged Bentonville AR

Sammy Scare But Back On The Move



Arches National Park

March-April 2017

If you have never smelled the South or Southwest when grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges are blooming, you are in for a treat. The smell is fragrant, sweet and a bit intoxicating. It’s another reason we love the Southwest, especially because the blooming happens while the rest of the country is still experience arctic blasts.

We left the blossoms and Sam dog with the sitter while we flew back to Bentonville, Arkansas.

I had to delay my trip a bit because Sam was in bad shape. While we were in Tucson for the Escapees Rally, Sam started to act strangely. He couldn’t keep up with me on a simple walk around the RV Park. When we picked him up he would cry out in pain and he became lethargic.


Too tired to hold his head up 😦

He was holding up his left front paw and I found an enlarged lymph node on his left chest. We immediately started thinking the worst and scheduled a visit to the vet. It was such an odd feeling to have such a healthy dog who was still running up to 11-miles one day, but was so incapacitated the next.

I’m not going to lie. We thought his lymph node was a sign of cancer and we cried all the way to Phoenix on the way to the vet. We even stopped at his favorite canal trail and carried him to the ducks for one last chase. We were saying goodbye to the best boy we have ever had. We really thought we were going to be putting our beloved Sam down that day.

After blood work and an X-ray the vet assured us that Sam’s demeanor was NOT cancer, but more spinal related and he was prescribes pain killers, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories. The vet then called a day later to let us know that the radiologist described two degenerated discs in his neck and what appeared to be bilateral ear infections. Antibiotics were added to his long list of meds.

This was all two days before we were supposed to fly to Arkansas. So I rescheduled my flight to later in the week so that Sam was more stable before taking him to the sitter.

It took a couple days, but Sam started to perk up day after day. By the time I left he still was not himself. All that medication made him loopy, shaky and sleepy. But at least his pain was finally under control and I felt OK enough to leave him in good hands.


You know Sam feels better when the squirrel gets it!

By the time we got back, Sam was more spunky…but completely deaf! After a follow-up visit to the vet he was taken off all pain meds, but left on antibiotics for his ears. Currently, he has regained only a minimal amount of hearing. He is back to short runs and longer walks and now charges the door when we put our running shoes on. A sure sign that he is back!

It’s been a hard 4 weeks for Sam. At 11-12 years old he is finally starting to act his age I guess. We are just so happy he is still with us for a little longer. He is going to be a hard one to replace when the time comes for sure!

I did make it to Arkansas in time for the Bentonville Half Marathon.

Jeff and I and his two sisters, brother-in-love and nephew had all been training since mid-December for this race. We had a lot of fun texting and emailing accountability to the training program and talking about pain points on our bodies. This would be the first time our sisters, nephew and brother-in-love ever did a half!


Mom so proud of her family of finishers!

In the end we all completed the race! It was a proud and emotional moment for all of us! This trip was about a family reunion, overcoming physical challenges and coming together to support their Mom who we had just moved into a local assisted living facility a couple week prior.

Jeff’s brother had their Mom at the finish line to cheer us all on. Though she has lost her ability to communicate, the pride of a mother over her kids was still evident on her face!


Sibling spin around the block…Jeff, Jerry, Jan & Jackie!

It was a special time for sure as we spent precious time with our families.

After checking on our lake cabin we flew back to Phoenix, picked up our dog and headed for Moab.

We split the drive into two days and stopped this time at Goulding Lodge and Campground at Monument Valley.

Wow. What a little gem of a campground! It is an RV Park so spacing is closer that a state park. But the sites are laid out very nicely so just about everyone has an amazing view of the monuments off in the distance. It is also on a hillside, so some sites are a little bit challenging to level. They have a nice short hiking trail from the park with perfect viewpoints for taking some awesome sunset pictures.


Impressive view from the Goulding Lodge and Campground

And if you want to schedule a hiking or jeeping tour, they will schedule your “Goulding” tour right from the campground. Or if you need groceries, stop at Goulding Market. Goulding has everything covered right from their grounds.

Jeff and I took a 5-mile sunrise trail run before we left and it did not disappoint. The red glow of the morning sun set the red rock formations on fire. We followed a horse path up the side of a mountain and hugged a fairly level trail once we got to it. We jumped on a jeep trail and looped us back around to the RV Park through sand dunes. We were chased by a few dogs in the distance on this run. But they quickly gave up the effort and retreated to their respected porches.


A sunrise to remember! I love this picture!


Glowing red rocks


Sand dunes aid station

On day two we made it to Moab by lunch time.

We were at Moab again this year for the for the Easter Jeep Safari (EJS).

From the EJS website…

“The Jeep Safari was started in 1967 by the Moab Chamber of Commerce. The very 1st trail was “Behind the Rocks Trail” (according to what has been told to the club President, the road was made or improved with a BLM employee and equipment.) The “Moab Rim” was then added the next year. In those days, individual ice cream packages were dropped by airplane to the trails at lunch. All the leaders were Chamber members, there was no charge or entry fee, and only a Saturday trail. To register you showed up Saturday morning and signed up for the trail you wanted. The Safari was run this way through 1982 at which point the BLM required a permit and insurance. The Chamber was no longer able to run the safari and approached the club to run this event.

The Jeep Safari itself, and participation in the event has grown since the club officially formed in the early 80s. Once the event was coordinated by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, the registration moved from the Chamber building north of town, to Lion’s Park, and on to what was called “the Barn” which is where McStiff’s is currently located near Center and Main. Over the years the increase in participation grew to expand the trail riding to more days until it finally reached a nine day event. “Big Saturday” still remains the culmination of the event on the Saturday of Easter weekend. With the increase in numbers, the registration was moved to the Spanish Trail Arena where it is located today four miles south of the city of Moab on highway 191. This also became the location for the gigantic safari raffle, Boy Scout BBQ dinner, and a vendor exposition featuring over 130 national 4×4 manufacturers”.


When we were in Moab last year  I have to say that I was not that overly impressed with the area. The views are beautiful, but the area felt worn and a bit junky. I suspect my view of the area was a bit tarnished by the overwhelming amount of ATV’s, motorcycles, Razors and Jeeps that were streaming by our campsite at all hours of the day and night.

But this visit was different.


Our Forrest Gump Moment


Scenes on the road to Moab

Last year we arrived a couple of weeks early to get a campsite at Slick Rock, which is a first come first serve campground…right in the middle of all the action.

This year we stayed at the KOA just a block away from the EJS expo, thanks to some creative finagling by fellow Xscapers who work camp here. We didn’t have a reservation anywhere in Moab! (NEVER come to Moab during Jeep week without a reservation!). This KOA is one of the nicer, well laid out KOA’s that we have been to. And compared to last year, made for a quiet relaxed location to enjoy the Moab Brewery and Quesadilla Mobilia Food Truck in town.

Trail running near the KOA is not nearly as convenient as Slick Rock, so we had to be a bit more strategic to get our runs in. My favorite is the greenway that runs through Moab, within a block of the Laundromat. I put in a wash load while I ran two miles. Then put it in the dryer for three more miles. How is that for multitasking!

Jeff and I worked the 2-day EJS expo. Our fellow Xscaper friends Finding Marshall, RV Chickadee and Mamasaysnamaste stopped by to say hello! They were all staying on BLM just north of Moab at Willow Springs.

Willow Springs is a very popular boondocking area, especially during jeep week. Jeff decided to do his long run from our KOA site 25-miles to Willow Springs. His route took him through The Arches National Park. He didn’t exactly take a trail, but a wash that turned into some bushwhacking and creek crossings. I picked him up at Willow Springs where I was visiting our friends.

Before we left on Sunday we attended the Easter sunrise service at Arches. We started with a short 2-mile hike on the Park Avenue Trail by moonlight and finished at the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, where there has been an Easter church service for more than 30 years.


We definitely had a much better experience with Moab this time. It is a stunning town with plenty of outdoor activities to last a lifetime. I look forward to coming back again.

After church we packed up the RV and headed to Salt Lake City. Sam and I are currently staying at the KOA while Jeff travels to Elkhart Indiana for meetings. Our next big show is the National Hardware Show in Vegas in about 3 weeks.

Until then, we are going to bounce around Utah and hit up some beautiful BLM sites to continue our training for the Bryce 100 (Jeff) and Half Marathon (Deb) trail run scheduled for June.

Look forward to seeing ya’ll down the road!







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Bentonville Arkansas as a Tourist

Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges Museum newly installed outdoor sculpture (No artist info installed yet)

We’ve had some guests stop by for a visit on their way to other parts of the county. Chris and Cherie of Technomadia and their friends (and now our friends) Forrest and Mary parked their homes on wheels at our property in Bentonville AR.

We met Chris and Cherie at Sam’s Family Spa & RV Resort  last December and again in the desert of Borrego Springs, CA. They were a part of the infamous Soup Anarchy and outdoor movie night in the desert where wild ingredients were haphazardly combined to make an impressive dining experience.

Big screen movie theater with natural surround sound

Anyway…Chris and Cherie and friends were making their way to the middle of the country together before parting ways somewhere near St. Louis. But not before stopping in good ol’ Bentonville Arkansas for 3 nights.

We tried to be good hosts shooting for a 5 star experience. We gained points for trimming trees before they arrived and providing some Michelin 5 star quality meals, if I do say so myself (alright, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration).

But the stars we gained in tree trimming and baked salmon we lost in road noise and soft ground, as recent rains prevented us from maneuvering their rigs away from the road. We give ourselves a self-proclaimed 3.5 Star rating.

We spent a day showing off our wonderful community to our guests.

You can’t do Bentonville without showing off Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. None of us are really “art” people, but we could all appreciated the magnificence of such a beautiful facility strategically place on grounds that were in full display of spring.

We explored Crystal Bridges from the outside, with the intention of touring the inside the following day during forecasted rain. Jeff shared with the group that the grounds of CB and Compton Gardens are made up of native Arkansas foliage, but was quickly humbled by a plant labeled “New Jersey Tea”.

Chris being the inquisitive geek that he is wanted to know how New Jersey Tea could be native to Arkansas. It wasn’t until further into our hike that we learned that this plant was NAMED in New Jersey, but IS native to Arkansas. Phew!

Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges and great friends!

We also learned that during the American Revolution when tea was being taxed so heavily by England, that the settlers went in search of their own tea…discovering New Jersey Tea in where else? New Jersey. It was commonly used by Native Americans to treat infections of the respiratory system. So…there you go!

We made our way back to the Bentonville square after about 3 ½ miles for a MUST STOP food truck, Crepes Paulette. Paulette and Fred, husband and wife own and operate their food trailer one block off the square. Fred, being a native of France, brings an authenticity and charm to he and his wife’s outdoor crepe experience. As an RV’er we can appreciate a good name for a trailer…theirs being Madame Poupon, after Fred’s parents housekeeper growing up. There are 35+ sweet or savory choices of buckwheat crepes, all delicate and tasty! If you come to town, don’t miss this local favorite.

Bentonville AR

Crepes Paulette is the BEST!

After lunch we took in the Walmart Museum at Sam Walton’s original 5 & 10. It’s a wonderful tribute to the man who started it all. It marks the history of Walmart and the tenacity, brilliance and passion of Mr. Sam.

I really liked seeing his old pickup truck. He was once asked why he didn’t drive a fancy car. He responded with, ‘‘what am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce?”

Bentonville AR

Good food and good friends

My favorite in the museum was a wall of returned items to Walmart stores. One item was a thermometer that someone returned because, “It kept terrible time” and a hand mixer that, “was possessed”.

We finished the Walmart Museum at their old-fashioned soda fountain for the cheapest scoops anywhere.

It was a beautiful day with wonderful friends. I’m sure they were tired of hearing about everything Walmart, but that’s just the world we live in as the home of the largest company in the world.

We LOVE our community and nothing brings about a new appreciation for our hometown than showing it off to fresh blood new eyes.

Jeff and I bid farewell to our friends as they headed off yesterday morning. We are stationary ourselves for another week before we head off to Las Vegas for the National Hardware Show. The plan is to then drive the company show vehicle from Las Vegas to Elkhart Indiana. At least that is the plan for now.

If that doesn’t happen then I guess we will “Au Pif “.

Bentonville AR

Wing It!

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