Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Nature & Technology, Together

 Location: Toad Suck Ferry Corps of Engineers Campground; Conway, Arkansas about 15 miles northwest of Little Rock on the Arkansas River

Better vibes, better feelings. One of the great things about this traveling lifestyle is that you can change just about everything by moving campgrounds, including your attitude. The move was only about 100 miles but it crossed that imaginary line I mentioned in the last post. I left the Arkansas Delta behind and entered the foothills of the Ozarks and Quachita Mountains. I crossed the line around Little Rock where the feeling and outlook changed quickly.

A tow boat and barges dropped by to say bye as I was hitching up to leave Rising Star Campground.

This picture was taken from the levee as I was leaving Rising Star. In the future when I think of the Arkansas Delta land, this is what I will be thinking about.

It was a nice travel day since the front had passed through the area just the other day. This is the last of the Delta.

This is the transition area. If you look down the road, you can see the skyscrapers of Little Rock.

This is just north of Little Rock on I-40 as I'm approaching Conway. I sure do like that new Asphalt pavement. Really nice.

This campground is next to Toad Suck Ferry Lock & Dam Number 8. I chose to be in the section of the campground that is upstream of the dam. I used to say I would never sleep downstream and close to a dam because anything man-made is subject to fail. I still believe that, although I have broken that rule a time or two in the past. I like this campground and got a good vibe upon entering it. I arrived a few hours before check-in and no one was at the check-in booth. There was a sign saying to set up in your reserved campsite and return to the booth after 4:00 to finishing checking in. Around 3:30 I got a knock on the door and the camp hosts were giving me my information so I wouldn't have to return to the booth. To me, that is going above and beyond. The campground is clearly being maintained in top-notch condition. I'm glad everything jived, I needed it.

My campsite at Toad Suck with Lock & Dam no. 8 in the background.

Nice view of the upstream side of the dam.

Downstream of the dam with fishermen casting in the eddy part of the dam. 

And wouldn't you know it, I found a nice, comfortable bench.
Sit,,,,,Rest,,,,,Think,,,,,Remember,,,,Find Peace

There is not as much barge traffic on the Arkansas River around here as there was in the Delta region. Probably just the time of year. I was able to see one set of barges lock thru early this morning around sunrise. I'm guessing they over-nighted along the banks of the river upstream of here and waited for daylight to approach the locks. This set of locks lift/lower barge traffic about 15 feet. Sadly, there isn't any hydro-electric facilities at this dam. I'm assuming that back in the 60's when the river was being tamed, the hydro technology didn't exist for a 15 foot head (difference in elevation) dam. It exists now a days and maybe it will be retrofitted to this location sometime in the future.

Sunrise this morning. Again, the person who chose this campsite did good, uh?

I took this one while I was out looking at the sunrise and the smooth river. Then I noticed the tow boat and barges sneaking down to the lock. Slow, steady and quiet.

I liked this one. Notice the river is so smooth the tow boat and barges are creating their reflection in the water. Also the sun was peaking through a crack in the picnic table cover. It was a nice memorable morning. 

I know there are lots of arguments in the country about leaving nature alone and pristine. I agree with that in parts of the country, with the best example in my mind being Canyonlands National Park. There is no reason to ruin that place with any technology and I was proud there wasn't any commercialization at all when I visited there. However, I see nothing wrong with the technology that is in place that makes the Arkansas River navigable and prevents major flooding. It also gives me cheap and well maintained campgrounds. I believe, in most instances (maybe 90% of the time), nature and technology can exist side by side. Of course, I'm saying that as I'm looking out my back window at a pretty lake/river created by a big dam. 

I may be backtracking tomorrow. My ex-wife, her sister and niece are visiting Hot Springs and since I'm only 1 1/2 hours away, I may join them for lunch or breaksfast. I'll make my mind up in the morning after seeing how my night goes. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.   


  1. I'm thinking that in the proper company you can't say "Toad Suck Ferry Lock & Dam Number 8" too many times... :-)

    1. I agree with you. LOL. I see you're in Florida for the winter. Are you planning to update your blog?

  2. If you’re near Russellville be sure eat at Colton’s-best steak I ever had. PS lunch much cheaper than supper. (If still open) Reminds me of Matthew. Enjoy & be safe.

  3. Reading about your Toad Suck Ferry, brought back memories to me about living in Miami Florida and dealing with an invasive species of toad frog named Cane Toad, or Bofo Toad. The Cane Toads are poisonous, excreting a poison from their neck when threatened, usually by dogs.

    Miami Florida back in the 1970s when I was living there was swimming in various illegal drugs, but despite that they were plenty of drug people searching for a different and inexpensive high, and found out that you could catch a Cane Toad and put his head in there mouth for a few seconds and get just enough of the poison that it made them feel weird... And these folks were what we called Toad Suckers. I never tried this myself, after seeing what it did to dogs, and had totally forgot about this phenomenon until reading your blog post. So thanks for the memories Darrell, and if you're interested there's even a song about toad sucking on YouTube.