Go: Cloudy, With a Chance of Death From Above | Day Drunk: Go: Cloudy, With a Chance of Death From Above

February 14, 2013

Go: Cloudy, With a Chance of Death From Above

Welcome to the second installment of "Go", the story of my epic, five and a half month roadtrip across the United States (and a little bit of Canada). In this chapter, I will briefly recount my second trip to Arkansas (read about the first trip to Arkansas here and here), and my experience at the Wakarusa Music Festival.

We last left off with me and AGP heading towards Mammoth Caves National Park to meet our friends... 

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AGP and I got to Mammoth Caves National Park after taking a wonderful scenic drive along the Cumberland Parkway. I missed the photo opportunity of the trip while accidentally detouring through Pikeville, KY. I failed to capture the surprising beauty of the cemeteries decked out for Memorial Day with their fake, yet vividly colored flowers atop every headstone. I will be back one day for that. 

Mammoth Cave National Park was established in the National Park system in 1941 because it is the longest known cave system in the world. It is also a pretty awesome place to hike and enjoy the waterways that run above the ground. And I FINALLY got to cross Mammoth Caves off my National Park Bucket List! We got extremely lucky by choosing the Maple Springs Group Campground as our destination. AGP and I were the first to arrive, joined shortly by our good friends Leah, Dpel, and Nessa. Although we fretted about not making a reservation at the campsite and showing up a little before dusk, we ended up with the entire campground to ourselves and nary had a person (or ranger) vexed us the entire night or morning. The site we chose had FIVE picnic tables that we made excellent use out of as we wasted the night away grilling sausage and playing games.

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(Maple Springs Campground, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky)
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(Adam's Needle Yucca)
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The next morning we raced our way to the park headquarters with intention of taking advantage of our unique and incredible locale by going on a guided tour (the only possible way to explore any of the cave system), and by golly we made it in the nick of time, due to our chronic tardiness. We chose the Violet City Lantern tour that was lit only by, you guessed it, lanterns! We walked three miles with our lanterns guiding the way and learned all about the history of Mammoth Cave. We even got to check out the "hospital" rooms built to heal patients with TB with the "magical" healing power of cave air. Then after BBQ at the Smokey Pig, we high-tailed it towards Memphis (my fifth time hauling ass down I-40).

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We checked in to a Days Inn not far from Beale Street and hit the town for some drinking-on-the-street, dueling pianos, and yet another BBQ meal. The night ended in a bar where you could, *gasp*, smoke inside! So why the hell not, right?

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The next morning, we made it for breakfast in time for lunch at famous Gus’ Fried Chicken, only to realize that the line was way too long for us hungry, hung-over assholes (but we did manage to grab some to go after our actual breakfast at a joint nearby). As the sky turned green and murky and news channels were warning us to get-the-hell-off-the-road, Leah, AGP, and I waited patiently in a western Memphis Jiffy Lube for my car to get a much need oil change and all that other jazz that they say cars need that ends up costing $400. The plan for the day was to FINALLY get back to Hot Springs, Arkansas!! We even had plans with Miki-mom and Chad-dad to meet up in Jessieville.

We crossed the Mississippi River in a full-on deluge, me pretty much hoping that a tornado wasn’t about to drop down on our asses from the green sky above. After a quick Gus’ chicken snack at a fun zone outside of Little Rock, we were able to catch up with Miki, her nephew, and mother at The Shack in Jessieville. (If you want to read about how we adopted a family in Arkansas, read it here). After an evening of burgers and rapid-fire questions including, “What’s your favorite meal?” and “Where are your parents from?” we headed up Route 7 to meet the rest of our crew at Lake Dardanelle. At least we were in a car that worked this time!!

We were only at Dardanelle for a night because the next morning we were on our way to Wakarusa Music Festival in Ozark, Arkansas! In fact, we had five more friends to meet up with, food and supplies to gather, an tentatively awesome camp/festival home base to set up, and crazy cool music to check out… a busy day indeed!!

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So when all ten of us were finally together, we embarked on a festival journey with thousands of other hippies that would end in near death! It wasn’t so bad, except that a lot of music was cancelled due to inclement weather and tornadoes touching down all around the festival, but thankfully missing us. I got the closest I have ever been to seeing a tornado, which is also on my Bucket List, albeit quite a dangerous thing to want to be near. Also featured at the festival location was a mile long hike down to a small waterfall. We had a wonderful time day drinking, dodging hail, getting groovy, cliff jumping, running from tornadoes, and just straight relaxing.

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Check out this amazing video my former roommate FAB made from footage with his GoPro: 


After Wakarusa, AGP and I sadly said Goodbye to our friends and headed up to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to finally, finally get our epic roadtrip officially underway- at last on our own schedule, ready to explore the wilds of the United States of America!

Here is the ground we covered in this chapter:

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A: Mammoth Caves National Park, Kentucky 
B: Memphis, Tennessee 
C: Jessieville, Arkansas 
D: Lake Dardanelle State Park, Russellville, Arkansas 
E: Mulberry Mountain, Ozark, Arkansas 
F: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

[Stay tuned for more adventures!]

Coming up- Go: Okla-home

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