Tuesday, May 7, 2013

5/7/13         I escorted Primate to a nature's toilet several times in the night, noticed during our last outing a clear sky and stars shining.

         A lazy, dry morning, we pulled out of the quiet campground at 8:30, soon after crossed the Mississippi River into Missouri.

        Gentle-rolling forested hills beckoned us onward, the greenery bright in full sun in a puffy-cottoned cloudy sky. A Bald Eagle took flight when we approached, abandoned road kill aside the road.

        "Birdie," Primate said.

         Surprised that the bird wasn't a buzzard,  "A Bald Eagle," I said. "I didn't know they ate road kill. Thought they preferred fresh kill."

         "They're known to scavenge," Dr. Bobo replied.

         The warm spring air welcomed us at the trailhead parking lot for Missouri's highest point, Taum Sauk Mountain. At the start of the level, paved two-tenths mile long walkway to the summit, I spooked a tortoise.

         "Turtle." Primate pointed.

          Dried leaves on the ground rustled as the tortoise rushed away from us.

         "He' coming down from his ascent yesterday," Dr. Bobo said.

         The summit, at 1775 feet, lay in open woods, marked with a plaque by the rock outcrop and a pleasant spring day in the woods.

          South-southeast we drove, zigzagged to the MO low point, wondered how close we'd get to the official low point, crossed Locust Creek Ditch, then Mud Slough Ditch. They weren't flooded, a good sign. At the MO-AR border we headed west towards the Saint Francis River, on a dirt road, crossed over the dirt levee, stopped when floodwater blocked our advance.

Primate Gets to the MO Low Point.

          "The border low point is about one-third mile away, "Dr. Bobo said.

          We took photos at the water's edge to mark our accomplishment.

          We stopped at an Information Center in Arkansas. Dr. Bobo talked with two friendly older women about camping brochures.

           "Help yourselves to coffee and cookies," one of them said.

           Primate wanted to sample the offerings, helped himself to three different type cookies and a cup of coffee, sat down in a rocking chair for a rest.

           "We have some bologna and crackers in the back, if you're hungry," the same friendly women said.

           "No thanks," I said.

            We headed to the car, our next stop Memphis, TN, and a supply of Popcorn Sutton's Whiskey in a Mason jar.

            A supply of likker secured, we discussed options regarding camping and access to the TN low point. We searched for a route from the TN side of the border, explored campground possibilities.

           "Let's camp in Memphis tonight and drive to the low point tomorrow," Dr. Bobo said.

            The route to our campground of choice took us along Elvis Presley Boulevard.

           "Oh, there's Graceland," I said.

           Dr. Bobo bowed in homage. "Thank you. Thank you very much."

           "Now that I know where it is, I don't have to come back," I said.

           We settled into a tent site down the street about a quarter-mile from Elvis' home.

           Today's mileage totaled 395.

           Low points - thirteen; high points - nine.

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