Ozark, Arkansas

P1010865We have never stayed at a Army Corps of Engineer campsite (called COEs) before, so we thought we’d give one a try. This one, called “Aux Arc”, is just south of Ozark, Arkansas, on the Arkansas River. “Aux Arc” is a name that originated with French explorers when they mapped the territory. The term means “the big bend,” in the river.

This is a first class camping site with everything except sewer. Not a problem for us, and yes, I’ll avoid the details. Keep in mind there are very nice showers and restrooms available to those without a self-contained RV.

This campground is right near the Arkansas Wine Trail along 186 and 64 and the town of Altus which is the Wine Capitol of Arkansas. Nice area and an easy drive to Hot Springs down the Moonshine Scenic Byway on route 7 where we’ll head next week to see one of my brothers who lives there.

One of the couples at the campsite next to us came over and asked if we’d like to go out to dinner with them and another couple and that they’d drive. Good thing. We drove out into the back woods of Arkansas, where old moon shiners use to roam, to a restaurant called Wiederkehr. The restaurant was built in an old underground wine cellar built in 1880. The Wiederkehr Restaurant and Winery, of Swiss family heritage, has won every conceivable award possible and is on the National Register of Historical Places. The restaurant was also voted most romantic restaurant in Arkansas. The food was just so-so and the wine expensive.

The following evening we organized a pot-luck dinner with our new camping friends, Wendell, Linda, Chub and Janet, both couples are from Arkansas. Wendell is a retired Arkansas Sheriff, and if you’ve ever heard the phase “you in a heap of trouble boy” Wendell probably owns the copyright to it. We had a ton of laughs, stories, and oh, I forgot Buddy, the ugliest dog in Arkansas with two trophies to prove it. You be the judge…

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