Birds-of-Paradise, Lilacs, and Verdant Woods

From Albuquerque, we headed east on I-40 and stopped overnight in Stinnett, Texas. We completely underestimated how far the little RV park (more like a dirt patch near a field) was from I-40. As we rattled down a country road through peaceful deserted fields, a pebble flew straight up and then came straight back down, leaving its mark—a spider crack—on our windshield. We cursed and trudged on.

When we finally parked and settled in, we actually appreciated the solitude and the undeniable natural splendor of Texan spring time. A short walk around the camp revealed loads of lilacs with delicate and sweet aromas, while shy field flowers perked their heads up from the young grass. We were startled by active birds that looked more like tropical pets than local fauna: scissor-tail flycatchers perched on wires above the fields and darted about as a fiery sunset made for a great day-closing display. Also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise and swallow-tailed flycatcher, the scissor-tailed flycatchers are could be more accurately described as eye-catchers: long dark tail feathers contrast their mostly white body, while coral/salmon feathers really give it a pop around the edges.

Our next stop was Oklahoma, and our hearts skipped a beat as soon as we approached Oklahoma City: after months in the desert, suddenly the woods surrounded us, fresh and verdant and full of life—the beauty of spring. If you look at a map, you can clearly see where the yellow stops and the green starts as you travel east. It felt like our eyes had been thirsty for a long time and couldn’t stop drinking in the green!

Onapa Campground and RV Park is a small RV park near Lake Eufaula State Park—a beautiful and bountiful area! The owner showed us the underground tornado shelter—one of her requirements for moving to Oklahoma. Good call!

The next day, we continued our way into Arkansas, on the tail of a nasty April storm, sweeping tornadoes throughout the South. In Little Rock, we got our share of psithurism at Burns Park RV and Campground, nestled between Arkansas River and I-40. We perked up when we saw a sign for Knoxville—even if it referred to Knoxville, AK not Knoxville, TN, our final destination.

Our next stop brought us into Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, and then just outside Knoxville—so close to home, we could taste it. Since our renters were still in our home, we had to “circle the nest” for another week until we could FINALLY get back into our house.

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