Taking Our Vehicle onto the Water

It really amazes me when people tell me they don’t think there is much to do around here. We’ve still got a list of things to do and are still finding things to do in The Natural State, sometimes in our own backyard.

This weekend, it literally was in our own backyard, on the waters of Bull Shoals Lake. Peel, Arkansas is a little burg about 15 miles from our house and what makes it so unique is that it is home to the last operating ferry in the state. The ferry shuttles people and their vehicles from one side of Bull Shoals, to the other, most frequently connecting Arkansans with Branson, Missouri about 30 minutes away.

I’m told there’s ferries in other areas, but being Midwesterners from Kansas City, we had never rode one before, so we set off for a new adventure on Sunday. We ate breakfast at a small café and headed for the ferry loading spot.

It’s really surprising how much fun taking our truck out onto the water was!

I somehow forgot my camera, but you can get a look at the ferry at this news website. The 2-mile run from one side to the other takes about 20 minutes and it was a gloriously wonderful day to be on the lake.

We got to see all of the wonderful fall colors on the shore and watch the wildlife and birds, all from the comfort of our vehicle. I don’t think there’s been a better invention since the drive in theater.

There is a way to get to our destination, Branson, that doesn’t require waiting for a boat to pick us up, but Dale has always hated the drive on that highway, which is narrow, curvy and rife with danger. This ride and drive after we disembarked the ferry, was scenic and serene. I’m sure we’ll be taking the ferry anytime we go to Branson during the day.

Stay tuned. On Thursday, I’ll write about what we purchased in Branson, which will help make Our Little House even greener.

Have you ever taken a ferry in your car? Tell us about when and where.

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14 Responses

  1. MarthaAndMe says:

    Oh, what fun! We took our car on a ferry in Maine and it was a neat experience. I love traveling by water when possible.

  2. Heather says:

    Washington State has all size ferries from ginormous to tiny walk-ons only. Would love to see a photo of the last ferry in Arkansas.

    • kerri says:

      Heather, Click on the words “news website” in my post. They have better photos there than I could take!

  3. Alexandra says:

    Ferries are very common in Sweden and Norway, near my husband’s home. Here in the USA, the only ferry I have taken was in Seattle, to Bainbridge Island, a BIG ferry. Some ferries in Scandinavia are tiny, like the one you and Dale took probably. I wish there were a ferry to the mainland from the tip of Cape Cod that accommodated cars as well as people and bikes!

  4. Kim says:

    …and there’s a drive-in theater south of you, in Marshall. One of only two remaining in the state. We went last Sunday night and it’s as retro as can be– even the concession prices (medium drink and popcorn: $3)! Find the Kenda Drive In on Facebook to see what they’re playing each weekend. I’m a big fan now!

    • kerri says:

      OMG, Kim, thanks for telling me that! We LOVE the drive in! I did a story about them in Kansas back in the late 90s and I think there were only 5 left there then. One of them was right by our home and we went often, even taking the dogs with us! I will definitely check that out.

  5. V Schoenwald says:

    Years ago, in the early 80’s, when my husband and I drove OTR semi, we were back east, and I cannot remember where, we had to cross a very large river to the other side, it had been flooded and everyone had to resort to the ferry. My husband and I were petrified to find out we had to cross with an 80,000 lb truck fully loaded, and we asked the ferry captain if this could be done, and he assured us “yes”.
    So, we were run in first, right in the middle of this large ferry, and then all of the light cars and trucks were run all around us, front and sides and back, and we putted across the river, it took about 45 mins, I was horrified for a little while, and then came out of the truck and tried to enjoy the ride, it was funny, the waves splashed the front of the vehicles and we looked like drowned rats when we got to the other side.
    At the dock, the cars and little trucks were let off first, and then us, and off we went. That was the last time I was on a ferry.

    • kerri says:

      I think I would have been nervous about that weight too, Vicki. I admit to feeling a bit uneasy even with our pickup. This ferry is pretty small and there were signs about weight limits. No 18-wheelers allowed on this one. I even told Dale when we left the dock I was unbuckling my belt so I could get out right away if we started to sink! 🙂

  6. Olivia says:

    Living on an island – yes – lots of ferries. Until 13 years ago, ferry was the only way to get here. Large ferries – icebreakers in winter. Normally the crossing took about an hour but, in winter, it could take much longer – even days if the ice was really bad. Thirteen years ago they built the Confederation Bridge – almost 13 km. long and the world’s longest bridge over ice covered waters. There was a huge debate over whether or not to build it and how it would affect our province. I was against it but now I like it. I can remember waiting on the dock up to 12 hours for the boat – and, if you missed it, you had to sit on the dock all night. There were quite a few crossings each day but, since everything, including all shipped supplies, had to come by boat, there was always a line-up, particularly in the summer with the tourist traffic. (BTW, you can Google Confederation Bridge, PEI, if you want to know more about it.) There is still a ferry off the other end of the Island – it’s about an hour and a half run but it only goes April to December as it is not an icebreaker.

    I have also taken a lot of other ferries, from tiny wee ones across small rivers and harbours to long crossings – Saint John, NB. to Digby, NS (3 hours), from St. Andrews, NB to Grand Manan (1 1/2 hrs.) In fact, if you want to tour around Atlantic Canada, you are always going to have to take a ferry at some point – some are even overnight crossings.

    Come to think of it – I have spent a lot of my life on ferries!

    • kerri says:

      Wow, Olivia, ice breakers? Ferries are great fun and if we encounter them in our travels now, I’m afraid we’ll have to go out of our way to ride. 🙂

      • Judy says:

        We lived in Glace Bay, NS for 5 years. I think it was Fall 1983-Spring 1984 we drove to the PEI ferries every other weekend. One winter crossing was particularly memorable for me as a mom of three preschool/elementary age children. The crossing from New Brunswick was particularly rough, windy and breaking ice as we went across. I was fine in the lounge, but the rest were throwing up with DAD in the restroom!