Thursday, July 31, 2014


Friday, May 23, 2014
We were up at daybreak anxious to find a tire early and try to get to Birmingham, AL before dark.

A cold breakfast of sweet rolls, milk and fruit and then it was directly to Wal-Mart to buy tires.  We didn’t want to take any chances.  We arrived shortly after the tire center opened only to discover to our dismay they only had one tire in the proper size for the trailer. We had hoped to purchase three because when one goes they all go.
For those who don’t already know this Wal-Marts generally won’t mount tires on RV’s.  This one was no exception.  So while the guys waited out getting the tire mounted on the rim I did some minor grocery shopping and then met them back at the truck.  

By now I was starting to lose the battle with the virus/allergy and I was not a happy camper.  The tire tension was not something we needed to add to it. Despite my wanting them to the guys decided to not put the new tire on the ground but to keep it as a spare.  After all the remaining “old” tires still looked fine, no signs of tire wear, bulges, loose tread or anything.  

So we headed out of Van Buren, AR with three old tires and one new one on the ground with a new one as a spare.

As we drove along I-40 I watched the scenery fly by.  After a while I noticed that many of the fields had odd shaped berms in them.  The berms were low and curving, with curving rows laid out evenly spaced in them.  

I studied them for a while and finally asked the guys if they had any idea what they were for.  Dh didn’t miss a beat with his answer “rice”.  In Arkansas?  Yep, in Arkansas.  

After I got home I did a little research because for some reason I thought all rice grown in the US was grown in Texas and I actually had going to see the rice fields and the processing plant on my list of things I wanted  to see when we retire.  What can I say, I am weird, I like agriculture tourism and touring factories.  I like to know how things are grown and processed for us to consume.  

It turns out rice is one of the biggest products of Arkansas—who knew? 
I was so stunned I forgot to take a photo of the fields as we flew by, maybe next trip.  I scoured the web for photos of what I saw that were copyright free, but found none, although I did see some gorgeous photos of the Arkansas rice fields and other rice fields around the world.  

For those of you who are curious as I was the search term I used was “photo Arkansas Rice Fields”.  It might make a great homeschooling subject or field trip for some of you.  Who knows?

At almost the exact same time that day as the previous night the second tire on the passenger side blew, taking out the latch that holds the camper door open when we are parked as it did.  To say I was not amused would be an under statement. 

We were a long ways from Birmingham and there was no 24 hour Wal-Mart to camp at, so we found a Flying J station with a Denny’s planning on spending the night there. 
The meal at Denny’s was disappointing after the wonderful one we had at the Denny’s at Flying J in Joplin earlier this year.  Service was poor and all bread associated with our meal was burnt badly.

Despite being tired and tense about tires we realized that although this Flying J allows overnight camping there was a smell that made even my two healthy travel mates gag and it just about did me in period. 

We all knew by that point my “cold” was actually an allergy problem.  I had all the medicines I needed for it with me and so when the discussion of going home came up I pointed out I would feel worse at home because I would have ruined the trip for everyone and I was not contagious.  So we forged ahead.

Sleeping in the heat, with no air conditioning and a smell that would choke an skunk we moved on looking for a campground along our route thinking we’d stay in one and run the air conditioning and put the slides out so we would all be comfortable.  

Of course Murphy is relentless. We never did stumble across one that wasn’t miles and miles off our route, so we ended up further down the road toward Birmingham pulling into a Pilot station well after dark and parking between the semis for the night
While security is good at the truck stops generally, the rumble of the motors on semis and their height blocking the movement of any possible cool breeze made sleeping a little less comfortable than we would like.  But at least we were safe, and not in danger of having another blow out in the middle of the night.

Thus ended day two of our trip.  Jan who is so sorry she didn’t take photos of the rice fields in AR away from OK.

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