Along the Way we had some Adventures

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Obser, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Last week Timeless One and I reluctantly left northern Arkansas and traveled to northeast Texas pulling our fifth-wheel. As usual, we traveled the back roads instead of the main roads and superhighways. There is some beautiful country in northern and western Arkansas and many prosperous looking farms. The terrain is rolling with some sharp, but not very long, grades.

    While pulling one of the grades I downshifted (or started to) and the shifter broke off at the floor (where it attaches to the transmission), leaving the truck in neutral. Gravity being what it is, we stopped pretty quickly, right on the hill – twenty or thirty miles from the nearest town.

    When these little things happen we don’t become panicked or upset. We chocked the wheels then Timeless went uphill to warn traffic and I went downhill to put out safety triangles.

    Within just a few minutes three of the good local country people stopped and three people helped. Tanya pulled her car downhill with flashers on, beyond the safety triangles. Tom had a flatbed truck and we carry plenty of chain, so he pulled us the rest of the way up the hill to a safe place well off the road. Another fellow, whose name we do not remember, got into position to slow traffic from the uphill direction (had there been any). Tanya then collected our triangles and delivered them to us at the top of the hill – then made sure we had water, food and tools before she left.

    Tom stayed to see what could be done. Timeless and I pulled the boot off the lower end of the shifter and discovered that the shifter rod itself, a half-inch steel rod, had broken off cleanly where it attaches to the shifting lever that goes into the transmission. Tom went to get his portable welder (his farm was nearby) and we removed the lever from the transmission. Welding went without a hitch and the system is stronger than it was when new.

    Tom stayed to get acquainted a bit. He is an interesting young fellow, a construction contractor who works locally – and is good enough to stay “too busy”. He eagerly showed us plans of the cabin he is building for someone. It is very close to what we had considered building for ourselves at one time. In his “spare time” he runs cattle on 2000 acres. Interesting guy. Of course, he declined payment for helping us – immediately and finally. We felt as though we had made a friend.

    After Tom left, we reassembled the shifter mechanism and were ready to roll in about two hours total down time. Since the delay would have put us into Mena well after dark, we found a NEAT little Forest Service campground intended for equestrienne enthusiasts – that was totally vacant. The honor system fee was $3, minus 50% for us holders of the Golden Age Passport. It was a very pleasant night.

    With an early start we were in Mena (125 more miles) at the beginning of business hours. We caught our Realtor just as he was leaving to go to the title company where we had business too. After the respective title company business was finished we consulted with the Realtor for an hour or so and made good progress on a couple of things.

    Returning to our rig we noticed that one of the truck tires was deflating all by itself, so we did the only logical thing – we walked a couple blocks to our favorite café and had a wonderful breakfast. After we were well fed and coffeed, we started to get out the tools and change the tire – then decided to do something we’d never done before – call Good Sam road service (which we usually keep during times that we are traveling a good deal).

    The Good Sam representative’s first question was to inquire if we were in a safe location, then he took the necessary information and said we would receive a call shortly telling who would be there to assist and when. The call and the road service arrived almost simultaneously in about ten minutes, and changing the tire took about ten minutes – without us getting sweaty or dirty. We’re glad we did that to learn how effectively the system works. Also, it helped a local business while using a system that we pay for but don’t use except as “insurance”.

    The flat prompted us to go to Wal-Mart and get a couple more tires, which we had been threatening to do for a month or so. The price was better than we expected and the service was excellent. While the tire shop did their thing we shopped for a few needed items – and encountered a friend who brought us up to date on local news and events.

    We stopped at our favorite grocery store that was having a grand opening at a new location – and offering lots of bargains that we could not resist. Then we headed up the mountain 13 miles to Queen Wilhelmina State Park. There we encountered friends on the staff, and got a nice RV site – and made new friends among our fellow campers.

    After getting backed in and set up (which takes us about ten minutes) we put a roast in the oven and took a nap. It had been a couple wonderful days, with beautiful scenery, lots of new friends, pleasant places to be, near one of our favorite towns and spending time at our favorite state park. The couple minor glitches led to positive experiences. We are quite happy with it all.

    After a couple days in the Mena area we went on to NE Texas. That part of the trip was quick, easy and uneventful. Timeless drove so we made good time.
     
  2. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Life is good. Just have to slow down and enjoy it.
     

  3. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for keeping us posted. Sometimes things you share can help one of us when something similar happens in the future. Also, it helps to know others have unfortunate things happen to them, too, so it is not like the universe is getting personal and zooming in on just me!
     
  4. teresab

    teresab Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that update....I love hearing about people traveling and their adventures. My dad and stepmom live in their 5th wheel...right now the are working for the Corp of Engineers at a park at Carter Lake,Georgia. They stay pretty stationary..get their site for free and get a salary for manning the gate and collecting fees for the use of the park. They were thinking of pulling out this winter for Texas but not sure yet. They have made friends all over the country working the different campgrounds....a cool way of life if you ask me (except I would miss my garden and animals).
     
  5. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    You have a cool life! It's neat to hear about it ... not a life I could do, but it sure is neat to listen in and live vicariously sometimes. :)
     
  6. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    Great read. :goodjob: :goodjob:
     
  7. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    Hi Guys!
    Glad to hear you are both still doing well. :)
    I am not surprised to hear that you see the good in your mishaps. You both seem to be that type. :)
    I just wish I had known you were in the area. I work in NE AR and live in SW Mo. Don't know how close you were but would have liked to see you again.
    Maybe our paths will cross again.
    God bless you both and take care. :)
     
  8. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear you are enjoying the trip and the mishaps. Queen Wilhelmina is beautiful isn't it (a short drive from my place). We drove thru the scenic drive one winter when there was snow on the mountains, it was wonderful!

    Aren't you headed the wrong direction for this time of year? If I was full time RV'r, I think I'd go north in the heat of summer and back south in the winter. My parents were "winter Texicans" until they retired the RV at Branson. (except dad, he's a born Texican who migrated to NE Ark.)
     
  9. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Glad all your problems were resolved. Those are the best kinds of trips I think.

    When I was growing up and we would head out on vacation with our trailer my dad was always the one stopping to fix other peoples cars. It used to take us forever to get anywhere! But we met some great people and have wonderful memories. As a kid I thought it was neat my Mum making tea and soup for stranger's families at 4am in the middle of nowhere.

    There's a place here by the creek for you if you ever make it to SW Virginia!

    Pauline
     
  10. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I've had two highway mishaps while pulling a trailer; both times the extreme kindness of strangers saved us. Funny how that works. The first time, about 12 years ago, we were pulling our new popup camper to a state park to meet friends for a camping weekend. Lost a u-joint on our van and broke down next to a cheap motel on the interstate. Went to make a call, and a young man met us near the office who offered to help. Him and his wife were down on their luck and living in one of their rooms with their baby. He drove a big rig for a living, and took us home in it (50 miles away) after a tow truck picked up our van. And kept watch over our trailer until we could come and get it the next day. Wouldn't accept a penny from us until I became quite insistent and slipped 80 bucks in his pocket.

    The last time was two years ago, we were pulling our jet skis down the highway when the trailer had a blow-out at 70 mph. Completely destroyed the fender but the tire, sans tread, still held air. We limped off the highway and spotted a truck with a welding rig on it parked in front of a house. I knocked on the door, the the guy was happy to cut off the fender with his plasma cutter, and even helped us put on the spare. Wouldn't accept a penny either.
     
  11. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    We're glad some folks enjoy our adventures with us. We've thought of doing a web page or blog to record the events as they occur. We do keep a daily log on the computers but haven't gotten around to sharing more than bits and pieces.

    Spinner, we definitely took a wrong turn somewhere and got headed south in summer. Hate it when that happens.

    Actually, we would have stayed farther north but friends here in NE Texas were in dire need of help. They are a nice young couple – she is incapacitated with multiple sclerosis (which was undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for ten years). They have two kids ages three and six. Her husband is doing everything necessary to run the household, care for the kids, care for an invalid wife, AND work a very responsible full-time job. Neat people, tough assignment.

    Sometimes the load gets to be almost more than he can carry, so we provide some relief as best we can. For the past few days we have been keeping the kids (a totally foreign concept for us), helping with the house, the meals and the dishes, having some adult conversation with the wife that she misses greatly, and doing a few woodworking projects. Today we took one of the kids to the pediatrician. That was pretty exciting -- just kidding, just kidding.

    Our fifth-wheel is shoehorned into their driveway, five feet from their house and about ten feet from the neighbors'. No one has complained and no bureaucrats have come to cite city ordinances against living in an RV in a residential area. This isn't the rural countryside we prefer, but friends in need outrank personal preference.
     
  12. ArkansasLady

    ArkansasLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    hey obser...are you moving to the Mena area?? I live less than 40 miles from Mena, over in Pike county...beautiful country around here for sure.

    ~Cindy~
     
  13. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    Howdy neighbor, I'm about 50 miles from Mena, over on the Okie side. Did I spell Okie right? LOL I have deep roots in Texas and this okie stuff is a bit hard to catch on to.
     
  14. ArkansasLady

    ArkansasLady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    hehe...I have friends over in Heavener OK...prolly not too far from you...

    ~C~
     
  15. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    ArkansasLady, we have been associated with the Mena area for a couple years. We have some property there and intended to build a modest home; however, we've decided that we cannot give up the mobile lifestyle that appeals so much to us -- so we have the land for sale. We'd rather visit friends at their homestead, help with projects, go away and then come back months or years later. It is a great life for us and it helps our friends.

    Spinner, we are somewhat familiar with areas of Oklahoma along route 259 and have ventured west of there to Talihina and Albion.
     
  16. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    I almost bought a house in Heavener a few months ago. Turned out the foundation was crumbling so I passed on it. I go thru there a lot on my way to Atwoods in Poteau.
     
  17. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    I hate it when that happens. :) I had that happen during a race one time and the trans was stuck in 3rd for one lap until I was able to get on pit road. One of the guys climbed through the passenger side window and put a pair of vice grips on the stub sticking up from the trans. I was able to finish the race, albeit about 2 laps down.

    Good Sam emergency road service is great. With as much towing as we do it sure provides some piece of mind.

    Wayne
     
  18. rannie

    rannie Well-Known Member

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    Hey There! glad the trip was pleasantly eventful! Keep us posted always good reading, I hope all goes well over there and ya'll get to head back to NW AR before the fall campout! Take care and Happy Travelings! rannie
     
  19. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Thanks for the update,I think in addition to your blog you mentioned it would be a good idea for you both to write a book together someday, I really enjoy reading your things interesting and it flows so nicely. I am glad you made it there safely, I was just thinking of you both the other day, when Goat lady mentioned you were leaving AR. My other and sister are visiting my wife for a week starting tomorrow, She flew in from the RMI to OH and they are visiting her moms grave in MO and some friends in Branson then getting to AR. She was repatriated as part of her contract she starts another two years when she gets back. DW is really excited at their visit and i am glad she will be able to help them with all those little homestead things that she needs help with like the bath tub drain being blocked the last month (they have been taking bucket showers outside) also since I got a hotwater heater last NOV we did not know that the garden hose is hooked up to the hot water so she has had to water with buckets as their was only one outlet though their is another hose cut out 4inches long above the wash room floor that I plugged that also ran cold water I discovered that hose when I turned on the city water to the house.Old houses have lots of surprises dont they LOL.The kids stole the sticker on the license plate and the police stopped her she did not have the up to date insurance proof, though it is paid. Thankfully no ticket was given maybe cause she told them I was deployed, she just has to go to the court house and bring the sticker/insurance sure glad my om can help with all that as she would have not been able to find the fayetteville court house,Or drive down town safely probably.