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 â twenty or thirty miles from the nearest town. When these little things happen we donât 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 â 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 â and is good enough to stay âtoo busyâ. 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 âspare timeâ he runs cattle on 2000 acres. Interesting guy. Of course, he declined payment for helping us â 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 â 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 â we walked a couple blocks to our favorite cafÃ© and had a wonderful breakfast. After we were well fed and coffeed, we started to get out the tools and change the tire â then decided to do something weâd never done before â call Good Sam road service (which we usually keep during times that we are traveling a good deal). The Good Sam representativeâs 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 â without us getting sweaty or dirty. Weâre 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 donât use except as âinsuranceâ. 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 â 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 â 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 â 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.