Yep, I'm on my way to everywhere again. It's been 105 days since Brandon's stroke and he has recovered enough to where he takes himself to Physical/Occupational Therapy which will continue for a while. Although I love him and the rest of my family very much, it was decided that things had settled down to the point where I should hit the road again instead of hovering around waiting for a need to arise. So, that is what I did last Friday. But it wasn't without incident.
I have a set of Temperature/Pressure reading devices mounted on the valve stems of each tire on Liberty. It allows me to monitor the temperature and pressure as we travel down the road. It will also warn me of a sudden loss in pressure so as to give me time to slow down, if possible. I also use them to check the tire pressure simply by reading the portable monitoring screen. I usually do this on the morning of my traveling days while I get things travel ready inside Liberty. Since I had been stationary for over 3 months, I figured I better check them a couple days earlier. It's a good thing I did since one of the tires was down to 10 pounds. Wow. Not good.
Luckily, there is a place in Mansfield (Auto World) that works on vehicles and tires. It is the place Brandon used to work before his stroke. They also have a very large parking lot which would work with Freedom and Liberty hitched. Since the tire had a slow leak, the plan was to air it up and stop by Auto World on my way out of town. I was hoping it was just a bad valve stem, which it was, but the tire also had a nail stuck along the sidewall of the tire. A new trailer tire was going to be needed which Auto World doesn't sale. I called Brandon who brought me his truck so I could use it to get a new tire from another store in town. To make a long story, short, I was back on the road after about 2 hours at Auto World.
After leaving Mansfield and looking at a 5 hour tow, I started thinking about the tire incident. I'm one of those people that believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is easily figured out and other times it stays a mystery. So, I started putting the pieces together to see if I could figure out what had happened. The nail had not punctured the tire, but it was stuck along the sidewall about 1 inch deep. The bad valve stem is what caused the loss in pressure. Had I not have been stationary long enough for the tire to lose so much pressure, I would have never noticed the nail. Eventually that nail would have moved enough to rip the sidewall and cause a blow out, which on trailers can be dangerous and do a lot of damage. As it is, instead, I have a new tire and lost 2 hours of travel time. I am way, way ahead of the game. Thank you, thank you.
Although it was only about 7:00 am when I hitched up, it was already hot and very humid. My shirt was soaking wet with sweat by the time I finished. I'm pretty sure the sweating had everything to do with the weather and nothing to do with my healthy weight. The trip was about 250 miles of mostly interstate highways. I had reservations at a Corp of Engineers campground just to the west of Little Rock, Arkansas. The campground has lots of shade trees and lucky me, there was a vacancy right on the banks of the Arkansas river, which is an easy stones throw behind Liberty.
|Nice Campsite on the Arkansas River|
|Geese on Parade. There must have been several dozen that walked from the edge of the river to a vacant campsite in front of Liberty.|
It was never a working mill and was built in 1933 to resemble an old abandoned grist mill. A land developer was creating housing developments (subdivisions) in North Little Rock and had a piece of property that wouldn't work for houses. Instead he contracted with a Mexican Artist/Architect to develop the few acres into a park as memorial to his deceased business partner. The specialty of the artist was making reinforced concrete look like ordinary things such as trees, shrubs and even water wheels. Just about everything you see at The Old Mill is concrete. Now I've seen a lot of concrete poured and cured over my working career but I was super impressed with this guys artistic use of concrete. Keep in mind this was done 83 years ago. It was definitely worth the 15 mile trip to see it. As an added bonus, the admission is free.
As you look at the pictures, remember almost everything is made of concrete.
|This is as close as I could get to the view in the opening credits of the movie|
|Spooky looking bridge.|
|Side view of the bridge|
|Top walkway of the bridge. Remember, all concrete|
|Looking up at the mill building from the bridge.|
|Even the water wheel is made out of concrete and still works.|
|This is a combination foot bridge and roots from the fallen tree on the left. (all concrete)|
|The foot bridge to the mill|
|Looking out of one of the windows of the mill house|
|My favorite. A bench!!! Made out of concrete to resemble logs|
|Parting look at The Old Mill|
When I got back to the campground, the power was off in the entire campground. Checking the internet, it was off in a large portion of western Little Rock. I figured I would wait it out so I got a chair and kicked back.
After about 45 minutes of that, I decided I would rather wander around the area in Freedom (hint, hint, air conditioning in Freedom). Off we went with the intent to get lost for a little while. I drove around downtown Little Rock with no idea of where we were, but we weren't lost, since we were still in Little Rock. It wasn't as if we didn't know what city we were driving in. Eventually, I turned west and headed back to the campground. I figured I would intersect I-430 which runs north and south on the western side of the city. Sure enough, I found I-430 and wouldn't you know it, I also found a familiar restaurant. Since the power "might" still be off at the campground, I decided to get a bite to eat at his fancy restaurant.
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.