August 29, 2020-First Official Arkansas State Park

(click here for today's pictures)

Before I start my blog, let me just talk for a few minutes about how chill my kids are. This weekend they have sat in a visitor’s center of a State Park during a tornado and experienced a tire blow out with some time sitting on the side of the road/back of a gas station. They have been so patient and flexible during both events.

I guess I will start with the exciting part of the day for the blog. We had left Shelley’s house and were zooming on down the road headed towards home. The drive was fine-the kids were playing their ipads, and it was smooth sailing.

And then we heard a loud boom! We didn’t swerve at all, but there were lots of shouting in the back, “What was that?” There shouts were met with Robby’s shouts of “We’re okay, we’re okay.” We pulled over and were even able to pull over on the entry ramp side of Interstate further away from the big rigs.

That new tire pressure system of Robby’s didn’t seem to help today. Urgh! Before Robby even got out of the car, he was calling AAA. They said that it would be an hour, so we cranked up the air and waited. Graham and Robby did get out to look at the tire only briefly

It did take only about 45 minutes for the man to arrive. When I saw him knocking on the door, I immediately thought that I hope that he has help! He didn’t. This man probably fought in World War II-Robby says that is exaggerating some, but I’m not too sure.

He looked at the tire (inside rear wheel) which was shredded, and he looked at the ground which was soft from the rain. He told us to drive slowly to the next exit and go behind Popeyes. Thankfully, the exit was just a quarter of a mile down the way.

We crawled to behind the store and parked the rig. Had we been thinking we would have pulled it around the other way so the worker man and his assistant (Robby) wouldn’t be in the sun. We turned off the car and the generator so this tin can quickly heated up. The man slowly, very slowly crawled under the camper to get the spare.

Let’s talk about the spare-this thing didn’t come with a spare so getting a rim, a spare and having it all put on wasn’t cheap. Thank goodness, Robby decided to do all of that though or we would still probably be on the side of the road.

As they man was under the car, Robby was busy grabbing things he needed-tools, supplies, Robby was running back in forth trying to help in any way that he could. There wasn’t much I could do. I handed Robby his hat-that was about it. I did keep reminding the kids to be still since there was a man laying under the car.

On the driver’s side of the car, it was cooler due to the shade so Keaton and Campbell hung out with me there. It took about 45 minutes for the man to change the tire. Getting down the spare took the longest time. Of course they had to take the first tire off before getting to the inside tire to change.

At some point when the bad tire was off, Robby told me where he wanted to put it, so Keaton and I started unloading everything from one bin so he would have room. We were shoving stuff inside for the boys to throw on our bed-last week, we so neatly arranged that bin! Well, I do enjoy organizing!

It did get a little warm in the car, but soon Robby was saying to turn the generator on. We were back in business….but we weren’t. Robby put the car in drive and nothing. He checked the emergency brake, and he had taken it off. Then he looked at me and said, “don’t let the man leave.”

We both barreled out of the car heading towards gramps. Thankfully, he wasn’t moving that fast. He asked about the emergency brake, so Robby put it on and back off again. Nothing. Then he said that possibly the rim was wrong.

I don’t know much about this stuff, but I do know getting a rim on our tractor tire was an ordeal. Off went the generator, off went the air, off went the car as the man told Robby to call AAA again. Ugh! Double ugh! We didn’t know what that meant, but soon the man started taking the tires back off.

By this time, our camper had turned into an oven. People’s cheeks were red, and sweat was dripping down faces. (Robby and the man were dripping wet with sweat as well, but I wasn’t as worried about them.) I passed out water, and we got out to stand in the shade for a bit. When I noticed that Whitman’s face was as red as his shirt, I decided that wasn’t working so we headed into the gas station.

We wandered around a bit before I finally asked the gas station lady if we could just hang out for a bit since we were having some car problems. She said certainly so we stood by the freezers and cooled off. I had planned on buying icees but they didn’t have any so we just waited.

Now, Graham is my questioner and was full of questions, but he was fine. Now, Campbell was a bit worried. Robby and I were obviously a bit stressed, but we thought we were staying pretty relaxed. Bless Campbell though-she wasn’t comfortable in the gas station (there was a homeless man hanging around that the gas station lady ran off.) She was worried about us having to be towed (this was when we didn’t know what was happening on the second go around). It didn’t matter how calmly I explained that we there was food and a bathroom along with a hotel right across the road. I went on to tell her that Pops, Grannymom and Shelley were all near by-the more I talked the wider her eyes became.

We had not been in the gas station for 15 minutes when Robby text saying “let’s go.” We hurried along back to the camper. He already had the air going and it was cooling off. We then thankfully headed off down the road.

Reagan had planned a skating event with 10 of her closest friends today at 3. Poor thing-we went from having plenty of time to me telling her I wasn’t so sure if we would make it all to me telling her maybe we can be there by the end to us pulling into Little Rock right at 3. She was relieved that she would make it, even if she was a bit late.

I will stop here in the blog and quickly jump back to the morning. Without the generator not running the whole time last night since we were "moochdocking without 30 amp service, the camper was a bit warm so we did have some bed switching. Anderson, who usually sleeps in the top bunk, crawled down to sleep by Whitman where there would be some more air. So I gave his fan to Campbell who happily used it.

We all slept well though and awoke to doughnuts that Shelley had bought for us. It didn’t take long for all the kids but Reagan and Anderson to get in the pool. They swam for a good while before we finally loaded up to leave for home.

It wasn’t long before there was that loud boom! I hope that is our one and only blow out. I did play it super cool, but I just don’t think that my heart can take that many more times!

As soon as we did make it home this afternoon, I pulled out my car while Reagan changed. I then took her to meet her friends to ice skating. She had played a part in planning the get together, and then was late! Thankfully, we were able to get there at all though.

While she skated, I ran to Walmart for some shopping. I still am on the hunt for a few things that I just can’t find but did have plenty of time to look. Robby was at home unloading the camper some and trying to figure out a few new camper things.

It wasn’t too long before I was heading home with a car full of girls. As soon as they climbed out of the car, Robby and I went to work on heating up pizzas and cheese dip. We some how had quite a bit of cheese dip even after my crew and Reagan’s friends all had our supper.

Robby and I were able to work on the camper. It is mostly cleaned up and ready to go again-I’ll need a day before I am ready to go again though. Ugh, a covid dog might have been easier than this covid camper.

The Wilson’s came over tonight, and we were so glad that they did. It was good to sit and laugh with folks after a long day. Reagan’s friends mostly hung out in the bonus room but did do some playing outside. They were all picked up around 9, but the party here lasted much longer. It was a pretty good end to an adventurous few days!

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