Sunday, February 10, 2008

Arkansas Adventure (Test Trip)

I'll set the stage: Dark, very very cold, some maniac chasing you with a chainsaw through the southern Missouri woods- Newest horror flick?

Nope, last weekend

It all started on a rather blustery Thursday January 24th- We had decided that it was time we took the newest member of the family out to see how she was gonna behave when it came time for the big show. So we loaded up the vanagon with a weeks worth of dog food- 2 dogs- a whole bunch of stuff for Mary (Mikes sister) a few odds and ends. We left around sunset- 4:30ish?
Things went smoothly, Baxter and Maggie settled in nicely and we were sure the heat would kick in any minute....any the sun set, and we continued to drive and drive...any minute as the temperature kept dropping....well maybe a sleeping bag will help- I already have on every single layer that I own. Well maybe Baxter on my lap inside the sleeping bag will help...well maybe curling up into a tiny ball inside the sleeping bag with Baxter will help....And then...Whats that sound?

It started as a tap tap tap noise, so I slowed down and it developed into a BANG BANG BANG noise coming from the rear drivers side wheel. With thoughts racing through my head such as oh no a flat tire, or the wheel is falling off, I knew I shouldn't have gotten new tires from Sam's club, they didn't even know how to take the hub caps off. So I pulled over hopped out as Emilie calmed the dogs. Took off the hub cap and tightened the lug nuts which is all I could think of doing and everything seemed tight. The noise persisted so being unable to make my hands function in the 14 degree temp in and out of the car I decided to do the reasonable thing and ignore the noise. 7 hours later, and 4 hours later than planned we crashed through the door of Mary's apartment.
The next day we took the van into a vw shop, but they weren't going to be able to get to it until Monday- so we took the dogs for a hike- There's Maggie at the lookout...
The weekend was great-with many fine meals and good fun, including a mighty game of solarquest, and lots of mint chip cookies. Other adventures included biking around Conway AR and taking the dogs on lots of secret walks-no pets, no exceptions- at the apartment. Then on Sunday we decided to load up the whole crew Mary, Joe, Alisha, Mike, myself, and both puppies- and went rock climbing in Batesville.

Baxter nearly caught 2 armadillos, he had one by the tail, as we trekked down a hideously muddy 1.5 mile long puddle until we finally reached the cliffs.

Then we hiked down the "dog walk" which Baxter was especially fond of ...

The climbing was good, when we finally got to it, and the weather was sunny and warm.

Lets see... We got the vanagon fixed Monday and Tuesday, apparently cv joints are essential to make the car go- and had a great time visiting with all the Arkansas folks.

Here we are sittin' round the table fixn' to fix some bikes

Tuesday was the warmest day of the week, so we decided to drive... The wind was blowing and we were cruising with the windows down, dog hair blowing everywhere, we all had

stupid grins on our faces (even the dogs). The wind was picking up and was pushing us closer to Missouri at warp speed 64mph sometimes faster. Everything was great, the car was doing great no noises or anything. The wind was steadily increasing to gale force and became a cross wind. At this point my knuckles became whiter. After being blown off the road three times I became scared. Then KABOOOM Baxter flew up to Emilie's lap. My fears were confirmed, the pop top blew open reducing the bedroom to tatters. I pulled the car over while Emilie calmed the dogs down, and with all my weight pulled the pop top back into its secured position. Turns out there are 2 clicking noises as you pull it down, the first closes it and the more illusive click (when you hang on it after it clicks) locks it. Well now we know and now we don't have a bedroom.

And how does all this relate to the horror movie we started with? Don't worry-we're almost there. So we continued along our windy way, once again the temperatures started dropping. But instead of going straight home from Mary's back to st louis, we had decided to stop by the house in the woods-a small solar powered house that Mike's parents have near the Mark Twain National Forest in Southern Missouri. By the time we turned on the gravel road leading to our hippie haven it was dark, and much colder. So we think we're about to get a nice dinner and relax with the dogs, when suddenly we have to stop about a mile from the house- because there's a tree down in the middle of the road. Luckily both Mike and I are hosses and were able to get it out of the road, and keep the dogs in the van, and avoid catastrophe. But then we rounded the next corner and there is the mother load of trees lying quite

comfortably across our path. Since it worked so well last time, we got out and tried again, just in case- and the tree wouldn't budge. So we bundled up and leashed the dogs, and ran the 1/2 mile to the house. Threw the dogs in the house, picked up the chainsaw and entered the woods in full horror movie mode. The next hour and a half consisted of cutting the tree, cutting the tree some more, fixing the chiansaw cause it broke, sawing the tree in another spot, and then finally moving the tree out of the road. We loaded our frozen carcasses back in the van, and had a wonderful dinner, very happy to be out of the 17 degree weather.

The next morning we romped with dogs all over the woods and left to go home good and tired luckily with no problems. We Immediately ordered a new poptop canvas (250$ from )and waited...


Nicole said...

Now that's a good start to an adventure! I hope you guys have so much fun! -Nicole

Monica said...

oooooooooooohhhh... Typical Fl-Em! I love it! (and sir, I love the "wonderwall" video-- but I must ask, what happened to the Jurassic Park theme song you love to play so dearly??) Heehee... oh you kids. Good luck with your adventures!