East coast Arkansas

We are finally on the east coast – of Arkansas, that is. We are camped at the west bank of a former main channel of the great Mississippi River, but separated now and named Lake Chicot. Sunlight is filtering through the four oak trees shading our site. Birds are singing from 360 degrees around us. We occasionally hear powered boats on the lake. And nothing else. Just gorgeous.

Yesterday we stopped at Rambling Fever RV Park in Mt Pleasant, in eastern TX. Wow! We had completely forgotten pollen, dew, wet grass, and annoying insects. All remembered too well now, after yesterday evening and this morning.

Rambling Fever Park was plenty nice, but we will get used to bringing bug spray outside with us. The entire winter we saw zero none no mosquitoes and precious few flys or gnats. We saw (and I felt the bites of) a year’s worth of skeeters last night while grilling our salmon.

My fault – so this evening I have my whiskey on the rocks at my left hand and my bug stuff at my right. Guess which one is more fun? Reminds me when I used to bicycle the countryside through farming communities west of Chapel Hill NC. Dogs would hide along the road behind chain link fences as tho I couldn’t see them, then zoom they would tear after me. They never caught me but did terrorize me a bit.

Until I bought a small can of HALT with a handlebar bracket. Would you have thought they could read the label? Must have – I never pushed the spray button. Had is so long it probably was dead, but they didn’t know and I didn’t either. Perhaps it’s the same with this bright orange and yellow can of bug spray?

First night in Las Cruces NM, second in Abilene TX, third in Mt Pleasant TX. And tonight, our fourth night, we are in east Arkansas. Our first day we left Mesa AZ on US60E instead of I-10, for a little change. It was nice, but ran us back into 10 then 20 then I-30 through yesterday evening. Enough of the traffic, urban congestion, and bland sights!

We spent today almost exclusively on red highways. Interestingly our gas mileage didn’t seem to suffer (or maybe we would have gotten even better than on the interstate highways days previous?). Our average for the past two days is 10.4 mpg. Our speed was also almost the same although our overall average for the day certainly would be less since we frequently slowed to 45 and 35 for the dozen or so towns we traversed.

Driving the red highways versus the interstates seems analagous to parking in a state park versus a high-line moho resort. The state parks (and red highways) are just . . . more interesting, less predictable. Suits us great when we don’t have to make time. Lake Chicot State Park is much nicer than Cracker Bbl.

A follow-up to our fridge problem in Las Cruces — I removed the fridge’s gas nozzle (3/8″ wrench), soaked it in denatured alcohol then blew it out gently. Reinstalled it (much more difficult to start the threads than to remove it) and restarted the fridge. Works perfectly on propane again. How cool is that?

When I was in high school we has an across the street neighbor, the Mitchells. Mr Mitchell worked for a gas appliance company and so his kitchen had what kind of appliances? YES! He had gas appliances, including a gas-fired refrigerator.

You didn’t know this about me, but at ages 13 – whenever I was an avid reader of Popular Mechanics (thanks to my dad having it around). I thought a gas-fired fridge was just way cool. Only I didn’t realize just how cool it really is — fridges are supposed to be gas-fired. Who knew?

More than fifteen years later I started working in maintenance and physical plant for hospitals and learned about gas cycle cooling and heating – stuff I should have learned in high school if only I had been paying attention. My life might have been severely different if only . . .

Here’s the neat thing: our little house refrigerator doesn’t have a compressor, almost no moving parts (one, an electrically powered gas valve), and uses battery power for controls only. We can heat the regrigeration gas with electricity or propane – guess which one is more effective? I hope y said gas.

What’s not to love about this simpler system? If your home fridge stopped cooling, yu would check the plug and the breaker, hopefully, and then likely would have to call the appliance guy. With a gas-powered fridge, there is a 110 vac plug but we don’t need it if we have propane. All we need is a battery for controls and a flame for the gas refrigeration cycle.

We didn’t have flame. Cleaned the nozzle, reinstalled it and restarted the fridge. Perfect! I love it when I get lucky. The nozzle might have had nothing at all to do with the problem, maybe I just bumped into something that needed bumping into and now it works. Who cares? It works, makes no noise, and is so simple.

Tomorrow morning we leave Arkansas, cross Mississippi, and land in northwest Alabama at Joe Wheeler State Park where Jim’s parents celebrated their 50th anniversary, with maybe fifty family members, sixteen years ago. We’re looking forward to the visit.

See you there!

Jim and Deb
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr


3 responses to “East coast Arkansas

  1. Jim, good job on the fridge. I remember the first repair technique I learned from my Dad (especially for valves) was the “technical tap”, i.e beat on it with a hammer. I still use it today only on computers!

    Glad to see you are making such good progress and now on the red roads.

  2. When we took our used Airstream out for the first time, the hot water heater wouldn’t light. I called the dealer service guy and he told me where to hit and approximately how hard and to use a wood block to diffuse the blow. One good hit and we were in business. I guess there is a valve that gets stuck during a period of disuse. Now we know who to call when the refrigerator doesn’t fire.

    • This week is the second time in six years our fridge malfunctioned. Last time was two years ago in Alberta Canada when the fridge overcooled whenever on 110vac. Control board was bad, but we waited until we were back in the states to buy a board and install it. Took care of that prob. Yeah, call us, I can tell you where to unscrew the gas jet.

      Jim & Deb http://dreamstreamr.com

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