Friday, September 4, 2009

The eighth President

We are at the Wal-Mart in Van Buren, Arkansas (map), just north of I-40 and Fort Smith. Notwithstanding the title of today's post, the city actually acquired the name when ol' Marty was still Secretary of State.

We arrived here late yesterday after a most scenic drive down US-71 from Fayetteville. This old road traverses a ridgeline above the White River valley, revealing views to the river below at various points. Now bypassed by I-540 and mostly untraveled, the road is dotted with the ghosts of quaint resorts and long forgotten way stations. Our kind of road, with nary a soul ahead or behind.

After dallying in the Springdale/Fayetteville area for four nights, paying $15 per night for hookups we did not need, and truly uncertain as to whether east or west was a better call, we decided to split the difference and come more or less due south. In addition to giving us something to do for a day, and getting us back on the road, this puts us back on the I-40 corridor, where we can make a speedy getaway in either direction should we need to do so. Our goal in having angled north in the first place was to move into cooler weather, but fall is taking care of that for us nicely here. Of course, we had also wanted to get off the Interstate, so this is a bit of a step backwards there.

This morning found us no closer to a decision on which way to head, and, lacking a plan, we ended up waffling all day here. We did go into the store for supplies, and I spent most of the day on the computer, between working on Red Cross documents (lacking any actual disasters, they are finding other things for us to work on), and delving in to the lengthy process of setting up my new computer, having finally concluded that getting the old one back up to snuff would actually be more work.

And so it was that four o'clock or so rolled around, and we were still right here. Generally, we try to avoid spending more than a single night at a Wal-Mart (though there have been exceptions), but we are actually quite unobtrusively tucked in the back, between the Lowe's next door and the Tire and Lube bays, and I don't think anyone even knows we're here, except for the tire guys who've been talking about the bus since we first pulled in. So we decided to just spend another night. We even grabbed a movie from the Redbox (Milk).

Tomorrow morning we will get rolling again, although I can't quite say where to. Erika has fizzled into a weak tropical depression, and there is nothing else on the Atlantic horizon except a disorganized wave off the coast of Africa. The western wildfires, meanwhile, are thankfully becoming less of a threat each day. Unless something happens to push us one way or the other, we will continue to split the difference, moving only very slowly from our very central location here.

Move we must, though, because this is a dry county. We had a nice Italian dinner last night at a local joint called Frank's, where the food was quite good, but the only wine was in the sauce. And tonight we ate at Chili's, where in 25 years of eating at that venerable establishment, this is the first one I've ever visited that did not have a bar. Tomorrow, I'd like a glass of wine with my dinner.

Photo by cliff1066, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. I'm kinda of glad you folks are idling away in the central part of the USA with no disasters to pull you away in one direction or the other. I enjoy catching up with your goings on daily, yours is one of my favourite reads each day.

  2. Boy did you choose the wrong state to stop in if you are low on wine --

    Good luck!

  3. Since we live in southwest Florida we hope you continue to avoid having to head east for your Red Cross duties! So far so good with the 2009 hurricane season and we hope it stays that way! We're also grateful to hear that the California fires are getting under control. Sure enjoy reading your journal.

  4. You stayed TWO nights at Walmart?! Shame on you, I'll sic the RVing etiquette police on you! :D

    Seriously, the reason I'm commenting is that your blog feed seems to be broken. Normally, I just put your blog address into my reader (Bloglines) and it finds your feed automatically, but that's no longer working. I miss finding your updates in my reader! :(

  5. @Rae: Yeah, we snuck in an extra night. But we were parked way in the back where you couldn't see us from the street :)

    Not sure why you aren't getting our feeds. I just checked the feed URL and it looks good from here...

  6. Louise, I haven't been getting your feed in *weeks*. Could you please confirm the URL? Thanks!

  7. @Rae: The feed URL is

    One of the choices for feed reader is Bloglines. I don't use a reader myself, so I don't know if Bloglines is having a problem. Anyone else want to chime in here?

  8. Louise, that seems to have worked. Normally, Bloglines will find the the feed based on your blog address, but for some reason it lost yours. Thanks!


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!