Day 13 & 14 – Making Up Some Time

Day 13

Day 14

The last two days was just driving. We camped both nights, the first night just outside Eureka Springs and then last night at an amazing state park on a lake just outside Wichita Kansas. Both nights were quite chilly- but with enough good food, firewood and a few beers we were in business! The first campsite was a commercial site east of Eureka Springs called Kettle Campground. We missed the cut-off for the state park we were hoping to camp at so we kept pushing until we reached Eureka Springs at sundown. It was full of RV campers who seemed to live there judging by all the vines that were growing up the sides of their rigs which was great since there wasnt a tent camper to be found. Once settled it was hard not to glance over and look in their RV windows at Matlock re-runs well into the wee hours, not really our style of camping I must say! We woke up and once again decided we needed to keep pushing so we put about 300 miles on the bus. Not a huge day for a modern vehicle but in Ole Blue that’s quite a haul. Our goal was Fall River State Park which we made at sunset despite not one, but two closed roads we needed to navigate around- AND a stop at an outstanding butcher shop for a couple fresh cut and pounded grain-fed rib eyes! Ohhh yeahh!!! So while we were hoping to do some fishing at the lake the disappointment of arriving late subsided knowing we had fresh steaks from the heartland waiting for us. Unfortunately when we arrived it was crazy windy so setting up near the beautiful lake was impossible so we moved under a tree just a hundred yards or so from the lake shore. Around 11pm or so the winds left and we were treated to one of the most amazing crystal-clear night skys I’ve ever seen. Soooo many stars to look at it was mesmerizing. Eventually we turned in and fell asleep…until the critters came out and ate my pie! …literally, they ate my leftover pie, the potatoes and pretty much ransacked the campsite….stupid critters!

Heading out…
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Come on really? Closed Road #2
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The very cool city of Eureka Springs, badly photographed!
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Day 12 – The Road to Way Out There VW Salvage

First, a couple side notes. The email address on the cards we printed up wasn’t working right so if you have sent us mail we didn’t receive it so please send again! Second, if you read the story of the wheel coming off and thought it didn’t make much sense at one point its because a whole paragraph moved when I tried to post it while in the bus. Totally didn’t make sense but its fixed now. Anyway….

We started the day in Clarksville yesterday a little small town on the Arkansas River. We really wanted to camp but a cold front with rain came just as we were arriving which put an end to that idea. Instead we found a Hampton Inn and watched Sunday Night Football in the room. Poor Ole’ Blue was right outside the window in the rain which was pretty funny to look at.

The next morning our goal was to make it to Kingston to Way Out Salvage, a VW salvage yard high in the Ozarks. The drive was a little scary going up and down the mountains but the bus handled it no problem. Eventually the road to Way Out turned into dirt and gravel for a good 5 miles, with cows and horses all around it was rather a funny scene. When we finally arrived we were blown away, hundreds of VW’s, beetles, busses wagons, all of them. We’ve never seen anything like it!. By time we picked through it all we found the wheel and horn we came for plus a few other little goodies. We both had a good time snapping some photos too.

After leaving Way Out we found a great little campsite just outside Eureka Springs. The temp was in the 40’s which for me is just perfect. It was much nicer for the bus too as we set the two tents just a few feet away. Like a good watch dog or something keeping the bears away!

Now we are leaving the Ozarks. Enting is driving while I write away traveling through some stunning fall scenery. Hopefully today we make it to a state park not too far from Wichita. Hotspot reception is shaky at best so I’ll post some photos tonight hopefully.

Fillin up to start the morning.
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Ok, seriously one of the most amazing burgers ever! This is pretty much on top of the Ozarks
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Honestly, without modern brakes, power steering and all those other goodies this is a little stressful.
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Awesome!
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On a very steep drop we pulled over to let the brakes cool off and enjoy some scenery
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Ok, seriously, dirt roads on top of a mountain?? Where the heck is Way Out Salvage!
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Five miles up on top of the Ozarks, Way Out Salvage!
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Unreal, simply Unreal!
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Look close and you’ll see the “Panic Button!”
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Ole Blue was much happier at camp then outside a hotel in a parking lot!
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Day 11 – Fun in a parking lot.

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Today we woke up with a new brake drum and a plan to get on the road asap. We didnt have a tool to get the wheel-nut off to replace the brake drum so we went to the closest Autozone for 40mm Socket. They didnt have it, O’Reillys didnt, Napa, Sears Auto, Firestone, none of them…grrrr.. eventually we found a Sears with a standard socket that would work and swapped out the drum in the parking lot. It was clear the first time we hit the brakes with the new drum installed that the damaged drum was causing the brake pulsing we were feeling. Feeling confident the brakes were back up to snuff we hit the Arkansas hills en route to the Ozarks! A few downhill runs and I realized the Rockies were going to be hair-raising! We were hoping to camp but once agian it rained as we were winding down the night so we’re at the Hampton Inn hoping to get a good start in the AM.

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Day 10 – What a day at the Big Dam Volkswagen Show!

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So today was a great day, if we needed a moral boost we got it! After losing the wheel and damaging the brake drum we needed to find a replacement asap. The shipping alone was $250 to get a one overnighted but while searching we learned there was a VW show just a couple hundred miles away in Little Rock. We made arrangements with Derrick from Way Out Salvage to meet us at the show with a solid German made drum, turned and ready to bolt on. We woke up and gave the bus a much needed bath again and headed to the Big Dam Bridge for the show. As we pulled up the rain started to come down heavily so everyone found cover and waited out the hour or so until it cleared. Turned out we had the only Samba bus (21 or 23 window model) which was cool, but there sure were some other sweet rides to look at. With a few battle scars, and missing the hubcaps I decided to enter the judging competition. After hanging around and talking to some awesome people for a few hours the award presentation kicked off at 3pm. As the trophies were coming out I was blown away by the particularly awesome “Best Paint” trophy. A can of original VW paint seeming to pour out onto a base was beautifully artistic and creative. We agreed it was the coolest trophy we’d ever seen. I told Mark I think we had a good chance of winning that one. He disagreed thinking some of the professionally sprayed beetles or the sweet “Sealing Wax” Red bus would take home that prize. We did think we were a shoe-in for the Longest Distance Traveled award though! Well turns out we took home that prize as well as a 2nd in class overall. They told us later if we had hubcaps we would have one that and maybe even Best of Show, regardless, extremely proud to have a 2nd. When the big 4 trophies were awarded I could tell as soon as the dude presenting started struggling with the name Schoennagel that we’d done it! BEST PAINT! Wow! Super proud of Mark E, its his skill and meticulous prep that won us that awesome trophy…one he’s taking home for his mantle for sure! There was lots of praise afterwards from the locals, including some professional painters on just how impressive the quality of the paint is on Ole Blue. Couldn’t have been happier after the buzz kill of the past few days! Also a huge thank you to everyone who attended the show and the organizers. Pretty darn cool of them to let some guys passing through leave with those trophies! What a day! I’ll say it again, the people in this part of the world are the nicest I’ve met. Southern Hospitality at its best!

Now its time to hit the road again and make our way through the Ozarks! …its Cooollddddddd!!!

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Day 9 – Nothing Happened! Nothing at all!!!

We got in the bus and drove. Windows didnt shatter, wheels didnt fly off, nothing eventful at all happened. We learned people in Arkansas are complete idiots when it comes to passing, but are also the nicest people all at the same time.

Thats it. We’re in Little Rock hoping the rain goes away in time for the show.

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