A day for the books

When we pulled into the parking lot at the Yellville post office early this morning, I shut the Silverado’s engine off and removed the key. Strangely, the radiator’s cooling fan kept running. I found that odd because the ambient temperature at that hour was in the low 60s and the drive from Harrison was no more challenging than usual.

Glancing at the coolant-temp gauge on the dash, I saw the needle resting on the low peg (160°F), which I knew couldn’t be right. Something definitely was amiss under the hood.

We continued on to Gassville, crossing a White River completely socked-in by morning fog. Deb was hungry, so we swung into McDonald’s behind a stock trailer and hit the drive-thru. I wrangled Smudge outside on the lawn so that Deb could enjoy her meal in (relative) peace.

A dusty pickup slowed as it passed where the puppy and I were standing. “Nahss dawg,” drawled the smiling woman in the passenger seat. The grin on the face of the driver made it clear that he agreed.

Smudge gets that a lot.

Our next stop was the vet — after we removed our happy Heeler’s wound dressing last night, she wouldn’t leave her boo-boo alone. We put on a new bandage, but she’d already made short work of two of the three stitches.

The clinic was packed. With a long wait ahead of us, we stayed out at the truck. I popped the hood, pulled a wrench out of my tool kit and rapped on the thermostat. (Just in case, I mean. At that point it was the only thing I could think of to do. It didn’t help.)

The sharp vet tech we’d worked with the other day came out to us in the parking lot, where she evaluated Smudge right there on the tailgate of the truck. She gave us a choice between sedating her and stitching the injury again, or doing what’s called “open-wound management.”

We went with the latter, which involves a new type of dressing and, sadly, The Cone of Shame for at least three weeks.

By the time we left the animal hospital, it had gotten warm enough to merit switching on the AC. We waited for the warm air blowing from the vents to cool… and waited… and waited… and it, too, was on the fritz.

I was still cussing when we arrived at the RV dealer for another final walkthrough of our fifth-wheel.

This time it went well, as close to perfect as we could’ve hoped. All of our questions were answered. Everything we’d asked to be addressed worked, plus the bedroom AC that we thought was inoperative was, in fact, just fine. I found a couple of minor issues — sticky dump valves and a missing latch on the water-heater door — and those were fixed immediately.

As we were finishing, a dually pickup approached — it was the guy who’ll deliver the rig to our homesite. We discussed details, including the challenges he’ll face. Deb and I both were impressed with his matter-of-fact manner and his low-key confidence. He said he’d be bringing a helper, a spotter to get him through the rough spots in the last half-mile to the pad.

We’ll meet him at the bottom of our road around 10am tomorrow. By afternoon, if all goes well, we’ll have our (temporary) Home on The Mountain.

We wrapped our crazy day with a trip to O’Reilly in Flippin for a coolant-temp sensor (Deb’s cousin’s best guess-by-text) and a gallon of 50/50 — and just before we got there, everything began working again. The radiator fan stopped running continuously, the gauge reported plausible coolant temperatures and the AC chilled.

We did stop briefly on The Mountain. Exiting the truck, I nearly stepped on the welcoming committee (pictured in today’s header image). And then we drove back to the campground.

Tomorrow will be a big day.

It was last May when I collected and posted images of some of the burgers I enjoyed while Deb and I were on the road. I stumbled across that post recently, immediately got hungry and decided that I should do it again. Here’s a bit of the grilled ground meat I’ve sampled locally (and not-so-locally) since this time last year.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB