Just wow

Schroder Tire is right on US 62 where Arkansas 178 spurs off to Flippin. Deb and I always had wanted to stop there to check out the view — from Schroder’s parking lot, The Mountain is three miles to the south. We never took the time to do it, though.

That changed today.

Late this morning, we left on a mission. We had a 2pm appointment near Norfork in Baxter County, but we had to run by the bank first. As I pulled to a stop in the Yellville branch’s parking lot, the instrument panel issued a stern warning — the Silverado’s right-rear tire was at 13psi. Deb went inside to take care of business while I broke out the tire inflator I carry and started throwing air into it.

Rolling the truck back slightly exposed a cut in the tread, leaking badly. One of our road’s notorious “tire biters” (a sharp rock, that is, likely chert) probably was to blame. I managed to get 22psi into it before realizing that it wouldn’t hold any more.

Quickly (and gingerly) we set out for Schroder, watching tire pressure the whole way. By the time we’d covered the five miles to the shop, the right-rear was at 11psi. That was close.

Great people there. (Natch.) We dealt with the owner, along with a half-dozen techs and other staff. I wanted to simply plug the tire, but the cut was bad enough that it would’ve been a sketchy repair. Deb suggested that we just replace all four tires, which we hadn’t planned to do ’til spring, and be done with it. That’s what we ended up doing.

Schroder had been recommended to us by our neighbors, and now we know why. A super experience. We’ll definitely be back.

The tire incident put us behind, with no real way to make up the hour we lost. After making a quick stop in Mountain Home for supplies we’d need later, we turned south toward the address we’d been given. We wound down toward the White River, crossed it on Arkansas 341 and then turned off onto an unpaved county road.

The next four miles were as entertaining as I’ve ever spent on a dirt road — barely one lane wide, three (count ’em) low-water crossings, and riveting scenery at every turn (and there were a lot of turns). Just a magnificent stretch of road.

Eventually we arrived at the homestead we were looking for, a “barndominium” on several acres along the White. We were greeted warmly by the owners — he a retired schoolteacher, she an art instructor, a couple of transplants from Oregon by way of Colorado. Together they led us to their garage and the reason we were there: a Hearthstone Shelburne woodstove, which they’d listed (and Deb found) on Facebook Marketplace.

It was in great shape, and the price was fair. It was exactly what we wanted. We bought it.

Deb and I hit it off immediately with the couple, and they invited us inside their home for conversation before we loaded the stove into the truck. We saw the woman’s art work — just spectacular — and we all discovered that the four of us see the world, the culture and this country the same way. They asked us to consider becoming part of their prepper group, and as we were leaving they gave us two dozen fresh eggs from their coop.

We love it here. And I suspect we’ll see these good folks again soon.

The 500-pound cast-iron woodstove, strapped down securely in the bed, rode well on the way back to The Mountain. We swung by a neighbor’s place to pick up a couple of forks that can be used with a front-end loader. Deb’s cousin met us at the cabin on his tractor, and together we schemed and wrestled the stove out of the truck and through the front door of the cabin.

Deb and I perched it on four heavy-duty furniture casters and wheeled it to the northwest corner of the cabin, placing it where its future hearth is outlined in blue painter’s tape. Perfect.

There was a lot of “wow” in this day — from catching a failing tire before it blew out, to doing business with a great new shop, to an exhilarating drive, to bringing home a wonderful woodstove and making like-minded friends in the process.

I dunno, maybe life gets better than this. I’m just not sure how.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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