December 23, 2014

A Detour on the Way to Arkansas

A look at the ten-day weather forecast convinced us that we could leave Buckhorn Lake Resort on Tuesday, December 2 and head toward Arkansas.  Since we would be gone for only two weeks and would be moving at a much faster pace than usual, we decided to travel with just the RV.  We could store the Subaru at Buckhorn since we would be returning there on December 15 for a month-long stay. 

It was just like old times with the two of us driving in one vehicle. Although Kitty seemed a bit confused that I had appropriated her seat, she ultimately decided that my lap might be a good place to take a nap. 

Texas is a big state, and it would take us almost 500 miles and two days to reach Arkansas.  The skies were overcast when we left Kerrville, and the traffic was surprisingly light, even as we made our way through Austin.  It was an uneventful day, which was a good thing.  The highlight was a stop in Bastrop for lunch.  Bastrop is a very cool historic town, and I would have enjoyed spending more time there.  Alas, we were on a mission with Arkansas as our priority, and we pushed on to Franklin, Texas, before stopping for the evening.

Just when it seemed like Wednesday would be as uneventful as our first day, things started to get interesting.  The dreaded check engine light came on again.  I remained calm and checked to see where the closest Sprinter service center was located.  Luckily there was one in Tyler, just about 50 miles away.  We had no choice but to make a detour and drive directly to Tyler.

The folks at Mercedes-Benz of Tyler could not have been nicer.  “No appointment, no problem.”  “Of course we can fit you in.”  After our last visit to a Freightliner dealer, we were happy to be escorted to a nice waiting area again.  Everyone was so friendly, including the other customers, and Kitty received much appreciated attention.  The problem turned out to be the same as last time – the EGR coolant temperature sensor.  Since we had driven only 1,400 miles since the sensor had been cleaned, we agreed that it should be replaced.  We don’t want this to keep happening. 

The sensor had to be ordered, and it wouldn’t arrive until the following morning.  Luckily we could adjust our plans and stay in Tyler overnight.  Our plan was to spend the night in the dealer’s service lot since there was an electrical hookup, but the lot was not level, and we decided to move to a nearby campground.

We were up bright and early to get back to the dealer before 8:00 am.  The part arrived, and the work was completed by 10:00 am.  Our extended warranty even covered a portion of the cost, which was great. Although not in our plans, our experience in Tyler could not have been better, and we are optimistic that we won’t have to deal with this issue again.

We left Tyler to continue our trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where we planned to spend a few days.  We weren’t sure we’d make it the entire way because of the detour to Tyler, but we pushed on.  We finally left Texas behind and after crossing into Arkansas stopped in Hope for lunch and a visit to the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site.  This relatively new unit of the National Park Service preserves the simple house where Clinton lived with his mother and grandparents during the first four years of his life.

President Clinton's Boyhood Home

We had a nice tour of the house and learned a bit about the future president’s early life in Hope.  I never knew, or had forgotten, that Clinton was not his original surname.  Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe, III, after his father, who had been killed in an automobile accident three months before his birth.  Clinton’s mother later remarried, and he assumed his stepfather’s name, although he was never adopted.  Clinton legally changed his name when he was fourteen years old. 

Learning About Bill

Our visit to Hope was a quick one since we wanted to reach Hot Springs before dark.  We made it.  Although our original plan was to stay at the campground run by the National Park Service, we instead checked into Catherine’s Landing, a destination resort.  Are we getting spoiled by these fancy private resorts?  I know that Kitty is loving it.

Amenities at Catherine's Landing

"I'm Not Going Down There"
"This Is a Good Spot"

Camouflage Kitty

"I Told You I Was A Rock Climber"


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