Decided we would change our route today and head into Arkansas towards Little Rock. We headed across the state line on I-55 hoping to find a Welcome Centre to pick up a map of Arkansas. However, the first one we found head a sign closed and when we got there it was still being built! We continued on I-55 and then turned onto I-40 and hoped there might be another one soon. A couple of miles further on we found the Welcome Centre and this one was there and open. We picked up a map and also some literature about the state and made a plan to jump off the I-40 onto the US70 and head towards the capitol, Little Rock. Here we planned to have a look at the State Capitol Building and also Central High School which is now a National Historic Site, as this was where nine African-American teenagers in 1957 attempted to enter this all white school only to be turned away by the National Guard troops
. Along the way, we saw a sign for the Louisana Purchase National Monument and decided to give this a visit. A few minutes down the road, we began to get a strange aroma which Dean said smelt like radiator fluid. We made the decision to check it out once we got to the monument. Brian had other ideas. A minute later his temperature light came on and a strange gurgling noise erupted from the engine. We pulled up and opened the bonnet. The noise was coming from the expansion tank as the water was boiling. While Brian cooled down we decided on a plan of action. We were only a couple of miles from the monument. If we could make it there, we would then decide what our next step was to be. While sitting on the side of the road, a State Trooper pulled up. We explained the situation and he said ok, all he could do was to call a wrecker (tow truck). We said that's ok, we would wait for it to cool down and see what happens. After a little while, the water had stopped boiling, so we topped up the reservoir and headed off to the monument. We only just made it before Brian started boiling again. While Brian cooled down again we walked to the monument. Upon our return we took a look at the map to see where the nearest town was that might have a mechanic. We were really in the sticks. There nearest likely place was Helena-West Helena almost 30 miles away. We decided to head back to US70 and find a phone to call for a tow. A couple of miles down the road, Brian boiled again, but luckily Cat spotted a house. We pulled up walked up the drive and was met by a seemingly friendly dog
. Luckily, the lady of the house was home, so we called Good Sam and as it was Sunday arranged for a tow for Monday morning. The nice lady offered us a corner plot of their land to park up on until tomorrow, so we managed to get Brian there and set up camp for the night. After parking up, we settled in for the afternoon watching birds fly around and reading our books. We had dinner just as the sun was setting and then watched a movie (Imagine Me and You). It was strangely nice being in a farmers field which was pitch black with no street lights around. Then it was off to bed with the thought 'Please let it be something cheap and simple to fix!!!' running through our heads.
Up around 7.30am and ready and waiting around 8am for our tow. Still ready & waiting around 11am. As our mobile didn't work in the US, Dean walked up to the house to see if they were in to borrow the phone again. No one in. There were no other houses around so we decided to flag down a passing vehicle. I stood on the road side and waved down a couple of vehicles who just waved and drove on by. Then one of the stopped but didn't have a mobile we could borrow. Dean converted our sun visor that usually read 'NEED HELP PLEASE CALL THE POLICE' to say 'NEED HELP PLEASE'
. Again people just ignored it except for one older gentleman who pulled over and turned out to be the father of the family whose land we were on. He let us borrow his mobile and we rang Good Sam again to discover that nothing had been arranged and so had to go through everything again to arrange the tow. Eventually, we got one organised which was due to arrive around 12.30pm. Great! At that time, no truck but the father returned to tell us he had received a call to say that unfortunately, the tow company wouldn't pick us up as Louisana was too far! Luckily, he explained we were actually in Arkansas near to the Louisana Purchase State Park, not actually in Louisana.
16th Oct cont.