Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Arkansas: Doubtful Paternity

Mountain Home, Arkansas-

Paul and I install greenboard and concrete backerboard in his main bathroom with the big jacuzzi. He approves of my wine. We fish for striped bass in Lake Norfolk and play more tennis.

The drywall 'mud' guy shows up on Saturday. He is alone because it is the beginning of muzzle-loader hunting season so his helpers have run off hunting. He says his dad, Lee, owns the business... or at least he thinks Lee is his dad, it's hard to tell, he says.

Paul's 87 year old mother-in-law makes blueberry pie or blackberry cobbler every night. She gives us crossword puzzles and old Smithsonian magazines for the road.

The Mountain Home 'senior' centre is located near the municipal swimming pool and tennis courts. They send out shuttle buses to collect the old folks who want to play cards or swim. Paul says the local officials are into reality-based management and don't want them driving anywhere, if possible.

There's an interesting local story about a judges daughter, a murder cover-up and many witnesses who have now met with untimely deaths. Marshall, Arkansas may have the highest rate of unsolved murders per capita in the US.

The local police have an occasional big day of stopping pickup trucks to inspect for seat belt violations. This is always on the front page in advance with news about the war on page five or six.

I replace a burned out RV tail-light bulb and clean, tighten and lubricate the motorcycle chain with WD-40 and molybdenum disulfide. It's time to move on. West on Route 66.

We will spend the next six weeks exploring 'the mother road', Route 66. On 13 October, 1984, the last stretch of the legendary road was decommissioned near Williams, Arizona. It was replaced by Interstate 40. About 85% of the old road is still drivable. Many of the ghost towns along I-40 were killed by the bypasses.

I play the 1965 hit 'Ticket to Ride' by the Beatles on the RV CD player and remember a drive the same year along Route 66 in a TR4-A, painted British racing green, with the same companion. Everything we owned was in the trunk.

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