Thursday, February 24, 2005

The (Very) Long Road, Part 3

Stuck Day #1

On this day, we got another early morning wake up call from "Yankee" Bryan, telling us he was coming by to tow us to Valley Motors Jeep Dealer. Watching them hoist my car onto a flatbed trailer only halfway through our cross-country trek nearly brought me to tears for the first of many times this day. The thoughts of the cost of the car, the extra hotel nights, and changing Travis' plane ticket all weighed heavily on my unemployed shoulders. At the dealer, they told us we could wait in the waiting area, or back at the hotel, which was the first sign that this wasn't going to be a quick fix. It took them a long time to trouble-shoot the problem, and they eventually determined that it might be a timing chain issue. To fix this, they would have to order a timing kit from a place in Memphis, and we were unlikely to leave the area for at least 2 days. Throughout the terrible ordeal, however, Donna at the Jeep dealer was always polite and friendly, giving me a first-hand experience of the term "Southern hospitality." One of the mechanics then gave us a ride back to the hotel. The mechanic told us how he used to live in California, but that the teachers at his son's school didn't speak English properly, so he sent his son back to Arkansas for a better education, and eventually moved back to be closer to him. I'm familiar with the bilingual educational problems in California, but to send a kid to school in ARKANSAS for a better education?!?!?! Wow, that was an enlightening conversation for me. After getting back to the hotel, we re-checked in to a room that actually had internet access. We ate lunch at a restaurant called the Dixie Diner, where I tried the catfish. I've never had catfish, but all the highway signs kept advertising catfish as we approached the area, so we figured it must be a specialty around here... We were right. The Arkansas River nearby provided an abundant supply, and it was delicious. And again with the Southern hospitality. The wait staff was extraordinarily friendly in a way I've not been accustomed to, and they gave us free dessert because it was our first visit. They also gave us a $5 coupon for our next visit. Since the car was broken down, we figured it might come in handy. After lunch, we walked to the local video store... no Blockbuster here. The video store was so small that they didn't even have "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring." Their one copy was out, not that I was disappointed. We wound up renting "Garden State" instead. Back at the hotel, Travis encouraged me to import the few CDs I had in the car into the itunes on my computer, and then I wrote my "Stuck" blog. We ate dinner at the local Subway, I swapped an American dollar for a Canadian dollar (which is apparently rare and no longer used in the paper form), watched "Garden State" on my computer, and called it a night.

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