Safely home, earlier than expected


Yesterday we headed southwest from Little Rock, stopping at the Crater of Diamonds State Park to let Miss D. indulge her geological habits.  It was an interesting visit for me, too, given that I was born and raised in South Africa, where the Kimberley diamond discoveries in the 19th century gave rise to the name of “kimberlite“, the type of rock in which diamonds are found (as at Crater of Diamonds).  It was interesting to compare the relatively low-key, sedate “diamond rush” in Arkansas during the early 20th century with the frenetic, no-holds-barred, sometimes deadly rush to Kimberley a few decades earlier, twenty to thirty years after the “gold rush” in California (and resembling the latter in its human drama and lawless frontier ethos).

Given the heat, we couldn’t stay at the Crater of Diamonds for too long.  Upon consideration, we decided we’d rather head for home, getting there late in the evening, rather than overnight in Texarkana as originally planned.  We spent a couple of hours meandering through the back roads of Arkansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas before hitting Highway US 82, which took us west across the top of Texas towards home.  We made an obligatory pilgrimage shopping stop at Fischers in Muenster to stock up on their delicious German sausages (knackwurst, bockwurst and weisswurst) and cheese (onion, garlic and a couple of others), and a few other tasty items.  It’ll be our turn to feed the North Texas Troublemakers in a week or two, so we bought enough to satisfy a hungry crowd.

We got home as the light faded from the sky, to be met by two very affectionate cats who demanded to know where we’d been, how dare we abandon them to the wiles of friendly cat-sitters, and did we bring back treats for them?  After being much purred and rubbed upon, we unpacked, and I fell straight into bed.  As I grow older, spending eight hours a day behind the wheel for several days on end gets old quickly!

We’ll spend tomorrow unpacking and sorting out, and taking our SUV in to the dealer to get its fractious air-conditioner sorted out.  It turned out to be a mixed blessing.  It’ll cost money to repair, but the exceptionally good fuel economy of Miss D.’s Toyota Camry (it routinely achieved better than 40 mpg) meant that we spent less than half as much on gasoline this trip as we’d budgeted.  The savings will come in handy to pay for the SUV’s repairs.

Blogging should return to normal on Thursday morning.



    1. Under any circumstance in which you're not hauling kids around in addition to you and your spouse, or large quantities of goods.

      And Toyota Camrys are some of the most reliable cars out there–I have been informed that when stolen, they are one of the models most frequently shipped overseas because of the fact as long as you do the basic, routine maintenance on the things they'll run until the engine falls out.

  1. Nice! Other than slowing down now and then for the towns that run along 82 there is really pretty great… Is Muenster that town advertising an Oktoberfest (or at least they were when last I went through last year)?

  2. Glad you're safely back home.

    Next time you pass through Muenster, don't forget to pick up some of their Dusseldorf mustard. It's fantastic on brats!

  3. I work in the auto industry parts side and was a machinist years ago and Toyo's are built tough.Me I would still love to travel more Peter and having to stop at Fischers sounds alot like what we had to endure with Momma's Stuckeys back in the 70's. 🙂

  4. A Camry is great. We bought a 2021 back in December because our 19 year old 4Runner was having more issues. It is good for going distances.

    There are more kimberlite pipes in Arkansas than the one at the park. Back in the late 60's or early 70's, a friend of my late father pick up an interesting stone (diamond) while out hunting. The problem was he couldn't pinpoint the spot where he was when he picked up the stone because he covered a lot of territory on that excursion. They were both in the Air National Guard in Fort Smith AR at the time. Because the unit did tactical photo reconnaissance and had photos over the general area. They poured over those photos, but could not find any specific place to go look at on the ground. It was for training purposes as well, so don't complain about them doing it on state money.

  5. Rented a couple cars on a trip to TX early in the covid mess. One Camry, and I forget the other Japanese model. Both returned 40+ mpg at freeway speeds (80mph). I was astounded! As long as I wasn't pedaling the throttle, of course. Doing that would cut it near in half.
    One of the oddest road conditions I encountered in TX was dirt/gravel filled temporary patches in roads with a 70mph speed limit. Not little holes, but bigger than the car. I'm assuming they were just temporary…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *