Log Day 1: Atlanta to Newport, Arkansas
Log Day 2: Newport to Amarillo, Texas
  Nave Album****1982 West Trip Go Back

August 1: Atlanta to Newport, Arkansas

After weeks of planning, building storage box, getting 1972 VW Camper Van repaired, we approached the day of departure. I finished class on Friday, gave the final exam Friday afternoon, graded it and turned in the grades. Brenda finished up work on Friday about 2:15 and came home to work on preparations. Mark had ridden the bus to Dalton on Thursday to spend some time with the Boykins. Jeff spent the day and Friday night with his grandmother. After going to supper at the Palms and visiting a while with Lawrence West, we came home and worked on packing till after 2 AM. Saturday was predictably hectic with loading, building a chair rack and a shelf, ect., etc. We finally wrapped it close to midnight.

Leaving at 6 AM, we picked up Mark at Dalton. The van worked well for the first leg of the trip - giving freedom of movement around while moving down the road. The only dampening factor was that the starter malfunction we had paid $50 to have repaired showed up again just out of Nashville.

The starter wouldn't start - even with the new brushes we had put on it, but we pushed it off and started it and went on our way. The starter worked ok the only other time we shut the engine off to get gas in West Memphis.

Other than that, the first leg of the trip went smoothly. The excellent ventilation of the van kept us from being too uncomfortable even in 96°F humid Arkansas heat.

We had a good visit with Mother in Newport. Suzanne, Brent and Brian came in to visit after church and the kids enjoyed playing together. 550 miles for the day.

Map for Day 1
  Nave Album****1982 West Trip Go Back

August 2: Newport to Amarillo, Texas

We got up at 4:30 AM Newport time since we had a long way to go. Mother got up and ate breakfast with us and we left about 6 AM in a heavy fog just at dawn. The fog persisted all the way to Convay. Brenda and boys slept some while I drove. The trip across winding rural Hwy 64 from Beebe to Conway was very enjoyable for me as a time of solitude. I drove slowly of necessity and looked at the fresh green crops in the dew and fog of early morning, watched a pony and her new colt, and enjoyed watching the elderly people puttering about in their yards and gardens - they were the only ones up to enjoy the morning with me.

The fog dissipated soon after we joined the I40 at Conway, though it persisted enough to hide the lake near Fort Smith. I had decided to test the starter again near Ft. Smith and then buy a starter there if it failed again. It had worked with out a hitch as we started in the morning but failed when we stopped for gas. We pushed it off again and drove on near Ft. Smith and asked directions at an Exxon station. They suggested a parts place nearer in Van Buren, only a couple of miles. We decided to go there- and the van started right up and took us there to get the starter with only about 30 minutes of lost time.

Feeling somewhat more comfortable about the starter situation, we headed out across Oklahoma. Starting with trees and hills which were reminiscent of the Nashville area, the country gradually widened out. It was quite hot - we noticed the cattle gathered in bunches under trees for relief from the midday sun. Where there were no trees, some gathered in the shade of billboards. The van's good ventilation kept us from suffering, but it was a scorcher. Oklahoma City's skyscrapers and hair-raising city expressway rush were in stark contrast to the mostly rural state.

West of Oklahoma City I noticed the van laboring more and was concerned about the effect of heat on it, but then I realized we were climbing steadily to a high plain. Also we encountered fierrce crosswinds which held us back. Finally as we entered Texas we saw some signs warning of dangerous crosswinds. Now they tell us!

From large fields, range and small trees we finally saw some of the bluffs and canyons we associated with Texas. A few minutes at a rest area overlooking Texas terrain were a relief from thelong days drive. Finally we arrived at Amarillo and the KOA Campground.

We set up camp. Brenda fixed supper while the boys swam at the little pool and wandered about. Soon after supper we all sacked out - the boys upstairs in thepop-top and Brenda and I below. We were somewhat dismayed with $11.50 to camp, but the facilities were nice. We had traveled 644 miles.

Map for Day 2
  Nave Album****1982 West Trip Go Back