Before we began this adventure, we talked to a number of seasoned travelers about our plans to go across the country in a motorhome as a family. We were surprised to hear in response from these road warrior veterans a number of warnings about the challenges of hitting the road. After our visit to Little Rock we believe every word.
We were trying to make up for lost time since we had stayed longer than expected in Memphis and Nashville, but we knew we couldn’t go through Little Rock without seeing Central High School and the Old State House. As we pulled into town, it was late afternoon and we went straight to Central High. We knew before we left home that this trip would give us opportunities to teach our kids about different races and cultures and the important principle that “all men are created equal”. We are never sure if our children really understand or remember much from all the stops we are making along the way, but for some reason, even though we were at what seemed like a pretty normal high school, they seemed to appreciate what the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957 was all about. We had already begun learning about the civil rights movement in Memphis when we visited the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Now, as we visited a school where children were affected by the evils of racism, it seemed to have an even deeper level of meaning for our kids.
Next stop was the Old State House and it was really beautiful, but unfortunately we didn’t have as much time there as we would have liked. We hit the road in the dark with our sites set on Dallas, Texas when we heard a strange noise and felt a big bump in the rear of our motorhome. We limped along the road and up the off-ramp into Benton, Arkansas until we could find a place to get our big rig out of traffic. It was here that we discovered that both of our rear airbags had broken away from the axle and needed to be replaced. To make a very long story short, we were stuck there in that parking lot for three days before we could get the part and the mechanic and the motor home all in the same place at the same time. It wasn’t a very complicated repair, but it was expensive, and not much fun hanging out under the motor home for several hours in the grease and the 27 degree weather. However, this cloud did have a silver lining. We also had more time to experience and enjoy Little Rock. On Saturday we went to The Big Dam Bridge, the William Clinton Presidential Museum and had a great dinner at The Flying Fish Restaurant downtown. On Sunday we made new friends at church and were invited to Sunday dinner at their home. Although it is a strange experience to camp in a parking lot for three days, the owners of the property were very kind and even called us on Sunday afternoon to ask if there was anything they could do to help us! All in all we look back on our experiences in Little Rock with a smile. We experienced another great city and overcame some difficult challenges that brought us closer together, and have grown to appreciate the people whose generosity, concern and kindness have made our lives just a little sweeter.
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