Friday, April 10, 2009

Vacationing with my sister's family!

With the ski boat finished and vacation scheduled for the week of the 4th of July, plans were made to go with my sister and her family on a camping trip into the Ozarks. My sister and husband had 6 boys....3 in the teen-and pre-teen range and 3 in the toddler and baby range. Mike, Gerry, and Vince in the older group and the younger 3 were: David, Norman, and Richard. (who was about 6 months old). With our three: Darleen, Hugh, and Karen, and 4 adults, there were 13 in the camping party. We planned to pull the boat with our car and the trailer (the one I built for the La trip) loaded with all the camping equipment with their car. They came down the night before from Memphis and stayed all night in order for us to get a early start.
We left out the next morning with myself leading the caravan headed toward Little Rock. After we passed Little Rock and Conway we came into Morrilton and turned toward the Petit Jean Mountain. Going up the mountain, we had to circle on the way up......we had never seen anything so high, until we arrived at the State Park. We checked in and sat up camp in a nice area near the lake. It was a small fishing lake, nothing larger than a 10 h.p. fishing boat allowed. The kids got out their fishing poles and caught a few small fish....not big enough to keep, but fun to catch. That night, we had a nice campfire and roasted weiners and marshmellows, told stories and had a good time. The next morning after breakfast, we went to the Win-Rock Farm and took the tour and saw all the prize bulls and inside of some of the cleanest and nicest barns that you could ever see. (Win Rockefellow was Governor of Arkansas at this time and maintained a home at this location. His son, Win Rockefellow, Jr. later became Lt. Governor and was planning on running for Governor, until he was diagnosed and later died from a long battle with Cancer.) We went and toured the Antique Auto Museum, which was stocked with a lot of Rockefellow's vehicles. Most of his cars were maroon or a wine color, which was his favorites. There was also a rubber plant in the basement, that manufactured special tires for the antique vehicles.
We went back to camp and loaded up and got ready to head out for Greers Ferry Lake at Heber Springs. After we had loaded up, My brother-in-law told me that he had heard a noise on the way up the mountain that sounded like the bearings were going out on one of wheels of the trailer. I told him not to worry, if it went out, we would just dump it somewhere since I didn't have a lot of money in it. On the way down the mountain we were again leading the way, when my brother-in-law passed me blowing his car horn and speeding down the mountain around the curves at break neck speed. We followed and tried to keep up with no avail and smoke was pouring from the rear of his car. When he reached the bottom and pulled to the side of the road, the tire blew out, sending the hub cap flying, the doors opening and people rushing to get out of the car. Smoke was everywhere, but everyone was safe. The noise that he had heard was the bearings in his car that was going out, not the trailer. I drove down the road and found a place to unhook the boat, went back and got the trailer with the camping gear. We managed to get their car up to where the boat was to get it out of the way. I loaded all the women and small kids in the car and headed out to Heber Springs. Brother-in-law and the 3 older boys stayed behind with the car and boat. The plan was that I would go to Heber Springs, find a camp site, set up camp and come back for bro-in-law and the boys, Pick up the boat and return to Heber Springs. We would come back the next morning to fix and pick up the car. This was late on a Sunday afternoon and nothing was open until Monday morning.
Everything went as planned, after going back picking them up and the boat, we made it back to camp around mid-night. The next morning, we stopped at a Ford Dearship in Morrilton and picked up parts and fixed the car and returned to Heber Springs to start our camping. That afternoon, we finally got the boat in the water and starting doing a little water sking or at least trying to. Bro-in-law was the only one to get up, but we all gave it a good try. The motor was a little small to get anyone up with riders in the boat, so we quit for the day. We were able to take all the kids for a good ride on the lake and had a good time.
The next morning after letting the kids swim and boat ride, we had lunch and my sister and family had to return to Memphis to go back to work the next day. They would take the trailer back with them and we were staying a few more days. We would load the camping equipment in the boat when we returned least that was our plans. That afternoon a storm started coming in and the rain started....water was pouring off the tent all night long. The next morning everthing was wet or damp. With the wind blowing it was getting cold. About 10 a.m. a friend that we knew that lived in Heber Springs came out and took us to her house and fed us a good hot meal. The longer we sat there, the more we decided it was time to load up and go home. We went back to camp and loaded up everything wet and went home. After getting home we had to set it back up to dry out for few days.......


  1. What a neat story, thank you for sharing. You all really knew how to have a good time and often the times spent when things didn't go exactly as planned are the ones we remember fondly at family gatherings.
    Loved the fact that you "picked up parts and fixed the car". Those days are almost gone with all the electronic stuff on cars. Enjoyed the trip with you and glad I didn't have to get wet.

  2. Thank you Pattie, you are a dear....really enjoy your posts!

  3. Thank you for reminding me of my wonderful childhood. That was a great vacation!