St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Monday, February 6, 2017

New Car -- Continuing on South

We spent a week in Lake Village, AR at Lake Chicot State Park -- a nice park that was nearly empty except for us.  A little too cool -- some nights around 32 and although many sunny days reached 60, not quite as warm as we (Margo) wanted.   We would have moved on earlier, but as we reached Lake Village, Tuesday evening, January 27th, the front brakes on the 1991 Cutlass Ciera Oldsmobile began grinding badly.  
  We stopped at a couple of repair shops, who looked at the rusty undercarriage and said they couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't fix the brakes.  We knew that in WI or MN we could get them fixed, but here rusty means work, and without experience they were unwilling to try. 
   So we shopped cars, first settling on a 2007 Pontiac Torrent -- very nice suv, 100k miles and only $5,000.  However it had been sitting in the dealer lot, and when he went to take it out for a spin, the electric assist power steering didn't work.  A week of tinkering and diagnosing it (things go like molasses in the winter here), finally found it was bad and he had to fix it and add another $1000 to the price -- and a few weeks more time (he planned to get a junk yard part).   
   So some more looking around and we settled on a 2011 Impala with 119K miles for $5800.  Very clean, absolutely no rust.  The same dealer (the only one in Lake Village where we were stuck) bought two of them from a Federal Govt auction (local prison) where they had been used by prison officials. 
   We got rid of the Olds in the deal ($200 off the price which started at $7k and ended at $5800).   I bought and installed a trailer hitch and so on Saturday, Feb 4th we hooked up the camper and drove 300 or so miles south to Chicot State Park in LA (yes they have the same name).   The Impala pulled very nicely, trailer hardly noticeable behind.  
   We had planned on staying in LA for a few weeks where the highs are 70s and lows 50s.  Actually a little too warm for comfort with sudden change.  LA is one of those cut taxes on the rich and business states that Bobby Jindal starting in 2008, and with his next 8 years of very much lower state income (no cutting taxes did not bring in more revenue), park, schools, roads etc., have all been drastically underfunded and show it drastically too.  
  We had been here in 2009, and it appears that nothing has been done since in the park except to sweep the bathrooms (but not really clean them).  Weekly garbage pickup, prisoners used to do what cleaning that is done (at least in some of the parks), and pretty shabby overall.   It was full with fishermen and others on Saturday, but as they left Sunday, today we drove around the campsites in the 6000+ acre park and found a "better" place with bathrooms that were under construction when we were here in 2009, and so are still decent, although in need of some TLC.  
   Plan to stay here until next Monday, and then move on.  Every day we update what we are doing with photos on Facebook, so if you are interested in following us visually, get one of those free Facebook accounts and follow us.
Internet service is somewhat abbreviated (meaning slow and very much restricted -- so photos and videos are not easily seen), but text and mail is OK.  
  Some photos from AR and LA -- very highly compressed to make it so we can upload them.