Hub Motorcycle Resort, the owner, Randall, smiled and waved at us from the balcony above the office, outside the quarters he shares with his wife, Debbie.
"We need a place to set up our tent," I said.
"Anywhere over there on the grass is fine," he said. "Just pull your bike down there and have at it."
We love our tent. It's easy to put up and light-weight to carry. This is only the third time we've assembled it, but we didn't have any problem. Notice our portable toilet there in front of the tent (minus the bag that holds the precious contents): You might remember there was a mishap in Iowa with the travel toilet. Because we were the only tent-campers at the resort, we set the thing outside the tent during our stay (we'd only be using it after dark; there was a rest room for us in an unused motel room). Looking back, that was rather silly: It made us get out of bed, bring our aging bodies to a standing position, unzip the door of the tent, and go outside into the frigid night. Oh well, we managed; and this trip, there were no potty incidents.
Perhaps you know, however, that tent camping is one of those adventures that carries with it certain inherent problems no matter how carefully you plan a trip. This is why so many people say, "I hate camping; Motel 6 is as close to camping as I want to be."
These would be people who retired with a much larger 401K than Cliff and I.
Because it gets dark so early, after we had eaten our tuna salad sandwiches I got the air mattress blown up and we turned in. It didn't take long to figure out our air mattress had a slow leak. It was perhaps a half-hour later that we were laying on the cold, hard, rocky Arkansas ground.
We had a similar problem on our last night in Iowa this summer, but Cliff was sure there was no leak: he had put water on it and tried his best to make it leak and never found any sign. It's the same air mattress I used in the cabin, so it's been around awhile; I suggested at the time we buy a new one, but Cliff said no. I refrained from reminding him of this, though.
So, we're laying on the ground and Cliff was graphically stating his opinion of camping. Trying to lighten the situation, I said to him, "Remember that song, "Would You Lay With Me In a Field of Stone"?
"Don't sing it to me," says Cliff. "You don't want to hear my answer."
He eventually slept some, but I'm pretty sure I never once drifted off to dreamland. Folks, that was the most miserable night I've spent since giving birth to my babies. If I rolled over on my side, my hip ground into the rocks. Laying on my back, (which normally never bothers me) my back ached in places where I didn't know I had places; also my knees, both the real one and the artificial one. As the night went on, it got worse. I remembered the old story in the New Testament about Paul being on a sinking ship where the crew "dropped four anchors and prayed for daylight." I felt like I'd dropped a lot more than four anchors; I prayed for daylight and thanked God that at least Cliff was getting some sleep. Then I recalled Paul and Silas in prison singing hymns, but I knew if I started singing hymns I'd be getting a divorce before long. Toward morning, I found out if I turned onto my stomach, the only thing that hurt was my neck (because of having to turn my head to one side or the other). So I relieved my pain that way.
We started getting ourselves ready for the coming day around daybreak, knowing that at some point we'd have to hit a Walmart and buy a new air mattress; neither of us was willing to repeat this experience!
The temperature got down into the low forties, but thank goodness we managed to stay warm enough in our sleeping bags. I made coffee, we ate some cold cereal, and we started our day.