Saturday the Old Salt and I packed a bag and headed on a road trip to the southern part of the Missouri Ozarks. Our plan was to visit Table Rock Lake near the small town of Shell Knob where one of my brothers has a lakeside cabin. As we left home water droplets from the early morning rain were still coating all the plants and dripping into puddles from the leaky gutter alone our carport. Skies were gray and gloomy with the weather report predicting they would remain that way all weekend.
Our trip was going along swimmingly as we lazily made our way down the state, with several stops at points of interest. I had just taken over the driving duties and, hoping to make up some time, had set the cruise control to seventy. Highway 44 is known for being the primary roadway for truckers and Saturday was no exception. It was impossible to keep from being boxed in by the trucks and my cruse setting had them leaving me in the dust. Our car would be buffeted by the wind each time one passed. We were within fifty miles of the exit that would take us across county to our destination when suddenly it felt as if a hurricane gale wind was rocking our car. The noise was unbelievable and it took me a second to realize that my car had developed a serious problem. After struggling to keep the car on a straight path and slow down without having the big rigs behind me run us over I managed to get the car as far off the shoulder as possible. This is what we found.
The sidewall of the tire blew out all the way around. We were fortunate that the other sidewall remained undamaged and in place so we had at least some rubber between the rim and the pavement all the way to the shoulder. Whoever said it's better to be lucky than good was so right. We were on a narrow shoulder with a deep (20 plus feet) ditch on our right. The Old Salt had to wait for a break between passing semi-trailer trucks to even step out far enough on the driver's side to assess the damage. Our SUV was being buffeted by the huge trucks every couple of minutes with periods of five or six big rigs in a row and the world was beginning to seem way too crowded. The Old Salt had no problem changing the tire but said doing so that close to the passing herd was far more excitement than he cared to experience without a blocking vehicle to the rear. We called Triple A but the dispatcher seemed to be unfamiliar with Missouri. It seemed she would never understand where we were. We gave the name of the highway and said we were at mile marker 117 but she wanted to know what city we were in. We were way out in the country but she insisted we name a city in order to properly direct help to our location. By the time we were once again on our way it was several hours and two new tires later. The remainder of our trip was pleasant and uneventful. Believe me, uneventful is good. We did encounter a stretch of road with warning signs for curves the least of which indicated a top speed of thirty miles per hour. Several indicated a recommended twenty miles per hour. These curves were on a road so steep a picture left the impression the camera was attached to a bird instead of a car actually driving on the road.
Of course we were on the Ozark Plateau where steep hills and narrow valleys are the norm. At one point we stopped at a scenic overlook and felt as if we were looking all the way to Arkansas. But, our destination was in sight sitting at the foot of Shell Knob. In this picture you will see our destination. It is just below what appears to be a small mountain on the left known to locals as The Knob.
It wasn't long before we were approaching the bridge that crosses an inlet of Table Rock Lake and only minutes from my brothers cabin that faces the lake as seen in the last photo.
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