Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wyaconda - Mark Twain Lake, MO

Friday April 19th we had reservations for Wyaconda State Park but since there has been so much rain and flooding we were very nervous about going there. We called to see what the conditions were and we both decided that we didn't want to risk it. We know what happens when those Levy's breech. So we called to explain the situation and see if we could cancel with minimum cost. They were gonna check with the person in charge. So we decided to hook up and head that way.

Next we had a bit of a problem with the brake controller. We, Jeff messed with it and got it working. We had a fairly long trip planned for today, but thought we could do it since we were familiar with the roads. The roads weren't a problem at all. The traffic was light and the roads were good. The problem was getting someone to call us back on the reservation thing. Usually we wouldn't make reservations but it was the weekend and we would be pulling in later than usual. Finally we decided to forget Wyaconda and head to Mark Twain instead. There's a lake there instead of a river. The lake was high but no danger in it flooding us.

 When we finally got a hold of them again at the reservation place they weren't cutting us any break at all. We ended up getting charged for 2 nights plus a $7.50 fee and a $5.00 fee as well. What do you do? Learn from it. Kind a ridiculous we thought. It wasn't like we were canceling for no reason. Actually part of the park was closed from flooding but not the loop we had reservations at. Didn't expect to get a full refund but thought they would consider the situation a bit but nope! Both of us were a bit miffed about that but felt our decision was the best one.

Got us a good spot at Ray Behrens which is located at Mark Twain Lake. We go there often and they have a nice section of 1st come 1st serve. This is a nice park but we had picked Wyaconda because its closer to our hometown of Keokuk Iowa and we had business we needed to take care of. With the high water the road was closed to get over to Iowa so we had to take the long way. So we had to plan our trips. With the road closures it was a 2 hour trip one way.

On Saturday we hung around the campground and did some laundry and cleaned. We are going to Keokuk tomorrow for church and then we are heading to Jeff's brothers for pizza and conversation. On the way home we had a bite at steak and shake.

Monday we stayed at the campground and Jeff changed the oil in the truck. I put together a quilt to start quilting. We were heading back to town tomorrow.

Tuesday Jeff had a meeting at the city offices, then we had to get our taxes prepared. (we had an extension) Next we had to meet up with my best girlfriend for lunch. Our old neighbor was in the hospital so we stopped to see him. I dropped by to say hi to my sister also. We went to the grocery store and ran into Jeff's sister and her husband so had to catch up with them. We really felt like this was a successful trip. On the way back to the campground we decided to go the Illinois way. There was a reason a brand new Texas Roadhouse had opened in Quincy Illinois and we stopped to have supper. You talk about good....everything was. It was a long day of running but it was a good day. Our next move to Cedar Rapids...the kids and grand kids, can't wait!!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Moving to Missouri

We got ready to head out on Sunday, April 14th. We knew we had a long trip ahead and figured the drive would be interesting to say the least. Well interesting isn't the word I would use to describe that road.....Extremely ridiculous would be closer. We took Scenic Byway 7. That road would have been scary in a car let alone in a ton Dooley towing 40 feet of train. It was like something out of a movie. Just when we thought we drove out of it another mountain to climb which meant you had to go down as well which meant turns and switchbacks. My hands were numb from holding on to the door handle. Jeff was totally stressed too. We couldn't wait to arrive at our destination.

After driving for what seemed like forever we finally arrived...Mill Creek Campground. It was located on Table Rock Lake. Jeff took the bike off and went to pick out a spot. He found a good one it was surrounded by water,  #42 was to be the spot. So we drove to the site. It was kinda confusing getting around this park but we got there. Next to back her in. We have been doing so good, but this time we had a bit of trouble. We blamed it on us both being tired and stressed after that drive.

After a good nights rest we both felt better. It started off kinda cloudy, but cleared up. We got to work and did some cleaning, Jeff got the bugs washed off the vehicles and I worked on the camper. I even got the freezer defrosted. The sun came out in the afternoon so Jeff took his kayak out to try some fishing. He didn't catch anything. We also checked out the rest of the campground. The people at the booth were extra friendly and gave us some ideas on what to see in town.

On Tuesday we decided to head into Branson and look around. We haven't been here for almost 30 years, so things have changed a bit. We also are here at a good time not busy at all. We saw a Krispy Kreme doughnut store had to stop there ...yum!!! We parked the truck and hit the streets. First I saw a candy store and had to stop there. So cool it had every kind of candy and it was displayed in old fashioned candy jars.....loved it ! Then we went to the 5 & 10 store oh my loved it too. It had everything the old dime stores had, so many memories. It was really nice to just stroll through the downtown area . We had lunch at Famous Dave's , it was barbecue. We got the special and it was brought to us on a trash can lid. That was unusual. Then we walked around down by the river and ran into some people that used to attend our old church. That was neat to visit with them, hadn't seen them in years.

We had so much fun in town we decided to go back in on Wednesday. We ate lunch at Mel's Hardluck Diner, where the food is delivered by singing waitress's. We had a yummy chocolate malt. Then we walked to the train station to catch the Branson Scenic Railroad. We found a spot in the car with a dome so we could see everything. It was a nice little ride. We visited with some nice folks on the train.

When we got home I talked to another person that had gone to our church but had moved to Branson. I had put a picture on facebook so they messaged me there number.We were gonna try and get together but it just wasn't gonna happen this time. We decided to pick up some stuff outside cause we are expecting some storms. The storms didn't arrive until about 4a.m. Then it rained like crazy til about mid morning. The temps went from the 80's to the 40's brrrrr.

We had one more day in the area and since the weathers horrible we decided to head into town one last time. Jeff's brother had emailed us a coupon for a restaurant called McFarlands. It was a twenty dollar coupon so we couldn't resist that. We had lunch there and our food was so good. It's good home cooking, the best thing was the dessert, blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream delicious !
The rest of the day we just got stuff ready to take off in the morning. The closer we get to the family the more excited I get about moving on down the road.
Both of us really liked Branson, it wasn't anything like we remembered. Definitely want to come back and next time we will stay longer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lake Wash' i taw

We took off on Wednesday April 10th for Hot Springs Arkansas area. The weather was pretty threatening...we waited and watched until we thought we had a break. It cleared and away we went. The roads again were hilly and curvy but we made it...welcome to Lake Ouachita State Park.

We had to check in at the visitor center and our site was #11. The drive to our loop and site... WOW. We had a huge hill to go up and our wheels even started to spin and I got a bit nervous. Our spot was awesome and the views were too. This is one of the prettiest lakes we've ever seen. We got everything set up and took a walk around the loop. When we got back the weather started to turn, it got dark, windy with lots of warnings and watches. We lost power and did walk up to the shower house to see if anyone knew more. We went back and just watched the weather the rest of the night.

On Thursday it was cool but the sun came out and we decided to run to town for grocery's and prescriptions. We took the scenic route on the way back through Hot Springs and can't wait to go back there. When we got back to the campground we got our bikes out and rode to 3 Sisters Springs and oh my those hills are something. I have an electric assist bike and still couldn't make it up to the top of one.  I was toting a passenger ( my wiener dog Soffee) so I had to be extra careful.

Friday was a beauty of a day, we started it off with a campfire and had planned to go into Hot Springs to do some investigating. We found a place to park and walked up bathhouse row. We thought the town was very unique and historic. A lot of the buildings were very old. We stopped at a few shops to partake of some of there goods. Went to a cupcake shop called Fat Bottom Girls featured on the Food Channel and the cupcakes were extremely yummy. We had the Crème Brulee and Red Velvet. Then we saw this neat building called The Ohio Club Bar and went in to take a peek. It had the coolest bar that was built by a ship builder. The wood was dark and had a figure head on each end  like they put on the front of old sailing ships. . This place had a lot of the history of this bar, which even I thought was cool.(I'm not much on history ) It seems that gangsters and famous people would frequent this bar.

It was really a beauty of a day, the sky was so blue the sun was shining and the temperature was even great. Oh yeah, and we did walk up to the hot springs too. I really enjoyed the whole day and all this little town had to offer.. On the way home we stopped at Outback for supper, who doesn't like steak?

Saturday we got a surprise invite to go out on the lake by our neighbors, Bob & Julie. Not only a nice boat ride but it was a nice tour of the lake. One of the most interesting things was that they had some ties to President Clinton. Julie knew him as a boy in Hot Springs.. They told us a few funny stories that included him. Boy you never know who you will meet and who they know.

On Sunday we packed up the HOW and headed further north. We knew we had a way to go and some sketchy roads, but we were up for the challenge.

I really loved this park, the lake was unbelievable, so clear and such a pretty color. The sites were spacious and had lots of tall fir trees. It was located were you could go into town and it wasn't that far away. We would love to make a return trip here.

Diamond Hunting

On April 8th we moved about 150 miles north to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.. Not that far in miles but somehow it seemed long. I guess we, me was kinda excited because I have been getting emails from this State Park and I thought for sure a diamond I would find.

 When we arrived they assigned us site #19. It was neat the way they had layered areas. Your pad for your rig was up high then you would have steps down to the picnic area and maybe another spot for your campfire. Again we weren't here that long and my main objective was to find a diamond. They had a wonderful visitor center with lots of information on what had been found , how they found it and lots of history of the area. Jeff liked this better than the hunt. They also had a real nice gift shop there.

The next day was our hunting day. It was really warm and the diamond field was really dry. We found out later its better to hunt after a rain. We didn't have that option. We got out there in the morning and started our adventure. We didn't really know what we were doing but we did it anyway. We looked for a couple hours and took a lunch break. After lunch we went back out and looked for a couple more hours.... but it wasn't to be, oh well maybe next time. As we were leaving we talked to a group of women ( the never miners) and they gave us some information for our next stop at Hot Springs. Really nice people. You never know who you will meet or what you'll talk about. It's nice not to have to run off because you need to be somewhere.

After visiting we headed back to the campsite and fixed supper. We took a hiking path that went down by the river. It was all paved for everyone to enjoy. There was even some equipment to exercise on..... I just looked at it but it looked really nice.

Our stay here was a short one but we enjoyed the park and facilities even though we didn't find a diamond.  There was a couple of the things that I didn't like...  no good tv antenna reception and the pollen around here was crazy!! It wasn't just this campground with the pollen some people told us that its just like that in Louisiana.

As we were getting ready to leave the weather started to turn but we got lucky and made our move between the bad weather.