Holiday Weekend

We will be at Rainbow’s End RV park until Wednesday. We’re not sure if we will head to Austin or Galveston and will decide our route in the coming days. We’re in the Piney Hills region, and the pine trees and reddish soil reminds us of when we lived in Florence, South Carolina. And like Florence, there are fire ants – reddish ants which have a nasty bite if you disturb their hill/mound. Unfortunately, Sadie did just that on Wednesday and we both got bit getting them off her legs. Needless to say, we are much more careful where we walk.

While we’ve noticed cultural changes along the way (more cowboy hats and pick-ups), we are always surprised to see guns carried in the open. For example, today at lunch a guy at another table is wearing shorts and packing a Glock on his hip. Sadly, dogs are allowed to run loose, without collars (or owners). It’s strange to seem several dogs hanging around restaurants, staying out of our way. At least they are street savvy and don’t appear to be starving – but it is difficult to witness.

We hope everyone enjoyed a safe and Happy Thanksgiving day holiday. We had an early, simple Thanksgiving dinner of roasted chicken breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing & sweet potatoes (we should have included something green). Sadly, being away from home, it just felt like another day. To liven things up, we took Sadie and headed to Houston for the afternoon. We figured the traffic would be light due to the holiday and it was – unfortunately, the people on the roads drove like nuts, racing in and out of traffic. We were glad to have the Jeep vs. Zephyr.

The first thing we noticed upon arriving in Houston, is the large homeless population. We thought OKC was bad, but Houston is much worse. Definitely heartbreaking to witness, especially on a holiday. Downtown Houston is huge and we were grateful not to deal with traffic. We drove through the historic, business, and art districts but we were not compelled to walk around these areas… I guess we’re just not “big city” folks.

One of our destinations was the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony at Buffalo Bayou Park, about two miles west of Houston. An estimated 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats call the bridge home. Unlike other Texas bat colonies, a large population of the bats do not not migrate south during winter months. The bats emerge nightly (around dusk) to stretch their wings and feed on area insects. We made it to the Waugh Bridge before sunset and hung out at the bat observation platform, waiting for the excitement. Unfortunately, it was a windy, chilly evening and that bats did not come out to play.

While at Buffalo Bayou Park, we admired the “Dandelion Fountain” named for its shape & design. We took the walking paths along the river and came across the Johnny Steele Dog Park, a two-acre site which includes a pond, shade structures, dog washing areas, benches, and drinking fountains complete with spigots for dogs. There are also walking paths within each area (designated for large or small dogs). Sadie enjoyed the dog park, as long as she could see Fester or me.

We seemed to laze about yesterday. It was a mild, sunny day and we explored the RV park. We also met a few of our neighbors and enjoyed hearing about their travels. Ron and Ray are a couple of retired brothers from Lake Tahoe who started their trip about two months ago, not knowing anything, I repeat anything, about RVing. They are having a blast, learning along the way and they don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Today I started oiling the wood in the bathroom. The wood has lost its luster and appears dry and dull. I applied one coat of Tung oil on half of the bathroom walls and will follow up with a second coat tomorrow. Since the entire coach will benefit from an oil rub, I will tackle one small area at a time. It is satisfying work because you can see the results immediately.

She came, she wrote… she went to bed

We hightailed it out of OKC this morning around 7:45am – early for us. Our plan was to get past Dallas today, and possibly stay at a Walmart for the night. Despite some harry moments around Dallas (even the by-pass was crazy), Fester was determined to push on to our final destination, Livingston, Texas. It was a long drive (about 480 miles) and took us about 9 hours with breaks. With all the traffic and concentration required, Fester was beat and a bit snarky. And, as his co-pilot, so was I (beat and snarky too).

We arrived at our campground around 5. We’re staying at another Escapees RV Park – Rainbow’s End. It was already getting dark when we arrived, so we didn’t see a lot of the park. But, what we’ve seen on the way to our site makes us happy we chose another Escapees park. Since we arrived a day early, they were kind enough to put us in an “extra” pull-through site for the night. We move to our assigned site sometime late tomorrow morning, after the current occupants leave. When Sadie and I took our nightly stroll, I was able to get a sense of the park and it is pretty large, especially in comparison to Turkey Creek. And, unlike Roadrunner, there are trees!

Tomorrow’s temperature is supposed to be a high of 77. Yes! We’re about an hour north of Houston, and will make some plans over morning coffee on places we’ll visit while we’re here. It’s an early bedtime for me. Skunky signing off.

Last night in OKC

We had a lazy morning. Fester spent some time with our neighbor “nurses” (not what you’re thinking LOL!). They had just purchased a new travel trailer and were practicing setting it up and getting familiar with its operation. The young women are nurses who are becoming traveling (contractor) nurses. There first assignment is Lake Havasu, Arizona… talk about a small world. Fester gave them some tips about their air conditioner and refrigerator, as well as other ideas to help make their experience less stressful. After some encouragement and well wishes, they were on their way.

Late morning, we attended the First Americans Museum (FAM), a brand new museum which just opened it’s doors in September. The museum celebrates the First Americans’ shared American history through the collective stories of 39 Tribal Nations in Oklahoma today.

Until arriving in Oklahoma, we weren’t aware of the number of First Americans (American Indians) who populated Oklahoma and it’s role in the Trail of Tears. The FAM uses symbolism and storytelling throughout the site, the architecture, and the exhibits. A self-guided tour of the museum’s two galleries tells stories in written and spoken words about the origin beliefs of the individual tribes, the history of the tribes, as well as the many hardships and injustices placed upon these people by those who drove them off their land, almost to extinction. We learned of their culture through language, arts, music and dance through exhibits and videos.

The museum also featured many artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian collection. We spent about two hours at the museum and came away with a new understanding and appreciation of how far the First Americans have come in reclaiming their heritage.

The above photo shows Fester at the entrance of the First Americans Museum, standing under the artwork “Touch to Above” which is an open hand, a symbol of friendship.

We enjoyed our time in OKC, but tomorrow we pack up and head towards Dallas, and hopefully, warmer weather! BTW, we’ve made plans to be in Tucson, Arizona, by December 27, in time for New Years.


We’re staying at the Roadrunner RV Park, which was recommended by folks at Turkey Creek. Aside from the pump jack next to the entrance, it’s a very pristine park, with concrete pull-through sites (yeah – no dirt/dust), but sadly very few trees. The park is very convenient to OKS – just 10 minutes away, but feels a bit sterile after all nature we enjoyed at Turkey Creek. After settling in yesterday (Friday) we took Sadie with us to check out the happenings in Bricktown, a cool urban district, just east of Oklahoma City’s downtown business district. We parked at another Bass Pro Shop and walked along the Bricktown Canal. It was already dark and the area was lit up with streaming lights along the canal, along with Christmas lights and decorations (and bars and restaurants on both sides). There were boat tours of the canal and horse-drawn carriage rides thru the district. It was a pleasant evening (68 degrees) and we enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the canal and edges of the City Center district.

We seemed to have settled into a morning routine. Fester wakes up at some point early in the morning (like 3 or 4 am) and lifts Sadie onto the bed with me. He makes coffee then sits in the recliner while he surfs the net, catching up on news, stocks, weather, etc. I roll out of bed around 5:30ish and we sit around talking about our plans for the day, while I sip my coffee. Fester will usually eat a banana or some cereal and get sleepy, so he goes back to bed while I practice yoga. Finally, both Fester and Sadie roll out of bed and we start our day. Retirement is pretty sweet!

This morning, we had yet another discussion about what our short-term plans would be. We have been talking about heading to southern Utah to visit the National Parks, but made the decision this morning that we’ll take that trip next fall, since the parks are already experiencing cold temperatures. That said, we’re going to make a mad dash down to Texas! We decided to head south sooner than planned and will spend Thanksgiving Day somewhere south of Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Today was a brisk, windy 61 degrees, so we bundled up for a trip into town for lunch… at the infamous Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in Stockyard City – part of the Stockyard District. We had dinner there about 25 years ago while on an impromptu Jeep trek thru the Northwest, and we still remembered the great steaks after all this time. Even at 11am, the place was packed – they started serving breakfast at 6am! I opted to try their craft brew with dinner, not realizing it was a 22oz bottle! Our waitress, Liz, had a nice chuckle at our surprise and laughed when we joked “now this is a cowboy breakfast.” We both ordered a sirloin steak dinner, and while it was tasty, it fell short of our expectations. Of course we topped our meal off with a hot blackberry cobbler, a la mode ice cream. Yum!

After our early lunch, we returned to Bass Pro Shop to park, then walked to the nearby streetcar stop. Starting in November, thru January, you can ride the street cars on Saturdays and Sundays for free. While waiting for the streetcar, we met two retired gentlemen who served as OKC Ambassadors – they basically stroll the districts to help keep the streets safe and provide visitors with interesting information about the city. We enjoyed getting the inside scoop from them while we rode the streetcar into the business district. We wanted to check out the city’s architecture, a blend of classic and modern.

We visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which was a somber, yet remarkable remembrance of the destruction Timothy McVeigh wrought on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in just one minute 26 years ago. From the Twin Gates that frame the moment of destruction, to the gently flowing reflection pool, to the 168 Chairs (including 19 children) which represent those who lost their lives in the April 19, 1995 bombing, to the Survivors Wall, listing 600 names, one can’t help but be moved and inspired by the community’s resilience and hope.

On the road again… finally!

Since we’re still at the beginning of our adventure, with a long way to go, we decided to skip any more shows (save money), but we did spend some time walking and driving around Branson and Branson Landing. We picked up the “historic” trolley at the Bass Pro Shop and enjoyed a ride through Branson (a treat for Fester who is typically driving and misses the attractions that I call out). We visited some local parks with Sadie and then enjoyed lunch on the Pour House patio in Hollister, since Thursday was a gorgeous day. It was 77 degrees when we sat down for lunch, and in just an hour, the temps fell to 56 – crazy!

The mirror’s all done and works just fine. Since that project was a success, Fester decided to tackle the TV/Stereo system since we had the time (waiting for our packages). Believe it or not, we haven’t watched any TV since we started our trip. I can’t say I’ve really missed it. The wiring was a mess, but after spending the morning working on it, we can now watch TV and listen to music through the stereo (versus our Alexa). While we probably won’t watch much TV (other than the World News), it will be nice to be able to watch movies. Fester took some time to fly his drone around the area, which was also fun for me since I have my own set of goggles and can experience the flight in real time. We’ve learned to sit down while flying – otherwise you get a bit nauseous. Fester is mastering his flying skills before we get out West.

We wrapped up our unfinished business (received our forwarded mail & new credit cards) and finally pulled out of Turkey Creek RV Village around 9am on Friday morning. After stopping to fuel up and hitch the Jeep to Zephyr, we were on the road by 9:30, heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the night. To be more specific, we’re staying on the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

While on our way to Tulsa, we passed our 1,000-mile milestone, and have been on the road 23 days! Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we ended up spending 13 of those nights at Turkey Creek RV Village. We really enjoyed our stay and the people, but…

This will be our first time staying at a casino. There are no hook-ups (water, electricity and sewer), just a parking lot with a designated RV area. Like a Walmart – it’s a FREE place to stay overnight on our way to Oklahoma City (aka OKC). With all of the casino’s security, we knew we would have a safe place to stay for the night.

After settling in, we took a quick visit to the casino to get the lay of the land. Like most casinos, there were a lot of blinking lights and beeping noises coming from the video slot machines, as well as cigarette and cigar smoke (yuck). Being the Hard Rock Casino, there was definitely a music theme and rock n’ roll vibe throughout. An eclectic mix of music played as we walked around, some from large video screens featuring a concert. Hallways were decorated with nostalgic band posters and other memorabilia, bringing back fond memories. We are not “casino” people, but grudgingly splurged $5 on a slot machine, which we lost in one pull (maybe that’s why we are not casino people). On our second trip to the casino, we had dinner at the Eatery and watched old MTV videos, (think of a very young Kevin Bacon dancing the night away to “Gotta Cut Loose”) what a hoot!

We were in no hurry, so we took our time getting to our next campground. OKC is a straightforward route from Tulsa, pretty much Route 44W the entire way. Along the way, we saw a foreboding sign along the highway “Hitchhikers may be prison escapees” – yikes!

What… We’re here to stay?

We woke up to frosty temperatures – about 34 degrees. By lunchtime, the sun had warmed things up to 70!!! It was a beautiful day and Fester was determined to get the mirror in working order. First he had to find the “right” tools… a guy thing. Problem is, when we left home he went thru the garage and picked up random tools, because he still had room in one of the tote boxes he stores under the coach. That said, he ended up pulling out tools left and right. Once he had the right tools, Fester was able to attach the upper mirror to the replacement mirror we finally received and able to install the mirror assembly late this morning! He still has the wiring to finish, but he’s off to a great start.

Meanwhile, while reconciling one of our credit cards, we noticed two questionable charges on October 30 for $2.31 and $.07. Granted they weren’t significant amounts in the scheme of things, but we hadn’t made them so I called PNC’s Fraud Department. As the rep was investigating the suspicious charges, a random $1.00 charge popped up from a store in California. That said, he placed a hold on our cards and issued new ones – which we should receive at the campground on Wednesday, possibly Thursday. Since it was such a beautiful day, we took the afternoon off and returned to the College of the Ozarks Campus to look around some more. Since we’ll be here a bit longer, we plan to take a guided trolley ride through Branson, and perhaps ride the scenic railroad in the next day or so. When handed lemons, make lemonade!

Sadie… just because she’s adorable.

While exploring a local park and lake with Sadie, we came across a tree with large green “bumpy” fruit-like balls that had scattered below. Trust me, these balls had some heft to them and would cause a serious hurt if they hit you in the head! We had never seen them in Ohio and were curious, so we brought one home to investigate. Turns out it’s an Osage Orange – a tree fruit. Indians used the wood from these trees to make bows, which were considered very valuable and traders traveled many miles to trade for them. Farmers used the live branches to weave fences due to its strength and durability – and the thorns on the branches were likened to barbed wire. Because the fruit (about the size of a softball) isn’t edible by humans or animals, scientist wonder how it propagates. Indigenous to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, somehow, over the years, the trees have “migrated” to many other states. Well, I’m sure that’s more than you ever wanted to know about Osage Oranges.

Finally… we see a show!

Friday was a great day in several respects. The mirror we ordered was delivered and we picked it up from a local UPS Store. Fester immediately opened the package and determined it is the correct mirror. Yay! From the old mirror, Fester was able to salvage the upper/top mirror, which he previously purchased as an add-on to give him additional views of approaching vehicles. Once he gets the upper mirror seated securely, he will be ready to install our new mirror.

Another Friday highlight is that we attended the Sight & Sound Theatre’s “Jesus Live on Stage” performance. What an unforgettable experience! The theatre, opened in 2008, is the second of it’s kind and is itself impressive. The imaginative, realistic sets and scenery, sound effects, orchestra and performers take you on an amazing journey through the life of Jesus Christ. At times, the performance and vocals were mesmerizing – the fishing vessels and scenes on the “sea” were realistic and breathtaking. Definitely a show worth seeing

I’ve mentioned the campground has an abundance of dogs… here are just a few. It is difficult to snap a good photo when Sadie is pulling on the leash. We saw Cruz and Diego on Saturday morning as they were packing up to leave. I was able to let Cruz know that we have the new mirror (help ease his conscience at bit).

We toured the Titanic Museum on Saturday afternoon and found it very interesting and informative. It was a self-guided tour with phone-like handsets that allowed you to listen to recordings at various points of interest. Before you started the tour, you were given a Boarding Pass with a real passenger’s name and brief historical biography of that passenger.

The amount of research, detail and dedication that went into creating the museum is remarkable. In addition to an intricately detailed model of the Titanic, there were many, many photographs and more than 400 artifacts that told the story of the sinking Titanic and the people aboard, including crew, passengers and even the 10 dogs who accompanied their owners. Through factual re-creation we were able to experience what it was like to walk the hallways, parlors, cabins and Grand Staircase of the Titanic, and even stand on sloping decks. Guests could shovel coal into the boilers as a crew member, or experience a walk on the promenade deck and feel the same chill in the air that the passengers would have felt. You could test your fortitude by timing how many seconds you could leave your immersed hand in 28 degree water to give you and idea of what the folks felt while making their ways to the life boats. It was an enjoyable way to spend two hours. By the way, my passenger, Margaret Brown, survived the sinking Titanic and is posthumously known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Molly Brown was an American human-rights activist, philanthropist and actress.

Today was another sunny, but chilly day, so we took a trip to Table Rock Lake State Park. We hiked and let Sadie play at the edge of the beautiful lake. We’ve lost a lot of leaves here, but there’s still quite a bit of color and it was a pleasant walk. After working up an appetite, we returned to Lilliehobbs’ Mercantile for a bite to eat. Of course we came home with leftovers and several decidedly decadent and and yummy desserts!

I’ve mentioned that there are several RVrs who bring their cat(s) camping with them. We met a couple today riding through the campground with their “fat” cat, Ollie, hitching a ride in the wagon (customized just for him).

We wrapped up the day at our campground’s Sunday ice cream social (I know, more sweets) and got to know Mike and Linda who are camp hosts here. By serving as camp hosts, they get to stay at the campground for free (utilities included) and work 20 hours a week between them for a small salary. They plan on being here thru January, then will head to Texas. They are full-time RVrs from Kansas City and supplement their expenses by “work-camping” whenever they can. Mike does light maintenance around the campground, and Linda helps in the office. Not a bad deal.

Another day in Branson

Happy Veterans’ Day!

Thursday, November 11: We had a big storm last night and Sadie ended up in bed with us because she’s a mush mellow. Like sleeping in a tent, you can really appreciate the sound of rain. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about leaks, condensation or puddles – a forever issue when sleeping in a tent on the AT or PCT in the spring. This morning was sunny but cool, with promises for a beautiful fall day. The day lived up to it’s promises and it warmed up nicely by noon. We took care of chores and some shopping early in the day. Oh, I need to mention that the lake across from us is actually Turkey Creek which feeds into Lake Taneycomo. What can I say… it looks like a lake. Sorry!

We had lunch reservations at Dobyns Dining Room located in the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks (aka Hard Work U). Taken from their website, “The Keeter Center is unique from other Branson restaurants, as it is an integral part of the College of the Ozarks Work Education Program. The Christian-based College of the Ozarks (also known as Hard Work U), provides the opportunity for full-time students to work at one of more than 120 campus workstations, in order to pay for their cost of education. Some of the student workers at The Keeter Center are Culinary Arts or Hospitality majors, while others are earning degrees in other fields of study, such as Nursing, Education, Engineering, and Business Administration.

We can attest to the excellent quality, taste, and presentation of our meals (I should mention quantity as well, since we came home with four boxes of leftovers)! It was indeed a farm to table enterprise run by the students. The dining room was impressive and somewhat formal – the views overlooking the college campus were magnificent. We enjoyed the experience so much, we tried to book reservations for Sunday Brunch and nothing’s available for the rest of the year. While waiting for dinner, we took a virtual tour of the campus and saw that their were opportunities to visit some of the buildings (student work stations) including a working Mill, Basket Weaving, Stained Glass and Candle Shop, Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen, Dairy Barn and Greenhouse. After dinner we took a drive thru campus and stopped in at some of the shops to work off some of those dinner calories. We didn’t make it to the Titanic Museum… maybe tomorrow?

Always something

Monday, November 8: Fester is concerned that we may be stuck here anywhere from two weeks to a month, waiting for a replacement mirror (he can’t drive the coach with a broken mirror – much too dangerous, not to mention it’s probably illegal).  If Fester can’t make the repair himself, there is a strong possibility that we would have to have Zephyr towed to an RV repair shop (and we’d have to find temporary housing while they made the repairs).  Needless to say, Fester spent a great deal of time trying to track down the right mirror and bracket assembly.  When he finally found the right mirror assembly, he learned there would be a three-week delay from the manufacturer due to material availability.  Being the engineer that he is, Fester pulled apart the mirror from the bracket and saw that he may be able to order just the mirror, not the entire assembly.  Fester also removed the inside front panel to check the wiring and bracket mounting system and was relieved to see there was no damage to the fiberglass. It looks like Fester can make the repair!  Now, we just need to find a mirror.

Tuesday, November 9:  Somewhere during our trip, I broke the door handle in half (always something). I know it doesn’t sound serious, but the problem is that having just a “stub” of a door handle makes it difficult to get any leverage when trying to open or even shut the door from inside.  Since it’s our only egress (other than emergency windows), there have been a few times I thought I’d be stuck inside because I couldn’t open the door and Fester wasn’t around to help.  He had ordered a door handle and had it shipped to the closest Amazon drop box outside of town.  We didn’t realize the drop box was actually in Harrison, Arkansas, until we were on our way and I was trying to find it on the GPS.  The store was about 33 miles away and we enjoyed the ride. The rolling hills and fall foliage were beautiful and it was good to get away from the coach for a while.  On our return, we stopped at an interesting mercantile shop featuring treasures from local artisans as well as a diner and bakery. It was fun to window shop (trust me, when it comes to room for extra stuff, we don’t have a square to spare). Not surprising… we left with three yummy desserts (which won’t take up space for more than a day, trust me)!   Once home, Mark tried the handle and it didn’t fit.  Fortunately, he thought that might be the case and has three other generic models ordered, which should be delivered here tomorrow.  There are drawbacks to owning a 20-year-old coach – replacement parts can be an issue.

We had hoped to meet some fellow RVrs and Escapees at Turkey Creek, and we haven’t been disappointed.  Despite missing the ice cream social on Sunday due to the mirror calamity, we’ve met quite a few interesting folks around the campground.  First, it’s hard not to meet people considering it’s a small campground with a quarter mile driveway that loops around all the campsites, and three intersecting drives leading for the four rows of campsites. To shake things up, Sadie and walk the loop, then traverse up one row and down another, then repeat in the opposite direction.  A nice way to meet people who are sitting out enjoying the day or working on their RVs. Needless to say, these same campers pass by us on their way to the lake, or while walking their dogs, jogging or even bicycling for exercise.

It seems everyone has time to stop by for a quick chat or a long conversation. Because of the mirror incident, we are reluctant celebrities and folks want to check out the damage and hear the story for themselves. Of course, those exchanges lead to “Oh, that’s nothing, here’s what happened to us…” stories. We’re learning some tales of woe, mixed with humor on lessons they’ve learned along the way and are happy to share.  We’ve met people who have been full time liveaboards (sold their homes) for 10 or more years, some who have owned more than four different types of RVs during their camping lifetime; and some who have owned four RVs in just two years.  

It appears that most RVrs have a least one dog (small) and some have a cat or two living aboard.  At least here, RVrs seem to favor either the small Yorkie-type mixes or larger mixed breeds with hints of Beagle, Shepard and Pit.  Sadie is still learning to play nice…she loves the people, the dogs not so much.  Cruz, the gentleman who broke our mirror, is now our neighbor, in the row behind us – actually within shouting distance (fortunately Mark has almost forgiven him so there’s no shouting taking place) LOL.  We’ve met his scrappy little dog, Diego, who scares Sadie even though she’s three times his size.  We’re learning a lot and having fun just hanging out here.  Which brings me back to why we’re “just hanging out here”.  Mark may have located a mirror, and we may be able to have it shipped and delivered by Monday or Tuesday!!!

It was a beautiful evening so we decided to visit the light show at Branson Landing, especially since it’s already dark by 6:30.  The show didn’t start until 7, so we spent time checking out stuff at Bass Pro at the north end of the landing – an impressive store with everything sports and or outdoor-related that you could possibly imagine.  The “spectacular” light show we were hoping for was a dud. I guess we were expecting something close to Disney’s display and were disappointed because it only lasted for 10 – 15 minutes and wasn’t all that impressive.  Sure, it had fountains and shooting flames choreographed to music, but not all that exciting (it wasn’t even holiday music, despite the plaza’s theme).  A local said we need to return for the 12pm show which features a patriotic theme and is supposed to be very moving, with the Star-Spangled Banner accompanying the fountains and fire. Considering this is Veterans’ week, we will make the time to see this show.

Despite the fountains being lame, the entire plaza was beautiful, with amazing lights, a giant Christmas tree and holiday music.  Branson tourists were nowhere to be found and traffic was very light, so we took advantage and drove around Branson to take in the sites.  Before going home, we popped into the “five and dime” store which was filled with everything you could possibly imagine, and more.  There were hardly any shoppers so we took our time and roamed each isle – a fun way to spend an hour.

Wednesday, November 10:  Today marks our 4th full day in Branson and we haven’t made it to a show yet!  That will change tomorrow – we’re planning to see visit the Titanic Museum which comes highly recommended by my friends Bonnie and Lu Ann.  It takes about two hours to complete the self-guided tour.  Afterwards, we have reservations at Ketters which is a kitchen/restaurant run by culinary arts students at the University of the Ozarks.  A farm to table restaurant in which the food (seasonal) is locally sourced, presents an interesting, eclectic menu and special desserts. We’re looking forward to this dining experience. We’re still looking at shows to attend, but can’t decide. We spent the day doing chores around the coach.  Fester checked fluid levels, worked on the water pump (again), added air to all tires, cleaned the windshield while I sat around eating bon-bons…. NOT!  This campground has proven to be a challenge due to the gravel/dirt roads and leaves, which we all track inside despite our best efforts.  That said, there was lots of rug shaking, floor mopping and vacuuming today, along with other cleaning.  We received the three door handles this afternoon and one worked, so Fester installed it and we are all set!                                                             

Fester works on water pump’s pressure switch while Sadie chews a bone

Skunky finally posts again!

Since I’ve procrastinated once again and haven’t posted since my first and only blog, here’s a brief update which brings us to our current campground near Branson, Missouri. Please keep in mind that I’m learning how to enhance our site with “widgets” (like the calendar) which may come and go.

Thursday, October 28:  We left home around 11 and arrived at our first campground, Alton RV Campground outside of Columbus.  After a pleasant time exploring the city and nearby metro parks, we departed on Sunday. 

Sunday, October 31: We reached our next campground, hosted by Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) located outside of Cincinnati.  After setting up camp we took Sadie and drove to Cincinnati to check out the sites.  It was Halloween night and the riverfront bars were lively with costumed patrons. On Friday we set out for Branson, Missouri with one stop along the way.

Friday, November 5:  We arrived at Grayille KOA in Illinois for one-night and were pleasantly surprised by the campground’s wild west theme. The “town” is aptly named Westwood and building facades include a bank (ATM), mercantile (office/camp store), saloon (restaurant/bar) and even a shooting gallery (no surprise – Mark won our shooting match).  Perfect for families, Westwood has an imaginative playground and two miniature golf courses. We enjoyed our brief visit.

Sadie explores the lake next to our campsite

Saturday, November 6:  We left Westwood at 9:30am, headed toward Branson, Missouri. Even with a screwy detour around St. Louis that cost us an hour’s delay and much frustration, we made it to our next campground, Turkey Creek RV Village in Hollister, MO around 3:30pm. Located about 10 minutes outside of Branson, this small modest campground is designated an Escapees RV Park, so we received a discounted rate on the already low cost. We hope to meet fellow Escapees who are heading to the Annual Bash in Lake Havasu.  The manager, Jane, moved us to site H9 which is on a corner, right across from a small lake (I’m the great view right now, as I type). Although Jane assured us that H9 can accommodate RVs up to 44 feet, we thought it was a tight fit and were concerned because we were exposed to park traffic coming around our corner. After settling in, we took the Jeep (and Sadie) and headed downtown to check out Branson.  Wow!  As anyone who’s been here can attest, Branson is a vibrant, bustling place – a tourist destination known for its shows, shops, dining and special attractions, including the infamous Titanic Museum.  We were pleasantly surprised to find Branson decorated for the holidays, complete with Christmas trees, reindeer, and lights. Not only the streets, but everywhere – shops, restaurants and attractions were decked out. We learned that November and December are Branson’s second busiest season due to the holiday decorations. We couldn’t appreciate the lights at the time, but we plan to return on another night to enjoy the festive atmosphere.

If you’re interested in reading more about these earlier days you can visit our “The Rest of the Story” once published. That page will eventually provide more details & photos …famous last words” says procrastinator Skunky.

Sunday, November 7: After breakfast we decided to explore the town of Hollister and found Downing Street, a quaint strip with just a few restaurants and shops, but a lot of old world charm. As noon arrived, so did sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70’s so we set out for Branson Landing, which we missed yesterday. We wanted to find the water fountain located in the middle of the boardwalk so we knew where to enjoy the “spectacular” show featuring water fountains, fire and lights synchronized to music. While checking out the many shops along the way, Sadie greeted folks who couldn’t resist her wagging tail.  Having found the famous fountain, we decided to return at nighttime to watch the show. So we headed back to Hollister to enjoy a late, delicious lunch at Dunning Street Café.

I’m grateful we had such a pleasant day because it was about to change.  In keeping with our normal weekend routine, we took a quick after-lunch nap.  Imagine being suddenly awaken by a loud noise and a shaking coach!  Fester ran to the front of the coach and yelled “we’ve been hit… get your camera!”  He stepped outside to make sure whoever hit our coach wouldn’t drive off.  Turns out there was no way they could leave, considering our passenger-side mirror was stuck in the their trailer’s living room window! Seems a guy driving a truck pulling a travel trailer was in a hurry to get to his site and set up camp. While trying to avoid another RV stopped in the road, he cut the corner way to sharp and bang! There goes our mirror (and with it, any plans for returning to Branson tonight). What a way to ruin the day. On the bright side, he didn’t damage the fiberglass gel coat.  I worked with the driver, Cruz, securing his driver and insurance information while frustrated Fester tried to figure out a way to get the mirror unstuck. I spent the rest of the evening trying to reach our insurance company, without success (due to their stupid automated system). I finally submitted the claim online, along with some photos. We’re supposed to hear from a Claim Adjuster, but told it may be a “virtual” visit due to COVID. Based on our experience so far, we weren’t holiday our breath.

Ouch! The sad saga of the broken mirror

Monday, November 8: After a restless night, Fester was up by 3:30am, surfing the internet for a replacement mirror assembly. He informed me that we may be stuck here anywhere from two weeks to a month waiting for a replacement mirror. For a change in scenery and focus, we decided to get our third (booster) vaccine. That’s another frustrating story that I won’t get into, but long story short, we got our 3rd Pfizer jab!

Since I want to keep you coming back for more , please stay tuned for the rest of the mirror saga. Ciao!