We pulled out of the Wasatch View Estates RV Park at just about 9:00 am on Thursday 6/14 and made our way north on I-15/I-84…and continuing on I-84 when I-15 split off to the east.
After an hour and 15 minutes on the road we crossed over into Idaho and there wasn’t much change in terrain…still very hilly and mountainous…very pretty.
Hooray for lunch on the patio!
We stopped about 50 miles short of our destination to have lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen. This was the first time in a LONG time that we’d been able to enjoy a travel day lunch out on the patio. It was in the low 70s and sunny but our shelter kept us in the shade (and out of the wind) so it was a bit chilly for Michael who grabbed a jacket from inside the coach.
We relaxed and enjoyed our lunch (cheese, sausage, crackers, fruit and nuts). I created an invoice for a customer and emailed it off and then we just surfed the internet…checking emails and Facebook and playing a game or two.
Mountain Home RV Park – site 36
We only traveled about 250 miles so by the time we were done with lunch and back in the truck we ended up arriving at the Mountain Home RV Park in Mountain Home, Idaho about 3:00 pm. We were checking in by a very friendly and helpful woman who gave us the park ‘lowdown’ and then escorted to our site by a gentleman on a golf cart who took us on a tour of half of the park because he took the wrong turn first. LOL
The park is very nice – salt water pool, rec room, paved pull through sites, grass, trees, picnic tables…it would definitely be a place I would come back to if we’re in the area again longer than the four nights we were here this time.
Friday was a fairly busy day, invoicing wise…which is good. I had a friend mention that he and his wife were pulling for us and the business and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that! I’m sure that several of you are wondering how things are going with Performance Trailer Braking, so I thought I’d update everyone.
Business is good (too good sometimes! LOL). We have surpassed the old owners numbers (sales wise) every month since November, except for December. Dan gives us a sales goal to beat every month and we’ve either beat that goal or came very close to it. The old owner only had one month of sales over $100k and lets just say that we’ve beat that more than once.
I’m not gonna lie…it’s a lot of work…more work than Michael expected. But it’s not hard work. I love administrative work – so my portion of the work is enjoyable. And Michael is a born talker…so his portion is a good match too. The frustrating part is dealing with a vendor who is dealing with new employee errors (LOTS of them), shipping errors, not shipping on time, etc etc etc. But…it is what it is…and if you see me drinking a glass of wine (or six) you’ll know why!
Fattyz Pizza…Mountain Home, ID
Michael’s been hankering for some pizza for quite a while so I promised him when we got to Idaho we’d get some pizza. I found Fattyz Pizza on Yelp and it had good reviews and was only a little more than a mile from the RV Park…WIN/WIN!
We ordered the ‘Awesomeness’ pizza (Ham, Pineapple, Bacon, Pepperoni and jalapeno) minus the jalapenos which we substituted green pepper and added red onions. We also ordered garlic knots which were very good and the marinara dipping sauce was perfect. The pizza in my opinion was perfect…the amount of toppings, the size of the toppings, the crust was crispy and the sauce wasn’t overbearing. Michael like the pizza too… but would have preferred the crust to be a bit thicker.
Back home we took advantage of the mild temps (70s) and sat outside just enjoying…everything for a while before we moved inside to finish out the day watching some shows from the DVR.
The rest of our weekend was quiet and fairly relaxing. We had bbq ribs for dinner on Saturday and ate out on the patio. Weather was gorgeous…mild temps, a little overcast, little wind. Just right.
Our neighbor (for the night) stopped by and chatted with us for a while. He and his wife are from Texas and just bought a small motorhome and are checking out the west coast for a couple of months. He was a chatty one. I think we may have learned more about him and his family in the 30 minutes we talked with him than we do some people we’ve known for years!
Sunday being Father’s Day we didn’t do much more than run to the commissary on Mountain Home Air Force Base and grab some grub on the way back home. We did send out four invoices, answer emails and answer and make phones calls for work though.
Tomorrow we head even further west….to La Grande, Oregon for the NROA (Northwood RV Owner Association) rally.
We planned to leave about 9:00 am Tuesday morning but about 7:00 am Michael suggested we leave earlier since we’d been up for a while anyway and didn’t have much to do to hit the road.
I made breakfast sandwiches (biscuits, eggs, sausage & cheese), cleaned up my work email and created an invoice and sent it off and was ready to go. Michael unhooked the water, sewer, electric and made the bed and we were ready to go…pulling out of the Red Desert Rose RV Park about 8:15 am.
Barely got that guy in the picture!
We came upon a couple of deer crossing I-80 about 45 minutes into our drive. They were taking their time until Michael blew the horn and kept blowing it until they finally trotted across the road where they joined three or four of the friends. Unfortunately, I only got a brief picture of just one of the fellows.
We stopped at the Little America Travel Center about 11:30 to grab some lunch…and a 75 cent ice cream cone. They’d been teasing us with billboards for miles and the ice cream cone suckered us in.
Good thing it did cuz it turned out to be quite an interesting stop. While there were LOTS of customers stopping for various items, food, snacks, souvenirs etc.
Just a sampling of the food sitting around on various tables.
We noticed several tables that had TONS of uneaten food and drinks on them and while I watched I finally figured out that there was a group of 10 or so people who were staging food and taking pictures of it.
They were totally fine with me taking their picture as they worked.
I noticed they watched two customers who were obviously on motorcycles sit down at a table and pull out an atlas and peruse it. Not long after I noticed that one of the tables with food on it now had an atlas splayed out on it too!
Michael decided that they were either taking pictures for a menu or a website. I acted like my mom and went and asked (she used to embarrass me so bad…and now here I am doing the same thing!)…they were taking pictures for the website…guess we’ll have to check it out!
Preparing to reboard the buses
Also while we sat there and enjoyed our lunch a LARGE group of people (mostly women) came in dressed as if they had just stepped out ‘Little House on the Prairie”. I noticed there were two large coach buses in the parking lot that they came from. Hmmm…at first I thought maybe they were a reenactment group…but it just was curious how few men there were…there were a few children…but not many.
Religious calling card
What was even more curious was that when I went to the bathroom I found a little ‘care package’ hanging from the hook on the back of the stall door. After checking several of the other stalls I found the same on each of them. In the package was a note that said ‘A free gift for you to
enjoy’ along with a few candies and several religious pamphlets.
It made me wonder if that Little House on the Prayer folks weren’t some type of religious group that had left their calling card behind. I made Michael check the men’s room…but he found nothing. Makes me think of Warren Jeffs…the leader of the FLDS church who was a polygamist and convicted of child molestation.
The view on one side of the highway…
We made one last stop at a rest area just into Utah. What a gorgeous view for a rest area! Michael took the time to climb up on the roof to check to see how the repair was holding up and, once again, it looked great! Yeehaw!
…and the view on the opposite side of the highway
This rest area wasn’t the average rest area either…no vending machines. They had a cashier and sold snacks, drinks, souvenirs, etc. They even had several exhibits as well as a video on Mormon History. Very nice place to stop.
We pulled into the Wasatch View Estates RV Park (also a mobile home park) about 3:00 pm and were surprised as it wasn’t the ‘hole’ we’d been expecting. It has a very nice office and the grounds are fairly nicely maintained. There are still several mobile homes but it looks like as they move out they’re not being replaced and the spots are the turned into RV sites.
Wasatch View Estates – site 172
We’re in site 172, which is large and spacious and on a corner lot with a gorgeous view of the mountains. These are the same mountains I used to love staring at when Zack and Kelsea lived in West Haven…about 13 miles south of where we’re currently parked.
This is a Passport America park and the rate per night is just $20….can’t beat that considering they have a pool, nice club house with pool table, air hockey and a book exchange.
Our son, Zack, and his wife, Kelsea, lived in the Ogden area for a couple of years so we are fairly familiar with the area too. Plus, we Workamped at a park over the mountain from Ogden a couple of summers ago.
My husband is under all that hair somewhere!
We visited a couple of our favorite places on Wednesday. But first…it was time to get Scruffy a haircut! It took us 3 stops and 3 phone calls before we finally found a place that wasn’t permanently closed, temporarily closed or full….but we got it done! Whew!
We took in a movie…something we haven’t done for a while since we’ve been on the move quite a bit. We saw ‘A Quiet Place‘ at the Cine Point 6 theater, where they always have some kind of deal so we paid $4.00 for the two of us see the movie plus our popcorn and drink. Not bad.
One of Michael’s favorite parts of the store…lots of little goodies to be had.
Then we made a stop at Smith and Edwards…a big ol’ Ace Hardware store that has a little of everything. My favorite part is the kitchen gadget and spices area! I ended up coming home with a couple of new items to add to my kitchen repertoire. Nothing special, just some ‘sauce’ cups and bread bag closers.
Michael, too, found a couple of goodies…several bunches of rags and a couple of razor blade scrapers.
We also picked up some snacks to put in the snack basket in the truck since we’ll be doing a LOT of driving when we leave Oregon to head back east.
Delicious potato soup…and lots of it!
After our shopping spree we headed to Perry to have an early dinner at Maddox Ranch House where we’d been a couple of other times in the past. We enjoy it there probably because of the old ‘supper club’ feel. But their food is good too.
We both went with their specialty – skinless fried chicken. The meal comes with rolls & corn pones, soup or salad, vegetable of the day and a choice of potato. We always go with the potato soup. Rather than a cup of soup it’s a huge bowl and it’s very tasty.
Shrimp steak…Sounds strange…but quite tasty.
Another specialty is their shrimp steak. It’s ground shrimp made into a patty and deep fried to a golden brown. There is a little ground turkey mixed in to help the patty stay together. I decided to give it a try and ordered just a single patty so that we could both taste it. It was surprising good, I thought. Michael on the other hand said it was something that he ‘liked it, but didn’t like it’. LOL Not sure what that means…but at least he tried it!
Neither of us finished our chicken (chicken salad coming up!) but we did each order a piece of home-made pie to take home…banana cream for me and strawberry for Michael.
We’re trying the stuff on the left this time…we’ve had the stuff on the right already.
One last stop after dinner on the way home took us to Smith’s Grocery Store to pick up a couple of items…but mostly for some ‘Fry Sauce’. Something we’ve only ever found in Utah and I promised our daughter in law, Kelsea, that I’d bring a bottle to her. I got two bottles…one for both of us!
We had about 350 miles to travel on Sunday (6/10) so we planned to pull out about 8:00 am but didn’t end up pulling out until about 8:30 after we touched base with Josh and Heather who had one more install to complete at the park. (They did installs every day starting 6/4 and have 4 more to do when they leave the rally…Busy Beavers, they were!)
Fill ‘er up!
We stopped about 10:15 to fill up with fuel. There was a car parked in the back of the station and we didn’t think much of it until a police officer drove up and had the occupants step out of the car. A man in the front seat, driving and a woman in the back seat.
Apparently they’d been back there over an hour and the person on duty inside the station found it suspicious so they called the police. I guess he suspected either a drug deal or some type of prostitution. The way the woman was dressed…I guess prostitution.
Before we finished filling up and departing (having to back out since the police cars were blocking our exit) two more police cars arrived and the first officer had ‘padded’ down the man. So…that was our big excitement for the day!
We stopped at Kelly’s Kitchen near Ft. Collins at just about noon. Michael said it was too hot to eat at a picnic table so we cranked up the generator and had lunch in our recliners. We made good use of that generator as I made Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup (cup a soup) and PBJ sandwiches. While we enjoyed our lunch we watched an episode of Northwoods Law from our DVR. Life is GOOD.
Easy drive through Cheyenne.
It was a pretty drive that was enhanced by the blue skies. Though it was windy and at one point the temperature was up to 98 degrees…and an hour later, as we rose in elevation, it dipped down to 73. The temperature evened out at about 80 degrees when we arrived at the RV park about 4:00 pm.
Two thumbs up
Michael checked the roof about mid-way through our drive and found it just as he had left it. No evidence of the Dicor Adhesive or Eternabond seam tape coming loose or lifting away! We have a LOT of both products left just in case it’s ever needed again…for ourselves or for another unlucky traveler.
We arrived at Red Desert Rose RV Park in Rawlins, Wyoming about 4:00 pm. We got checked in and were given all the details about the park, including the fact that they have a courtesy vehicle that they allow their customers to use on a first come, first serve basis….how nice is that?
Red Desert Rose RV Park – Site 49
We were escorted to our site, a pull through that was long enough for us not to have to worry about unhooking. Michael put the leveling jacks down enough to take the stress off the hitch, hooked us up to water, sewer and electric and we were done!
I made Chicken Alfredo in the Instant Pot in less than 15 minutes and we watched a movie afterward. It was a nice way to end a travel day.
It got down to 37 degrees overnight and was 55 in the house when I woke up. Nice excuse to turn the fireplace on. It sure was great for sleeping.
Michael declared Monday a jammie day and who am I to argue with him…I did as I was told and stayed in my jammies all day long. We had nowhere to go and no one to visit with so it made perfect sense.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games in our jammies…we had work to do too. However, it was a bit tamer Monday than normal so it wasn’t crazy busy.
I took advantage of my Instant Pot being out and made meatloaf & carrots for dinner to go a long with a package of rice that I’d thrown in the freezer a while back. It made for an easy, quick meal. I had actually planned on making spaghetti but it seems that we must have left a shopping bag at the store (containing tomato paste, sauce, tuna and a couple of items)…so with no tomato sauce or paste I had to come up with something else….and meatloaf is one of Michael’s favorites.
Our stay in Rawlins was just two nights…giving us a chance to get some work done and enjoy some quiet time as well.
Tomorrow (Tuesday 6/12) we head further west to Ogden, Utah.
There’s Gus and Debra…looks a bit like our coach, huh? Different floor plan though.
We left Dodge City about 9:00 am on Monday, June 4th with about 275ish miles to travel. We passed our friend, Gus and his wife Debra on the road as they had stayed in Dodge City the night before as
well and were also headed to Pueblo for the rally.
Not long after we passed them, I got a text from Gus telling us that we had a big air bubble on our roof. Yikes! We were planning on stopping in about 30 minutes anyway so we decided to just keep going until we stopped.
We LOVE being able to meet friends around the country!
We were meeting gate guarding friends, Jw and Wanda in Lamarr at the Port to Plains truck stop for lunch. They’re in the area for the summer to visit family while they take the summer off from gate guarding.
We had a really nice visit, enjoyed the lunch buffet (thank you, Jw!) but had to cut our visit shorter than we’d have liked since we had to get back on the road and also had to check out the situation with the roof.
This is NOT good!
The roof wasn’t in good shape. The rubber membrane had come loose and pulled away from the roof. Michael used Gorilla tape AND ‘hundred mile an hour’ tape to secure as best as he could to hopefully get us to Pueblo where he could deal with it better.
Unfortunately, it didn’t hold as the roof was all dusty and chalking making it impossible for the tape to stay stuck. Nothing more to do than to ‘limp’ to Pueblo and pray for the best.
Once settled he ordered some supplies from Amazon to do a better repair job.
The wind that morning wasn’t really bad…but when a semi passed by going in the opposite direction the gust of wind it threw at us was crazy! It was so bad that you could see the hood of the truck lift up (we had two other people who traveled that route tell us the same thing)…so I’m sure that was a factor in the roof issue.
Monday was just a crazy day all the way around as on top of the roof, Michael’s phone rang constantly and emails flooded our inboxes. I tried to take care as many of the emails as we drove as I could but there were still plenty to deal with when we arrived at the Colorado State Fairgrounds about 4:00 pm.
All set and ready to go!
Tuesday morning we set up our vendor table in the rally hall and manned it from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. We had quite a few people stop by and we sold several heavy duty wet bolt kits and had several interested in future installs of disc brake systems.
We had a Meet & Greet at 4:00 pm which most everyone attended. The sound system wasn’t very good so it was very hard to hear which was really disappointing. They played a game similar to ‘Name that Tune’ which could have been a lot fun…but without being hear the players responses it was not fun.
The Meet & Greet finished up about 6:00 pm and we made plans to go to dinner with Kevin & Nelly and were joined by 5 others. We met at La Forchetta Da Massi and sat out on the patio. Despite the 90+ degree temps we still had a nice time…although we did have to fend off particles from the trees that were blowing in the wind. LOL
Beautiful riverwalk area
Dinner was very tasty and afterward we all took a walk around the riverwalk. We only ended up walking about a mile of the two-mile walk as the heat was a bit much and Nancy was having issues with her foot (which turned out to be a stress fracture).
We found out just before leaving to go to dinner that our power was out and had been out most of the day. Since we were at the rally hall at our table…we had no idea. I went in the house briefly and put things inside, turned off one of the air conditioners (so as not to be pulling anymore power than needed) and then closed the house back up to keep it as cool as possible.
There had been a crew working on the power most of the day and they were still working on it when we left to go to dinner. We left with our fingers crossed that things would be worked out by the time we got back.
We got back home about 9:00 pm and had power and it looked like it had been back on for about 3 hours by that time. They ended up moving one of the coaches (there were only 5 of us without power) to another area to spread the wealth a little bit more.
Wednesday we were back at the booth about 10:00 am and Michael did a disc brake seminar at 1:00 pm. He only had about 6 attendees at his seminar but we had several of them stop by the booth afterward to ask additional questions. We figure as long as they are educated it’s a huge plus and it gets them to thinking…and then they know where to go when they decide to purchase.
We made a quick trip home to drop off some items and so that I could make some BBQ Smokies for the appetizer potluck that was held at 4:00 pm. We visited for an hour and half or so…got our fill of snacks (was our dinner) and partially listened to the second round of ‘Name That Tune’ (sound was better…but still not the best when you have 200+ people in one room).
We were home just before 6:00 pm, did a little bit of work, watched a little TV and then headed for bed early. Boy did that feel good!
Had a nice a turn out for the tire seminar.
Thursday at the vendor booth was super slow. We had a few people stop by in the morning and few more in the afternoon after Michael’s tire seminar. But…it as slow for everyone…all the vendors were talking about how slow it was and many closed up early for the day.
We checked on Josh and Heather (who have been kicking butt in this crazy heat), delivered a couple of kits to their owners and then went and had an early dinner at Texas Roadhouse (hooray for gift cards!) and then went and picked up a few items from the grocery store before heading home for the night.
We received our Amazon order of parts for Michael to repair the roof on Thursday and Michael was up at 5:00 am Friday morning to get to work on the first step in the process….getting it sealed back down.
Work in progress at 6:30 am.
He had to make a slit in the rubber membrane in order to get it to lie flat again after the wind stretched it out. Our friend, Gus, stopped by about 6:30 to give a hand and also took a picture so that I could see the process. Michael finished up this step about 7:00 am.
Michael spent the rest of the day running around like a mad man: checking out a shipment of kits we received, delivering kits to their rightful owners, checking on the installers, popping in and out of the rally hall, doing tire gauge checks, answering questions, etc etc etc.
While he did that…I stayed home and did some MUCH needed housework: defrosted the freezer, dusted, swept, vacuumed, washed the floors, laundry, cleaned mirrors and screens, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the kitchen sinks, cleaned the front of the refrigerator.
Friday night we were treated to a catered Mexican dinner (beef, chicken and cheese enchiladas w/green chili sauce, refried beans, rice, and chips and salsa) which turned out to be pretty tasty.
After dinner there was a hypnotist who took 9 volunteers on stage and hypnotized them. Oh what fun! Out of the 9 only 6 stayed on stage because they others weren’t able to go under. It was fun watching them dance, steal teddy bears, sing to YMCA, talk to their favorite celebrities and fly an airplane.
We got a lot of laughs out of the show and talked with a couple of the participants afterward. One gentleman who was so far ‘under’ he almost was asleep, told us he didn’t think he was hypnotized at all. Little did he know. He was so out of it that he didn’t even participate in most of the show…just sat there sleeping. About 3/4 of the way through he spontaneously woke up and you could ‘see’ the light come on.
The completed repair job. Now to pray it holds!
Saturday morning Michael was up an on the roof shortly after 5:00 am to finish up the roof project. Today was all about laying down the tape over the seams and then caulking. He was done with the project and had everything cleaned up and was in the shower by 8:15 am. Now…to keep our fingers crossed and say some prayers that everything holds while we continue our trek westward.
Saturday was a day of tear down and pack up for us…both at home and at the vendor hall where we packed up our display and Michael checked a few more tire gauges. We made sure that Josh and Heather had everything that they need for the next few installs that they have this week. Finished delivering kits to one customer. Picked up a couple of suspension displays that the MorRyde rep gave us.
Then back on the home front we finished up the laundry, I got Sunday’s breakfast and lunch ready to go and I got most everything stowed that needed to be stowed while traveling.
Michael took a much needed nap in the afternoon while I relaxed by playing a ‘find it’ game on my laptop. I think we just needed to down time and it did wonders for both of our attitudes.
Late in the afternoon we headed over to the rally hall for prize drawings, raffles, 50/50 raffles and an auction. We won a bottle of German wine in one of the prize drawings and Michael won an auction for a Cheap Heat system…valued at $800 he got it for $415. It will stay boxed up until we purchase a new coach.
We had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and even had a vanilla milkshake which was fun. We visited with friends before, during and after the prize drawings and dinner but exchanged hugs and goodbyes not long after dinner as Michael had a lot of stuff outside to pack up and put back in the basement before we pull in the morning.
It was wonderful to see so many of our friends at this rally but it was hard to combine work and visiting. The next rally shouldn’t be quite so hard as we won’t know anyone! LOL
Tomorrow we continue our journey westward with the first of three legs…which will take us to Rawlins, Wyoming for a couple of days! We’d appreciate any and all prayers that the roof stays where it’s supposed to and all the work Michael did wasn’t in vain.
We pulled out of Missouri State Fairgrounds at 8:49 on Thursday…in the rain. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining hard…just sprinkling so we didn’t get soaked while we hitched up. There were several other vendors that pulled out ahead of us too.
Thankfully, by the time we passed by Kansas City the sky had cleared up and it was blue skies and sun…and it stayed that way for the remainder of our drive.
We stopped in Emporia, Kansas for lunch at Braum’s. We were out of bacon and decided to multi-task…picked up some bacon and had lunch too!
After our lunch stop we only had about 85 miles left to travel and we made it to our overnight stop, Spring Lake Resort, in Halstead, Kansas about 2:45 pm. A pretty little campground with lots of trees, a couple of ponds and pool and very friendly staff.
Nice cuddly spot for the night.
We hadn’t planned to unhitch but the ground was a bit to unlevel so we unhitched and pull just far enough out of the way to level the coach. Michael plugged in the power and we went inside, let out the slides and were relaxing in our recliners watching Survivor by 3:15 pm.
We vegged out most of the rest of they day (did a little work here and there) and had leftover Amish Haystacks for dinner.
Friday morning we weren’t in any hurry as we only had 150 or so miles to travel. I think we ended up pulling out shortly after 9:00 am and after an uneventful drive with one stop for fuel along the way we arrived at the Water Sports RV Park in Dodge City, Kansas just after noon.
America’s Heartland as seen from the road
I had wanted to stay at the Gunsmoke RV Park but when I finally got around to making reservations they were booked. We even tried again today and found that they still had no room at the inn.
The park here isn’t much too look at…kinda old and blah but after going inside to check in I was very impressed with the two employees we encountered…very friendly and helpful. Plus, the bathroom was very clean, which is a huge plus.
We got unhitched and set up as quickly as possible (omitting setting up the satellite dish) and then went inside to huddle in the air conditioning as it was hot (90+)…and getting hotter.
Los Sombreros…pretty much had the place to ourselves.
We decided to get some Mexican food for dinner (I’d been dreaming of the fajitas I had the other night) and the young lady at the office had recommended Los Sombreros which was about 3 miles away.
We ordered the Los Panchos Fajitas (chicken, beef & shrimp) for two and enjoyed it very much. Once again, the shrimp was delicious. We also shared some fried ice cream for dessert but I wasn’t very impressed with it.
When we went out for dinner about 3:30 pm the temperature was 101 and by the time we came out of the restaurant an hour or so later it was 103! Thankfully, the humidity was only at about 30% which helped some and it was quite windy as well.
We made a stop at the local Walmart to pick up groceries to last us about a week or so so we won’t have to run to the store while we’re at the Heartland rally next week.
I declared a ‘jammie day’ on Saturday and enjoyed every second of lounging in my nightgown. I even took a muscle relaxer the night before and slept until 8:30…a huge rarity for me!
We both worked off and on throughout the day as it was a busier Saturday than normal. Michael even got a chance to go through some of the things we packed up from the Escapade that we’ll want to use again at our vendor booth at the Heartland Rally in Pueblo next week.
The distillery in the background and the cowboy on the right.
Sunday we spent the day in downtown Dodge City checking out various sites. The first two stops were Roadside America finds. The first was the ‘oldest cowboy in Dodge City‘ which is a statue on Boot Hill in front of the Boot Hill Distillery. The statue was erected in 1928 by a dentist who created it out of dental plaster!
Big ol’ sun dials!
Next we stopped by the Time Zone Sun Dials…which were actually pretty cool. They’re HUGE…about 25 feet wide by about 12 or 14 feet high. There are two…one set to Mountain time and one set to Central time and they actually work! The unfortunate thing was that they were an hour off due to Daylight Savings Time. Nonetheless…it was pretty cool.
Playin’ with Doc Holliday!
We also stopped and played some poker with Doc Holliday…but he was too good for us (plus he pulled a gun!) and we lost everything we had! I ‘guess he lives up to his ‘gunfight at OK Corral’ reputation!
Burt Reynolds was in Gunsmoke…do you remember?
Dodge City has its own Walk of Fame…or rather…Trail of Fame. The trail of fame honors real life ‘heroes’ of Dodge City (Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, etc) as well as many actors (James Arness, Amanda Blake, etc) from the TV show Gunsmoke as well as other popular western movies and TV shows.
We walked the streets of Dodge City, finding the plaques for each of the ‘heroes’, which we imbedded in the sidewalk. It was actually nice walk…around town. It took us about an hour, though we skipped about 5 that were off the beaten path.
We spent the remainder of the day and evening at Boot Hill. I’d purchased ‘All in One’ Tickets for $35 that got us admission to the Boot Hill Museum, the famous Gunfight, dinner and Miss Kitty’s Variety Show at the Long Branch Saloon.
A display of what a Gamblers gun may have looked like.
We wandered through the museum which is kind of indoors (life of the prairie people & various other exhibits) and outdoors (cemetery, Victorian home, school-house, church, etc). There is a ‘general store’ where you can buy some trinkets if you choose.
Of course, the Long Branch Saloon is open for business. We stopped for a Sarsaparilla and a Bud Light and enjoyed listening to the piano player play requested songs as well as ones of his own choosing.
Fun to watch these young ladies!
We even watched Miss Kitty’s Variety Show while sitting front and center that evening. Miss Kitty had a wonderful voice and the four young dances did some great dancing…they even did the CanCan…wow..that’s one energetic dance!
The two young bartenders sang and were quite the Comedians themselves. The show lasted about an hour (30 minutes after closing time and it turned out to be a nice way to end the evening.
Good to find new friends on the road!
As we were waiting for the ‘dining hall’ to open for dinner we had a group of four people walk up to us and call us by name and say something about “Heartland”. We were quite taken back as we had no idea who they were…but somehow they knew us. I checked both of our shirts thinking that maybe we were wearing Heartland shirts…we weren’t.
Come to find out they saw our truck (with Performance Trailer Braking on it) out in the parking lot and they were at the Stone Mountain, Georgia rally…so they had an advantage over us! They were just passing through Dodge City for an overnight on the way to Pueblo too.
They were joined by another couple (making it 3 couples) and invited us to sit with them for dinner. We accepted and enjoyed getting to know all of them. They’re all from the Florida/Georgia area and are traveling together this summer.
Dinner was thinly sliced beef brisket, creamed corn, fried potatoes, cole slaw and biscuits…and apple crisp for dessert. Everything was very good and there was plenty left over that those that still hadn’t had their fill could go up and get some more.
After dinner it was time for some gun slingin’! Everyone sat at the picnic table provided and waited for the event to begin. Five cowboys (who’d rustled some cattle) came into town and were asked to leave their guns by the water well as no guns are allowed in Dodge City.
They agreed but when they heard that the town sheriff was going to check their cattle…that didn’t sit well and they formed a plan to get their guns back…which led to a gun fight. Wow! It was over in a matter of minutes and there was ‘gun smoke’ (ha!) everywhere. All five cowboys were killed along with a deputy and one of the saloon girls.
It was a fun way to spend our last day in Dodge…but we were ready to…’Get Outta Dodge’!
Next up: Heartland Regional Rally in Pueblo, Colorado.
Ensuring that everything in the kits is good to go
Saturday morning we went over to the ‘marketplace’ and got our booth set up the best we could. Our table clothes are only 4 foot and the tables are 8 foot so we improvised using 4 table clothes but only had 2 with us so we brought the other two Sunday morning and finished setting up the table display then.
We also opened all of the kits that we’d had Dexter ship direct and made sure that everything was as it should be and ready to be installed. John and Barbara stopped by and picked up the two kits that they needed to install on Sunday and Monday.
We were home in time to have our left over steak from dinner the night before and then did some work before we needed to be at the Vendor Appreciation dinner that evening. We sat with Tracey and Dave from RV Water Filter Store and discussed business mostly.
We were served brisket, chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and roll. And for dessert, cheesecake. Beforehand they had a social with snacks, beer, wine, soda and water that was provided free of charge. It was a really nice way to show their appreciation to the vendors.
The first official day that the marketplace was open was Sunday…but it was just a short day – 9:00 – 2:30. We arrived about 8:30 and quickly finished getting set up. While the day went very quickly (I got caught up on a lot of follow-up emails to potential customers) we didn’t have a whole lot of interest…we did have some though.
The tough thing about rallies like this one is that it’s not just trailers (pull-behinds, 5th wheels, etc) there are motorhomes in the mix too and we can’t help them with disc brakes unless they’re pulling a trailer for a car or something similar behind their motorhome.
That’s a lotta people! Now if they were ALL trailer owners we’d be golden!
We packed up at 2:30 and headed over to the BIG rally hall for the Opening Ceremony. You really got a chance to see how large this rally is…they’re expecting about 600 rigs. Not knowing a whole lot about the Escapees organization, we learned quite a lot from the speakers on stage.
The club began in 1978 and is now on its third set of ‘officers’ who happen to be the grandson/wife of the original founders. This year is the 40th anniversary of the club so we even made a toast to the founders during the meeting.
Afterward we boogied on home so that I could finish getting dinner ready for John and Barbara as I had invited them over. Nothing fancy…just Amish Haystacks. It’s a nice, simple meal that most of the work can be done ahead of time. Plus…you can use your ‘good’ china and not have to worry about much clean up!
We’d planned on eating outside but it has been so hot and humid that Michael made the executive decision to eat in the air conditioning, which turned out to be a good idea. Temperatures have been in the mid 90s with 50+ percent humidity. Ugh!
We visited for a couple of hours and then just as Michael and I were preparing to leave for the nights entertainment (a ‘hilarious’ story-teller) he got a phone call from one of his old Army co-workers and we ended up not going after all. Oh well…they have entertainment nearly every night…perhaps we’ll go another night. Unfortunately, we found out the next day that Michael won a prize…but you have to be present to win. Not a big loss though as it was a gift certificate for a local spa and wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway. Hopefully, the ‘new’ winners were able to use it.
One of the three aisles of the marketplace
Our first long day (9:30 – 5:00) at the marketplace was Monday. And it was pretty quiet…all the vendors were talking about how there wasn’t hardly any traffic. It did seem to pick up a bit after noon…but still not a whole lot. We did however, sell a kit which was scheduled to be installed the following day. It happened to be one of our earlier leads that I had reached out to last month to see if he still wanted to have brakes installed on his trailer and he had decided not too. But…once here…he changed his mind again…which we were happy about.
Love the idea of being able to make a salad this way!
We found a couple of items in the marketplace we couldn’t live without. The first item being a new mifi as our old one hasn’t been working as good as it should and I almost always tether from my phone nowadays. The show special was basically ‘get a free unit when you extend your contract’…plus no activation fee. And….they brought it right to our booth, in a bag, with a smile! Can’t beat that!
Then we got 2 sets of gripstics…kind of the new-fangled ‘chip clip. But they do a much better job of keeping the food fresh and have other uses as well and I’m pretty excited to start using them!
Meet Cheryl, our insurance agent.
PLUS! We got to meet our insurance agent in person! We’ve been using Miller Insurance out of Oregon for about five years or so as they specialize in fulltimer RV insurance so we’ve never actually met Cheryl (the owner). We’ve done all of our business via the phone or internet. It just so happens that she’s here for the rally too. It was great to put a face to a voice!
Can’t wait to dig into Janetta’s books!
Oh yeah…and I also bought some books. The author of the books is here selling her books and signing them too. She writes a kind of Christian comedy about a couple who RV around the country. I didn’t buy the hard copies of the books but I did go to Amazon and purchase all four of the books for my Kindle. I’m excited to finish my current book and start on her series! If you’re interested in trying out the books you can go to Amazon and type in Janetta Fudge Messmer and her books will come up…they’re a great deal!
Reza was pretty darned amazing. I’d see him again in a heartbeat.
After dinner we headed over to the BIG building for the nights meeting/announcements, which was followed by Reza, an illusionist. Reza’s show was really good…Michael and I had several moments when we looked at each other with that ‘how the heck did he do that?’ kind of look. Besides being a good magician he was also funny…which makes for a good combination. He tours the country with his show and also does shows in Branson…I’m gonna
keep my eye out for him.
Tuesday Michael did his Disc Brake Seminar at 10:00 am while I held down the fort in the marketplace. He has a small group of about twelve but got 4 pretty solid leads for installs…that’s not bad.
Oh my….the best fajitas I think I’ve ever had.
Tuesday after we closed up the booth we went out for dinner at El Espolon and met Dave & Tracey (RV Water Filter Store). We were also supposed to be joined by Cheryl (Miller Insurance) but she ended up at the wrong restaurants and since we hadn’t exchanged phone numbers we had no way of contacting each other.
Nonetheless, we had a nice visit with Dave and Tracey and all really enjoyed the food. Michael and I even had strawberry margaritas (are you happy, Dan?). I ordered fajitas (chicken, beef & shrimp) and they were excellent…especially the shrimp. Not something I order very often but…wow…they were good!
Our new friend, Jim. Hoping to see him down the road at another rally.
We’ve met some really awesome people at this rally…one being our next door neighbor in the marketplace, Jim. Jim took over his parents company, SoftCell, a little over a year ago when he father passed away. SoftCell produces portable water softeners and I’m pretty sure Michael will be looking into a system when/if we purchase a
Wednesday was our last day in the marketplace as well as at the Escapade, itself. The rally goes on for a few more days but we will be hitting the road Thursday morning. We sold the last of the kits we had available here, so we were happy about that.
We flaked out a little early, went home and started packing things away. While Michael worked outside, I worked inside and made dinner (thanks for the brisket, Zack!) Thankfully, the weather cooled off a bit and it was only in the low 80s, which was a much welcome relief.
After dinner we went over to the BIG event center for the announcements and door prizes…my name wasn’t called…but that’s not unusual. The grand prize drawing is Thursday night…but we won’t be in attendance. Oh well…
Great job of singing a David Allan Coe song…
We stayed for the nights entertainment, which was ‘Escapade’s Got Talent’. There were about twelve or so acts…singers, comedians, dancers, storytellers. Some very good, some good…some just ok. Whatever the case, it was fun and we enjoyed ourselves. I think I enjoyed the comedians the most and then one woman who sang ‘You Never Even Called Me By My Name‘ by David Allan Coe.
The evening was finished off with a recitation of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ragged Old Flag’ which was followed by the entire crowd singing ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’. Very nice way to end the night and our time at the Escapade.
We left Zack & Kelsea’s place about 9:15 am on Thursday and drove roughly 3/4 of the way to Sedalia, Missouri. We stopped for the night in Hannibal, Missouri staying at the Mark Twain Cave Campground...the exact place we’d left a week before when we headed north to see the kids.
We stopped along the way in Marion, Iowa for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen. And since Kelly’s Kitchen just happened to share the Walmart parking lot we went inside and bought some soda since we were low and that would tide us over until we get to Colorado, at least.
We arrived at the campground about 5:15 pm, got checked in, used the restroom and then headed to our site for the night.
Mark Twain Cave Campground – site D3
We requested a pull-through site at the campground so that we didn’t have to unhook and could just pull in and park for the night. We did, however, hook up to the sewer so that we could drain our tanks so that we had empty tanks for our stay at the Missouri State Fairgrounds for the Escapee’s Escapade rally.
I made a frozen pizza for dinner (Jacks, our favorite!), we did a little work and then just relaxed for the evening.
Crazy GPS took us down this dirt road to get us out of Hannibal! That was an adventure!
We had just over 165 miles to drive on Friday but needed to arrive at the fairgrounds by 2:00 pm as they weren’t doing any check ins after that time.
We pulled out of our site at Mark Twain about 9:00 am, made one ‘relief’ stop and then just about 5 miles or so away from the fairgrounds we came across a Landmark on the side of the road…well you just know we had to stop.
Lending a helping hand
Michael pulled over and went to see if he could be of assistance and found that they had a broken leaf spring and were waiting for a tow. Michael gave them our card and told them if they needed anything we would do our best to help and that we had an installer with us that could install the leaf springs if they found some.
To make a long story short – turns out that they had a couple of angels stop who found leaf springs for them and then installed them for them, there on the side of the road.
They were also coming to the Escapade to work as vendors for Badger Hitch and ended up parked on the same road as us just a little ways down. They are from Wisconsin and Mary (the wife) has been to several of my classes (Instant Pot, Convection Oven, etc)..small world!
Our home for the next 6 nights.
We ended up arriving at the fairgrounds about 12:30 and found a long line of RVs in line to be parked. We were the last in line and just after getting in line, one of the parking attendants came up to us and told us if we could back up he’d take us (and the vehicle in front of us) a different way and get us parked. Well….heck yeah…we did as we were told and were parked in minutes.
Apparently it rained about 2 inches here this morning and there were a lot of vehicles that got stuck…our installer John and his wife, Barbara being one of them. They ended up having to have someone pull them out. It was still fairly wet when we arrived but Michael used his 4-wheel drive and we got backed into our site just fine.
When we left Zack and Kelsea’s yesterday morning our hydraulics were acting strange and then when we arrived in Hannibal they were still weird. Then this morning they were still weird and to bring in the slides we had to be plugged into shore power. When we arrived at the fairgrounds the level up was acting RALLY weird…Michael tried to use the auto level but it wouldn’t have anything to do with working right. He tried to manually level it but it wouldn’t extend the legs…but if he used the button on the front of the coach he could get the legs to extend…anyway…after much back and forth he finally got it leveled.
Later in the evening he checked things out and found that he had rewired the batteries wrong the other day when he took them out to add water and do a little maintenance. Once wired correctly, all of our issues were gone! Whew…so glad when it’s an easy (and inexpensive) fix!
We got settled into site Y26B and were happy to find that we had 50 amp, water and sewer…we were under the impression that we would only have 30 amp and with the heat wave (90s) that we’re expecting this week…that wouldn’t have been any fun!
We’re in booth 4…and so is our product!
After getting settled in when headed over to pick up our welcome packets, name badges, etc. We also stopped by our booth and saw that the product we had shipped from Dexter had arrived and seemed to be all in tact. (we’ll double check tomorrow when we have a copy of our purchase order).
Tracey & Dave from the RV Water Filter Store
While in the marketplace we met Dave & Tracey Brannam, owners of the RV Water Filter Store. Michael actually won one of their water systems at the Branson rally so we were excited to meet them. We’re hoping to collaborate with them in the future…so keep your eyes and ears open and go check out their store as they have some really great products. Just so happens they are parked diagonally from Pete & Mary (the other Landmark owners)!
Whoa! That’s a lotta food!
Not long after we arrived, John, our installer knocked on the door. Seems he and Barbara pulled in right after we did as they were at the parking check in as we were backing into our site. They ended up on the say row as us, but down a few spaces and just happen to be right across the road from Dave and Tracey! We won’t have far to go to visit our new-found friends!
Today was our 33rd wedding anniversary and we celebrated by going out for dinner at Colton’s Steakhouse. I’d heard of the chain…but we’d never been so it was as good a time as any to give it a try. It’s much like a Texas Roadhouse or Longhorn Steakhouse, which we’ve always enjoyed both.
We both got ribeyes (Michael’s with ribs and mine with grilled shrimp). The steaks were seasoned and cooked perfectly. The only drawback was too much food! We both had enough left over for another complete meal.
Snuggled in next to Zack and Kelsea’s Road Warrior
We arrived at Zack and Kelsea’s home in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin on Thursday and got backed into a cozy little spot beside their workshop.
Dan and family came over that evening for dinner and we all pitched in various items for a taco dinner, which we ate out on the deck…gorgeous weather!
It was a wonderful day as I got big, running hugs from all five of our grandbabies…ahhhh….a little slice of heaven in each of those hugs.
Friday afternoon Kelsea, Michael and I headed into Mt Horeb and got out toes done. Afterward, Michael dropped Kelsea and I off at Miller’s grocery store so that I could pick up a few groceries. Zack and Kelsea had switched vehicles in the parking lot so Kelsea and I hopped in her car which was parked and waiting for us) and headed home.
Friday night found all eleven of us together again. We converged at Doks Klassik Tavern for a fish fry. We’d made reservations so we were taken right to a table.
The fish was ok…a bit on the tough side but acceptable. Our server was kinda strange but the kids had had her a couple of weeks before and said she was much better than…so maybe she was having a rough day.
Strangely enough we found out on Wednesday that there was a fire at the restaurant on Tuesday, though we’ve not heard how extensive the damage was or how long they will be closed. We do know that no one was hurt but a person who lives in the living quarters behind lost all of his belongings.
Quite the crew….LOL
We finished off the night by playing games at Dan and Amanda’s home. We actually finished a Murder Mystery game that we’d started at Christmas 2015! We only played it for 1/2 an hour or so at that point and then had to stop as the flu overcame several people.
It’s hard to believe but the murderer (Zack!) actually kept his identity all these years! And a couple of us were even able to figure out who the murder was.
They like the big tortoise!
Saturday was a Nana/Papaw/grandbabies kind of day. First we spent several hours at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. It’s a small zoo but 100% free so you really can’t beat it.
We made sure that everyone got to see their favorite animals (Paityn – lions, Alex – prairie dogs, Cam – red pandas, Ben – bears, Zoe – didn’t really care/know!) and I took a picture of each of them with their favorites.
All five playing in the sand…Papaw too!
We had lunch at the play area before we toured the zoo and the kids got time to play in the play area outside and then again at the play area inside the zoo for a while.
Everyone was super well-behaved and I was very proud of all of them…even Papaw!
Afterward, Alex, Ben and Zoe went with their mom and dad to their cousins graduation party while Michael, Paityn, Cameron and I went to get some dinner at the Pizza Ranch in Verona. After dinner we picked Alex, Ben & Zoe (the Verona Barnett’s) up and all headed to Nana & Papaw’s house.
The morning after…watching Beauty and the Beast
Once home, we all got into our jammies and then Papaw made beds on the living room floor for four of the five, while Zoe got comfy on the couch.
After a long day out in the fresh air we were all pretty tired so we wound down while watching a couple of the kids favorite shows and then snuggled in for the night. Within 30 minutes of lights out…every single person in the house under 8 was out cold.
Sunday Dan and Amanda came over and brought sandwiches from Jimmy Johns for lunch. Michael and I had bought a brisket and Zack and put it in the smoker about 8:00 am for dinner that night. Between Kelsea, Amanda and I we pitched in other dishes to go with the brisket – corn bread, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, corn on the cob, pickle wrap dip, etc. We also did a little experimenting and made deep-fried pickles & deep-fried pickle wraps…which turned out pretty good.
The final products!
We just hung out, enjoying time together. The girls did a project together…one that I had found at the rally in Stone Mountain and everyone’s ‘Magic Quilt’ square turned out great! Plus it was just nice to have some girl time. Even Zoe sat on mom’s lap and ‘helped’ a bit.
Each child had their own bottle to ‘experiment’ with.
We also did a little ‘science experiment’ with the kids. It involves Coke & Mentos and their chemical reaction to each other. While the effect was quite as ‘big’ as we thought it would be the kids enjoyed it and there were quite a few squeals of laughter as the Coke erupted out of the bottles.
The big bottle had the best ‘fountain’
Amanda picked me up bright and early Monday morning so that we could get to our ‘hair’ appointments in Darlington in time for our 9:30 am appointments. We both had appointments for highlights and trims. Zoe, too, had her hair trimmed. Poor Ben just had to wait for the women in his life to get beautified.
The goal was to ‘walk’ in this position to the other end of the mat. Because Paityn did so well she had to turn around 1/2 way and walk feet first…not easy!
Back home after our appointments I had a couple of hours before it was time to head out with Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron to go to Paityn’s gymnastics practice. At 7 years old, Paityn does a fantastic job in this Nana’s book. Of course, she has things to work on, like keeping her toes pointed at all times…but that will come the more she works. Currently she cartwheels all over the place!
Tuesday was mostly just a work day. While we’d been working as we needed to while visiting with the family, this day was set aside to work at Dan’s home so that we could have a meeting to go over any outstanding items that needed to be addressed.
Michael also took the truck over to Ford for an appointment to change the oil and install new oil and fuel filters. Were now good to go for 5,000 miles!
Wednesday was a busy day between packing up and preparing to pull out Thursday morning, doing laundry, getting groceries and spending time with the family.
Dan, Ben and Zoe came over and spent the afternoon with us and then I followed Kelsea to Cameron’s school, driving Dan’s Tesla (yikes!)so that he could come home with me and Kelsea could go on to pick up Paityn at school and take her to gymnastics. Ben and Zoe came with me to pick up Cameron and then we all went back home to relax for a couple of hours.
Cameron getting into soccer!
At 5:15 pm those that were home (Michael, Zack, Dan, Cameron, Ben, Zoe and myself) piled into two cars and headed into Mt. Horeb for Cameron’s soccer practice. The weather was perfect as we sat in the shade of the trees and watched Cam run around the field learning his skills.
We got home to find Kelsea, Amanda, Alex and Paityn there…waiting with pizzas which Kelsea and Alex had picked up while Amanda (coaching) and Paityn were at gymnastics. Then Kelsea and Alex went back to gymnastics to pick up and Amanda and Paityn and took them home.
We ate pizza out on the back porch and enjoyed our last night together for while…not too long this time…just 39 days. Before long it was time for the Verona Barnett’s to head home and get the kids into bed and ready for the next day.
We hung out for a little while longer at the Mt. Horeb Barnett’s before giving the kids good night kisses and hugs and then headed across the yard to our own home.
Headed down the road after leaving Zack and Kelsea’s.
Thursday morning we finished up the rest of our packing and got hugs from Zack before he left for work and then hugs from Kelsea and Cameron as they gave us a nice send off.
We’re heading to Sedalia, Missouri where we’ll be attending the Escapee’s Escapade rally, It’s supposed to be a pretty big rally with about 500 rigs (motorhomes and trailers alike) in attendance. We’ll have a booth set up that we’ll man Sunday – Wednesday and Michael will also be doing a presentation on the benefits of having disc brakes on a trailer on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday morning we pulled out of the Branson KOA at 8:59 am and headed northeast-ish…roughly 280 miles and landed at the Twain Mark Cave and Campground where we stayed for two nights.
The campground was fairly empty which meant ‘quiet’…which was really nice. We didn’t bother setting up the satellite dish, which was hard for Michael but it takes time to do and we really don’t get a chance to watch much TV these days.
Enroute to Hannibal we made a stop at Kelly’s Kitchen (church parking lot) where we enjoyed a working lunch (yummy salads!) from our recliners. Got some emails taken care of, ordered some tires and crunched some numbers for one of our dealers.
Wednesday we got out and did a little venturing. We made a quick stop at Walmart for some supplies (DEF being high on the list) and grabbed a late lunch at Jet’s Palace.
Jet’s was good. I always base my first impression off of the hot & sour soup and theirs was very good. They’re bbq pork fried rice was tasty. Crab rangoon was very good. Michael’s sweet & sour chicken came with vegetables (carrots, green pepper and onion) and pineapple so he was a happy camper. I tried the Singapore Style Fried Rice (Vermicelli with shrimp, beef, chicken, egg, BBQ pork and vegetables sautéed in yellow curry sauce) and it was pretty tasty. I asked for mild heat and they obliged. The only thing I didn’t really care for were their egg rolls…they were more of a spring roll and the filling was kind blah.
The white building is where Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) spent his growing up years.
However, the real reason to venture out was to visit the Boyhood Home of Mark Twain, who was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, which sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, when he was four. Hannibal was the inspiration for the little town in his books, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Captain Michael at the helm of his own steamboat – see the Mighty Mississip in the background?
For our $12 admission fee we received entrance to the museum, Interpretive Center, Huck Finn House, Becky Thatcher House, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office and Mark Twain’s boyhood home.
An original Norman Rockwell – depicting Tom ‘persuading’ his friends to white wash the fence.
We wandered around the grounds for several hours, checking out the various displays and exhibits. The museum had 8 original Norman Rockwell pieces of art that depicted various scenes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – which I thought was pretty interesting. The museum had several hands on activities as well as several videos to view. There were even places where you could stop and listen to snippets of works. Pretty cool.
Lovers Leap…is for Lovers!
On our way home we stopped at ‘Lovers Leap’ which is a tiny little park that sits atop a bluff that overlooks the Mississippi River. What a gorgeous view of the river and of Hannibal itself. There were several barges on the river but they didn’t seem to be moving and there was one little tugboat (Scuffy!) floating up river. Definitely a place to stop if you’re ever in Hannibal.
Wednesday we hit the road again…this time northeast toward Branson, Missouri…for another rally…the Heartland South Central Regional rally.
We had quite a haul…380 miles…a lot for us. After a long day of driving, we pulled into the Choctaw KOA in Durant, Oklahoma about 5:15 pm or so. We got checked in, pulled into our site but didn’t unhitch, level or anything. We just called the shuttle to pick us up and take us directly to the casino for dinner.
We went for the buffet…which wasn’t the greatest…but it filled our tummies. We had originally thought we might try a luck in the casino a bit but since it was later than we’d planned we skipped it and just hopped back on the shuttle and went home to do some work and go to bed.
Thursday was another fairly long driving day…just shy of 350 miles and we were on the road about 7:15 am. We made a stop at Kelly’s Kitchen about noon and after relaxing for about an hour we were back on the road.
We pulled into the Branson KOA about 3:30 pm. We got checked in quickly and led to our site where we unhitched and then made a beeline to the rally hall where a Meet & Greet was in progress….or actually just ending as we walked in. We were greeted by a room full of applause which was awesome! LOL
Branson KOA – site 175
We hung around for a while and visited and then went back home to finish getting the coach settled in place for our stay. We decided not to put up the satellite dish as we don’t have much time to watch TV these days and we already have quite a bit on the DVR.
Jay and Stella joined us for dinner at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner. We’d all been there before but it was a good place to go back to. The servers are ‘singing servers’…periodically one of the servers will belt out a tune while roaming through the diner.
Jay and Stella both had burgers while Michael and I both had fish and chips. We enjoyed catching up with a couple of our favorite people. We knew that once the rally really got going we wouldn’t have much of a chance to visit with them so we were glad we got the opportunity to share a meal with them.
Friday was super duper busy for us with work…which is pretty unusual on a Friday. We started working about 7:30 am or so and worked for about an hour or so before we headed over to the rally hall for breakfast. The KOA provides free pancakes and the for a minimal charge you can get biscuits, gravy and sausage.
We visited for about an hour and then headed back home and worked until about 5:00 pm without coming up for much air in between. I worked mostly on the computer while Michael worked on the computer, answered a few phone calls and also answered questions of several of the rally goers here.
Stella getting the goodies ready
About 5:30 we headed over to the rally hall for a potluck dinner. I helped Stella get the offerings settled and sorted on the table and Michael talked with several folks who had questions regarding disc brakes.
Michael’s a ‘happy camper’!
There were lots of door prizes of which everyone got at least one something (cordless drill & flash light for us). Plus, when all the door prizes had been handed out all of the names were put back in the pot and names were drawn for two big prizes. Amazingly enough, our name was drawn for a water filtration system! Michael was quite happy as he’d been talking about purchasing a new system for the new coach (if we get one). Perhaps that was a sign??!
The Traveling Sombrero hand off!
Michael and I were also very honored to hand off the Heartland traveling sombrero! It had been lovingly handed off to us last fall at our very first rally as chapter leaders from our friends, Andy and Joanna, Louisiana chapter leaders. While it was fun to receive, we just don’t have the room to store it. Don & Vicky, chapter leaders from New Mexico, who just had their first rally, are now the proud owners.
Getting down and dirty to get axle tag pics!
Saturday was on the quieter side and we were able to somewhat catch up on our work so that we could go on a short walkabout mid-morning. We chatted a bit and Michael took a couple of axles pics for people who are interested in purchasing brakes. (We request pictures of all axles tags so that we are sure to have all of the information we need to provide the correct kit)
Showboat Branson Belle
That afternoon the entire rally crew drove over to Table Rock Lake and boarded the Branson Belle for a dinner/show cruise. Wow! What an experience. While the club paid for everyone’s tickets Michael and I would go back in a heartbeat!
The food was good, entertainment was excellent, view was beautiful. We were fed chicken, roast beef, sugar snap peas and garlic mashed potatoes along with a salad and lemon raspberry ice cream cake.
Michael and several other Veterans obliged a woman onboard with a picture.
We had a small taste of the entertainment to come while we enjoyed our dinner and then had about 45 minutes or
so after dinner to roam the boat and check out the views.
Just one of many awesome numbers performed on stage.
The show consisted of comedy, magic, singing and dancing. The music ranged from show tunes (awesome!) to Elvis and Journey. A whole lot of talent on that stage. One of the female singers, Kelsie Watts, was a participant (making the top 24) on American Idol a few years ago and was really impressive. She has no business working on a showboat…she should be making real money!
My husband the STAR!
At one point Michael was called up on stage to assist the Emcee/Comedian/Magician along with another woman. I’m pretty sure that Michael missed his calling. He had us all in stitches…even the Emcee! The man’s only job was to play ‘ba dump bump’ on the drum when the Emcee finished a joke…but he pretty much stole the show. He ended up knocking the cymbal off and then even knocked a chime on to the floor. Thankfully, one of our group (of 70) recorded the entire thing. Not sure if this will work or not..but click HERE to watch the video.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and also the day that a good portion of the rally-goers left the park. We had breakfast in the rally hall again and sat with Corbin and Flora and then later on Jason and Audra joined us. After closing the place down we headed on home but not before stopping and chatting with a group who were waving to rally-goers as they departed.
Always nice to meet new installers and get to know them.
We met a potential install for lunch at Pasghetti’s on ‘the strip’. Johnny did some installs for the old owner and is ready to get back in the saddle. We had a really nice lunch and got a good feel for him and look forward to getting him some work. He and his wife and six kids (!) are full time RVers so they’ll be traveling much of the time.
As for the meal…really good. I had pasta carbonara…sooo good. Michael order the Italian grilled chicken breast which he really enjoyed. Not sure where I got the recommendation to try the place…but glad I did.
The entire cast…
After lunch, Michael and I made our way to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater for the 3:00 pm performance of Legends in Concert. ‘Performers’ included Martina McBride, Elvis, the Four Tops, the Blues Brothers and Johnny Cash.
Donuts and the Blues Brothers!
Once again…an excellent show! A lot of talent was on that stage. During Elvis’ performance of ‘Teddy Bear’ he tossed a stuffed Teddy Bear at me (which I later gave to a young girl) and the Blues Brothers gave Michael and I each donuts from Hurts Donut! Talk about luck being on our side!
We were back home about 5:30 pm and had PTB work to do and a little ‘move prep’ to do as we were hitting the road again the following morning. Heading north to see all of our babies…making a stop in Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).