Friday, November 25, 2016

'16/#47 Happy Thanksgiving

Well here we are on Thanksgiving Day. It was just the two of us and we had a very relaxing day. Dinner for two was the usual turkey, stuffing, and assorted side dishes. Actually it was just a turkey breast, but that gives us more than enough of the part of the bird that we like the most.

We started the day by sleeping in knowing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was being recorded. After our eyes were open for a while we started watching the festivities from New York and preparing our traditional dinner. With everything going smoothly and the parade on DVR we decided to take advantage of a quiet day by doing laundry! Yes laundry. Why not? Dirty clothes never take a holiday.

With the laundry done and time before dinner we flopped into our easy chairs and started watching movies that we had saved on  the DVR. Later we had our dinner, ate too much, and cleaned up. Then we continued our mission of doing as little as possible and just relaxing. Aaaah, a perfect Thanksgiving.

Well, we are still here in Missouri and enjoying the cooler weather in our home in Forsyth because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, November 21, 2016

'16/#46 The End Of Birthday Season

Yesterday was my day to run all over town and get my free birthday meals. That meant a trip into Branson which is about 25-30 minutes away. There are two parts of Branson, MO. The most well known is where all the theaters and restaurants are located. Then there is downtown Branson. Think of Las Vegas the town and Las Vegas the "Strip".

We first headed to the theater area and Denny's for breakfast. This is twice we have been here and both times it was pretty busy even though there doesn't seem to be many tourists. I guess it is like it is in Florida, busy with snowbirds in the winter and busy with locals in the summer. Up here in Branson I guess the seasons are reversed.

After I filled myself with more breakfast than I should we drove west out of Branson just to see where the road went. Not too far down the road traffic stopped dead so we made a quick right turn and wound up on a stretch of highway that seemed to take us out into the middle of nowhere. The road eventually took us right back into Branson. I guess all roads here lead to Branson!

We headed back east toward Branson proper because Mary wanted to go to Dick's 5 and 10 in downtown Branson. It was probably an old five and dime in it's day but is now a tourist attraction. Dick's is now primarily a tourist town gift shop with everything Branson. It was kind of neat to see some of the old time gifts, toys, games, and candies that brought back memories of my youth. Some of it just reminded me of how old I am.

We didn't buy anything. There was nothing there that we couldn't live without and the tourist stuff was your typical tourist trap trinkets. If you have been anywhere you know what I mean. The magnets, key chains, hats, shirts, are all the same where ever you go, just tweaked to reflect the area they are promoting. Whether it is from Daytona Beach, NYC, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, or a hundred other places the junk is all the same "made in Japan" crap!

After walking around a while it was time to find me a free dinner. Back to "touristland" Branson and a nice meal at Ruby Tuesday. The sun had gone down by now and the temperature was dropping so we put on light jackets and enjoyed the cool clear evening before heading home.

I am starting to get used to the narrow, winding, unlit, back roads around here....especially at night with the sun gone and total darkness by 5:30pm. There just seems to be too many hours between sundown and bedtime this time of year.

Well I am going to get busy outside since the weather is beautiful today. The high will be around 60 degrees and sunny so we are going to enjoy it while we can here in our home in Forsyth because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, November 18, 2016

'16/#45 Signs Of The Season, Birthday Season

November is the beginning of the Holiday Season and in our house it includes birthdays. November has no less than four birthdays in our immediate family, and more counting close friends. If you follow us on facebook you know Mary just had a birthday and mine is just a few days away. We are always thankful for all the friends we have, but are reminded at times like these just how many friends we do have. It took Mary a day and a half to respond to all the birthday wishes. We went into Springfield for her birthday and just relaxed. We strolled around the mall, checked out some stores, and did a little shopping. Later on we went out to a nice dinner and Mary considered her birthday a total success.

While we were walking the mall it dawned on me that I am reaching "official" retirement age in the next few days. As I walked the mall I also realized just how old I am. I always love to people watch and comment to myself about what I see. Unfortunately I was listening to myself and came to the conclusion that I am just plain old! The thing that hit me the most was the clothes people wear. I see girls wearing pants so tight they couldn't hide a pimple while there are guys who could carry a whole turkey in their pants with room to spare! Has clothing gotten that ridiculous or am I just old? Maybe a little of both? Oh well, I guess getting older beats the alternative.

Another season is heading our way soon. The forecast is for cooler temperatures in the next week. We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather for this area and have taken all the credit for it. We claim to have brought some of the warm Florida weather with us. The night time temps will be dropping down to freezing the next couple of nights but we are prepared. With proper clothing a furnace and portable heaters we are ready. Add to that the wind has picked up quite a bit.

We also sell propane here and have some of the best prices around. We expect to sell a bit of propane the next few days. That is one of the jobs we are responsible for and expect to be busy with it all winter.

That's enough for now. So we will be staying warm in our home in Forsyth because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, November 13, 2016

'16/#44 No Unicorns Or Rainbows

Just sitting here and contemplating life and thinking how greatful we are to be able to live our chosen RV lifestyle. Most of the time it must sound like we are living out a fairy tale but like everything in life there are bumps in the road. As they say," to get a rainbow you have to have some rain". Well the past few days we have had some of that proverbial rain.

An RV with a family pulled in next to us with 3 little girls. Now, I know what you are equals out of control noise, but you are wrong. The kids were great. They played, had fun, rode their bikes, and had fun around a campfire. So "what is the problem?" you ask. The adults seemed to spend their day walking around their rig opening and closing the storage doors on the RV, and when I say closing I mean SLAMMING them so loud that it startled Mary and me so much we literally jumped out of our seats! It wasn't an occasional bang but continuous for an hour or so at a time.

I know I sound like a cranky old man, and I am, but seriously! When the noise outside sounds louder than anything inside the house it is a bit too much. I don't think there was that much banging around while the RV was being made! We are RVers and not campers. We take our home with us and live in it and try to be courteous to those around us. We would hope it isn't too much for others to try to be good neighbors also.

That was my rant for the day. The family next door is leaving today so the noise should subside. Our life is wonderful, but as I titled it, it's not all unicorns and rainbows. So we hope to have a quieter time here in our home in Missouri because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, November 10, 2016

'16/#43 Settling In...Kinda?

Well here we are in Forsyth, MO. With a population of 2200 it is the epitome of small town America. Driving through town (which took all of 5 minutes) we found the Post Office, a couple of small grocery stores, a couple of gas stations, and a handful of restaurants. The only chain restaurant in town is a McDonalds, which we probably won't ever visit unless we get so bored we are looking for a part- time job! LOL! One of the grocers is a Save-a-Lot and one of the gas stations is a Casey's. Other than that everything is locally owned and operated. Heck, the Jellystone RV Park we are working in is probably one of the better known names country wide, and we are actually just outside of town.

The owner has given us the keys to the kingdom and shown us around. It is a nice RV park reasonably close to Branson MO, which probably makes it a busy little place during the summer months. Right now there are eight sites occupied in the park and that includes us. Several will be leaving in the next week or so and the rest will be gone by mid December leaving us as the sole occupants other than an occasional drop in over the winter.

Yesterday we got out and started taking care of the leaves. Up here in the mountains there is no shortage of leaves. We just have to blow them off the sites and around the office to keep the place looking presentable. We will also have to fill propane as needed. With our prices lower than anyone else in town we should be busy with that during the colder months. We have even turned our furnace on for the overnight hours. It had gotten down to 45 degrees last night so the heater was nice. We also have a couple of electric space heaters and an electric fireplace to use during the day. At night we have an electric blanket for when it gets really chilly and of course a quilt on top of that. I don't see us having a problem with the cold.

After blowing some leaves and having dinner Mary looked outside at the dark sky and said it must be getting close to bed time. I had to burst her bubble by telling it was only a little after 5:30 pm. Between the time zone change and Daylight Savings her internal clock is all screwed up! I figure we will be used to it by weeks end.

Well that's all for now from our home in Missouri because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, November 6, 2016

'16/#42 We Have A Home For The Winter

After four days of travel and 1100 miles we have arrived in Forsyth, MO. This will be home for us this winter. We have workcamping jobs here that require minimal work on our part and will give us some time to decompress after the past 6 months. The owner up here said the last time he had workcampers for the winter they left because they were bored. A little boredom sounds real good right now. It will also give us a chance to recharge before our adventure picks up again in the spring. More on that at a later time.

The trip from West Memphis Arkansas to Forsyth,MO was interesting. Two different routes were planned and the merits of each were debated. The more circuitous one was over 500 miles and over 6 hours whereas the more direct route was less than 300 miles and just over 4 hours. All righty then, the direct route it is! The first 175 miles was great. There were good roads, whether interstate or state roads, with little or no delays.

Things changed after we crossed into Missouri. Between the GPS and Google Maps and our paper maps we were forced to choose on the fly several times which state road to take. You have to understand, with a 40' trailer and two lane country roads with no place to turn off, things get interesting. Once you commit to a route all you can do is see it through and hope for the best. This time there was more than hope, there was a bit of praying going on also.

What we thought would be an east-west state road through several towns turned into nothing more than a road through a national forest. The towns consisted of signs with town names and population totals between 50 and 300 and no people or buildings in sight. I think we were way back in the woods. The road was well paved but was undulating and serpentining so much that Mary was starting to get car sick! She never gets car sick or sea sick or any other kind of motion sickness!! Then the pavement started to deteriorate!!!It was maintained but there was as much patching as there was original pavement! Add to that, no towns along this route means no gas stations either!!!!! I was having no problems with car sickness but there was a pit in my stomach as I watched the fuel gauge creep towards empty. I don't believe in signs but I was looking for one at that time. Preferably one that said DIESEL!!!!!

Believe it or not things got worse! A sign announced a "One Lane Bridge Ahead". Oh goody ( note the sarcasm)! The signs also noted that the bridge was impassible during high water and the weight restriction was right near our rig's total weight. I am now sweating bullets!! We get to the bridge and it is one lane, the road surface is less than 2 feet above the water, and there is a car approaching from the other side!!!The car pulls over so we can go first. With a final wish that the bridge builders did an above average job we rolled across. Whew! Made it and now the only worry is are we going to run out of fuel in this butt clenching, banjo playing, god forsaken forest!!!!!!

With the dash computer telling me I have "50 miles to empty" I am overjoyed to see a gas station with a diesel sign. I go in and they tell me the were struck by lightning and none of the pumps work. The bottom of my stomach drops. Fortunately there is another station with diesel just 8 miles down the road. A full tank and all is well....or is it? 25 more miles to go to Forsyth and the narrow two lane road is more like a roller coaster than a road. The car sickness continues!

Sorry about all the exclamation points, but the trip was pretty intense. Well needless to say we made it and pulled into the campground. I don't know if I will ever get Mary back in the truck again without assurances that we will only take main highways from now on. For now, we are settling into our home here in Fosyth, MO because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, November 4, 2016

'16/#41 Going The Wrong Way?

I know it has been awhile since I have blogged, but we are traveling again and I should be able to find material to share. Mary has all but completely recovered from her knee surgery and is able to travel without any restrictions. I am once again the only thing slowing her down! The month of October was busy between surgery, family, and friends. We were able to get to the east coast to see Uncle Don and Grace before we left and managed to see our Cody friends Margaret and David while we were there. Back in Pinellas County we spent some time with the kids and grandkids knowing we would miss them throughout the holidays season. Add to that all the friends that wanted to get together before we left on our adventure, the month flew by. We also spent way too much time eating out instead of our usual cooking at home. We now need to go on diets heading into the holidays. Sound like fun! NOT!!

Some how with all that was going on we managed to get everything done around the rig to prepare for the road. We left Wednesday morning around 5am and made it to Alabama in time for dinner. It was a long day but we were able to put almost 550 miles behind us. Alabama was just an overnight stay but we found a nice family RV park just off the highway. Our next destination...Arkansas.

320 miles down the road in West Memphis, Arkansas is Tom Sawyer RV Park. We have stayed here before. It is a great place to relax right on the shores of the Mississippi River. Something about watching the tug boats pushing barges up and down the river is so calming. I'm not sure how calming it is for Mary, with her jumping up all excited everytime she hears a boat out on the river. It doesn't matter as long as she is happy, and the look on her face says she is.

Tom Sawyer is a 2 night stay so we will get a few more things done to the rig that came up in our travels. Nothing major, just the usual things that arise from owning an RV. It's no different from owning a home. We live by the list because if we didn't nothing would get done. Most of the list is checked off and since the campground has free laundry we decided to take advantage of that. One more night watching the river traffic before we head on down the road. Next stop will be near Branson MO.

Now in case no one noticed, we are heading north, and as everyone knows this is the time for the annual southerly migration of the American Snowbird. Everyone has been telling us that it is going to be cold where we are planning on staying, as if we didn't know! First of all we are preparing for the cold weather. And second after 3 years of year round Florida and a gazillion degree weather we are looking forward to the change. Third and lastly we are looking forward to something different. We may never do it again but we will have done it. Also I am sure we will have stories to tell around the campfire while we are warming up or thawing out, whatever the case may be.

I guess that is enough for now. The rest of the day will be relaxing in our home beside the lazy Mississippi River because.......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary