Monday, September 17, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Mill Creek Campground

You won't often hear me say that a camping trip wasn't much fun, but this camping trip wasn't much fun. 

Lakefront property.

Our plans were to arrive at camp just south of Branson, MO, on Friday evening.  We would meet my sister and brother-in-law on Saturday morning, and spend the entire day at the Silver Dollar City theme park, have my sis and BIL join us at the camper for supper, then spend another night and drive home on Sunday.

It was sunny and warm when we left about 3:30 in the afternoon to set out on our 200+ mile trip.  About an hour in, we needed to stop for a bathroom break.  While Kat and I were inside the convenience store, Shane decided to check out a few things on the camper (something he does often, both when we're on the road and when we're parked at home).  He noticed that one tire on the RV had some weather checking that he felt was bad enough to be a potential hazard.  So we stopped at a tire store, had the owner look at all five tires (the four on the ground and the spare) and ended up buying two new (and expensive) tires.  They had just enough time to get them on the camper before they closed for the day.

We drove for another hour or so, then decided to stop for supper and refuel the truck in Boliver, MO.  When we stepped out of the truck, we noticed how chilly it was compared to our earlier stop and that the sky was clouding over.  By the time we finished eating, it was raining lightly and rained all the way to camp.  No big deal, though, since the forecast for Saturday was calling for partly cloudy skies, temps around 70, and only a 20% chance of more rain.

We made it to camp around 8:45.  This wasn't our first time setting up in the rain, but it was our first time setting up in the dark.  We were lucky enough to have a level, paved, pull-through site, so we didn't have to worry about backing or leveling.  Set up was as easy as ever.  By 10:00 we were inside watching part of a movie, and by 11:00 we were in bed listening to the rain. 

We listened to the rain all night long.  And during breakfast.  And on the way to meet my sister.  And the rest of the day, too. The temperatures didn't get above 60 all day.

On a sunny day, this view would be gorgeous.

Since it had rained the last time we went to Silver Dollar City, we decided not to experience that adventure again.  Instead we looked around at some small shops in downtown Branson.

My sister, Kat and me.  Brown hoodies were entirely coincidental.

Then at Kat's request, we visited the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. 

Finally, someone Kat can look up to!

Somehow those two activities took up most of our day, and we headed back to camp for supper and more visiting with my sister and BIL. 

Family photo atop an Ozark mountain.

My "big" sister and me.  Why isn't her hair a frizzy mess like mine?
That's my BIL in the background.

Shane, with Branson area in background.

They stayed at camp with us until about 8:30, at which time the rain finally let up.

I was hoping the weather would cooperate enough for us to do something outside on Sunday morning, but more raindrops on the rooftop woke me up around 7:00. We decided there was no point in sticking around, so as soon as we ate breakfast, we started packing up.  The hardest rain of the entire weekend happened while Shane was outside rolling in the awning and putting away what few things we'd taken out of the storage areas. 

As we pulled out, we realized that one of our jacks was still down.  No damage was done, but it was kind of embarrassing that we missed it.

Raining on Sunday

Also as we pulled out, the rain stopped and the sky started to slowly clear.  Figures.

On the way home, we stopped for lunch and just happened to notice that the undercarriage cover was dragging.  Again, this is nothing that caused damage.  It's just a foam core board cover that keeps moisture and mud from splashing up under the camper onto the holding tanks, hoses, etc.  We have no idea when it fell or how far we'd been dragging it.  It only took a few minutes for Shane to reattach it, but it was just another inconvenience to add to our list.

We made it home around 5:30 on Sunday evening, glad that our unfortunate and costly weekend was finally over.  I try to look on the bright side, though, and have to say it was nice to visit with my sister for a few hours.  We found an old-timey five-and-dime that was a lot of fun to shop in; the toys/games and kitchen wares sections alone were worth the visit.  Kat truly enjoyed the Ripley's Museum, so that was another positive.  And the rain was needed, even if it did mess up our entire weekend.  Finally, the park was very nice and would have been absolutely beautiful on a sunny weekend.  We plan to come back when we have more time and better weather.


Parked at Mill Creek Campground, Table Rock Lake
near Kimberling City, MO
September 14-16, 2012

The Food - September 14-16, 2012

I never intended to focus on the food this weekend, but I suppose I could have done better than taking just this one photo.

This is breakfast from Saturday morning.  It's a frozen waffle, topped with some of the apple filling I canned last week, and also topped with store bought caramel sauce and canned whipped cream.  With a side of bacon.  Nothing healthy, and we had the same breakfast on Sunday morning, with the addition of scrambled eggs.

Friday p.m.:  We ate Smith's Restaurant in Bolivar, MO.  Decent food, decent prices, decent service.  I had Blackened Chicken on Fettucine Alfredo.  Shane and Kat both had all-you-can-eat fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.

Saturday a.m.:  See photo above.

Saturday noon:  For some reason, we didn't eat lunch, although I think most of us were hungry.  Nothing was really going as planned and I think we just made an unspoken decision to not even bring up another topic that would need a decision.

Saturday p.m.:  I had brought a layered Mexican dip and chips with us, thinking we would have eaten lunch and would only need snack foods for supper.  Since that didn't happen, we stopped on our way back to camp and bought some pre-formed frozen burger patties and buns to help round out the meal.

Sunday a.m.:  See photo above.  Add scrambled eggs.

Sunday noon:  We stopped at Peggy's Restaurant in Collins, MO (no website to link).  This restaurant has been around as long as I can remember, which is a long time.  gain, decent food, service and prices.  I had a Reuben sandwich with fires, while Shane had an open-face tenderloin sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, while Kat had a tenderloin dinner with potatoes and a side of cottage cheese.


Parked at Mill Creek Campground, Table Rock Lake
near Kimberling City, MO
September 14-16, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

An All-Time Favorite - Wallace State Park

We spent Labor Day Weekend at Wallace State Park, which is one of our all-time favorite parks and one we stay at at least once each season.

The remnants of Hurricane Isaac brought much needed rain to us on Friday, so we left home under wet conditions and arrived at camp the same.  

Many of the Missouri State Parks have wi-fi now, but not yet at Wallace, so my computer usage was limited to a few games and the books I have downloaded to it.  Fortunately, we have games, books, a television, VCR and DVD players and other things to keep us occupied when we can't be outside.  Shane even thought to bring the campfire! 

On DVD, that is.

Saturday was equally rainy, so we went to town for something to do, and because I'd somehow forgot to bring coffee and we needed to buy some.  We spent a couple of hours looking in two thrift shops, and an antique mall, with a quick visit to the grocery store for coffee and a stop at Dairy Queen for a treat.  The rain finally tapered off by Saturday evening, and the burn ban that had been in place most of the summer was lifted, so we enjoyed a real campfire.

Sunday morning looked much brighter.  The sun was out and the day warmed quickly.  It was never warm enough to swim, in my opinion, but we did go fishing for a couple of hours. 

As usual, Kat was the only one of us who had any luck. 

After fishing, we went for a short hike on one of the many trails.  It doesn't feel like autumn, but the summer-long drought has made everything look fall-like.

Then we came back to camp to play washers and cook a nice steak supper and enjoyed it at the picnic table instead of inside the camper.

We had a nice surprise Sunday night around 8:30, when the large group parked across from us gathered with three or four guitars, a mandolin and a stand-up bass.  We stayed on our side of the road, but we enjoyed listening to them play all kinds of music, from Steve Earle to Green Day to Merle Haggard to bluegrass standards to gospel.  They were good, and we really enjoyed the free concert.  It was, without doubt, a unique twist to this trip.

Parked at Wallace State Park
Cameron, MO
August 31 - September 3, 2012

The Food - August 29 - September 3, 2012

Friday p.m.:  We knew it was going to be rainy and a little cooler on our first night at camp, so I made a small batch of my basic chili for supper.  We like our chili with corn chips, sour cream and cheese.  We have almost everything we need in the camper -- except for bowls, I discovered.  We ended up eating layered chili "sundaes" from coffee mugs, with some fresh grapes on the side.

Saturday a.m.:  I know that "Toad in the Hole" is the name for an entirely different dish in other parts of the world, but to us, it means a slice of bread with a round piece cut out so an egg can be cooked in its place.  I recently read about a twist on this breakfast novelty -- after the egg has set a little and the whole thing has been flipped, it gets sprinkled with cheddar cheese and topped with another piece of buttered bread.  Once the cheese starts to melt, the entire sandwich gets flipped again so that the top piece of bread browns.  Surprise!  It's a Grilled Cheese Toad in the Hole, or a Cheesy Grilled Toad or something like that.  We ate chunky hash browns and fresh grapes with it.

Improvising a cookie cutter with a travel mug lid.

Saturday noon:  After having an ice cream snack in town, we ended up not eating lunch until around 3:00, and had grilled hot dogs, chips and applesauce for our meal.  We also ended up spoiling our appetite for supper.

Kat learning the fine art of hotdoggery.

Saturday p.m.:  Because none of us was very hungry, we ended up skipping supper.  We had quick ham sandwich just before bedtime.

Sunday a.m.:  I had many good intentions to make this lovely braided breakfast sandwich with crescent rolls, eggs, ham and other goodies, but in the end, I decided why go to all the trouble when I could just cook it up this way:

It was still very good, just not as beautiful.

Sunday noon:  Ah, yes.  We learned our lesson on Saturday and decided to not have lunch rather than spoil our dinner again.  Kat had a small snack to keep her going, but Shane and I skipped lunch altogether.

Sunday p.m.:   Grilled steaks, baked potatoes with toppings, corn on the cob and home-canned peaches.  It had been a while since we'd had some really delicious steaks; these KC Strips were worth the wait.

Monday a.m.:  We usually keep our breakfasts/brunches light on our last day at camp.  This time ham sandwiches were the breakfast of choice, although I found I was perfectly content with just coffee and a piece of toast.

Iced tea was my drink of choice for most of this trip. Beer or other alcoholic drinks just weren't doing much for me this time out.  However, I do want to tell you about a beer we found recently called Redbridge, and is a gluten-free sorghum beer.  It's made by Anheuser-Busch and contains no wheat or barley.  Shane and I both like it.  Shane normally does drink Anheuser-Busch products, but I usually don't care for them much.  I think this one is very good.

Parked at Wallace State Park
Cameron, MO
August 31 - September 3, 2012