Postcard from Missouri- 1

17 May 2012

 Oklahoma City, OK

Rockwell RV Park in OKC

We made a 1-nite stop here at Rockwell RV Park on the W side of OKC. Big, wide gravel pull-thrus with excellent shade from mature trees for $30/nite. Gotta love it. They parked us with the big dogs, which is to say we were lost from view between a couple Class-A motorhomes. We also had an 18″ wide pothole that scared the hell out of me. Fortunately the diesel pusher to our right pulled out ahead of us and I was able to avoid dropping into the black hole.

Not exactly what you expect to see in an RV park!

We were late getting out of OKC and had an over-300 mile day to get to Branson. As frequently happens when the Captain is rushing, he, well… blew it! I glanced down at the brake controller about 5 or more miles out of the park and thought “Hmmm… the display looks pretty dark.” Yikes! The trailer cable wasn’t hooked up! That’s not exactly what I said, but you get the picture. It was another 10-15 miles of white knuckles before I was able to find an off ramp I was sure lead straight back to the Interstate and I was able to connect the trailer cable. And what could have been worse, I found the tail gate still down. In hindsight, it was a good thing we were late leaving as the traffic was light. No panic stops with no brakes on the trailer.

And yes- the Admiral had reminded me at least 2 times to connect the cable and flip up the tail gate (to the extent you can flip anything that weighs 80#).

In general, roads in Oklahoma have fallen into disrepair, much as I found in California early last year. It’s been a few years since the last time we drove through OK and it’s pretty shocking how much the roads have deteriorated.

So, after way too much drama, we were on our way to Missouri…

Branson, MO

Nice shade on Sunny mornings (#21)
What you see as you pull in to register.

We’re settled into a big wide pull-thru which has a cement pad here at Branson Stagecoach RV Park.

But getting here wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Generally I let the GPS pick the shortest (not fastest) route and this time was no exception. This system-setting allows the GPS to route us thru the back roads which gives us a chance to actually see something. Remember this?

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” – Charles Kuralt

We agree with the late Mr. Kuralt and believe that, if you have the time, staying off the Interstates is much more interesting.

And that’s what we did… we got onto US-412 and followed that thru the eastern OK countryside into Arkansas and up to Missouri where we moved over to US-65. It was an incredibly beautiful drive and we were, to the immense relief of local commuters, the only RV on the road. And that was for good reason. It was as difficult to drive as it was scenic. Never had to drive below 35 mph, but we were at about the limit of what was safe. Everything ran fine and the trailer was never on the edge of control. But the Captain was definitely pooped when we finally arrived. And not a single photo to prove we were there since there’s no pull-offs. Anywhere. God help you if you have a flat tire!

Plus we got lost in Springdale, AR. Now Springdale is a busy, growing town, but it’s not that big. So how did I manage to lose my way? I’m going to lame it on Ms. Garmin. I turned onto S Thomson St as instructed and saw the next leg was 60 miles. A moment latter I heard Ms. Garmin utter the dreaded phrase “Recalculating…” 30 minutes later we were back at the same place – de javu all over again. And to my complete satisfaction, I got the same 60 mile estimate. This time, however, I noticed that there was a jog in the marked route about 200 yards along the road: turn 120 deg left, go 3/4 mi. and turn 90 deg right. I lucked out and happened to be behind an 18-wheeler and guessed correctly he was headed to the same highway. A few miles later we were back on US-412N. And Ms. Garmin did this remarkable piece of navigation with the latest maps from Garmin.

We kept calling the park to reassure them we really were going to arrive. Celia called one last time (we were arranging to have mail forwarded to Branson while we were driving) to get the Zip code and Linda told here she lives just across the road from the office and would see us pull in so don’t worry about the time. And a good thing it was that they were so close as we were about 2 hours late and didn’t arrive till just after 5 pm.

I’d guessed that Linda and her husband Jimmie were park managers but later I learned they’re the owners. And they are still active RVers limiting their travels to the slow season. So they understand the problems and have done a good job anticipating traveler’s needs. With our Passport America membership (this is the first time I’ve ever used it!) it is only $21.nite for a concrete pull-thru with great shade from trees. Plus Linda operates the on-site Grill from Wednesday thru Sunday, 7am – 2pm. Gotta love this place! We’re here till the 21st when we leave for Elkhart, IN.

Outpost Grill… Sun-Wed, 7am-2pm

Btw, if you think running an RV park is easy, think again: these guys work from dawn till the office closes at 5 pm every day. Plus they operate the on-site restaurant (the Outpost Grill) themselves.

On GPSs and maps

While the Garmin maps have countless errors and omissions, of necessity these maps can be no better than the data given them by the various highway departments. And with the economy the way it is, the information appears to be significantly out of date. We’ve find the Interstates are pretty good, but US-, or local-highways & streets are suspect. In Benson we have every street inside the SKP Saguaro Co-op park accurately placed, but the north side of downtown Benson shows you traveling by dirt bike across uncharted desert. Same thing in Amarillo. So, if you’re looking for a GPS, caveat emptor!

First a family visit…

Celia has a brother who lives in Springfield, MO. He and his family are traveling to Salt Lake City for their son’s graduation and only had Tuesday available to visit. He teaches at Missouri State University in Springfield and had just finished finals and probably needed the day for other school chores. But he dropped everything and drove down to see us, took us to lunch in Lead Hill, AR, then we visited their log cabin which lies (lays? never get that right!) vaguely between Lead Hill and Yellville (yup: Yellville!). His wife and son joined us later for dinner and a short visit before they had to get back to Springfield and get ready to travel. Really cool that they could take to time to do that!

Somewhere in the Arkansas woods.
Steve & Celia

 

 

 

 

 

Steve went all-out on the washing machine.
Does this guy know how to keep his wife
happy or what?!

 

 

 

 

I wonder if MO state law requires property owners to have
a dead animal on the wall… ??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… then a day off!

Wednesday I finally had a chance to nap a bit to get caught up on sleep. Sort of. I can only guess this is what happens when you don’t move the rig much in 18 months!

More from Branson, MO later.

About bruce10b

Celia and I are full-time RVers wintering (and now summering!) in Benson, AZ. The 2 bernese mountain dogs that initiated the name of this blog are gone but forever alive in our memory.
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