Saturday, June 05, 2010

This blog entry is coming from Kentucky ? Nope, Indiana!

Make up your mind - Kentucky or Indiana?

Kentucky? That state was not on your list,” you might be saying. And you are right; it was not in my original plan. One thing is for sure; change happens. My Indiana plans changed. I checked RV park directories and found one not too far from Louisville (locals say loo-uh-vull), Kentucky. The park in the town of Radcliff sounded good – I was thinking of staying there two or three days. But before I go on, let’s back up a bit.

My last blog entry was on May 25 – 10 days ago, just before leaving Spring Lake RV Park in Kansas. It was a short drive to Lyndon, Kansas, where I stayed at Crossroads RV Park for two
days doing motorhome chores and relaxing.

When traveling in tornado country it is somewhat of a comfort when RV parks have a storm shelter. Here’s a photo of the shelter at Crossroads RV Park. Thankfully there were no storms.

No wind the past few days, not too hot and pleasant sleeping temps at night. Birds are singing; corn is growing in the fields that are on three sides of this RV park. Life is great.

I finished reading "Girls from
Ames" (Iowa). This is a story of women who have a 40-year friendship (author is Jeffrey Zaslow). These gals grew up in Ames, some becoming friends in early school years, some in high school years. They now are scattered but have kept in touch over the years. The book tells of their reunion at age 40. A fun read and a reminder of the preciousness of female friendships.

On to Olathe, Kansas

My next stop was visiting with my cousin Steve Anderson, his wife Ellen and Aunt Maxine Anderson in Olathe, Kansas. What a delightful time! They treated me to a trip to Powell Gardens (in Missouri). Mr. George E. Powell’s 640-acre farm became a horticultural and natural resource facility. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with all sorts of plants. Interspersed amongst the plants and ponds are some bigger-than-life insect sculptures.

On Sunday and Monday Aunt Maxine and I became drapery making assistants. Ellen was the brains and the seamstress. Steve was recruited to help get the new drapes installed. I stayed a day longer than planned so they could be finished and hung.

Saw my first Brown Creeper (bird). Unfortunately the trees are well leafed-out, making it impossible to get any photos.

Roaring River State Park – premier trout fishing

Too bad I don’t know how to fish – and too bad I’ll only there one day. I was parked about 100 yards from Roaring River in southwestern Missouri. And it was hot and humid but I walked quite a bit anyway. I didn’t even take any photos! Bummer! It is a beautiful park – you’ll just have to take my word for it.

It was when I was leaving Roaring River that I was reminded how important a checklist is. I did all the ‘get ready to travel’ things done – at least I though I had. As I slowly drove out of my RV campsite and onto the park’s interior road, I looked in my driver’s side mirror. All I could see was white. “I must have bumped my mirror,” I thought. Then it clicked in: I had forgotten to retract my slideout! In short order, I had it in and ready to go, reminding myself to get a checklist made and follow it!

A stressful driving day

As I left Roaring River, the white-knuckle drive began – I don’t think I was on a straight road all day. I drove south from Roaring River through Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri and into Arkansas and headed east on Highway 62. There was ‘The Sign’ proclaiming the road conditions. It read: Dangerous Road. Crooked and Steep. Drive with care. (They should have added ‘Narrow’.) It WAS a beautiful drive, lush and green – too bad I could not enjoy the scenery. As I went along there were many enticing-looking shops, but no place to stop and park a motorhome.

It was miles and miles and miles of very skinny, two-lane, steep, curvy road, and lots of traffic with no passing lanes – no fun at all. Glad I drove it; would I do it again? No way! It is the kind of road that if I weren’t driving, I probably would have gotten car-sick.

After about 35 miles, I found a Walmart in the small town of Berryville, pulled off and relaxed. It had taken me an hour and a half to drive 45 miles!

Of course the narrow, curvy road did not end there. Along the way a billboard reminded me of all the chickens that are raised in Arkansas – it said, “Chicken Capital USA”.

The sign coming into the community of Eureka Springs said, “Drive Quietly.”

Sign on a church said, “Our Church is Prayer-Conditioned”.

Finally after four hours, I came to a road that was 55-mph! What luxury!

Drove through Trotter, Arkansas --- “Trout Capital USA”.

My goal for the day was to camp at one of the Corps of Engineers’ parks – Northfork. Well, somehow I never saw the signs directing me there and there was no good to turn around and try again (also it was after 5 p.m. and no answer at the park office). I continued on, hoping to find an RV park – no luck. It was getting late as I noticed a Walmart sign. After checking with the customer service gal, that’s where I spent the night in Ash Flat, Arkansas.

After leaving Walmart, my eastward route took me through the "tail" of Missouri, across the Mighty Mississippi and into Illinois. My camera was handy and there was no traffic near me so I took this picture of the bridge I would be going over.

Ferne Clyffe State Park, Illinois

This Illinois State Park looked promising – lots of shade trees, gravel sites with grassy areas in between, many birds singing. I found a good site, backed in and leveled up (not an easy chore here). Then when I went to hook up, I discovered this park does not have water at the sites. Bummer because I’m running low on water and didn’t want to go to the park’s potable water faucet. No problem, I’ll just spend one day and then move on. (Add to departure checklist – If I’m low on water, get it before leaving.)

I spent time figuring out where to go next and in one RV directory I read about Homestead/Yarwood MHP in Radcliff, Kentucky. It sounded really good – full hookups (water, electric and sewer) and laundry facilities; a park to settle in for two or three days. It was not too far from Louisville; making today’s drive about 245 miles.

Homestead/Yarwood – what a disastrous place in my opinion

When I arrived, I took one look and was so disappointed. It's a dump! Basically this is a large (im)mobile-home park with a few RV sites next to the laundry. The mobiles are really old and run down and close together; some appear vacant. There is nothing nice about this park! My electrical hookup was on the back of the laundry area (requiring me to use an extension cord), the sewer connection was nowhere within reach and I did not have Internet!

It was too late in the day to make other plans, so I decided to make the best of it and the leave the next morning. I’ll drive back into Indiana to one of their state parks. (Another option was an RV “resort” that charges $45 a night!)

IMPORTANT NOTE TO MY RVing FRIENDS: I could have saved myself some grief if I had checked this place at I just found out about this Internet site. The reviews were scathing; and I was able to add my own review. Check it out.Whatever!

Every day truly is an adventure!

Hardy Lake State Park in Indiana is wonderful!

It was a less-than 80-mile drive to this super place: fairly level, water and electricity, grassy, tall shade trees. I’ll be writing more about it in a day or two.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you did not do than the ones you did. So throw off the bowline. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore...Dream...Discover!!" -- Mark Twain