Monday, April 30, 2007

Ending April at Mark Twain Lake


Hello from site # 55 Bluestream loop, Ray Behrens Campground, Mark Twain Lake, Missouri.

Trevor came back to Quincy for a dentist appointment on Friday so Ken and I stayed home Friday evening. We had a nice dinner with him at Lakeview. Hard to believe that in only 2 months he’ll be able to go out there and order a pitcher of Warsteiner with his legal age 21 ID.

Trev packed up to head back to Charleston on Saturday since it’s their last weekend of school and, of course, that means parties that can’t be missed!!

Since I had traveled for work the prior weekend, I decided to take Monday off so Ken and I could get in a few days of camping this weekend.

We got to Ray Behrens campground at about 2pm. Ken had reserved an ‘electric-only’ site. I guess it was lucky that he did since when we checked in they were already at 140 of the 160 capacity. And we’ve found that not just any old site will do. The last time we were here we found that the 4.13 down hill slope on site #36 was about the max we good handle and still have ‘baby’ comfortably level with all 6 wheels still firmly planted after leveling. Ken checked in advance that good ol’ site #55 had only a 1.78 inch slope. No problemo!

It was the first time we got to use our new patio mat which is a big deal for me since I love to run barefoot and this mat is big enough to run from the door to under the awning so I can run around most times without need for shoes. .

We do almost all our cooking on our outside stove/grill now, even if it’s the bacon and eggs or warming up soup. Saturday night, Ken grilled pork loin in a honey mustard glaze, while I had wild rice going in the pan behind him and fresh asparagus in garlic butter sauce in the foil.

The extra pork loin, thin sliced, made a great salad topping for the next day’s lunch.

Once in awhile, I’m trying to throw some pictures in like the one above, showing the interior of the coach since I’ve gotten requests for that!

I couldn’t come up with any creative way to throw in some bedroom pictures so ….

Lot's of window's is great for falling asleep to the forest nightsounds and let's us keep the A/C off a bit longer.

The bedroom has more storage than we'd seen in any other RV this size. We still have plenty of empty cabinets.

The TV is a bit of a waste for us since we like to read at night but Ken did use it once already when he wanted to nap at the same time as a Cub's game. That's what he calls watching the game with his eyes closed...well with the Cub's maybe that's the best way!! ;-) The vanity was something I thought I really wanted but don't really use for that purpose. It's nice for Ken and I to each has our own closet for hanging clothes. Oh yes, and everywhere you look there are mirrors!!!

We made a major rookie ‘boo-boo’ this trip that will cost us some bucks. I think we have pictures here that will show the lesson learned.

Above you see what the jeep tire should look like, well worn and close to replacement, but got some life yet.

This is what a jeep tire looks like if you forget to unlock the steering before pulling.

Ken wanted to get some bigger tires in a few months. I guess now it will be in a few days. This just re-enforces what we’ve been told all along. You make up a checklist and you are meticulous to cross-check every single item before heading out. It was on Ken’s list for the jeep hookup—just go too comfortable with it and didn’t look down the list.

We were very lucky to be only a short distance down the road from the campsite of our friends Jeff and Amy Massman who came by for a visit and tour of our new digs, then invited us over for s’mores at their campfire later Saturday night. Jeff had lots of family on hand and we stayed and enjoyed the company of all these visitors from central Missouri for quite a while. Amy took some pictures so I’m hoping I can get my hands on those for a later addition to this site….right here….Amy???

We are beginning to get our routine down when camping. Ken definitely needs his ‘downtime’ which works out well for walk times or book time or computer time for me. We usually want some exploring time and spent that on Sunday driving both the Ray Behrens and Indian Creek campsite loops, close to 300 sites, marking the map for all our favorite campsites for future reference.

The best full hookup sites that are reservable are mostly taken 9 months in advance. We are thinking Ken will try to go over a night early and get one of the non-reserved before the weekend crowd shows. Then I can come over Friday after work. On Memorial Day we’re thinking he may have to try at least 2 days early for that to work! We don’t have to have water/sewer but it’s sure nice to be able to take long hot showers in my own shower after a hike in the woods.

We found a ‘short cut’ between Indian Creek and Ray Behrens campgrounds if you don’t mind eating a bit of gravel-road dust. Along the way we noticed a lot of damaged trees and realized that this was where last year’s early-April tornado came through that took out the church in Monroe City. You could still see the path of the tornado by all of the uprooted and twisted trees.

Some, like this tree, were still wearing pieces of destroyed buildings. Seeing this really reminded me of Mom since the night that storm hit, the tornado alarms sounded at the nursing home and Ken and I had to move her bed in to the hallway along with all the other residents. It was as that powerful storm, so full of nature’s might and energy, passed by that it seemed to take the last ounces of Mom’s energy with it. Within an hour the nurse’s were telling us we were now at Mom’s last hours to days. Mom was never fully there after that and about 36 hours later was gone.

Ken and I had a really enjoyable, quiet Sunday evening with all of the weekend campground crowd gone. It was nearly a full moon and we showered and then enjoyed the campfire and a bottle of Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel This is one of the better red wine’s I’ve had in a long time, or perhaps, it was the full moon, and the campfire that made it seem even more perfect. The bottle had this old gnarly vine of the label that looked like this….

Which was the first thing I thought of the next day when in the woods I came across this old gnarly tree…

…Art imitates life…life imitates life??? Well I think old and gnarly is beautiful – that’s a good thing, huh, Ken!?!?

It seems we are naturally early risers when camping. We’d set both cellphone alarms to be sure I didn’t miss a morning meeting I needed to attend and by the time they sounded at 7am we’d both been up for an hour, dressed, dogs out and ready for the day.

My meeting was at 8:00 and optimism that I’d be able to connect both via the internet and via my Cingular blackberry proved to be productive (‘power of positive thinking’!!!).

Imagine someone like my father, who has been gone now for 40 years, seeing me able to participate with people from Illinois, Connecticut, Georgia, and Germany in a ‘virtual meeting’ where we all shared the same presentation slides and documents simultaneously and off the cuff via the internet with my Blackberry speakerphone as clear as if I were physically sitting in the meeting room, instead of in the boondocks of Missouri. Amazing when you think how far we’ve come from Dad’s day 40 years ago where ‘party line’ telephones and black-and-white televisions with fuzzy dial-in stations were high-tech!

While I was doing my work stuff, Ken had gotten tired of getting ‘snowed on’ by the sawdust leftover in the air conditioning ducts from the coach’s original construction.

He popped the vent covers and went around sucking out everything that wasn’t fastened down in those ducts. He got 2 full vacuum canisters of junk. That should reduce the look of dandruff on everything whenever we turn on the A/C.

I decided to do some mushroom hunting after by ‘virtual’ meeting. With the duct cleaning detail being about the extent Ken’s Crohn’s disease will allow him in physical exertion for the day, Ken decided to nap.

In an hour and ½ of looking under May-Apples and Elm trees, this is what I found….

A really elegant moth relaxing on the moss at the base of one elm….

A really friendly turtle at the base of another tree…

…ok, it’s been over an hour…well at least this is a sort of fungus ..I’m starting to get in the right family…

…awe yes, finally a mushroom….ok, well…it was pretty even if I can’t eat it.

So that’s it from campsite 55, Bluestream loop, Ray Behrens campgrounds.
Another great weekend on wheels even if we didn't bring home any mushrooms!

Hugs, C

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cindy and Ken,
I really enjoyed your pictures from Siloam Springs. I thought you might try doing something we do at work with our ping flamingoes. We dress them for the changing seasons. For instance they are currently attired in bikinis and sunglasses. It's a real hoot if you are crafty. Anyway keep those blogs coming. From your sister-in-law---the other Cindy.