Sunday, June 3, 2007

Siloam Springs State Park, First Weekend of June

Ken decided to go out to Siloam Springs State Park on Thursday to insure that we had a good weekend site.

Well wouldn’t you know it.. Even going as early as Wednesday last time to Indian Creek did not get us a full hookup site.

But amazingly, at Siloam this weekend it was almost deserted. They don’t have any full hookup sites but Ken did get one on the few 50 amp sites.

I drove out after work on Friday. Ken had the fire going and had out two new purchases he’d made. He went out to the fabric store and bought an extra long length of oil cloth since most of the tablecloths are not long enough for the park picnic tables. He got the bright colors to match my retro 50’s dinnerware and then decided to complete the look with pink flamingos!

Ken took some pictures around our site to show the LACK of neighbors, even on Friday night
I’m trying a new tactic with the ticks. Diana from work and Kent Smith both suggested trying
sprays containing permethrin. You spray it on clothes instead of yourself. In the picture above I have the clothes I planned to wear on Saturday setting out after being sprayed. I did my cap and socks as well so we’ll see if this keeps them away and better. Since every tick I’ve found attached to Ken or me has been inside clothing, this might be the trick and certainly preferable to having deet sprayed all over our skin all the time. You can get this stuff at WalMart so it’s not hard to find. Apparently the stuff works even after multiple machine washings so I’m optimistic!
The tick situation has become a particular concern in the last few days since a little girl just across the river in Lewistown, Mo. died this week as the result of a tick bite. If you haven’t heard about this here is the newspaper article link:

One thing I really like about Ken’s choice of campsite, is that he chose one where we don’t have so many trees overhead. We seemed to have ticks falling from the trees at our sites in the past so that is one more precaution we’re looking at now when there’s a site that looks comfortable without having full cover of trees over head.

Ken had spent the day working on odds-and-ends around the motorhome including rigging up out outdoor string lights to go easily on and off the awning with their plastic strips in tact and still be in the perfect configuration to lay in flat loops in the compartment we’ve set aside for our patio accessories.

I have to say, finding the bathroom handtowels displayed in this way made me wonder if I hadn’t left him alone for a bit too long!

But, besides his decorative hand-towel art, he did find time to make a great batch of beef stew from scratch.

He roasted a couple of ears of sweet corn over the campfire and I got to be the princess walking in from work to a fully cooked, wonderful meal.

After dinner we took the dogs for a walk to some of the other camping areas. We saw several deer along the way.

We saw the evening to an end, having a few drinks by the fire. We’ve proven that we are totally without connection to the outside world with neither our cell phones or my laptop making connections from here. Text messages on the cells come through but that’s it. That means I have to relax since I really don’t have much of anything I can do for work without a connection!

About 4am Saturday morning we were awakened by a thunderstorm. We had taken the chance of leaving the awning up. Ken decided to go out and pull it in with the rope lights attached, better to save the awning and risk breaking the lights. Amazingly, come morning, the lights were fine, although, with the forecast for continued rain and storms, we decided to put the lights away. I like to have the awning out and sit outside when it rains but we didn’t want to tempt fate twice and have to make a quick close of it with the lights attached.

Saturday morning was wonderful because we did absolutely nothing.

It was the first time I got to use the new Mr. Coffee we bought last week. We knew we didn’t want a glass carafe for clanging around and breaking in the coach and we ended up finding one even better than expected. It has a thermal carafe so we can carry it with us outside to keep the coffee warm for us. It even matches the thermal coffee cups we bought a few months ago. The result was two full hours sitting under the awning, watching the rain, reading and having an endless cup of fresh hot coffee by out side.

We have found that contrary to most RVers, we do not fill our grey tank first but our black tank. This is apparently a ‘byproduct’ of Ken’s Crohn’s disease. Since he was going to be here four days without sewer hookup he’s been making daytime runs to the pit toilets here. Since they are very close by I decided I’d do my part as well and was amazed at how clean things are here. They really do a good job with this park. It’s hard to imagine it’s nearly empty.

I stopped by the showerhouse for a look-see as well, even though, as I said, grey water is not our problem and I WILL use my shower, not their’s. I was pleasantly surprised with the facilities as well, all tiled, clean, dry and bug-free.

I guess between the tick scare, the weather and it being the week after a long Memorial Day weekend, there’s just too many reasons people found not to camp this weekend. And, I’m certainly not complaining about having so much of the park all to ourselves.

After eating our breakfast close to dinner time, we decided, with threats of continued rain, to load up the dogs and explore a bit of the park by jeep.

We went down to the concession area so Ken could check out the fishing license situation. He doesn’t need one with his Illinois P2 Disability card, so now we know we only need to buy one permit for me.

The main concession building has a store with a really interesting variety of goodies, including ice cream treats, used books, grocery items, Siloam Springs souvenirs, fishing lores, hummingbird feeders, and bug boxes for the kids

Rich and MaryAnn Martin run the concessions and boat dock staying at the park fulltime in their 5th wheel during the season. They gave us lots of interesting tidbits about the park, including pulling out a bird book to show us some of the unique species that they have been seeing in the area.

They also took us around back to see were a little Phoebe bird was nesting with her second set of little one’s for the season.

The also have lots of feeders out with dozens of these little critters buzzing the area.

I went down and walked the dock area. I had forgotten how clear this spring-fed lake could be along the edges.

…to even photograph the fish from the surface.

With our eating schedule all moved back several hours, we decided at 2pm to head over to Mike’s Place in Liberty. We had decided earlier in the week to make this one of our meals since we’d neither been there in years. As usual we did our best to get lost along by taking unmarked gravel roads and simply using the compass to stay in a general westerly direction. Eventually we arrived, after seeing some really pretty country, and an especially lovely valley with a spring running through it and a beautiful tiny country church.

I guess I’m going to have to get braver in taking photographs because this would have been a great place to put a picture of Mike standing next to his Sunday menu board. They have great variety of Sunday dinners with some unusual entries included such a quail and duck. Mike said they already had 25 reservations for Sunday, so this little town café with awesome food is definitely popular. We had Cajun steaks, with mashed potatoes, gravy and huge slices of warm homemade bread. We were too stuffed to finish off with one of their famous desserts. That didn’t stop us from buying a couple of pieces of pie to bring home for a late night snack. They have gooseberry pie which I’ll do next time since rhubarb had my attention this time.

We discussed on the way back that we’d be less timid about taking some of these pictures if we had a ‘business’card we could hand out to introduce ourselves that included our website address.
This way people might better understand why we are taking the pictures and might even be interested in visiting the website to see themselves if they were agreeable to the photographs.

When we got back to the coach, we worked on the card format. We’re not sure this is what we want to use longterm so we’ll get a small number made and try them out.

Ken took a nap and I read. Aztec Rage is the fourth in a series Ken and I have read about the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The series was started by a writer named Gary Jennings who passed away after writing the first 3 books. I understand he died before completing this book which is why there are two additional authors listed on the book. If you like historical novels, especially an interest in ancient civilizations, and have a strong stomach to deal with some of the more graphic details of how nasty humans can be to other humans, this a really interesting series.

While we were enjoying our quiet time, Trevor somehow got a call through to us, to let us know that he will be moving to Drew’s house to live next year. That is the house on several acres where we boondocked back in April (see earlier blog ‘Easter and Eastern’). This is a really nice place and will work well for us on our overnight trips to Charleston. Trev wants us to come up in a few weeks to help him move, and of course, there will be a ‘welcome Trevor to the house’ party --- any excuse for partying counts at EIU.

About 8:00 with a fire going nicely, Ken decided to cook our late evening meal totally over the open fire. He did chicken breasts, baked potatoes, one sweet one white, and corn on the cob. It was absolutely delicious. As it turns out, we’ve gone the entire weekend without using our propane grill once…very unusual for us.

We stayed up late around the fire. I’ve found I prefer these campsites with a firepit under the open sky instead of trees. The stars, and the campfire and the slight breeze warding off the bugs…life is good! We left the windows open instead of turning on the air so we could sleep with all the forest night sounds.

It was another great kickback morning on Sunday.

As usual, Sox and Trevor had a large fan following developed and some of their little friends came over to say goodbye.

Ken cooked a late breakfast of southwest scrambled eggs and sausage.

Afterward, we did some housecleaning to change bed sheets, etc., and then kicked back again to write this blog. It’s far too pretty here today, temperature in the upper 70’s, slight breeze, for us to be in a hurry to pack up.

And I think I can finally say it without jinxing the remainder of the weekend….I have not seen a single tick the whole weekend!

We took a last jaunt down to the dock and let the dogs play a little at the edge of the water.

With the weather nicer there were several more boats out on the lake fishing.

Of course, Ken suddenly had a hunger for ice cream again and decided to visit Rich and MaryAnn again to eat his dessert before lunch.

When we got back to the campsite, two of our neighborhood buddies were waiting for us to show us their catch of the day.

They located this interesting looking little monster crawling not far from their camper.

We will be back here for sure. Siloam Springs is a real piece of paradise for they way Ken and I like to spend our weekends. We’re hoping next time to bring bikes and to be able to spend some time fishing as well.

Until next time….

Hugs, C


bestviolin said...

I like this blog I have never been to Siloam Springs State Park, but it sure does look fun, thanks for sharing your vacation with me

Anonymous said...

Cindy and Ken,
I really enjoyed your pics from Siloam Springs. I especially liked the flamingoes. At work we have fun dressing our pink flamingoes in seasonal clothing. Right now they are attired in bikinis and sunglasses. It's sort of fun if you are crafty. Keep those pics coming. We love them. Your sister-in-law--
the other Cindy Frericks.

Jen said...

8.5 years later we are planning a trip to the same area. I have been looking for information, hoping to see what the area is like since we will be traveling quite a distance to get there! After reading this it is easy to picture what a great campground this is, and how much fun we will have here. Thanks for great pictures, good suggestions, and an awesome plan for the weekend.