We uprooted and hauled our home the 100 miles from Carthage Missouri to the mountains of Branson Missouri, traveling I-44 to US 65 Highway southbound. Only a few taller hills along the way on this smooth patch of divided highway.
The drive was good practice in getting ready for the next leg of our journey which was continuing south on US 65 Highway through the Ozark Mountains into Little Rock Arkansas where we are now parked. While in Carthage Missouri talked with several people regarding our planned route into Texas, passing through Branson, Little Rock, Texarkana and finally Livingston Texas. I also referred to a spreadsheet I’ve kept now for about five years which has links back to other’s blogs for specific locations. I find it interesting to re-read posts about the actual stop as well as earlier and later posts showing how they arrived and departed the area. Us newbies appreciate it when folks outline the route they took. That’s one of the reasons I’ve concentrated on reading blogs where the owners pull larger trailers or drive big Class A motorhomes.
We stayed two weeks in Branson Missouri. The RV park manager where we stayed in Carthage used to live in Branson and highly recommended America’s Best Campground (ABC). Plenty of larger RV sites with full hookups atop a hilly lookout. And easy to get into from US 65 Highway having come nowhere near the busy main part of Branson which is 76 Country Highway. It’s been years since I had been to Branson and Karen had never visited Branson.
Upon arrival at America’s Best Campground we were welcomed by a large sign at the entrance bearing our names in lights. Yup, we apparently had won two free tickets to a show. The office management knows how to run a park. We had mail delivered from Amazon and our mail service in Texas. A small detail but interesting is that the park has a white board in front of the office where they write your last name if you have mail or messages. Saves going in the office to check. Inside the two-story office was a game room and book exchange upstairs. Real homey place where we could also buy discounted show tickets for in town and a morning cup of decent free coffee.
Around the first of October the entire place turns into a Christmas wonderland. Lights everywhere with displays. Especially at Silver Doller City amusement park, which I understand was voted one of the top Christmas attractions in the country. The state has added a few highways since my last visit and label their routes by color codes so it’s easy to get around. America’s Best Campground was just minutes away from whatever we wanted to do to include all kinds of shopping and restaurants. The camping fees are reasonable for a resort town. Had we been able to arrive earlier we might have considered a month-long stay. Karen liked the fact the clean laundry at the park had 10 washers and 10 dryers. I’ll be adding a post latter about how she is handling laundry without a machine in our RV. She has been thinking through the process as we prepare to decide if we will have a washer/dryer installed at the factory service center maybe, or not, in March or April of 2020.
We enjoyed the drive through the hillsides and took in a few shows and some free hiking. We used our free tickets to the Abba music tribute, spent time walking the beautiful lakeside trail in the state park, went to the Dolly Parton Stampede dinner show, toured a trout fish hatchery and spent a couple hours at the two-story Titanic Museum. (See more photos at bottom of page)
We spent an afternoon in an area by the lake known as the Landing. When I used to vacation on Lake Taneycomo, near the area called the Landing, was a campground and marina where I’d stop and ask the locals what the fish were biting on. That’s all gone now, having been replaced by this shopping district. They do have I think the most wonderful water fountain display which is equipped with high shooting water, lights and fire timed to music on the hour. We walked from the Landing to a fine store called Dick’s 5 and 10.
Had I not been there twice before, we would have absolutely gone to the Shepherd of the Hills to see the live outdoor play. At one time the Shepherd of the Hills was the second most read book just behind the Bible. John Wayne stared in a move about the Shepherd of the Hills which was nowhere near the story told in Branson nor in the book. So much to do in what some call the live music capital of America. I’ve been to Nashville three times and although its’ a wonderful city to tour, Branson offer more variety in my opinion especially if you consider the non-music venue.
We were visited by friends from Kansas City and my sisters arrived for a show and to see us off as we left Missouri. Karen and I really enjoyed our stay. She says Branson is a place she could live. The surrounding communities make for enjoyable drives and they have reasonably priced condos/apartments scattered in scenic areas.
At this point in our fulltime RV journey we both are preferring the longer stays of a week or more. And for sure moves of 200 miles or less are preferred especially if the route does not take us over interstate highways. But we are just three months into this lifestyle so there will be more to consider as we go along. The trip to Branson was more of a vacation for us. We enjoy just living in the moment at campgrounds and so far, don’t feel an overriding urge to see everything when we are in the area. We are thinking our campground selections will include the campground itself being the destination. Such as the one we are now parked at in Arkansas.
This is starting to feel like home. The emotional lows, which can be a part of a move to this lifestyle, are fewer for sure. I’ve got a lot to report back on such as our goal to make it two weeks on our fresh water and waste tanks, more RV maintenance stuff, how my part-time mobile office job is filling a need to be productive, living with no satellite television or cable TV bill, anticipating an updated budget, route planning tips and my research/final selection regarding healthcare insurance. For sure there is no lack of subject matter to write and learn about.
We are currently located at the Maumelle Corp. of Engineer Park on the Arkansas River outside Little Rock. We are moving to Texarkana on Tuesday 11/26/19 where we will stay over the Thanksgiving Holiday.