We pointed our 35 foot escape pod eastbound on US 60 Highway heading for our next major stop in Corinth Mississippi. Along the way we stopped for a few nights at the Laura Ingalls RV Park in Mansfield Missouri. We have been here before and if you are in the area take any of the exits to the campsite that point you down business route 60 over to A Highway. Turns in Mansfield are easy to navigate. The Laura Ingalls Wilder (the Little House on the Prairie book author) homestead and museum is across the street from the RV park. Karen discovered a wonderful place nearby called the Baker Seed Company. Wow, no idea how we missed this place the last time we stopped in the area. It was a nice change compared to the average garden tour.
The Baker Seed Company is located out in the country but there is a paved road if you come in from the right direction. The location rests upon a very old Missouri land grant where the company grew to ship hard to get seeds all around the country. The main garden is surrounded by an old town they built.
A favorite route of ours through the Missouri Ozarks is US 60 to Interstate 55 at Sikeston Missouri. This time we stayed at a quick in and out camping spot in Sikeston called Hinton RV Park. We stayed just two nights, which is a very quick stop for us, and booked the spot just two weeks prior to arrival. On the way south we would drive through the boot hill of Missouri. Had no idea there were cotton farms in Missouri which are seen for miles. I suppose the other times I went through the plants were not in bloom so I did not notice them. Found myself watching video on how cotton is farmed today and history behind it. Call me nuts but I’m fascinated over how farm equipment operates. Later, in Corinth Mississippi I learned more to include economic issues between the south and north regarding far competition. More on that later after we move from Corinth…
I’ve been studying up on the Missouri Ozarks where my family would eventually migrate to from Europe in the 1800’s. Found a college course on-line with about 13 lectures. The professor is interesting and I’m coming away with the opinion I did not know squat about the Ozarks. Karen and I talked and agree who cares that we have only been camping in 22 states. We want to go where we like to visit, knowing yes, we might miss out on equally fantastic places elsewhere. I can read about those in other’s blogs if we don’t get there ourselves. Right or wrong, I’m figuring the scenery in Maine is not that much different than the upper peninsula of Michigan. Some say I’m correct and others say Maine is worth the drive someday. We are planning to head north from Florida up the east coast and take a left at Washington DC for our Spring 2022 trip.
Back to the Ozarks. They are a region that is defined in different ways. Geologist can circle the area of the Ozarks on a map based on their criteria. Some locals might tell ya they don’t live in the Ozarks even if they live in the area geologist call the Ozarks. The Ozark region extends into Oklahoma as well. The Ozark region is a plateau, uplifted from underground similar to places in Kentucky. Springfield Missouri is on top of one of the plateaus and over time water and wind eroded the flat land mass into valleys. In much of the Ozarks those big hills we see are actually what’s left after the erosion occurred. So should the Ozark “Mountains” actually be called the Ozark Valleys? Branson Missouri elevation 774 feet, hillbilly capital of the world (in a Missourian’s opinion) is downhill from flat land Springfield, elevation 1309 feet. Lots of Protestants’ settled in the Ozarks and there might be some that think you ain’t from the Ozarks if you ain’t Protestant. The professor named off towns clearly in the eastern portion of the Ozarks, in once Catholic settlements, where he went as far as to interview locals as to if they lived in the Ozarks. He was told, nope, you have to drive 60 miles down the road to get there from here. You see, another definition of what is the Ozarks comes from the peoples opinions developed over generations and don’t necessarily have to do with geological standards.
There are two mountain chains in the Ozarks, one has eroded down into hills but is way older than the Rocky Mountains. I’ve experienced more mountain driving conditions in northern Arkansas so beware if your path takes you there. Recent upgrades along what will become major Interstate 49 are helping with navigation. US 65 passes through Branson and is no problem as you leave the “mountains” which start in Clinton Arkansas. Early next summer Karen and I will arrive back in the Ozarks where we intend to spend maybe a few months near Table Rock Lake (Branson). That summer time period for us is looking to be important as we continue to evolve into our style of travel. We have never stopped longer than two months and that was only during one winter occasion.
I’ll write later about our time here in Corinth Mississippi where we are now parked. This is an area heavily contested during the Civil War in the west. We have plans to tour places that were closed the last time we came through during the Covid virus thing. We really enjoy Mississippi in the fall and early winter. Good prices, people and places to see. We can take a left from here and head to Florida or a right back to our current home state of Texas.
Almost forgot: Here are a couple videos during our drive in Missouri to include leading up to the Baker Seed Company and eastbound on US 60 Highway through the Big Springs area where folks canoe the rivers.
RV Tips, Info and Rant
And now the rant and me trying to be humorous about it. Warning – some say my sense of humor is different and on the edge of acceptability. I usually go back and remove much of the text after thinking it over before posting. Not this time.. Put your seatbelt on and enjoy the ride….
Hopefully I’m halfway through getting a needed suspension repair finished on the RV while on the road. The process is a learning curve for sure. It’s actually a big shit sandwich and all that travel fulltime will have to take a bite someday. I’ll write about the surely positive outcome later. For now I want to pass along good help can be found in RV industry employees who work for actual RV manufactures and handle parts. They are logistic experts and often capable of thinking outside the box. They can be excellent problem solvers.
I used to train new police officers. For example, they would stop a car for a minor traffic violation, hand the ticket to the driver and say – “thank you, have a pleasant day.” I’d let the new officer know they are still an idiot but that’s okay, I’ll teach them. That person they just stopped may have just had the only face to face experience with a police officer they will ever have. The officer will forget about the traffic stop in the next couple hours. The driver will remember it the remainder of their life. “Thank you -have a pleasant day?” Are you really thankful and do you really think they will have a pleasant day? How about just leave it at drive safely and you are free to go. The Police Academy teaches them what to say at the end of a vehicle stop. Some of the training just does not show up in the application of said training.
Okay customer service representatives. It’s your turn to learn. Someday I got to let it go and just let them stay stupid… There are plenty of folks traveling in their 35 foot or whatever escape pods. The folks working in customer service, especially as it effects RVing, have a very important job. You are helping us to experience the joys of life, sometimes after we had difficult careers. What you do, especially when you get a call from someone stranded or away from home with a broken RV is very essential. Yes, you might be telling me there is nothing you or your company can do that is within your normal business practices. I understand and think that’s a canned answer and stupid. But after you say you can’t help me – stop ending the conversation with “thank you, call me if I can do anything for you.” When I want some stress relief I sometimes say – what, now I have to tell you how to do your job? You are asking me to call you if I need anything. Okay, I’ll tell you now what I need which is exactly the same reason I called you for in the first place. Over the last 15 seconds do you have any new ideas, such as who I might be able to call for guidance or if I even understand the process enough to be calling the correct person? Or have a word of advice concerning how the system works from warranty to the repair?
I was a hostage negotiator and spent years working homicides and interviewing killers. I know how to build report and be a friend, I have listening skills, ability to manipulate people, work in dangerous and stressful situations, get a point across to someone for good or bad, or channel stress into whatever path it needs to go down. I’m proud to say no one ever killed themselves with me on the phone nor was there a single incident where a subject was killed by the police when I was at the stand-off. I don’t use the skills everyday now, but at times its been interesting to go after an idiot who thought at first I was a nice guy. I do have compassion but I’m no bleeding heart or one to not try and understand the root causes before criticizing someone. Sometimes, but I believe rarely, I forget about using methods for constructive criticism. Some call this just blowing off steam which can be a healthy thing at times. Others might say, calm down, give the customer service person a break, times are hard. Hmmm,, that’s another two page blog I’d like to go off about but best not. Especially after one does a background check (using only publicly available resources) on the person telling you to calm down and find out they, for lack of a better description, live in their parents basement with little responsibility.
One agent at E Trailer went the extra mile and called Roadmaster to make sure my order was received and to pressure them to speed up the parts delivery if at all possible after it was learned the parts were out of stock at the moment. I had a great conversation with that agent to include how it’s been for her to work from home during the virus thing. Too bad four weeks later I found out the order had been mistakenly canceled. Part of that error came from me being informed the parts were delayed the day after the original order was placed and asked did I want to continue with the order. I had ordered the parts for delivery to the repair center way in advance of my arrival, allowing more than twice the time needed for advertised deliver dates. I initially told customer service at E Trailer to put it on hold until I talk to my installer. Then called back an hour later and said keep the parts coming. My credit card was charged $1,700 at the time of the order so I felt comfortable all was well. Three weeks later I had received no promised email notice regarding shipping. So I called a customer service agent to check on the order. “Sorry” they said, “glad ya called so we can refund the money” or do I want to reorder and get added on the list to receive the parts in maybe four to six weeks. For the record, this is the first time I ever had a complaint with E Trailer.
I believe what happened is there was a lag in the paperwork (email) process and somehow after I took the order off hold the folks at Roadmaster received a notice to cancel it. The final agent I talked with at E Trailer told me how the process works to include I pay E Trailer and they take their cut before sending the order on to Roadmaster. This occurs when parts are not in the warehouse. I checked the E Trailer website and found my parts, which had been advertised as delivery within 10 days, now have a deliver date weeks from now. Long story but I think the background is important and honest. The final agent made the mistake of asking me to call him if he could do anything for me 🙂 He also asked me to call him after I called Roadmaster to try and work this out. Nope, I don’t have time to train you any further…. I know your asshole was sucking up the chair you were sitting in when I hung up the phone. I’d think you would not want to ever hear from a jerk like me unless you are into those kind of things…. That’s it, the guy is a sick person and went out of his way to make me upset 🙂
Right or wrong I am of the opinion I owe it to readers to point out some of the bad parts of this journey in case you are relying on me for information. I’m actually dealing with the stress of it better than I would have years ago, especially after getting a call from the Technical Support Manager at Vanleigh who says I’ll not be left behind on my own, he will help me through the process. Thank you Shawn Cole, your reputation proceeds you. You sir have earned every one of the dozens of complements I’ve heard about. You are the face of Tiffon’s model to be the best in customer service. No excuses, lets get this fixed. I like hearing that. Smart move when the company decided your position was important and hired you! Glad you were in the military and don’t know how to fail.
The parts employees at Lippert and Vanleigh have been outstanding. But – looking back in my old working life, I wish I would have known a few others I may have stopped as a police officer were RV industry employees. I would have made sure to tell them to press hard when signing the ticket as there are multiple copies. And end the conversation with “it’s okay if you don’t come to court I’ll come give ya a ride with handcuffs.” Have a nice day. Or, so that’s your dead relative laying in the next room. Wow, they were young. Should have taken better care of themselves. Call me if I can ever do anything for ya.
I know my sense of humor is different. And of course knew it was my job to act professionally. It was also my job to do whatever I could to improve the quality of life for those I served. I trained new officers who, among other calls for service, hated responding to barking dog calls in the middle of the night. That dog barking is causing the neighbor to loose sleep at night. That neighbor might have a meeting at work and getting sleep is very important. The caller may have also tried to talk to the neighbor but that did not work out, as the dog owner is a drunken asshole. I tell officers, when you talk to the owner of the barking dog, be prepared to offer advise that could include dog training ideas or moving the dog inside for the night.
Then I’d tell the officer a few cop jokes about barking dogs to lighten the moment. I’ll not be passing along those jokes to the general public. Darn it, I can’t hold back. I have to tell them, I liked animal calls for service. I can handle any of them in 10 minutes as long as I don’t have to find a black trash bag first. Come on, you know I love animals if you have been reading this blog so give me a break if that last joke was in poor taste.
The best cop joke I know would make a priest throw up or at least throw holy water on me. It’s a sick one and even I will not put it in print. Tell ya at a campfire someday.. Best excuses I ever heard after personally stopping someone for a traffic violation is tied for first place. Sir – I stopped you because you were going the wrong way on a one way street. The older gentleman says, but officer I’m only going one way. Or mam, I stopped you because you were exceeding the posted spend limit of 55 miles per hour. But officer, I had to get a grasshopper off the hood of my car.
Enjoy the ride we call a journey… I’m trying too.