June 15-21, 2020
Yes, we are FINALLY on the road for the summer and we’re pretty excited about it. So excited in fact that I’m going to do something very difficult for me and blog our adventures out of order. My obsessive compulsive side has a hard time with that sort of thing, but I’m in the mood to write about the here and now.
One small disclaimer up front. Crunchy the Camera is in the shop for repairs. It seems that breaking my fall back in Ontario didn’t do it a bit of good. Don’t worry though. It’ll be back in action in July, but for now my phone is pinch hitting.
Our First Stop
Yeah, this state was nowhere on the original itinerary for 2020. We have nothing against Arkansas and in fact it’s pretty, but it just wasn’t on the wish list this year. Ah but fate had other plans and so here we are.
We’re in Lake Charles State Park in Powhatan, AR to be exact. It was a favorite short stop during our 2017 travels and fit perfectly for a reasonable first day’s drive on this trip. Very quiet, very peaceful, and just what we needed out of the gate.
What About That 2020 Plan?
Forget everything I said about where we were going this year. We had Plan A that was centered around Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks and took us back through Canada to some of our favorite spots in Alaska. Oh man, it was going to be great and we had prime spots inside both parks. We even expanded our travels to include a zip down to Florida to get my Florida license back and a Florida plate for Bitsy. Loooong story that I will eventually share.
Then COVID-19 reared its ugly head and we switched to Plan B. That one involved nixing the border crossing into Canada since we didn’t think getting stuck in another country was a good idea. Sigh. No favorite spot in British Columbia and no Alaska. But, we’re still getting our national parks in and we reworked the whole trip to include the Redwoods and more of California. I got busy making all new reservations and we felt pretty smug when they did, in fact, close the border to Canada.
And then the cancellation calls and emails started coming in. Remember that Grand Tetons reservation in the park? Nope that’s cancelled. Pat held onto hope for Yellowstone for the longest time until that, too, was cancelled. Well heck, everyone is totally freaked out by this point so we guess we’ll just stay here all summer.
Although we enjoyed our extended family time, we were getting pretty bored and antsy to get rolling again. That’s when we hatched Plan C. It’s more a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants endeavor than the usual carefully crafted plan with all reservations in place. In fact, we only have reservations for the next month and then? Well, we’ll see. The loosy-goosy plan is to head east to the Smokies for the first two weeks in July, followed by a month or so somewhere in Florida. Maybe. We’re still trying to get to Florida for my new license, but that virus is keeping the office we need closed.
From there we head up to Itasca State Park and the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota by the end of September. Our trip down the Great River Road to Louisiana is the only part of the original 2020 plan we could salvage. That’ll put us back in Springfield by Thanksgiving. Again, we’ll see.
So What Are We Doing Here?
It is a lovely spot and we initially rested. We’re not used to the packing process and getting all loaded up again was real work. Strolling along the lakeside was just right to work out the kinks.
Then the maintenance and organizing bug hit. Pat managed to cross an amazing amount of things from his never-ending list including new step covers, door latches and bleeding Lucy’s brakes. That last one was a nasty process that involved rolling around under the RV and emerging with yucky bottles of brown fluid. I did not participate other than to hand him a shop towel. Of course I did some things myself. I reorganized all the kitchen stuff and pantry since we now have more room to spread out. It helps to not be carrying around absolutely everything you own. Now it’s much easier to access the things we need all the time instead of constantly unloading a whole shelf every time I need the mixing bowl.
Of course my big achievement was setting up an inventory list of all the things we buy from food to paper goods to toiletries. I found a cool app that is working well on my phone. I’m hoping to avoid tearing apart an entire area of the motorhome looking for something I was sure we had only to find we didn’t.
Then there’s the new rug. The old one smelled a bit funky and I was tired of it. This one is much more fun.
Ah but the best part is our new chest freezer that now travels with us in Lucy’s back bay. We can stock up on meat which is good in case we get somewhere and have to hole up for a while. You just never know with the way the year is going. We hadn’t exactly tested it all out though, so Pat’s been spending quality time monitoring the temperature and check, check, checking on it. Constantly. I finally said “What’s her name?”. He’s named her Beulah and I’m calling her Pat’s other woman.
She gets too hot in that bay especially with the summer heat, so we found a hardware store so Pat could get insulation. He spent time out there crafting a special blanket so she now looks like a big cooler. She was still a little hot under the collar, so Pat installed a small fan to circulate the air. Of course both those things involved more check, check, checking. Now we believe that Beulah is satisfied with the attention she’s getting and has settled down to a nice frigid temperature perfect for our meat haul.
And I got a grill for Father’s Day. Well, not exactly. Before we left Springfield I got a wild hair and insisted that we needed a Ninja Foodi Grill. So we bought one and I proceeded to run it through its paces. So far it has baked cookies and grilled the best pork chops we’ve had probably ever, but that’s not the best part. It’s also an air fryer. French fries people! That’s what we’ve been missing on the road. We’re now working on the optimum french fry experience.
That’s it for Arkansas at least for now. It’s been a week and it’s time to leave. Every night we’ve been treated to this lake view along with fireflies and croaking frogs. A great first stop of the summer and hopefully more great ones to come.
Next Up: Spring in Springfield and other assorted stuff. See you on the way!