It has been brought to my attention that I have been remiss in finishing this trip bog. For some reason, folks need to know the rest of the story.
After I left Oklahoma City, I drove over to Fort Smith Arkansas. Fort Smith is an interesting fort. It was created to help settle the “Indian” problem. The problem was a little different than the normal problem, it was because the native Osage people were upset about the encroaching Cherokee nation who were arriving after being driven out of their lands in Tennessee. Fort Smith eventually became an important supply depot for the area and was the law of the wild frontier. Evidently, there were quite a few outlaws in the area that needed discipline. Some of the more famous ones were Belle Starr and Pecos Bill. A lot of the old westerns that we grew up watching were based in Fort Smith.
Fort Smith was also a big milepost on the Trail of Tears where the “Big Five” Tribes were marched from their homeland to Indian territory in Oklahoma. The tribes were the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole nations. More than 10,000 died along the way.
Our campground is about five miles north of Fort Smith. There were only a few spots for transients like myself, most of the other sites were occupied by long term renters. It was interesting to see how RVs deteriorate over time. I will have to pay special attention to the finish on mine if I don't want it to get all trashy and sad looking. Guess I will have to learn how to wash and wax a vehicle.
I've spent a great deal of the last couple of days figuring out how to get back to Minnesota. My last day on the road is April 8th and I'm trying to figure out how to cram sights and travel into every single minute. I can't tell you the number of hours I've spent calculating mileage – ok, if I drive one hour and 23 minutes this way, I can see this attraction and then I will drive 48 minutes that way and see that attraction, all the while moving slowly north. I've almost figured out every single minute little detail when all of a sudden it occurs to me – I want to go home. And then I figure out – I can go home – I don't have to stay out on the road any longer, I can do whatever I want. Yay!!! I'm excited to be going to see Tony earlier than planned. It must be the right decision.
So I start calculating the most direct route and campgrounds along the way. My first night is a stop in Peculiar Missouri – with a name like that, how could I not stop? Stayed at the Peculiar Park RV Park. They have these round globe lights scattered around the park as sort of waist high street lights. For all the holidays, they put holiday appropriate colored sheets on top of these lights – red, white and blue for July 4, red and green for Xmas. With Easter, they were pink, green and purple – at night it was very strange – it sort of looked like a bunch of Caspar the Ghosts floating around in Easter costumes.
Next stop was at Lakeside Hotel Casino in Osceola Iowa. The place used to be called Terribles Casino until they changed the name for some reason. I decided that since this was my last night out, I would splurge and go in and have dinner at the casino buffet. It was Friday night and it was Crab night – all the crab you could eat. I have not had crab in the shell for maybe thirty years and to my surprise, I think I forgot how to eat them. I got one of those shell cracker utensils and tried to figure it out. Along the way to enlightenment, I crushed exploding shells and shells that refused to give up their meat. In the beginning, I probably had more crab on me than made it to my stomach. It was not a pretty sight. I eventually got the hang of it, but overall I think that perhaps the only way I should eat crab is to have my staff crack shells for me. Too much work for such little reward. The rest of the buffet was ok – buffets are seldom as good as they look.
I got to Minnesota on Saturday. I had an appointment with Hilltop Trailers to fix all my issues with the motorhome, but I couldn't drop the rig off until Monday late. I parked the RV at Mystic Lake Casino because I looked at the weather report and there were supposed to be some sub freezing temps in the next couple days. Being parked at Mystic Lake meant that I could keep the RV plugged in and the heat on so I wouldn't have to winterize. I could have stayed a couple of more nights in the RV but I'm twenty miles away from home. Goodbye RV.It was lovely to be home. I didn't tell anybody I was home, I just wanted to have a little bit of time with the family before I re-entered society.
Monday, the RV got dropped of at Hilltop. They said I could get it back in a couple of weeks. It is so nice to have people actually work on the beast. I keep remembering things I should have told them when I gave them my big list. I've called twice with additional tasks and each time they have said – sure, no problem, we will add it to the list. I love Hilltop.
I am thrilled to be home, but I also have a little bit of what they call HitchItch – I also miss the road. What a grand adventure I've had.
Until Next Time.