Tuesday, October 27, 2015

State Park Extravaganza

I think Reelfoot Lake State Park, located in Tiptonville Tennessee, is my most favorite place to stay this trip. I had the best site in the whole park, overlooking the lake, nobody near me. It was peaceful, it was beautiful.

The rangers at Reelfoot had a huge bag of unprocessed pecan nuts in the office. They used this bag to feed the squirrels. I have never heard of anybody who thought squirrels were something to keep around. These squirrels were all yellow-bellied – no, they were – they all had golden colored bellies. They were extremely tame – I was worried that Miko would get one because they would come almost up to you.

I ran into some people, Pat and Bob, a couple of sites away from me. They had Tennessee license plates, but turns out that they were originally from Minnesota. I'm beginning to wonder if Minnesotans put out some sort of pheromone that causes them to be drawn to other Minnesotans. All I know is that I'm running into these Minnesotans everyplace. Pat and I decided to go hiking together. I had picked out a couple of trails I wanted to explore and she was game, so off we went. Well, let's just say that between the two of us, chattering away, we could not find the trail heads that we were looking for. So, we settled for a lesser trail and wandered down that one.
I made a run into town – needed to find some groceries and some wine. The only liquor store on town, East End Liquors, has the distinction of being the oldest and smallest liquor store in Tennessee according to Bobby Joe, the proprietor. It was about the size of my front room in the RV. I probably sat and chatted with Bobby Joe for about an hour about Lake County where Tiptonville is located (smallest and poorest county in Tennessee – ninth poorest county in the US) and he told me some of the old stories of the place. He sent me down the road to see the widest spot in the Mississippi before Missouri dumped sand to change the flow of the river to get back at Tennessee. Is this true? Who knows.
Bobby Joe and East End Liquors

After a few pleasant days in Reelfoot, I left Tennessee and headed a couple of hours up the road to Trail of Tears State Park, right outside of Cape Girardeau Missouri. During a particular tragic period of American history, when the Five Nations were forcibly removed from their homes and marched from the east to reservations in Oklahoma, this particular spot was one of three places where they crossed the Mississippi.
I was in the Mississippi Campground, probably named for the fact that it was almost right on top of the Mississippi River.  I say almost because right in-between the  Mississippi and the campground was a heavily used railroad track.  Some very long, loud, whistle-blowing, RV shaking trains would come by.  There were only one or two that came by after midnight which was fortunate.  My site itself was only electric hookups - all the full hookups were already taken but my site was huge and I thought the best of the bunch.
I think I was at this state park at the most perfect time for leaves.  It was gorgeous.  Miko and I did several hikes to overlooks and around lakes. 
The Mighty Mississippi

The right side of the trail

The left side of the trail

And straight ahead

Weather coming in over the Mississippi
One more color picture

During our second hike of the day, something strange happened. Usually Miko is out in front of me, leading the way. Toward the end of our two mile hike, all of a sudden she started lagging behind. Then she went over to the side of the trail and lay down. I coaxed her on a few more feet and then she lay down and curled up in a little ball and wouldn't move. The only thing I could do is pick all thirty-five pounds of her up and carry her the rest of the way which wasn't all that far, maybe the length of a football field, but it was up hill. Then when I finally got to the parking lot, huffin' and puffin', I set her down and she was all tail wagging, jumping up and down. I think I got played.

Moving on northwards, we moved from southern Missouri to northern Missouri to Wakonda State Park. There are two campgrounds, one with just electric and one with full hookups. The full hookup sites were amazing. They backed up to a lake and there were two pads, one for the RV and one for your car. I stayed here two days, did some organizing, some cleaning, some dancing outside cause there was nobody around.

My site was wider than the lot my house sits on in St. Paul

We tried to do a little hiking here but the trails were a little uninspiring. Flat, open, farm field on one side, brush and tiny lake on the other. We did see some wildlife though – one snake, turtles and tons of grasshoppers which Miko takes great joy in catching and eating

Well, at least it was a nice day

Continuing north, next stop is the George Wyth State Park in Waterloo Iowa. It was a hard drive – rained the whole way. Can you imagine my excitement though, when, as I drove through Waterloo on the freeway I saw signs for the John Deere Museum? But, wait - it gets even better – I then saw a sign for The Grout Museum. Wowzer – a whole museum dedicated to grout. I was a little disappointed to find out that it was just a museum complex named after a guy named Grout. Bummer. I think I will have to pass on both of these museums because I have a pretty hard core time commitment with Minnesota. Maybe next time Waterloo.

I'm planning on driving up to Treasure Island Casino tomorrow – empty my tanks, drain everything and get ready to winterize. I have an appointment with my RV maintenance people in mid November to fix everything that went wrong on this trip. It will probably be my last time going in to them with a long list – my two year warranty is up in February. I think I will look into getting an extended warranty because it seems there is always something going wrong.  I've been very fortunate that everything that has gone wrong has not been life-threatening or show-stopping.  I've been able to keep on truckin'

My window coverings (shade holders) have fallen off the wall for both the back window and the dinette window. The back window has been fixed (or so they said) twice before. They use these tiny little screws which don't hold anything

Outside back panel where I inadvertently scraped up against a U-Haul truck.

Wheel well splash guard which I inadvertently pulled off when an electrical post jumped in the way

A wooden trim board above the dinette has come undone

My driver's side front leveling jack boings when going up or down

A door jamb is loose – screw won't hold it down anymore

Rubber trim around the front door is loose and flapping – needs to be replaced

The water is still siphoning out of my fresh water tank

Under the mattress for the bed is a very thin piece of plywood which supports the mattress. After much study, I have found that when a body lies in the bed, there is nothing supporting the center of this plywood and it sags about three-four inches. This means that it is a constant battle to try to stay on a particular side of the bed.

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