I haven’t posted anything new to this blog (initially created to document of our travels) in nearly two months simply because we haven’t been anywhere special or done any sight seeing since getting back to southwestern Missouri in early April. After enjoying a comfortable winter in the Southwest desert, we sure loved getting back to lush, green grass & trees, a plethora of Spring-blooming plants, & clean, fresh blue-water lakes. There IS the humidity & tornado risks tho! The sense of coming home was surprisingly intense. In fact, we actually started thinking about trying to find a little parcel of land where we could create a landing dock just so we had somewhere to hang out between our travels without living in someone’s driveway or paying for a campground site. Free BLM camping has us spoiled, but there’s not many options for boondocking or free camping in Missouri. And the few free campgrounds in AR & KS aren’t really doable when the summer heat & humidity soars. Electricity is a necessity if we want to be able to sleep. I get grumpy when the air is thick enough to wear!
Anyway, we have some health issues to address this summer, & friends & family to get caught up with. We first landed at Cape Fair Corps of Engineer campground, west of Branson MO, to park right along a little cove of Table Rock Lake for five nights. Jeff could throw a couple of lines in the water right from the bank next to our campsite. AND, he even caught a 2# bass. Then he saw his Primary Care doctor at the Branson VA to start figuring out what’s going on with his back pain that has become severe over the winter. I also had to visit a chiropractor — twice actually. It seems that the fall on my left knee Christmas afternoon when Kira’s leash wrapped around my right ankle really jammed something in my low back & right hip causing sharp hip, leg, & knee pains. We were a pretty sad couple gimping around with only two good legs between the two of us.
Back when we had a S&B house, we had a Sleep Number bed that we loved. I know some people definitely don’t like them, but have no idea what their issues are with the bed. When we first got the trailer, we slept on a queen-sized air mattress, without any cushions underneath. After about two years tho, during our return trip from Arizona, the air mattress sprang a leak while camped in Santa Fe NM, & thankfully we only had two nights of difficult sleeping. We used the cushions ever since then. Considering the back/hip problems Jeff & I were both having now tho, we got a couple of 26” Coleman Slender air mattresses, placed on top of the Casita cushions this time, & all stuffed inside a couple of sleeping bags (gotta protect the mattresses from any possible contact with cat claws.) I’m thrilled to report the air mattresses have worked out fantastic & made for very comfortable sleeping (& simply sitting or reclining) on the bed even with our back problems.
Headed north, we stopped in Springfield for a few days to visit a friend & get our pickup serviced. Then we finally made it back to my hometown to see my elderly parents. Even tho I talk with them daily, the long, frigid winter seems to have taken a toll on both of them, creating more aches & pains & causing less energy & alertness. They’re both pretty tough though, so they just keep hanging in there.
Next we landed in Kansas City at another friend’s driveway & caught up with Jeff’s daughter & family. Grandson JT is nearly six, but his first school year has been marred by a 10-year old bully on the school bus. Consequently, he has been taking MMA & martial arts classes, & WILL be able to defend himself soon. We visited one of his classes, & each of those little kids made multiple movements during the class that hurt Jeff & I both just watching.
While in the area, we also returned to our previous veterinarian to get Kira’s 3-year rabies shot renewed & a heart worm test. I also visited my previous chiropractor to find out my Christmas-day fall had actually jammed my sacroiliac! I thought that was just something in old-folks jokes. It really does exist. The spine has the sacro bumping out to connect the pelvic bone with it’s iliac bump. . .and it’s supposed to BEND. Since mine wasn’t moving correctly, I’ve pulled or strained various muscles & ligaments leading down to my leg during my various walks & hikes around the desert this winter. Being a soft tissue injury, it’s going to take some weeks (or maybe months) to be able to walk (or simply move my right leg) again without pain. BUT. . .finding out what exactly happened from that fall is definitely progress. And then I put a heel pad in my left shoe ‘cause my left leg seems to be shorter than my right leg. Weird!! Now I have no excuse for not exercising, or at least walking more.
We also had a chance to spend a couple of hours visiting Cathy & Paul of It’s a Smallwood blog. We met them in 2013 at the fiberglass gathering in Quartzsite, but elderly parents have kept them in the KC area all winter with their Casita tucked safety in one of KC’s caves. Great idea. . .& an option I was wishing for during one tornado-threatening afternoon.
We headed south again & spent a week at a small campground near my hometown so I could visit with my parents every day. My cousin brought them some fresh morel mushrooms that were SOOOOO good. We also visited with a few of my high school friends while in the area.
We had a week before Jeff was scheduled for a CT scan at the VA in Fayetteville AR for his back but weren’t real sure where we were going until that appointment. The morning we were heading south tho, serendipity stepped in with a phone call from Compton Ridge Campground in Branson (where we had worked two summers ago). The new owners are offering a free 4-day, 3-night visit to check out the changes, & since we loved that campground anyway, it seemed to be just what we needed.
Now with most free things, there’s a catch (like camping free on BLM land means no facilities or services & lots of sand/dust). The catch with this campground was sitting through a presentation for Coast to Coast campground membership. Well, it turned out to actually be something we were needing without realizing it. We had talked about going to OR & WA this summer, maybe even getting to New England for Fall. BUT, as with most plans, we were going to be in the Branson area for awhile getting Jeff’s back issues figured out. And, I just don’t want to get that far away from my parents for too long. We’d already decided not to work anywhere this summer so we can travel when & where we want/need instead of being committed to staying in one place. Although the Coast to Coast membership is pricier than we’d usually consider, we like that we can camp free with full hook-ups for 21 days at Coast to Coast campgrounds, then either pay for the next seven days at the same campground or move somewhere else for a week (or 3). There are Coast to Coast campgrounds scattered across the US where we will be able to camp for free to relax & recover from whatever traveling & sight seeing we’ve been doing. Without working at a campground or driveway docking, this membership will pay for itself in a couple of years. Plus, when we compared the cost of buying a small plot of land, erecting or maintaining any kind of structure, yard maintenance, taxes, & insurance while being gone more months in a year than present, it seemed easier & overall cheaper to just go with a campground membership & enjoy someone else doing all the work & paying the bills while we have a comfortable, safe place to park all around the country (instead of only ONE spot if we bought some land).
We managed to make a solar lamp post to hold hummingbird feeders, flag, & a sign we got in Branson.
For Jeff’s VA appointment, we camped for two nights at War Eagle COE campground, east of Fayetteville, & then returned to Compton Ridge to start our 21-day stay. When we worked here before, there wasn’t any way to get a satellite signal thru all the trees in the loop where we were parked, but this time we discovered a campsite in a different loop with enough southern clearance for a good signal. Yeah, FHU, satellite TV, free wifi, & 4G cell signal along a fairly level stretch of pavement.
Unfortunately, my beloved Motorola Droid cell phone fell out of my pocket onto a cement floor there & THE SCREEN CRACKED – a lot more than the previous fall onto the only rock in the sand had caused. Although it technically still worked, when I ignored the many spider cracks on the screen, the touch sensor just wasn’t working very well. I had to push really hard & even then it took forever for the screen to change. Crap!! I hate changing phones (or computers), but the sluggishness was intolerable. After a check at a Verizon store, I walked away giddy with my new Samsung Galaxy S5 cell fon. Oh — the ecstasy of new, fast electronic gear!!
Another visit to Fayetteville for an MRI, then a trip to Little Rock VA, & we’ve been in AR for several weeks now. . .in the heat & humidity with the A/C humming. Until last Monday morning at 5am. Thump, thump, thump, the spindle on the squirrel cage broke. Three L O N G afternoons in the heat waiting for a replacement part sucked. But Jeff got it replaced before I melted.
So, our summer plans are mainly just hanging around for health reasons. . .& I can see my parents more frequently. If anyone wants a free weekend of FHU for 4 days & 3 nights at Compton Ridge Campground in Branson, let me know. I think they’re giving $50 also for sitting thru their presentation.