Planned Trip: “Victory Tour” October, 2014 (updated with reservations)

In October, we plan on making our “victory tour.”

This will be our first real trip after retirement.

We plan on visiting Kansas City and Columbia Missouri to visit relatives.

We now have reservations for the trip, so our itinerary is getting firmed up.

Here are our current plans:

October 1: Leave Fort Worth and spend the night at Twin Fountains Resort in Oklahoma City.

Originally we had planned on driving to the Kansas City area in one day, but we have since decided to break that trip up.

If you look on Google it will say that the travel time is about eight hours.

My experience however is that when you add in time for fuel and bathroom stops and meals the elapsed time is closer to ten hours.

I also expect it to take a little longer pulling the travel trailer than it takes in a car.

An early start is also a little difficult with the travel trailer since we have to load up the trailer with supplies.

It takes about an hour to drive up to the storage lot, hook up the trailer and drive back home.

When you add an hour for loading the trailer, the total elapsed time is close to 12 hours.

I thought about parking the trailer in front of the house overnight.

That would allow us do most of the loading it the night before but I’m not sure that the refrigerator will run all night on the truck and trailer batteries.

I don’t want to plug the trailer in because the connection is on the left side so it would stick out in the street.

Another advantage of spending the night in OKC is that we might be able to see a second cousin of mine who lives there.

October 2: Leave OKC for Basswood Resort in Platte City, Missouri.

Platte City is not terribly far from Mandy’s sister Gerri.

Of my siblings in the area, my sister Amy is the furthest from Platte City but its only about an hour drive.

We have reservations for six nights.

October 8: Leave for Columbia, Missouri where we will my brother Brian and his family.

Our reservations are for two nights at Cottonwood Park in Columbia.

That campground has had mixed reviews, but there aren’t very many campgrounds in Columbia.

Brian and his wife Lisa adapted a daughter two years ago who we have never seen.

This visit is way over due.

We plan on leaving Columbia no later than Friday, October 9th since Mizzou has a home football game on Saturday, the 10th.

October 9: Leave for Branson, Missouri.

We have reservations at the Branson KOA for four nights.

The reason I decided on the KOA campground is that I’m thinking they may have the best laundry facilities and after a week on the road, we will probably need to wash clothes.

October 14: Leave for home.


Camping Diary: Eisenhower State Park 9/12-15/2014

Note: I originally published each of these days in separate posts, but as I was writing about our last day (9/15) I decided to put them all in one post.

Any preferences between the two different methods?

Friday, September 12th, Day one of a weekend camping trip to Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas.

We left home at 1:00 PM.

We drove through intermittent light rain and drizzle during the two-hour drive to Eisenhower.

As we parked at the front gate to register we saw a bobcat scamper across the road.

This was the first bobcat we had seen at this park.

There were plenty of open campsites.

We initially chose number 63 but when we arrive there we saw that it was somewhat short.

There was room for both our truck and travel trailer but I wasn’t sure there would be enough room for Christine’s car when she got here.

We noticed that site 61 was a much longer site, so we called and asked to change.

Site 61 seemed fairly level but we were to find that there was quite a difference in elevation from the front to the rear of the TT.

We tried using the trailer’s auto level several times and each time we go the “out of stroke” message.

I even tried not extending the front legs as much (which required re-hooking up to the truck.)

Finally, I just decided to manually level the trailer.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a level, so we used a cup of water.

I know we’re not exactly level, but I think we’re close.

(Note to self: Put a level in the TT.)

Bottom line is that we took over an hour to get the trailer leveled and set up.

Once we were setup I realized that all the loading, unloading, etc. had caused a set back for my shoulder.

We really didn’t do too much the rest of the afternoon/evening except microwave some personal pizzas and watch some TV.

Speaking of TV, one nice thing about Eisenhower is that there are several television stations within antennae range.

The Sherman – Denison area was the first place I noticed the TV stations using the digital “sub-channels” to broadcast multiple networks.

NBC, CW, and ABC are broadcast on channels 10-1, 10-2, and 10-3.

CBS, My TV, and Fox are broadcast on 12-1, 12-2, and 12-3.

There are also another four channels, which I didn’t recognize.

Saturday September 13th, Day one of a weekend camping trip to Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas.

A cold front came through yesterday.

Besides the intermittent light rain and drizzle we encountered, some locations received quite a bit of rain.

We heard that Paris, Texas received five of six inches of rain.

(Paris is about 70 miles from here.)

Last night we took a short walk and the cold and damp air made it uncomfortable for me.

This morning the Weather Channel app on my phone said it was 53 degrees.

I was wishing that I had a sweatshirt in addition to the light jacket I brought.

Christine originally was undecided as to whether she would join us last night or today.

She called last night to say she had a problem starting her car.

She called again this morning to say she had the same problem.

(The car did nothing when she turned the key to start. After turning the key to off and back to start it would start.)

I told her she should have someone in Plano look at it so if it turned out to be something major the car would be close to home.

I spoke to her again around 9:00 AM and she said they found a loose wire on the starter, which they tightened and she would be leaving shortly to join us.

They joined us shortly after 10:00 AM.

As we were driving from the ranger’s station to our campsite, Christopher spotted two deer at a campsite close to ours.

Just before lunch Christopher saw another deer run across the road and into the woods next to our campsite.

He wanted to follow it into the woods, so we told him we would take a hike down the trail after lunch.

Once we finished lunch we took the trail from the entrance to the Bois D’Arc camping area to the road the goes down to the Eisenhower Yacht Club.

The trail was very muddy after the rains on Friday.

We didn’t see any deer (or any other wildlife) on the trail.

Interspersed though the day, we walked around the camping area while Christopher rode his bike a couple of times and played a couple of games with Christopher.

After dinner we decided that we would go fishing.

We drove over to the Eisenhower Yacht Club to buy some bait, but we found they were closed. (We arrived shortly after 6:00 PM but I don’t know what time they closed.)

We then drove in towards Denison and bought some worms at a gas station.

(As long as we were there I topped off the fuel in the truck.)

It was about 7:00 PM when we got back to the lighted fishing dock.

This only left about 30 minutes of daylight.

Even though the fishing dock is lit, after sunset I was having trouble putting the hooks and sinkers on the line.

So around 7:45 we packed up and went back to our campsite where we had some ice cream sundaes.

Sunday September 14th, Day three of a weekend camping trip to Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas.

We all slept in this morning.

After breakfast we tried fishing again.

We spent about an hour at the fishing dock with no luck.

When we got back to our campsite there was a doe and fawn in the edge of the wooded area next to our site.

Christine and Christopher went over to the trail and were able to get a close look at the pair.

Christine got a good picture and a video of Christopher watching the deer.

We had a late morning snack and took it easy the first part of the afternoon with some napping and some football watching.

After a late lunch, Christine and Christopher left for home.

Mandy and I took a hike exploring the park trail from the Bois D’Arc Camping Area to the eastern end of the trial near the Armadillo Hill Camping area.

We then stopped by the camp store at the main gate where Mandy bought a hiking stick medallion.

From the main gate we walked back to Bois D’Arc via the park road, which I realize is not the safest route.

After returning to the travel trailer both Mandy and I showered and relaxed for the evening.

Monday September 15th, Day four of a weekend camping trip to Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas.

I originally had not planned on writing anything about our last morning since we were just planning on preparing to leave.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned so here goes.

We spent most of the morning packing, cleaning, and securing the travel trailer.

I was working on hooking the trailer to the truck when things went awry.

I backed the truck up to the trailer and went back to adjust the height of the hitch.

After adjusting the height, I could not get the key in the ignition.

It wasn’t that it wouldn’t move in the ignition, but I could not get the key in the ignition.

This had actually happened once before but I wasn’t sure if it was with this truck or my previous F-250.

I tried moving the gearshift and steering wheel, but nothing seemed to work.

I called Five Star Ford where I bought the truck and their only suggestion was to bring it in.

This meant towing the truck in.

Since I was over 100 miles from Five Star, I knew I could find a closer dealer.

I called the park office to let them know we would probably not be out by the check out time of 2:00 PM.

I also asked if there was a Fort Dealer in Denison.

They told me that Blake Utter Ford was right on US 75 about four miles from the park.

That was a relief since AAA is very stingy on towing mileage.

(I also have Good Sam Roadside Assistance so one way or another mileage would not be an issue.)

I then remembered that Ford supplies complementary roadside assistance during the warranty period of five years or 60,000 miles.

I got out the card and called them.

This was about noon.

The tow truck arrived within the hour.

The driver spent some time trying to get the key in but not even WD40 helped.

He then disconnected the drive shaft and hooked up the truck.

Mandy and I got in for the short ride to the Ford Dealer.

On the way out of the park, I stopped at the office and offered to pay for an additional day since check out time was fast approaching.

They told me I didn’t need to pay now.

They would check in the morning and if we were still there they would leave a fee due notice.

If we were able to get out, we didn’t need to pay for the extra day.

They did say that if it had been a weekend when all the sites were reserved, we would have to pay the extra day.

The people at Blake Utter Ford were very nice.

They took my name, address and phone number and went to work on the truck.

It wasn’t long before they said they needed to rebuild the cylinder and the truck should be ready in an hour or less.

When the truck was ready, we didn’t even have to sign any paperwork. They just handed us the key and said we were ready.

By this time lunchtime had came and gone, so we were both hungry.

There was a Braum’s just across the highway, so we stopped there and had a sandwich.

We were able to get back to the park and get hooked up without any additional issues.

We pulled out of the park at 3:40 PM, so the problem was resolved in less than four hours.


You can find my pictures from this trip by using the following link: