Planned Trips: Padre Island: December 2014 Finalized

I’ve completed my research and made our reservations for our December trip to Padre Island.

We actually will be going to Goose Island, but we’ll be in Padre Island area.

We have camping reservations at Goose Island State Park for December 10th through the 14.

In an earlier post (http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=155) I had more questions than I had answers about when and where to go.

Those questions and our decisions are discussed below:

How Many Days Should We Schedule?

We decided leave on a Wednesday, which gives us all day on Tuesday to prepare after volunteering on Monday.

By staying four nights, we will be returning on Sunday.

This means we could theoretically volunteer on the following Monday.

We are thinking that what we will probably do is check to see if there is another day on that following week when we can volunteer.

This would mean we wouldn’t miss a week but we would still have Monday for “getting caught up.”

Where Should We Stay

We’ve always been big fans of the Texas State Park System and as I mentioned in that earlier post, we prefer the state parks to commercial campgrounds.

Goose Island SP did have a couple of negatives, which we had to consider.

First, they do not have full hookups, so we would have to bring our portable waste tank and/or use the public showers.

I also read that the Bayfront sites can be very windy with blowing sand and spray.

The wooded area sites can be somewhat tight for larger rigs and only have 30-amp electric service.

I really thought that we cold probably get by on 30-amp service since we won’t be running the air conditioners.

On the other hand from its description this park could our perfect park.

Wildlife observations and photography opportunities are said to abound.

It is also close to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which are the wintering grounds for whooping cranes.

It is also close to Copano Bay fishing pier, Mustang Island State Park, Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, Texas Maritime Museum, and the Texas State Aquarium.

Before I made our reservation, I actually called the park and asked about the space in the wooded area for a large rig.

The person I spoke to verified that some people have difficulty maneuvering into the spaces with all the trees.

She also said that in the hot season it could actually feel hotter in the wooded area because the trees block the wind.

Based on that conversation, I made our reservations in the Bayfront area.

After we made our reservations, our decision was confirmed when I went back and re-read the reviews on www.rvparkreviews.com.

I have never before seen so many “10” ratings for a state park.

They also recommended the scheduled activities including a morning shore bird walk.

I’m hoping after our stay, I’ll be adding to those “10” ratings.

Planned Trip: Padre Island: December, 2014 (Updated)

As I mentioned previously (http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=47) we are hoping to make a trip to Padre Island in December.

Right now I have more questions than answers about the trip.

How Many Days Should We Schedule?

First of all, I’m not sure how long we should schedule for the trip.

Since we are volunteering at Christine and Christopher’s school on Mondays, I would like to schedule the trip so that we don’t miss any Mondays.

After our “Victory Tour” earlier this month, I have decided that I’d like to limit our daily drives to eight hours or less.

The trip to Padre Island would be very close to that self-imposed limit.

I’m thinking that we would want to take two days for the trip to Padre Island since it typically takes a couple of hours to get the trailer from storage and load it.

I might consider making the trip home in one day but if I do I would probably not take the trailer back to storage until the next day.

Taking an extra day or two for the drive and limiting our trip to Tuesday through Sunday would mean we would only have two days at Padre Island.

Where Should We Stay?

Last year when had originally planned this trip I was thinking we would stay at one of the two state parks (Mustang Island SP or Goose Island SP.)

We have a definite preference for staying at the state parks over a commercial campground.

Neither of those parks, however, have full hookups.

Also, if we try to make the trip to Padre Island in one day, that means we would arrive after dark.

Setting up after dark might be quite a challenge.

(The commercial campgrounds are more likely to have pull through sites and may also provide assistance in getting situated in the site.)

So this year, I am considering staying at a nearby commercial campground such as KOA.

Time For More Research

It sounds like I have research to do before we finalize our plans.

 

 

Camping Diary: “Victory Tour” Oklahoma and Missouri

We spent the first 14 days of October on our “Victory Tour.”

This was our first extended trip since our retirement.

We made four stops along the way:

  1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  2. Kansas City area (Platte City), Missouri
  3. Columbia, Missouri
  4. Branson, Missouri

OKMOMap

The primary purpose of this tour was to visit with relatives.

I won’t bore you with that portion of our trip, so this diary will be much shorter than you would expect for a 14-day trip.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

We only spent one night in Oklahoma City.

The purpose of the stop was two fold.

First we wanted to break our drive from Fort Worth to Kansas City into two parts.

Secondly, we wanted to visit with a second cousin whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.

We stayed at the Twin Fountains RV Resort, which was quite nice.

You can find my review of Twin Fountains at http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=131

We had dinner at a very nice Mexican Restaurant.

Ted’s Café Escondido is located at 2836 NW 68th St in Oklahoma City.

The food was great and all dinners included unlimited free chips, salsa, four tortillas, and queso.

Dinners also include complimentary Sopapillas for dessert.

Kansas City Area

We spent six nights in the Kansas City area.

We camped at Basswood Resort in Platte City.

Platte City is just north of the Kansas City International Airport.

My review of this park can be found at http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=133

Most our time in K.C. was spent visiting relatives.

We did have lunch with one of my high school classmates at a Mexican restaurant on the Country Club Plaza.

If you like shopping, I would suggest a trip to the Plaza.

Some things to note the Plaza:

  1. The Plaza is an outdoor shopping area so dress for the weather.
  2. If you are driving truck, as I was, parking can be difficult. There are quite a few parking garages but they have low clearances and may be difficult to maneuver. I was able to park on the streets but I had to walk a distance.
  3. Some streets in Kansas City are designated as Boulevards, which prohibit trucks. Many streets around the Plaza are Boulevards. When I lived in K.C. over 20 years ago, the police were very strict in their enforcement and would ticket even half-ton pickups.

I highly recommend the World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial, which we visited.

There has been a museum here since the Liberty Memorial was built but in recent years they have greatly enhanced the museum.

From the Liberty Memorial you can get a great view of Union Station and the Kansas City skyline.

I usually try to get updated pictures of the skyline from there when I’m in town, there were low clouds and drizzle they day we were there.

Weather permitting you can also go up to the top of the Liberty Memorial tower which provides a great view on nice days.

We also visited Weston, Missouri, which is a pre-civil war town along the banks of the Missouri River.

For a list of things to do in Weston see the Weston home page at http://westonmo.com/?page=todo

If you have kids, I recommend Worlds of Fun which is an amusement park similar to the Six Flags franchise.

Worlds of Fun was built by Lamar Hunt shortly after he moved the Kansas City Chiefs (formerly the Dallas Texans) to Kansas City .

When we lived in K.C. we had season tickets to Worlds of Fun for several years and our entire family loved it.

Columbia, Missouri

We spent two nights in Columbia at the Cottonwoods RV Park.

My review of Cottonwoods can be found at http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=136

Once again most of our time was spent with relatives but we did drive around the Missouri University campus.

MU is the oldest university west of the Mississippi.

Branson, Missouri

We spent four nights in Branson at the Branson KOA and Convention Center.

My review of the Branson KOA can be found at http://chuck-brennaman.com/CampingBlog/?p=143

While we didn’t visit any relatives in Branson we did join Mandy’s college roommate and her boyfriend for a lunch cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle.

The meal was excellent and the show was also very good.

The show was very family oriented with a dose of patriotism and “bible belt religion.”

We had hoped to spend one day at Silver Dollar City, but the weather did not cooperate.

We last visited Silver Dollar City about 15 months ago.

During that visit, we didn’t ride many of the “adult” rides because our six year old grandson was with us.

Overall, I think Silver Dollar City has fewer rides than Worlds of Fun or Six Flags.

It has more crafts and shows.

We visited the Toy Museum and the Celebrity Car Museum while in Branson.

I wouldn’t recommend the Toy Museum.

They had thousands of toys, but I think they actually had too many for the space they had.

Parts of the museum were quite musty.

I would recommend the Celebrity Car Museum.

As their name implies, celebrities had owned many of the cars.

They also had many cars used in movies.

This included the DeLorean used in the Back to the Future movies and a Batmobile.

They also had very interesting background information on most of the cars.

Other places I would recommend based on past visits include “Ride the Ducks” and Branson’s Wild World.

I would recommend the Branson Scenic Railway only if you can get a low numbered ticket and ride in one of the observation cars.

When we ran this train, we bought our ticket too late to get in one of the observation cars and the view from the passenger cars is not that great.

Overview of Trip

On this trip we put 2,053 miles on our truck. This includes our trip to the dealer after the trip.

We spent $757 on fuel and $637 on camping fees.

After spending September in Fort Worth where the official rainfall was .06” we experienced rain, heavy at times at all four stops on this trip.

Unfortunately we found we had a leak in our Travel trailer, so we were drying out the carpet virtually every day.

The weather was warm when we left and we ran the air conditioner the first couple days.

It then turned cooler and we had to run the heater at night.

During our second night in Branson, the heater quit working and I thought that we had run out of propane.

After switching tanks, the heater still would not start.

I actually used Google to research the issue.

I found several sites with troubleshooting steps.

One thing that I should have thought of was checking the fuses and circuit breakers.

I found that the heater had blown a fuse.

I replaced the fuse and turned the heater back on.

It turned on but almost immediately turned back off and the new fuse was also blown.

I did try one more fuse with the same result.

Fortunately we have a fake fireplace, which includes an electric heater.

So for the next two days we ran the fireplace heater and used some extra blankets.

We also ran into a few other minor problems during the trip which is why we took the rig to the dealer the day after our return.

The other issues included some windows which we could not open or close, more problems with our inverter sustaining the refrigerator while driving, and a broken door on the sewer hose tube.

 

 

 

 

 

Campground Review: Branson KOA and Convention Center: Branson, MO

The following has been submitted to http://www.rvparkreviews.com/  where I gave the campground a rating of 10.

We stayed here for four nights as the last stop of a two week / four stop trip.

Upon arrival we were met at the campsite entrance.

The polite host walked in the office with me and checked us in.

The entire staff was very friendly.

He also provided maps of the campsite, the Branson area, and information on activities and shows in the area.

Once we had paid for our stay and gathered all the info, he escorted us to our site (# 177.)

This is a premium pull through site.

Once at the site, he not only guided into the site but also assisted us in getting positioned on the concrete tire paths.

(My wife said that alone was enough to give them a rating of 10.)

The site is gravel with two concrete tire paths (similar to old style driveways.)

Our site was the next to last on a row of sites on a hill.

Each site has been terraced so that each site was level making the row resemble a staircase.

As with most commercial campgrounds the sites are fairly close to together.

They are separated with a white wood fence.

There was sufficient room for our four slide outs.

The driveways between the sites were wider than a lot of parks.

(We really appreciated this since the narrow drives at our last park provided us with some challenges.)

There also was plenty of parking areas.

Our site did not have a tree, but here were several young trees on our row.

It looked like we were in a newer section.

Other parts of the park had more trees, which were more mature.

The cable worked fine most of the time and they had more channels than the other parks we stayed out during this trip.

During some near severe storms the local stations froze up a couple of times.

(This trip was during the baseball playoffs and the games were only on cable. The American league games were on TBS, which was available at all the parks. The National League games were on MLB Network and Fox Sports 1, which were only available here. Fortunately we are American League fans.)

The restrooms and laundry room were very clean.

They also have a fitness center which we didn’t use but it looked very clean.

Their store had quite a few camping supplies like sewer connections and TV cable.

They also had a few souvenirs along with ice cream and fudge that looked very tempting.

(I resisted the fudge for the first two days but finally gave in and it was VERY good.)

The WIFI had a very good signal but at times it seemed slow.

I also learned that the access code they give you is only good for one device.

After connecting my tablet to the WIFI I was not able to connect my laptop.

They told me they weren’t supposed to give out a second code but they did.

Since we usually only use the tablet to read our local paper, if I had known the code was only good for one device I would have used my wireless WIFI for my tablet.

They had a very nice playground, which I’m sure our grandson would love.

They also serve free pancakes until the end of October. (Sausage, biscuits, cereal, and drinks cost.)

We would definitely stay here again.

Our rate of $47.61 reflects the Value Kard Rewards price for a Premium pull through site excluding tax.

 

 

Campground Review: Cottonwoods RV Park: Columbia, Missouri

he following review was also submitted to http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

We stayed here for two nights while visiting relatives in Columbia.

The location was convenient from both I-70 and US-63.

The restrooms, showers, and laundry room were very clean.

Like many commercial campgrounds the sites are close together.

Each site has a young tree.

The position of these trees can make maneuvering into and out of a site a challenge.

Such was the case when we tried to pull in to our first site (#67.)

I think we could have backed in from the other end but since there were plenty of empty sites, after two attempts we asked if we could change sites.

The staff was very friendly and helpful in changing our site.

Our second site was number 40.

This site was on the opposite side of the drive so the tree was toward the end of the site.

We wouldn’t have had any trouble with this site except that there was a small SUV parked across the drive from our site, which prevented us from making the wide turn we required to get in the site.

Fortunately our neighbor was in and he was able to move his SUV.

After parking our 39’ Fiver, there was just enough room to park our truck parallel to the drive.

Our site had a small bush that was actually a little too close to our rig.

One of our slideouts was actually up against it.

The sites are gravel but very level.

Each site has a picnic table on a concrete pad.

Between visiting relatives and the rains, we really weren’t able to explore the campgrounds but the playground looked nice.

Just a note: This campground fills up on Mizzou football weekends.

We left on the Friday before a game and we were told it was sold out for the weekend.

As we were leaving we once again had to ask a neighbor to move a car so we could manage the turn.

Due to the closeness of the sites and the position of the trees I would call this campground “big rig tolerant.”

It would have been more friendly if the roads were wider and the trees were positioned differently.

Our rate was $39 which reflects a Good Sam discount plus $2 surcharge for using a credit card.

The park also gives the same discount to AAA members.

 

 

 

Campground Review: Basswood Resort: Platte City, Missouri

The following review was also submitted to http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

Our stay did not start well.

I had made a reservation on September 23rd for a six-night stay starting on October 2nd.

On October 1st (the day before our stay was to begin) I received a phone call from the campground.

They said that when I made my reservation they “forgot” to tell me that it was NASCAR weekend, which is considered a holiday weekend.
Not only were the rates higher for that weekend but also I had to pay the full amount in advance.

In actuality, I had made my reservations through Book Your Site, so I suspect the rate mistake was due to them.

The day before we arrived the Kansas City area had some bad storms.

There were flood warnings out for downstream on the Missouri River.

We also saw quite a few limbs down as we approached the campsite.

There was quite a line waiting to check in and there were three rigs in front us who for whatever reason were not ready to drive to their sites.

We were assigned site number 223, which is to the right after you enter.

According to the brochure these are considered “deluxe RV sites.”

We were given an escort to our site.

Our escort had us use had to use the exit lane to get past the waiting rigs.

The road into the area is gravel and the sites are also gravel with a lot of mud.

As we approached our site, we found a pickup truck parked in it.

It took some time to figure out that the pickup belonged to the trailer two sites down.

Unfortunately there was no answer when our guide knocked on the door.

He tried radioing the office but there was no answer, so he returned to the office.

When he returned to our site he told us the truck owner was on his way.

After about a half-hour wait, the owner showed up and was apologetic as he moved the truck.

As we were waiting our neighbors from both sides had come out and they were nice enough to help me back into the space.

Due to the narrow road, it was quite an adventure.

Even with the help it took quite a while to get positioned.

The mud was so bad that our jack pads were sinking.

I think we would have been in real trouble if we didn’t have the pads.

There was quite a drop-off behind our site and there was nothing (like a railroad tie or concrete blocks) to block us from the drop-off.

As we were exploring the campground, we saw several nice concrete sites that were empty.

While in the office I told them that we were quite disappointed with our site and asked about the empty sites we saw.

They said they would not accommodate our rig.

I paced them off and they seemed to be long enough for both our truck and trailer.

I later went back to the office to see which sites would accommodate our rig so I could request those sites on future visits.

They indicated that sites 75 through 120 were reserved for short-term stays.

She said that most of those were 75 feet.

All those sites are gravel.

So I’m not sure to whom they assign the concrete sites.

I still believe those concrete sites are long enough for our rig.

The campground did have an abundance of trees and shade.

The bathrooms, showers and laundry room were very clean.

Both the WIFI and cable worked well.

We didn’t have any kids with us but the playgrounds looked nice.

There were also basketball courts, tetherball, shuffleboard, and horseshoes.

We actually saw some in the ponds but we didn’t have time for any fishing.

The country store had snacks, a limited selection of canned goods, and beer and liquor.

They also had some camping supplies and souvenirs.

There were only two trash bins. The one closest to our site was by the office, which was quite a walk.

The second was close to sites 75 through 120.

There were some “street lights” throughout the campground but several were not working.

I’m not sure I will stay there again.

Since there aren’t too many campsites in the Kansas City area I may but if I do, I want to make sure I get one of the better sites.

Our rates were $51 for the NASCAR rate and $42 for the Good Sam Rate.

 

Campground Review Twin Fountains RV Resort: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The following review was also posted to http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

We just stayed here one night as we were driving through OKC and wanted to meet briefly with two of my cousins who we haven’t seen in several years.

The park was beautiful and well maintained.

We were assigned site W10 which is a pull through just inside the entrance.

The overall site was sloped but the center of it was level.

I’m not sure how long the level portion was, but it was at least 40 feet since our 39 foot fiver fit well within it.

There were two sewer connections.

We had our rig set up in record time due to the “sweet spot” being level and the proximity of the hookups.

In retrospect, I would have positioned the trailer a little further back so that I could park my truck in front.

There was room to park a long bed crew cab on one end or the other but not both.

The rest rooms were very clean.

Both the laundry room and fitness center looked very clean but I just looked in and didn’t actually go in.

We didn’t try the WIFI.

The location was very convenient just off I-44 and less than a mile from I-35.

I did notice some highway noise from I-44 at night.

Now for the negatives:

The sites were very close together.

The picnic table was less than one foot from one of our slide-outs.

(We probably could have repositioned the trailer or rotated the table so that the slide-out was not so close.)

The fire ring was right next to the wooden picnic table and if we had rotated the table it would have even closer.

We would have not have been comfortable with a fire that close to the table.

The fire ring was also so close to the camper that it was a tripping hazard after dark.

The rules were very restrictive for children.

Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the restroom.

It’s been awhile since our kids were 15 but I don’t think they would be very happy if we told them they couldn’t go to the restroom by themselves.

We would definitely stay there again.

 

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.

Pictures

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

http://www.chuck-brennaman.com/HomePage/2014_Photo_Album/Pages/September_Camping.html

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

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.

While our plans are not finalized, here is our tentative itinerary:

October 1: Leave for the Kansas City area. Right now we are planning on staying at Basswood Resort in Platte City.

That campground has good reviews.

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.

Currently we plan on staying until October 7th or 8th at which time we will go to Columbia.

Tentative plans are to spend two nights in the Columbia area visiting my brother Brian and his family.

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

This visit is way over due.

Right now, I’m thinking of staying at Cottonwoods RV Park.

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

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

Our next stop after Columbia is Branson, Missouri.

We are hoping that we will be there for the peak of the fall colors.

I’m not sure where we will be staying in Branson, but I have three possible campsites in mind.

They are Tall Pines Campground, Branson KOA, and Table Rock Lake State Park.

Last year we stayed at Tall Pines would definitely stay there again.

I’m thinking the state park may be a better campground for taking in the fall colors.

The reason I’m considering 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.

As our plans evolve, I’ll be posting them.