Travel Days: Hot Springs and Hitchhikers and a Trip Down Memory Lane (SEMO)
August 5, 2015
We had planned to leave Texas early on Friday….like by 7:30, but it was still sort of dark, so we ended up pulling out at 8:30….which in the whole scheme of things, wasn’t bad.
The whole scheme of things has to do with traveling with four people (and extra stuff). It’s our first time actually traveling with more than just Greg and me, so didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly, so far it’s been totally fine and has worked out with minimal issues. The key is space management (isn’t it always!) and we’ve used the toad for some suitcase and auxiliary storage. Our two couches fold out to beds, so Kennedy and Cheri each have their own bed.
Day one, we had quite a haul—to Hot Springs Arkansas, which was around 525 miles. A long travel day indeed. And while we were only staying one night in Hot Springs, we wanted to stay at a campground that was nice and we could explore a bit, even if just for one night. We stayed at Catherine’s Landing, which is an RVC Outdoor Destination property. Our first stay at a private campground ever was at an RVC property in Sevierville and this campground didn’t disappoint either! It was about 18 miles off the interstate, but worth the drive.
Pulling into the campground, what was the first sign we see?
Bigfoot. Really? Well, you know that just fed right into Kennedy and Greg’s eternal belief in the beast!
We also picked up a hitchhiker in Hot Springs…or guess you could say we had a hitchhiker return. Kennedy returned from a walk, and was a little surprised to see her bed was occupied and (gasp) someone/thing had her phone! Our hitchiker rode with us all the way to our next stop...where she went back to her home underneath the couch.
The lady returns....we should probably name her...any ideas?
The campground was very nice and even had a zip line course, which is the first time we’ve seen that!! Honestly we would have loved to stay there a few more nights. Didn’t realize there was so much to do in Hot Springs!!
Couldn't capture the blue moon, but got a great blue landscape picture!
Day two of travel was shorter—about 325 miles so we had a leisurely morning and then hit the road. And boy did it feel like we were hitting the road. Interstate 40 in Arkansas was just one big patch of garbled concrete patches. It was awful. We had been on that road before when we picked up the coach and drove it back to Pennsylvania and we are pretty sure that was the road where our shocks broke; yep, shocks just snapped in half. After driving the road again, feeling even more confident that interstate 40 in Arkansas was the culprit. Once we crossed into Missouri, smooth sailing!
Our hitchhiker chillin' with Kennedy as we roll down the highway!!
We arrived at our campground (The Landing Point RV Park) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in late afternoon, got set up and then went out to dinner. Both my sister and I went to Southeast Missouri State in Cape and neither of us had been back in over 25 years, so a fairly nostalgic stop. We had scouted a Cajun restaurant—Broussards-- that was downtown on the Mississippi River. We walked into the restaurant, the hostess asks, “smoking or non smoking.” Really? Wow!! Been a long time since we’ve walked into any restaurant that had a smoking option. It was interesting to find out that the restaurant had been there for two of the years while I was at SEMO, but didn’t remember it at all. But, I’m sure Cajun cuisine was probably a little too sophisticated for my palette back in my college days!!
After dinner, we walked down to the mighty Mississippi and watched a few guys stack rocks. While it sounds pretty easy, these guys were serious about their rock stacking; it was like an art for them.
He worked at this one for awhile and then gave up!!
After dinner, we went exploring around campus. While the campus has a few new buildings, it really hasn’t changed much. We checked out where we used to live, walked up Cardiac Hill, which we confirmed the name is still accurate, and then at the top, saw the bubble gum tree version 2.0. Unfortunately, someone hacked down the original tree in 1989. The nerve!
Well named Cardiac Hill
Bubblegum Tree, version 2.0. And yes, that is gum stuck to the trunk.
(Version 1 was so much better!!)
Kennedy in front of the ADPi House
The Library...double checked to make sure!!
The focal point of the whole campus
LaFerla Hall (residence hall) opened Fall 2013. What a view!!
While the campus hasn’t changed all that much, the town is a different story. It has experienced a lot of growth--lots of new restaurants, shopping, hotels, new hospital, etc. I definitely picked up the lay of the land a lot easier on campus than I did the town.
This is the "boat house" which was my favorite house in town.
It was designed to look like a Mississippi River boat when it was built in 1941-42.
Sunday morning we headed to Trail of the Tears State Park in Jackson, which was about 15 miles from our campsite. We wanted to stay there, however they didn’t allow a two night stay that started on a Saturday, it had to be a three night stay. You could do a two night stay—Friday and Saturday, but couldn’t do a Saturday and Sunday only stay. When we got to the park, we checked out the campground and aside from the camp host, not a single other camper there. Looks like their rules are working against them. I guess we could have attempted just showing up, but I like to have reservation. Total bummer.
Trail of Tears State park has historical significance, but also has personal significance for me as our neighbors growing up took me camping there one night in their Class C. Not sure if that planted a seed or not, but it was the place where I stayed in an RV for the first time. (And then 35+ years later, stayed in one for a second time when we purchased our current home! )
The Trail of Tears State Park is a memorial to the members of the Cherokee tribe that lost their lives during their forced relocation in the winter of 1838-39. The park itself is really nice with a small lake, beach area, hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
The scene you overlook!!
Our ride back to the campground, we stopped at Cape Rock Park. This park was the original trading post established by Ensign Girardot, for whom the city is named.
Kennedy climbing the rock!
The highlight of our trip to Cape was dinner with my college roommate—Michelle. It’s been 25 years since I have seen her, although it seems like yesterday. We met her and her lovely family at Red Lobster and had a very long dinner. She and her husband have a very successful farming business, farming over 5700 acres. Greg and Randy (Michelle’s husband) had fun talking solar. Michelle’s son, Tommy, who is 10, devoured a whole lobster. Hate to see what her food bill will be like in another five years if he’s already tackling a whole lobster!
Natalie and Tommy. And yes, that cute little boy ate a whole lobster!!
We left on Monday morning with a short drive (about 200 miles) to Springfield, Illinois. My grandma, aunt and cousins live right down the road in Decatur, so visits are in order along with a couple of quick work trips and Greg has a couple of solar jobs so a busy next 10 or so days. Cheri and Kennedy will be heading to Chicago the end of the week to fly back to Texas.
We hit Cincinnati on August 14th for about a week, then onto Pennsylvania by the 23rd. Thanks for following along....until next time!