The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

6 Aug 2010 - Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

I wasn't planning to leave early this morning as I didn't have a really long drive and wanted to time my arrival in Mammoth Spring to when my brother would get off work.  He surprised me with a call mid morning to ask where I was as he was going to take the afternoon off.  I got the newsletter mailed off and headed out.  It wasn't long before we were in Missouri.  I have to give them credit, their rolling, curvy roads are in excellent shape--not a pothole in sight.  Did I mention rolling and curvy, oh yes, and hilly, very hilly and two lane.  I went up and down so many times that I was wondered if anything would be in place after I arrived.  It was a beautiful drive though and traffic was minimal.  I crossed into Arkansas at Thayer, Missouri.

And then I got to the hill.  I had completely forgotten about The Hill although I have been there several times. Once committed, I had no choice but to do the climb.  I felt like I was in that children's book "The Little Engine That Could".  We chugged on up.  It wasn't a fast ascent but the F250 SuperDuty handled it with ease.  Now I know it can do anything!  Next challenge was going up the driveway, pulling into the turn off, and backing up by the house.  Whoo!  It was really great to see my youngest brother and his wife and mother-in-law.

My parents lived in Thayer, Missouri just across the border after I left home.  Tim actually spent most of his growing up years there and I visited many times.  We did some touring around the area over the next couple of days.  This is a beautiful area that some of you may want to visit.  Just take it easy on the hills!

A view from near the Mammoth Spring park.  

This water is really cold since it comes from deep below the ground; however, the air is really hot in August and very humid as well.

It was a great visit!

5 Aug 2010 - Illinois Overnight

After leaving Indianapolis we headed southwest towards Illinois and planned an early stop so we could head on into Arkansas the next day to visit my youngest brother.  

Here we are stopped in a rest area among the big boys--having a late lunch 
and taking advantage of a nice walk around the rest area.

We started looking for an RV park late in the afternoon and found one just south of Mt Vernon. 

This time we took full advantage of the swimming pool--well, I did anyway.  It was a great park with lots of shade trees and areas to walk in.  There was a small Jayco owners group GTG going on at the back so we got to see lots of different Jayco trailers and 5th wheels.  Apparently they met at an area park once a month so they all knew each other pretty well.  

Willy, Gretchen, and Harley had a big surprise as we walked around one side of the park over near the manager double-wide home.  There were chickens walking around that had apparently gotten loose from a nearby pen.  The fur-kids had never seen a chicken before and I don't think the chickens had ever seen dachshunds either so it was a stand-off on both sides.  These were all red hens and if there was a rooster, he was considerate enough not to wake me up the next morning.

This park had great Wifi which I used to full advantage.  Even though I was out traveling, I was still responsible for putting together a monthly newsletter for the chapter of a professional organization I have belonged to for years.  Ever had a thumb drive go belly up on you?  Happened to me here so I had to recreate the whole newsletter format from scratch.  I also worked on my distribution list so this all kept me busy pretty late.  The next morning, I got the newsletter sent out to everyone before I hit the road bound for Mammoth Spring, Arkansas.

3-4 Aug 2010 - Indiana Stops - Elkhart and Fishers

My next stop after bidding family goodbye in Port Huron, was Elkhart.  Elkhart is supposed to be the epicenture of the RV world but I think the population there may have lost sight of that.  I know that the RV industry was hard hit over the last few years but I had to ask about 6 people before I could find anyone that had any idea where there was an RV park.  I know--I should have found McDonald's and hauled out the Internet and done a google search but this was Elkhart.  I finally found the Elkhart Campground, a pretty large and decent place to stay.  Asking for a pull-through, I was sent off to what looked like a field that was only pull-through if no one parked in front of you.  Since the campground was less than half-full and there were plenty of much better sites that were easier to get in and out of and more convenient all the way around, I went back to the office and asked for a different site.  The roads in the new area were gravel and the site had a picnic table and was much better.

Willy, Gretchen, and Harley took me on a tour around the park.  They had the usual amenities but we really didn't get to try them out.  We did have several nice walks before bedtime.  There was storm that night but  we had A/C and none of the branches fell on the truck or RV so we were just fine.  The next morning, the staff was out cleaning them up.

Finding the RV Hall of Fame the next day was equally challenging.  They moved into a new building a couple of years ago and the first 5 people I asked either didn't know anything about it or thought it closed a few years ago.  This could partly explain why they are not getting the visitors they anticipated and need to survive.  If you are in the area with an RV rally or other group, you are fine.  Traveling alone--not so much in terms unless you have all the information before you arrive.  The RV Hall of Fame has parking areas specifically for RVs which was really nice.  I waited out another rainstorm and then headed in for the tour.  The most interesting part of the museum, at least for me, were the RV exhibits.  They have examples from very early RVs to more modern ones and they are laid out along a rambling roadway.  I really enjoyed it and recommend you allow plenty of time to browse.

Once we were on the road again, we let "Hillary" plot a course for Indianapolis, more specifically Fishers Indiana, home of my long-time friend Mary Beth Lech.  Mary Beth met me in a Walmart parking lot and we went off to dinner together.  It was not the greatest Walmart and didn't look like a good place to stay.  After dinner I followed Mary Beth across town to a Super Walmart close to her house.  Unfortunately there were no overnight camping signs posted.  I explained that it is the town rather than Walmart that won't allow parking so Mary Beth had another idea.  She led me just across the highway to a Super Meijers.  Turns out they were across a county line so when I went in and asked the manager about parking, he said sure--just park on the side of the lot and he would notify security to keep an eye out for us.

Mary Beth asked if I would stay long enough to go out for breakfast with her in the morning.  I also got to meet her cousin so we had another great visit.  It is always great to meet up with friends.