11 days to Indiana and back...with pics!

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by Merlin14, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Merlin14

    Merlin14 Active Member

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    Aug 30, 2014
    We returned yesterday from an 11 day trip to see a beloved uncle.
    The big take-aways are:
    1. It was drizzling and very chilly every night except first and last. We had electric at all stops. We moved daily due to inescapable drizzle, and it is raining even as I type this now!
    2. Our first "long trip" in our new-to-us Aliner, we learned that excellent orgainzation is more important in an Aliner.
    3. Cooking and eating in 100% exposure to elements requires a very determined and capable wife. (Glad I took my best one!)
    4. I'll never unhook for a single night stopover if possible. I use a hydraulic jack under the hitch ball to raise the tongue a bit if needed, but not rear of trailer. The bal leveler makes is rock solid with the 4 stabs down. (a big time saver!)
    5. We consider wifi a "nice to have" but not a camping essential for every day. We catch stray signals along the way if needed. Nobody "follows" us.
    6. Wifi is needed occasionally for trip plan/route updating, and a private park is better for that. (When we can, we will likely use KOA as our go-to if major re-planning is needed. We have found them predictable, clean, consistent. They are just single night stops for us.)

    The trip:
    Sunday - Burns Run East, Cartwright OK, - COE park that is down to one loop for off season and will soon have a single frost free spigot at entry by dump station. Bathroom was 200 yd walk as it is on another loop, beyond a locked gate. $7.50 for FHU with ATB pass in the off-season. However, you have to book internet or phone, or "steal" your camping, as there is no host or honor box to register. We did have internet and phone signal on T-mobile, so was easy. Showers were great and heated bathroom. It can be breezy as is lakeside with exposure and few trees. We stayed here in the summer last year, and it has lots of water activity and a good family choice, especially for boating and fishing. Will stay again.
    Burns run.jpg
    Monday - Beagle Bay RV Haven and Campground, Sarcoxie, MO. Next to I-44 near Joplin, noise was not a problem as our rig is quieter than our popup was. Clean bathrooms and showers on combination locks. Most sites are pull through aimed at bigger rigs, but there are about 30% seasonal campers here. In a wooded area with a pond and canoe rental, pool, and game room. It looks like it was a KOA at one time. The guy who owns it is nice and friendly. We've stayed here before and a good experience both times. It's a FHU park an hour from Springfield, MO. (Pic is from our stay in 2017.) We'll stay here again.
    Percival Springs Airport and RV Park - Near Effingham, Il. This park was a hidden gem find through FB, or maybe on freecampsites.net. This is the last dirt airstrip in Illinois, and the home for the local Life Flight helicopters. So, there is will likely be helicopter traffic as there are lots of two lane roads, alcohol, crashes, and medical needs. If you contact the park through FB, Shiela Percival responds quickly. She's friendly and helpful and was on-site on our arrival. She returned our call and texted directions and best route to the park. The rate was $25 for FHU and the host (Bill) guided us to our site and helped us hook up. There are about 20 sites here in two rows and 10 are tent sites with no hookups I could see. The airstrip is about 50 yards from the CG, so should a plane land, you'll have entertainment. Cel was weak, and the Astros lost, so we went to bed early as the drizzle and chill stayed with us. Showers, bathrooms and laundry were at the other end of CG, an easy stroll of 3 minutes. Somehow it was less in the drizzle and chill. A quiet place on the roadside of a state highway, but traffic dies out after sundown and start after dawn. It's time to get up then anyway. We'll stay here again and will plan it as a stop on the route. The pic is from our site looking toward the runway.

    The next 3-4 nights were indoors with family. The Aliner was parked on a hill at a family friend's farm as they are snowbirding the winter in Arkansas to Arizona until planting time in Spring. The Aliner got snowed on and it was in the high 20's a night or two. On return, all systems are OK as water was drained before leaving on trip, and no leak evidence found.

    Mark Twain State Park - Florida, MO (west of Hannibal, on Mark Twain Lake)
    Everybody should go here at least once! Missouri has many fine parks, and MTSP is one of the best. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum is very close and free. It's worth an hour of time and fun. Our second stay here, there are more loops in on-season. Since we're in off-season, rates were $23 for electric, and water was at host site for filling tanks from frost free hydrant. All loops were open, but only one loop had working water and bathroom/shower. But it was uncrowded. There are park closures for special hunting by permit, so check ahead if in off season. There was a half-processed deer in an nearby site. Dump station and dumpsters on the way out. Of course, the drizzle and chill continued for us! However, the electric heater solved that and sleeping bags were delightful and warm.
    The pic is from an open loop, where bathrooms are closed and water is off for the winter. The view and solitude would have been my choice if alone, but my trooper wife is not superhuman. Well, not all the time anyway. We like this park and would love to stay again.

    Bennett Spring SP, Lebanon, MO
    Located near Lebanon, Mo, we drove secondary roads for a few pleasant hours through the heart of Missouri farmland. Miles of beautiful old farm buildings, barns in all sorts of conditions, rusting and abandoned equipment that may be needed "someday, just in case", or for sale to tourists, two lane roads that turn on section lines, leaves turning, small towns, small schools, local cafes filled with farmers, the kind of communities no one can see anymore on the interstate at 70 mph. And that was just the drive in!

    Bennett Spring SP is known for trout fishing as there is a hatchery at the park. One loop in off season with FHU and on the honor system. It's catch and release, flies only, and closed for fishing M-T-W for the winter (I guess). There are cabins, a group camp and cabin, lots of canoes for on-season rental and a bus to transport. I suspect reservations are required on-season and would be worth it. The CG was almost empty, but we camped 2 sites from someone to be near the bathroom and showers. We found a good signal of free park wifi.
    Sites in our loop were all well paved pull-through 50 amp, fire pits, and lantern pole.
    Had to put in two pics. Our site and the river that runs along the campground with some morning fog. It was chilly of course, but a great walk and a delightful stay. And again, too.

    BS1.jpg BS2.jpg

    Checotah / Lake Eufala West KOA, 409329 I-40, Checotah, OK
    [RANT: In 2006 I got a ticket in Vinita, OK for not displaying a license plate after being rear-ended in Dallas rush hour traffic that morning enroute to my fathers deathbed. I've had a grudge against Oklahoma since. The trooper could have warned me as he sat there watching us in the gas station, but he waited until our tires hit state roadway to cite me. END RANT]

    Turned out this was our last night camping as plans had changed. Heavy rains were expected in the days ahead and unavoidable for our route to Houston. The park we were planning to stay at had closed completely for the winter. We had taken time to re-route and enjoyed free MO State Park Wifi in our rig. (Our original plan was for a week earlier and that park would have still been open.)
    I called to leave a message with the KOA and their message said, "We have lots of room, come on in!" They did, and we did. We asked for a site near showers/bath and got it. A handout with road to site, wifi code, instructions, etc. Our info on computer and were were parked and setting up in less than 10 minutes. A nice quiet stay near the highway, as are most KOA's it seems. There are some things to like about KOA. We've stayed at a few and have never had a bad experiece yet. They have all been clean,well maintained, and staffed. The ones under the "Journey" brand are especially nice. The pic below is some guy in the witness protection program rummaging through my truck. But it's loaded and ready to roll for home.
    The last detail is an extremely minor scrape in heavy noon traffic on I-45 in Dallas. Six lanes in a construction area with turns at 65 mph or more, the guy on my right fender swerves to avoid debris and clips my fender skirt. My damage will wax off. I'd say that's a pretty happy ending to a trip!

    Already wanting to go camping again, but with less rain. I'm thinking maybe...Maine?

    Thanks for reading and be sure to post your trip reports.
    SHFL, kcsa75, BillyMc and 9 others like this.
  2. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    Feb 24, 2011
    NW Arkansas
    Nice write up!
    You're trailer tongue Jack should be capable of lifting your tow vehicles rear end without the need of a 2nd jack.
  3. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Oct 15, 2006
    Dukes, Fl
    Sounds like y'all had a great adventure. We all have had little twitches when camping to or back but the main thing is just keep on enjoying your adventures and making memories. Thanks for sharing
  4. alabasterjar

    alabasterjar Member

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    Feb 21, 2017
    NE Indiana
    Trip to Indiana, but i don't see where you visited us?:(
    Melissa Freeman likes this.

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