Yes, plans have changed yet again since my last entry! We had tried to schedule out a bit of extra traveling so that we could get the maximum bang for our RVing buck, but as (unfortunate) luck would have it, when we were getting ready to hitch up at our stop outside of Lawrence, KS at the Corps of Engineers campground, we noticed that one of our front jacks was leaking hydraulic fluid (flowing rather freely at first). Tim poked around inside the basement compartment that houses the mechanism for the landing gear on the side that was leaking, but he saw no evidence of leakage in there, nor could he determine at brief glance where exactly the valve/knob/whatever was to see if it needed tightening. At any rate, the jack retracted exactly as it should and we were able to get underway.
While we were driving, we both agreed that perhaps we needed to curtail our wanderlust and just head back toward Knoxville sooner rather than later to avoid any additional set up/take down drama. Not exactly what we had in mind when we set off from Davenport, FL a month ago, but, we have put a lot of miles under our belt in just 30 short days, so we have nothing to complain about.
We extended our stay in Branson, MO by an extra day due to the weather forecast for Sunday being quite rainy. There’s nothing worse than closing up/pulling in the slides/hitching up in the rain, especially pulling in those wet slides that are now directly in your living space. It can get pretty puddly from all that rainwater dripping down the sides of the slides. The extra time here gave us a leisurely visit to see a few things: we saw a Motown Review at one of the dozens of theaters in Branson – we have no idea how they make any money because there are so many to choose from – we went to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium, and saw the World’s Largest Roll of Toilet Paper (Charmin’), the World’s Largest Ball of String, and (thanks to a recent purchase by Ripley’s, to the tune of $5 million) the dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she serenaded JFK on his birthday. All things considered, it’s not really a very attractive dress. It’s nude colored with hundreds of crystals sewn on it, but the biggest thing is that dress was so skin-tight that Marilyn had to be sewn into it before she went on stage. According to the story told, she was announced to come on stage twice by Peter Lawford, but he was left standing there waiting because the dress was still being sewn closed around her.
Anyway, we leave here on Monday, headed for Sikeston, MO. Nothing special there, just someplace along the way that can accommodate our big rig! We’ll have a three-day stop there to give the cats a break (that’s another tale for another time), and then we leave for Nashville for another three nights. Nothing special for us in Nashville, just someplace to park once again. Our last visit to Nashville wasn’t too impressive, but then again, that was the stop that begat the fried inverter back in October, not to mention my having a bit of a stomach bug, as well as a very unpleasant trip to the Opry Mills Outlet Mall to find a replacement coffeemaker to replace the one that fried with the inverter. (Side note: if you ever find yourself in Nashville, stay away from Opry Mills! The kiosk workers are like flies on garbage in the summer, and are very aggressive if you dare tell them “no thank you.” They will chase you down and continue you to harangue you into buying whatever useless wares they peddle. But, I digress and that is yet another tale for another time. However, you can Google it and see what I mean if you’re curious!)
After Nashville, we’re heading to the Smokeys, revisiting the area we were in exactly one year before! As luck would have it, yet another DRV rally is being held, this one in Dandridge, TN (right outside Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg). We knew about the rally a while back, but since we hadn’t planned being anywhere near the East Coast, we declined. It turns out that there were still a few openings left, and we checked to see if we could still sign up. We could, we did, and we are going to arrive before the rally and stay for another week after it, at which point we’ll make a quick trip back to Knoxville to finally get the repairs made. We’re actually looking forward to meeting up with some more of our fellow DRVers, again quite a few that we’ve struck up friendships with on the Facebook page. After that, we’ll have a nice leisurely time to spend exploring. There was so much to see, but our trip there last year was so tied up with the RV-Dreams Rally we attended immediately after we left the dealer’s lot, that we just didn’t get the chance to tour. The Smokey Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway………….such a beautiful part of this country and we are ready to do some outdoor exploring since the last month has seriously curtailed any nature trips, what with Spring going back into hibernation and Winter making a return!
After we leave Knoxville, we’re going to make our way back to Vermont. We had hoped maybe to make a side trip to Norfolk, VA to visit with Tim Jr., Katy, Lucy and Abe while they were having a little vacation of their own. But the timing just wouldn’t work, especially not knowing for certain how long our repairs would take. We don’t want to take the chance that we would be traveling over Memorial Day weekend, as the likelihood of us finding a campground with available sites at the last minute, let alone one that would fit our rig, were slim-to-none. It’s just as well, since we are ready to be back in Vermont to settle down for the summer. We miss our kids, and we REALLY miss our grandkids! We’re ready for some hugs, cuddles, story-telling, and kisses galore.