Back on Schedule

Back on Schedule

March 28 through April 14, 2023

When you have a big RV, car, and boat like we do, you have to plan ahead. We normally have all of our campsites booked over a year in advance. That way, we make sure we get the site we want and don't have to stay in a Walmart parking lot. There's no judgment there -- it's just not our thing.

When our last motor home blew over in the winds of Texas, we had plans to carry on from there and keep heading east. Of course, we had no home at that point, so we headed back to the west to stay with friends in Arizona until we found our new coach. We had to cancel a few camping reservations (the people at Carlsbad RV Park were really cool and didn't charge us their usual late cancelation fee -- we didn't lose any money on cancelations, which was a nice surprise).

After we found our new home, we had to stay at the dealership for a little while so they could address issues that always come with a new RV. For those who haven't purchased a brand-new RV, you should know that they all come with issues at the start. Some RVs have issues from the factory, like plugs that came loose or things that weren't installed correctly. Still more RVs have issues because random people have been wandering around in them in dealership lots for months. Kids push buttons, and adults force things to break. It's the nature of the business.

Some manufacturers make RVs that can't handle that kind of abuse, so there is more to fix. Newmars are pretty tough, so we didn't have many issues. Luckily, every RV comes with a limited warranty from the start to cover these types of things. Yes, it's all paid for, but it still means you'll be in the shop for a while in the first few months.

We had a few nitpicky things to fix, and Freedom RV was really great about getting them done quickly so we could get on the road. Most dealerships have a place where their customers can plug in and stay in their RV while work is getting done, and we stayed in their lot for a little while. It's never very glamorous, but it works.

We were finally on the road on March 28th. Our previous motor home blew over on February 26th. When you think about it, a month isn't a very long time to get so much done!

Our goal was to keep our five-week reservation in Lake Ozark, Missouri. We had a fairly leisurely trip planned before, but that was out of the question. Instead, we would be doing a quick trip with short stops.

And, They're Off!

Elephant Butte was first, and it had some special memories for us. When we first left our home city of Denver and headed south to be full timers, our first stay was in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. We were bouncing off the walls we were so happy. When we got back there again, it felt so good. It seemed fitting to start our new journey at the same place.

Next, we had a very short stay in Amarillo, Texas. We officially live in Texas after moving there when we started our full-time RV life. When we'd stayed there before, we didn't end up getting our drivers licenses. Monica took a couple days off of work so we could do that kind of paperwork, like getting the vehicles inspected. We're officially Texans, now!

The first stay in a new place was going to be an overnighter at Lake Thunderbird State Park outside Oklahoma City. It was a bit of a trek to get there, but the time spent to get there was worth it. We didn't want to leave! Our site overlooked the lake, which was big and very nice. We didn't have enough time to put the boat in the water, but we knew we'd be back.

On the way to Oklahoma, we stopped at the Washita Battlefield National Historical Site. We visited the Sand Creek Massacre site when we were in Colorado, a sobering place where Native Americans were slaughtered. When we were in Oklahoma, we learned that some of them escaped that battle only to be attacked again in the Washita area. We both feel like our ability to go to national parks like these is such an immersive and educational way to learn things about our country that we didn't know.

After Oklahoma, we headed to Arkansas, another state where we'd never camped. Neither of us had ever even driven through Arkansas, so it was a stay we were both really looking forward to. Our original plan had us at the Prairie Creek Campground in Rogers overlooking Beaver Lake for two weeks. We had to cut it down to a week, and by the time we got there we were officially back on schedule!

We were still learning. Neither of us had been to the Ozarks before. It's a big area that covers northwestern Arkansas and some of southern Missouri. We were happily surprised with how cool Rogers, Arkansas was! The campground was pretty awesome, with big trees and lots of cool-sounding birds. The town was also really cool, with great restaurants (we had some fantastic Cuban food there). We were definitely bummed to not have our two weeks at that stay.

The Pea Ridge National Military Park was very close to Rogers, so we spent a day there. It was the site of a Civil War battle, and we didn't know what to expect. The visitor center was small, but the attached learning area was really interesting. The best part -- the part that makes this a national park we'd really recommend -- was the miles-long auto drive through the park. You drive to well-marked locations (usually with parking) and then watch videos that go over that location and what happened. It was extremely educational, and very interesting to us. It was also a lovely drive through meadows and forests in Arkansas, so it was gorgeous and new to us. Arkansas is really pretty, and we really liked this experience.

The National site was also on the Trail of Tears. We saw a couple references to it, but that was about it. We asked if there was a place we could go for more information, but the parks people did not know of anything. It was kind of a bummer, so we spent some time standing on the trail itself, just imagining what those poor people went through.

Next time, we'll stay longer in Arkansas. But we were so happy to be back on our schedule. Off to see the Midwest!

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