Frankly, we hadn't planned to do Branson again so soon after the last trip a year ago. I wanted to go out west, and Sandy wanted to go out east. We had even mentioned Maine in the last Branson travelogue. Well, experience has taught us that you don't take very long trips in an RV unless you have lots and lots of time. The reason is the roadweariness factor. RV travel is best when you drive a little and stay a lot. Ideally, you move from place to place, spending a couple of days or more in each stop to check out everything. I don't think very many people enjoy driving most of the day every day, setting up in the evening and breaking camp in the morning. Fairly short trips, like Branson, aren't so bad, because you can easily get there from the Dallas area with one overnight stop on the way.
So, having a bit of a time problem with my work schedule and the swirl of Mindy's high school graduation events, ten days is about all we could muster for our spring trip this year. If we were to go to the west or east coasts, it would take a minimum of three weeks and preferably a month. But then, we definitely prefer to dawdle along the way. Half the fun is stopping in some interesting little town and patronizing a mom-and-pop fruit stand or a farmer's market or festival, or checking out something unusual or historical. Although that's very enjoyable, it definitely slows one's progress, and that's why we will need more time. We have learned that the words, "RV travel" and "hurry" should not even be used in the same sentence.
Today brought a new and shameful low in our ability to cast off the lines and make a timely departure from home base. I had to go to the office for four hours this morning, just to get things in shape for me to leave. I am sometimes jealous of my employees who are not in management. You don't see them working on Sunday, by George, and most would tell you they wouldn't have my job under any circumstance. I often think they're a lot smarter than I am.
So, by the time I got home from work, ate lunch, and started the departure checklist, it was already 1:30 p.m.! Sandy was busy all morning, getting the laundry caught up and trying to police up after Mindy who, we are certain, will simply not be able to function in society because she is so disorganized. I think her going away to college will be a real eye-opener for her, as mom and dad won't be there to tend to all the little details that she forgets or ignores.
We brought Homer to the house yesterday, and I spent most of the afternoon inside, putting together a new Euro-style recliner Sandy gave me to replace a small and woefully inadequate upholstered chair that came with the trailer. I really like the new recliner, but it's so annoying to have to assemble everything nowadays. Sometimes I think that if the factories didn't spend so much time packing all the pieces just so, along with the multilingual assembly instructions, little labels on the parts and countless little baggies full of nuts and bolts, they would have time to go ahead and assemble the chair! The cotton-picking thing was in a million pieces! (Excuse me while I vent--this is really a pet peeve of mine.) I'm surprised the instructions didn't direct me to slaughter a cow and tan its hide to get the chair covered!
I hate to admit that it was almost 4:00 p.m. when we pulled away from the curb at the house in Euless! I can never rag on Bubba Barker again about timeliness. The trip through Dallas, which should have been a breeze on Sunday afternoon, was slowed to a crawl on I-30 just east of downtown, as workers had the freeway shut down to repair a bridge. This cost us another half hour! It was an uneventful pull for the rest of this leg, and I marveled at the fuel mileage showing on the Hornet's computer—15.2 mpg! That's really good for pulling a trailer and about twice the mileage most folks get in a motorhome. We stopped at Burton's Family Restaurant in Sulphur Springs for dinner, where we had some outstanding catfish, coleslaw, fries and pineapple-coconut pie. We were a bit apprehensive on our entry into the restaurant, as we were the only patrons, and the manager was mopping the rather dirty dining room floor. The staff was very friendly, though, and almost everything we had was scrumptious. Only the hushpuppies were disappointing. They served the little frozen pre-formed sticks that are ubiquitous these days. I thought of my recently departed mother's mastery of the hushpuppy and how she would have sneered at these tiny inedible cornmeal logs.
At Mount Pleasant, we abandoned I-30 and zigzagged over to U. S. 67 for the 65 remaining miles to Texarkana. It was a good choice, as our campground—Shady Pines—is on 67 just southwest of the city, and the drive was very nice through the few small towns along the way. The highway was well maintained, and there was very little traffic.
Shady Pines RV Park
We turned into the entrance of Shady Pines at 8:30 p.m. and nosed into a nice concrete pull-through pad near the back of the park. Shady Pines is a newish park and oh, so neat and clean. Wow! The place was manicured, with all the lanes and pads paved with concrete. I didn't see a single speck of litter anywhere. The price was also right at $22.50 with a Good Sam discount, and I was surprised how few campers were there. As I'm sitting here in Homer writing this at 7:20 on Monday morning, I notice another trailer moving slowly by, heading for the park exit. I am mystified as to how anyone can get up, have breakfast, break camp and be on the road so early. It's just not normal; there's something definitely wrong with those people!