Monday, September 7, 2015


On the way back to the camper we ran a few errands, yes even in retirement there will be errands to run, so we dealt with those and then went “home”

Because it is Friday the campground had filled up more, and the air was once again filled with the smell of wood smoke.  Wonderful!

We were also greeted by the smell of chili we had left cooking in the Crockpot that morning.  It went so well with the 60 degree temperatures the evening was bringing.
This is one of the things we plan on doing as we travel, leaving meals cooking in the crockpot on days we go out on an adventure to help cut the amount of eating fast food we do.  Only today we were both so full chili was the last thing we wanted. 

Gary finally ate a bowl of it around 7:30pm.  It’s now nearly 9 pm and I am thinking I’ll skip the chili tonight and go straight to dessert!  Hey, that whipped cream could separate right?

As I type Gary is in the living room watching a dvd we purchased years ago from one of those cheap bins at Wal-Mart.  A Steven Segal movie,”Exit Wounds”.  This goes along with our trial run as well.

We have a large stack of dvds accumulated over the years we have never watched.  We will haul them with us to watch at campgrounds where there is no television service.  Then at the next campground that has a laundromat or club house leave it with a note that it is an RAK (Random Act of Kindness) and it was free for the taking. 
That way we will lighten our load as we go and share the entertainment.

Earlier today as Gary transferred photos to my computer I sorted five packages of five different RAK that I have received from a Cuttlebug group I am on to take photos of all the goodies.

Once the photos were taken then I resorted them to like items for future crafting. Organization will be essential in doing in being able to take my crafting with me.

It was relaxing playing with all the beautiful die cuts, and stamped images I had received. Just knowing I didn't have hundreds of things I should be doing around the house in the already clean and organized camper made the sorting all that more enjoyable.

Just before we left home there was a small herd of cows on one section of our property.  While we don’t own cattle, it is not uncommon for a neighbor’s fence to go down and part of their herd, be it cattle or horses to wander on to our property.

Because we have ponds and unmown fields the animals usually come as far as our place and graze until their owner comes to round them up.  We never have an idea where they come from.  So we just patiently wait on the owner. 

I just spoke to our son and he says it is no longer just four or five cows but a whole herd, including calves.  They are quickly clearing our overgrown areas and leaving us a generous supply of fertilizer. 

He also says our outside animals are NOT amused with these big critters roaming the property. According him, Lizzie Kitty is not happy about those big "dogs" wandering around in her yard and has demanded he remove them.  

Poor old Jolie, the collie mix, is so near blind she hid in the garage while he was at work and didn't come out until he came home and scared the cattle away from the garage. Liz was standing guard over her from the safety of the porch rail. My furbabies are not happy.

 Sooner or later the owner will show up, in the meantime the mowing is getting done the natural way.

Added at a later date: The owner apparently reclaimed his herd in the rain on Sunday, because they were gone by Monday morning.

So far we are truly enjoying this Trial Run outing, even if the pets are not enjoying us being gone.   

Sunday, September 6, 2015

TRIAL RUNS: Part 3, A Spectacular Lunch

Today we dined in Dobyn’s Restaurant in the Keeter Center and to say the lunch was fine dining would be an understatement. 

We arrived a little early for our reservation, it is highly recommend you get a reservation, so we took advantage of the extra time to look around the lobby of the large log cabin that houses the restaurant. 

This unique furniture was in the foyer of the building.

The furniture on in the waiting area was also rustic, but not as nearly ornate as the foyer furniture.  Chances are very good that the furnishings throughout the log cabin were made by various artisans living on campus.

If you don’t know anything about the College of the Ozarks here is a brief synopsis for you.  It is commonly called “Hard Work University” because that is how the students pay for their degrees.  Each student is required to work a minimum of 15 hours per week, with one 40 hour week per semester, on campus.  This is how they pay for their liberal arts degree.  

It is a four year need based Christian college and most students graduate with no student loan debt. If you have a student thinking about college you might really want to see if they meet all the criteria to attend this beautiful campus.

After returning home I learned two of my cousin’s grandchildren had received their degrees from the college.  They both loved the campus and hated to leave.

Back to our meal…

We were seated fairly close to our 12:15 pm reservation.  I was certainly glad we had decided to dress decently instead of shorts and a Disney t-shirt, our normal camping wardrobe.

The greeters were all dressed in nice navy blazers, skirts or slacks with white shirts and our servers were all white jacketed.  

The greeter escorted us into an immense dining room with more rustic furniture, but this furniture had an elegant feel to it.  The long tin tiled ceilinged room was well appointed, immaculate.  If you have ever stayed at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World, it reminded us of it in many ways, but more elegant.

The table was set with a complete service of all the proper silverware and a neatly pyramid folded cloth napkin.  Our beverages came in a nice piece of stemware. Each course was delivered in covered serving dishes.

Each course brought out the appropriate additional silverware for that course and all used dishes and silverware were quickly and quietly removed.

Our server was Hannah, if all servers were as attentive as she was we would go broke with the amount of tips we would pay.  We tip based on service, not price.  She deserved the maximum tip for certain.

She was attentive without being cloying.  Made excellent eye contact, never wrote anything down, but our orders came perfect.  She knew the ingredients of everything we and those around us ordered and could answer any allergy queries with no problem.   

She spoke clearly, and in a friendly professional way.  The way you would expect wait staff in a fine dining restaurant to speak.

While we waited on our meals to arrive she brought us a basket that contained two honey wheat rolls, and two cranberry biscuits.  She also brought a small cast iron skillet that contained real butter and some of the best apple butter I have ever eaten.

All these items had been made from products produced there on campus.  The flours were from the grain mill, the butter from their dairy, the apple butter from another part of the campus.  Then of course it was all handmade from scratch there in the restaurant. This was the story behind every item we consumed today.  Oh what a wonderful meal we had.

Dh’s meal was what he declared to be the best chicken and dumplings he had ever had. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a photo of it before he had consumed every drop of it.

I had the Pork Pomodoro. Thin medallions of pork loin resting on some of the finest tasting polenta I have ever eaten, topped with pesto and organic cherry tomatoes.  The taste was out of this world! 

It was also a huge portion.  So huge I took half of it back to the camper with me because I simply had to try their desserts. The photo below is what I took back to the camper.

For dessert Gary ordered their banana cream pie topped with a mountain of whipped cream and drizzled with a salted caramel sauce.

I do believe my dessert was the best I have ever had bar none.  Blueberries and cream bread pudding.  It had a sweetened cream cheese type layer, blueberries and raspberries baked into the bread pudding, then it was topped with a drizzle of lemon curd.  On the side was a mound of sweetened whipped cream in a circle of fresh blueberries and topped with a perfectly pink raspberry.  Truly a fine dining dessert.
This too was way too large a serving for me so half of that returned to the camper with me as well. 

To view their entire menu go here

All my leftovers were carefully packaged up by Hannah.  No trying to put it in a Styrofoam carryout box while juggling a plate awkwardly for me.  No Styrofoam at all in fact.  A very plain brown box was used. Very sturdy and environmental friendly.
Our total meal came to slightly over $50 including a very sizable tip and it was worth every penny of it! This is a statement you won’t hear me make often.

After the meal we located a brochure that had a map of the campus included and headed out the door thinking we would go to the Ralph Foster museum, Lookout Point and other sites on campus.  Instead we found ourselves wandering through a small park there at the log cabin. Taking several photos.

By the time we finished with our photos it was almost 2:30 pm.  The museum is three stories and closes at 4:30pm.  In fact all the various buildings on campus close at 4:30pm.

So instead we drove through the campus getting a lay of the land to go back another day.

The campus is gorgeous, swans and ducks in the lake and everywhere there were students PUSHING lawn mowers, no riding mowers were ever seen, pushing brooms to sweep the streets and sidewalks as well as other maintenance jobs.  Definitely Hardwork U.

We left the campus about 4:00 pm enjoying the fact that thanks to following the Total Money Makeover plan by Dave Ramsey we felt like this was the way we were meant to live.  Fine dining, a relaxing day and moving at our own pace without jumping through anyone’s hoops.

Truly a great middle to our day.  On to the next segment of Trial Runs.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


August 21, 2015

Those of you who follow my blogs on a regular basis know we go to Branson, MO often.  Generally we drive over for a long weekend, go to Silver Dollar City for a couple of days using our annual pass and then go home.

I love SDC, but the shows don’t change that often and those hills can really put a strain on fat old ladies like myself. In fact the last few times we have gone we have either taken our electric scooter, or rented one and then dh and I have tagged teamed using it.  Neither of us is as spry as we use to be. 

This trip we have not been to the city yet.  We may go Sunday, but then again we might not.  Instead we took our time getting to the Indian Point Corps of Engineers campground arriving in the late afternoon on Thursday, yesterday. 

We had reserved a spot that we have stayed in many times before because we knew it to be fairly level, easy in and out and close to the bathroom.  It is the perfect site to practice parking this longer trailer in. Six foot can make a world of difference when maneuvering a fifth wheel. So we want to practice in an easy to access spot a few times and then work on a more difficult spot in preparation for whatever situation we may find ourselves in the future.

The only drawback to this campground is the fact there is no sewer hook-up, which means we either have to be very mindful of how much gray and black water we put in the tanks, tear down camp and go to the dump station (not an option where we are concerned), or learn how to dump at the campsite into our portable honey wagon the dealership gave us as an apology for some of the hassle we had in our purchase due to their employees. 

We are combining the first and possibly the last options.  The second one would just be too much work, as you can see by the photo below. So having the bath room nearby is great. Unfortunately it is a drive to the shower house.  So we will probably HW the grey water, because I like my own shower.
Thursday evening the weather was so wonderful, crisp and fall like.  We opened the windows in lieu of turning on the air conditioners, which we already knew worked and enjoyed the ambiance of the campground.

This also allowed us to see how good the cross ventilation was in the camper, and learn which exhaust fans would best draw in cool air when wanted.

Maybe it is all the years of rendezvous we did, or basic camping as we were growing up, but we love the smell of a campfire.  The still crisp air was filled with the smells of wood smoke, grilling burgers and the laughter of the other campers.  It was a perfect evening. 

Indian Point Campground is a fairly basic campground with large sites, most have water and electric.  They honor the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass, which means we are staying Thursday through Sunday night for $42 total.  People without the half price pass would pay roughly $84. 

If you need cable and internet, this is not the campground for you.  Neither are available, but for us simply relaxing and “piddling”, as my dh says for all the little chores he entertains himself with, around the campsite it is wonderful.

As I type this, to post after we return home on Monday or a week later depending on my schedule, He is adjusting the length of our awning lights so they can be better seen by other campers.

Earlier today I worked on re-arranging and better organizing the camper as he put up the flag and the solar lights for it, fixed our new “where have we been so far” USA map and hung it in the kitchen window along with other chores.

About 11:00 am we went to the College of the Ozarks in Hollister, MO, just a short drive away.

Our plan had been to have lunch at their restaurant and then go to the Ralph Foster Museum as well as tour the campus.  We ended up doing part of that today and may do the rest tomorrow. I’ll end this post here and start writing about our DIVINE lunch for post #3.