Wednesday, May 25, 2016


After being retired for nearly a month, numerous health issues with family members and pets, as well as a herd of repairmen at our farm we are finally on the road and ready to start sharing our adventures with our friends and family. Our son, is now in charge of the farm.  We wish him luck.

Our first stop for 12 days was the Lakeview Corps of Engineers (COE)campground on Bull Shoals Lake at Bull Shoals, AR .  We had previously stayed at the Dam Site a few years ago, but that campground now belongs to the city and they do not accept the National Parks Pass for camping discounts. It was a nice site with easy access, but we like our half price camping discount so we decided to try Lakeview and are so glad we did.

For various reasons we got a late start, then had some minor problems on the trip here all of which combined to make us arrive after dark, something we try to never do.

The check-in office was closed when we arrived, but the camp hostess, Nancy, saw us coming in from her home and came up to greet us.  This was the beginning of a very pleasant experience at a beautifully well maintained campground.

She verified our check in quickly and then her husband led us not to the site we had originally booked, but a “better one”.   Because of the dark conditions he stayed and spotted one side of the fifth wheel as I spotted the other while my dh (dear husband), Gary, backed the camper in.  It was a pretty easy parking job on a completely level 40 ft. long site with a brand new concrete pad.  It is one of their first come, first serve sites. 
It is a wonderful large shaded site, with a nice covered picnic table, long benches Along the railing that surrounds two sides of the table shelter.

Later in the week we went by the campsite we had originally booked, D8, B 17 is definitely a better site, with a longer pad.  Although both are listed as 40 ft sites B 17 is definitely longer than D8.

Many of the campsites have a second pad for parking a towed vehicle or a boat on.  There are also group camping sites, and tent sites available.  

The nice large, very new looking shower house is a block or so up the hill from our campsite.  Really not a bad walk at all. They keep it spotlessly clean.  Using my pedometer I measured it as .31 miles from the camper front door to the handicapped accessible shower house.

Near the shower house there is an amphitheater where they show movies during the summer months. 

We are booked here for 12 nights and with our discounted pass the nightly rate for water and electric (no sewer, but there is a dump station not far from us) is $10.  If you do not have a pass it is $20 per night.

There is a second dump station right at the entrance to the campground as well.  If you aren’t camping there but need to dump the dump fee is $5.
Both dump stations are very easy access drive thru style with both cleaning water and potable water spigots.

The trash dumpsters are very near the in park dump station. 

When out for one of our daily walks we noticed that the campsites closest to the shower house have sewer hook-ups and 12 x 12 portable buildings on them. I have since found out that those are for the camp workers to park their rigs on.

We were so bone tired that first night we did only the very basic set-up chores and then collapsed into bed thankful to finally be on the road.
At breakfast the next morning we were joined by a Red-headed Woodpecker searching for his morning meal. We spent many an hour watching the birds and squirrels while there.  Besides the woodpeckers there blue birds, blue jays, vultures, and of course crows quite abundant in the park.  

We of course also spent a lot of time watching the maneuvers of those around us.  Who needs tv when you have wildlife and neighbors? 

We were surprised how few campers were in the campground in the beautiful spring weather we were having.

The first few days our closest neighbor had triplets that looked to be just over a year old and watching them trying to keep up with the two boys and one girl was amusing to say the least.  The phrase “like herding cats” came to mind when we watched the grandfather trying to watch all three by himself for just a few minutes.
Just past their camper was a nice playground that the toddlers spent a lot of time on with one or more of their extended family keeping a watchful eye on them.

Our first two days were spent at the camper trying to figure out where to store everything, making lists of things we forgot, starting my sprouts for sandwiches and salads and just unwinding from the hectic several months we had just gone through. 

Because we pack food a little different than a lot of campers our storage is slightly different.  You see we use a lot of dehydrated foods for our meals.  You can haul far more in less space and with less weight than you can other foods.  You can customize your serving sizes easily so there is little to no waste with very few leftovers as a result.  As time goes on I will post links to my Patterson’s Pantry and Patterson’s Pantry Recipe blogs for the recipes using different dried foods, with adaptations for using “normal” food when I can. 
Of course we don’t exist on all dry foods, so there will be recipes for other meals on those blogs as well.
Mother’s Day 2016 there came a knock on our camper door, it was Nancy, the camp hostess.  She was carrying a basket full of beautiful hand decorated dish cloths and towels.  She was giving each of the “ladies of the campers” a Mother’s Day gift.  I chose a beautiful tea towel with parrots on it. 

It is the first souvenir of our travels.  Since we have an empty picture frame hook in the kitchen I told Gary I would like to find a light weight acrylic frame and frame the towel then hang it as a decoration.  He agreed it would be attractive.

Speaking of decorations, if you are a regular follower you already know I have a collection of Potato Heads I dress differently for each campsite.  They have traveled with us for roughly 35 years and will continue to do so through retirement.  So be ready for photos of them dressed different each time.

On our third day we had actually planned on going to the James Gaston Visitor Center on the dam today and then to a grocery store after we thoroughly vacuumed the entire camper (maybe 30 minute’s worth of work, including moving the furniture).  But as we ate our lunch of simple sandwiches the rain started coming down heavily and we both drug our computers out, preferring to stay in comfortable and dry over driving the Ozark roads in a downpour. This became our pattern for the entire time we were there.  The last 18 months have been so stressful for our family we really enjoyed sitting and decompressing.  So trips out were pretty limited to going to the James Gaston Visitor Center on the dam, which I wrote  about in a separate post, to get groceries at the Harp’s (the nearest grocery we found) in Bull Shoals, and a trip to Flippin, named after Thomas J. Flippin, for fuel and a visit to Wal-Mart. It was just so relaxing.

The day before we left we went into Bull Shoals to do laundry.  It was $1.50 a load to launder (unless you used their big machines and that was $2.50 a load) and $.25 to dry for seven minutes a load. 

There is no wi-fi in the campground, and our Sprint phones are on roaming.  We didn’t even bother to try to get a tv signal, although most of the campers here have their antennas up, we just were not interested in tv right then.  We enjoyed the peace and quiet.  In the evenings we watched one of the dvds we brought with us, read, did crafts or played games.  It is so good to slow life down and enjoy it. 

We had previously purchased a key rack basket for the camper, but because of the way it was made it would not hang properly on any hook we looked at to put on the wall. 
Then we stumbled across this letter P at Wal-Mart and Gary was able to make a monogramed basket hook from it with a piece of dowel and embroidery floss.  Now it feels more like home because we have a place to hang our keys.

I had also purchased years ago a cross stitch pattern for a “where we have been” map.  I finally started it while sitting quietly in the camper.  I only worked on it two days, but progress was made on it.

We received permission to fly our quadcopter at the camp ground the resulting video is below.

So as you can see our retirement has started.

Stay tuned for more posts on local sites and camp grounds from all over the USA .  Jan and Gary who have saved and planned for this retirement for 43 years in and away from OK.


  1. Wonderful blog, Jan. I fully intend to keep up with your adventures, altho I will admit I am just a wee bit envious.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your blog. Enjoy your retirement. Enjoy the peace and serenity Mother Nature provides. Safe travels.