Well, looking back at our blog updates (or lack there of), I think it's an unnecessary confession that none of us enjoy blogging. However, even with that confession, I must say our negligence here is appalling. So let's do this... blank slate. I can do that right? It's my blog page after all isn't it? I suppose I can do what I want to do, right! I'd hashtag #newyearnewme right here except its now August as I'm writing this. I digress, I'm rambling now... where was I.... Oh, thats right, an update... Kansas!!!!
We've been told by countless other travelers that Kansas is vast flat land void of anything of interest. Although our experience thus far is limited to the eastern side of the state, I can tell you most assuredly that Kansas is beautiful! We have been camping here at a beauty spot east of Wichita for a few days now and we are awestruck. Check out the link below for recent photos. This has been a welcome reprieve to us weary travelers and a comfortable pit stop on our way to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone National Forest.
It occurs to me, however, we have been so lacking in updates since our last "Covid 19 update", those of you that try and follow along with our journey, piecing clues together from our social media sites as best you can, may be struggling to fill in the gaps between our isolation in Cleveland, TN to this peek into the beginnings of the western leg of our travels.
So lets catch you up to speed...
As the months in isolation in Tennessee drug on, my family and I came to the decision that our house was on wheels for a reason. We noticed that Covid was only getting worse in our corner of Tennessee and that other states out West were faring much better. Although we love being able to spend time with dear friends that host us when we are in town, we were anxious to get back on the road. We went from waking up in a new zip code every morning to being static in one location, Covid isolating for an extended period of time. As nice a "hidey hole" as it was, the extreme change of lifestyle was a difficult transition to say the least. So with some reservations, we said our goodbyes at the beginning of July and set off to make up for lost time. However, there were some complications.
There always are in life.... complications. We were so anxious to hit the road that we left Cleveland despite having three general doctors visits and an outpatient surgery scheduled in our home town area. We knew we couldn't go too far away as the appointments were spread out through the whole month of July, but we began to travel anyways within a small radius of home.
We first headed past Helen, GA into beautiful mountain country for a week. We needed to pick up our new tow dolly in a small town nearby and that was a great excuse to take in the scenery and even hike a bit of the Appalachian trail. Once we had the dolly in our possession, we headed north up to the western side of North Carolina.
North Carolina was amazing. We stayed at a beautiful cattle ranch for a night and then headed toward the Nantahala River. At the Nantahala we boon docked right on the river! It was truly wonderful. While in the area, we drove up to Bryson City, NC and spent some time hiking in the Smokey Mountain National Forest.
Next we needed to head back towards Cleveland, TN again for the next round of doctor's visits so we stayed at a winery one night and then the next several nights at one of our favorite campgrounds... Gee Creek in Delano, TN. We very much enjoyed the respite from bouncing around so much, on a schedule. Typically, we have no real agenda or time table. If we like a place, we stay a bit. If we are tired of moving, we don't. If we get bored, we find a new adventure. This keeps things relaxed and interesting. When you have annoying things like doctors appointments scheduled, you are subject to someone else's timetable and that can suck the joy out of traveling full time. Gee Creek was a nice break from the agenda hopping.
At the end of our stay in Gee Creek our last appointment was complete and it was a big one. Our oldest Abigail had her wisdom teeth removed. We gave her a few days at the campground to heal a bit and then headed off to begin the western leg of our journeys. We drove up to Nashville, then further up into western Kentucky to the Paducah area where we spent a little time at the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. We really enjoyed the park there, but only briefly stayed before driving into Missouri.
In Missouri, we explored a few small towns and then stumbled upon a wonderful free campground in the Mark Twain National Forest. It was so pleasant there that we stayed for three days before pushing on to Branson via Springfield. We spent 3 nights at a wonderful farm South of Branson while we explored the area. We all had a great time.. what a cool area. I think the consensus from our family is that Branson is much nicer than Pigeon Forge, TN, but we still prefer Gatlinburg, TN to Branson, MO. Thats just our opinion... we heard many say they like Branson better entirely. Branson has their own version of Dollywood as well, it's called Silver Dollar City. However, as cool as it looked online... we will have to save that park for another visit. We decided that an amusement park wasn't wise at this point in time.
From Branson we drove up through Springfield, MO again and then West into Kansas. Kansas! ... and we're back! Caught up and on the same page. Well nearly. We followed Route 66 from Missouri down the South-Eastern tip of Kansas taking in some sites on the way, like Wilson's Creek Battlefield, Rivington's old Route 66 store, and the historic town of Carthage, KS. A 3 hour drive later, we find ourselves just outside of Wichita and a three night free stay at Lake Clymer.
Next, we have to head into Wichita for the day to replace a ceiling fan that went bad on us. Thankfully, it's under warranty and the manufacturer is based out of Wichita which is right on our way. Also, we have managed to finally kill our solar batteries. The bank we had set up was never intended to do the work load we have tasked it with. Now that we have solar and have been trying to ween off of using our generator... well, long story short, we have killed our 2 batteries in about a years time and are going to go ahead and invest in the battery bank we need for the long term.
As we head into Nebraska after Wichita, we are excited to see how the new fan and the upgraded batteries in combination with our new solar panels improve day to day life for us. Boon docking is wonderful, but in the adding of some new off the grid upgrades to our skoolie, we hope to make boon docking more comfortable for the family as a long term solution to living on the road full time.
Now that I have caught our blog up to date, this is where I may feel inclined to vow to do better about making entries. It would most likely be a lie of course, but it feels like the correct thing to do at this point. Sherry and I are still hoping that one of our children will decide that they LOVE blogging at some point and take over the task. LOL. Wouldn't that be great? Until then, I'll do my best to keep this page on our website current for those faithful few who actually read our ramblings. Until our next blog entry...
P.s- Pictures from all the above mentioned stops are posted daily to our social media sites. For convenience sake, we live stream those accounts to this website. Here is a link so you can see beautiful pictures of our most recent adventures. Thanks so much for your support of our page. It means a lot to us.