We left Tucamcari New Mexico on October 26 and, as Bill said, just "waltzed across Texas" (earworms anybody?) without even spending a night. Although I can look at a map and see that the part of Texas between Tucamcari and Oklahoma isn't all that far, it was still shocking to me that we could get in and out of the great State of Texas during a day's travel. I swear we've spent weeks and weeks in Texas on other road trips, but those were different parts of the state with more stuff to see.
So our first overnight stop on the second part of this road trip was in Elk City, Oklahoma. This was the first time we had RV'd overnight in this state, although, in contrast to Texas, we'd spent a hour or less crossing it on several other trips. Those other times were across the panhandle, which is uninteresting, at least the little we see driving across it. So we were pleasantly surprised at how lush and green everything was as we entered this part of the state.
The previous day, back in not-so-beautiful Tucamcari, we had grazed a post pulling into our spot, (which wasn't nearly as big as advertised) and put a slight ding in the trim. So after we settled in at Elk City, Bill went out to repair the damages and a whole bunch of guys came out to kibitz. There is no quicker way to meet people on an overnight stop. It was fun though, because that whole entire day on the road we actually didn't see one single human being outside of a car. Sometimes on the road it seems like we are all pod people and there is no life outside of the vehicles. So the RV Park here was a welcome and friendly overnight stop. It is called Elk Creek RV Park. There's no web site, but the review sites give it a positive rating and so do we.
The next night, still in Oklahoma, was in Checotah at Lake Eufaula West KOA. Again, it was a beautiful drive and this was an interesting stop with woodsy walking paths and nature trails to the Lake and a small restaurant on site.
The only problem is of course, now that we've seen the good part of it, we want to spend more time in this lovely state.
We arrived at Branson View RV Park, Missouri the next night. Here we had one of the loveliest view spots ever. It took a little juggling to get into it, but it was well worth it. Every so often we are lucky enough to get a beautiful water view, but this was the first time ever we'd had a hilltop view looking down at a City. We liked this park and if we'd stayed longer, our leg muscles would definitely have grown stronger. Walking up and down the steep hills, was ...well, breathtaking.
In some quarters, RVers have a reputation of being a little bit tight with their money. Merchants think we bring everything with us and don't go anywhere. We feel that reputation is generally unfounded and certainly doesn't apply to us. We eat (in and out), go to theaters, movies, shop ... whatever we'd do if we weren't RVers. But our week in Branson threw us right into the tightwad stereotype. We couldn't find a single thing in this entertainment city that interested us enough to shell out the big bucks for tickets. Even the restaurants seemed uninteresting and the whole town too glitzy and fake for our taste. But we liked our RV Park with its beautiful view and enjoyed enjoyed driving around to see more of the scenic Ozarks.
One of those drives was to Point Lookout where we had Sunday brunch at The Keeter Center, the restaurant of Hard Work U (otherwise known as the College of the Ozarks). This is a fully-accredited and well-rated liberal arts and sciences University founded on the premise that each student works on campus to pay for his or her education. These aren't make-work but real jobs that the students do in restaurants, the farm, and about 80 other jobs or industries right on the campus. These kids graduate free of debt and with an appreciation for work. We were impressed. Some of the job stations are in the dining room and kitchen of the restaurant. The brunch table included produce and meat raised on their own farms. After our lovely meal, we toured a little bit of the campus and learned some of history of the school and the Ozark region.
Chasing Autumn is one of our favorite things to do and we loved the Ozarks. We drove through more of them on our way to Hot Springs, our next stop (and the next post). But if we get to visit this area again, we'll spend more time in Oklahoma and Arkansas and less in Branson.