Chapter 2 – Heading East

Our next journey is a workamping experience. We’re planning to help renovate cabins, take care of farm chores, and assist with the Healing Springs guests as needed.

Our journey out was a long and tiring one. It snowed, in the beginning of September, for our first two days on the road and then continued to rain the entire trip with the exception of a few hours. Sheets of rain, snow, and Joe’s stuffed animal was our view most of the way.

It was so cold that the fly that was once flying around decided to become a frozen bat fly. It was not scientifically proven or anything, but it is the story I tell myself.

Our first stop was in Ellis, KS, a cute little town with historic buildings lining brick paved streets and friendly townspeople. We stayed on the dammed up river at a free campground with water, electric and a bath house. It’s a town I wouldn’t mind going back to visit when we have more time.

On our way out of the park, Eric noticed we the specialty bracket that holds our sway bar on was broken and we needed to pick one up since the wind gusts were already making it difficult to tow the trailer. I wandered into all the little hardware and parts stores in Ellis with no luck, but they did know of a place about 30 minutes away that I could check. I set out, amazingly found the bracket, grabbed everyone some lunch and headed back.

When we showed up, Eric had just changed one of the tires and we were excited to get back on the road and attempt to be on schedule. As I watched Eric pull away, the ground started heaving.

The tongue jack was left down from changing the tire. He attempted to bend it back so it would recess back into the housing, but the metal was kinked and it wasn’t going to work. We had to cut it off. Of course, we didn’t buy a Sawzall in Yellowstone, we rented one. Joe had the idea to call the classic car restoration shop we drove by a few times and see if they have one. It was a great idea, because when I called, the gentleman on the phone was super sweet and said he’d be right there with some tools to help. We got the tongue jack cut and now needed to go to Camping World in Kansas City to pick up a new one.

Our next stop was a place called Santa Fe Safari RV Campground in Chanute, KS about 2 hours South of Kansas City. The site was basically a parking lot, but it had electricity and water hookups and it was very inexpensive. The surrounding park was awesome though. There were several themed playgrounds in addition to ponds, ballparks and rec areas. We found a tree that had dropped these fruits, we called them brain apples (actual name is osage orange), so Joe chose to do some research. Just ask him about them…he spent at least an hour reading about them and their origins and if they are edible and how they have pesticides in the trees, etc.

Since Joe missed out on the Kansas City field trip when he was in middle school, I promised him we would take him to the WWI Memorial and Museum whenever we passed near Kansas City. So, off Joe, Ethan, Jill and I went to the museum. They have so many artifacts and the museum was very well done. We didn’t have as much time before they closed as we wanted, but we are grateful we were able to go honor some of our nation’s heroes.

Our next stop was in Western Tennessee. The campground I planned on visiting, Edgar Evins State Park, was awesome. The only problem is the roads were very steep and the campsites were actually decks, that although looked super cool, wouldn’t fit our rig. On our way out, we saw some wild turkeys, and although I don’t like whiskey even a little, I had to giggle about seeing Tennessee Wild Turkey.

So, we set off to find a different spot. Joe found a little place close by that had space. When we got there, we felt the Southern hospitality a person hears of. The owner of the store/restaurant/campground, Big Puckett, welcomed us and told us to make ourselves at home and then come join for the all-you-can-eat fried catfish buffet. We sat at one of the picnic tables on the back porch while the locals rocked in their rocking chairs and moved about like every one of them were hosting the party. Battered deep fried food and a fire burning in the porch fireplace filled the air with warmth as we listened to the sounds of happy chatter, mixed with pelting rain on the tin roof, and a local band who played some good ol’ classic rock. Joe and Ethan enjoyed the catfish, but the fried chicken was so good I’ve been wanting it ever since. What an unexpectedly heart-filling evening!

Oh. And our sink fell off.

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