Because we had to cancel our September camping trip to Ozark Outdoors because the hospital I work at mandated the jab and I wasn’t about to succumb to an experimental injectable for a disease that was little more than a severe respiratory infection and I wasn’t in the high category risk for it and I couldn’t justify taking it, I put my resignation in. My last day was supposed to be 9-29-21, however, my religious exemption was approved at the last minute and I agreed to weekly testing so I could keep my job. But we had canceled our trip because we didn’t want to forfeit our deposit – so we didn’t go camping in September. Once the dust settled, I looked to the next little vacation I had asked off for – Veteran’s Day weekend. We knew we would likely go camping but we didn’t really know where – we just knew it would be somewhere close to home. We settled on Branson but we still hesitated on making reservations because my working life is volatile right now and honestly, I’m taking one day at a time. Who knows what the environment will look like tomorrow.
Once the time arrived and the world continued to revolve and the sky didn’t fall on my head, again, we figured we were safe to go ahead and make reservations about two days before we were supposed to leave. We stayed at Musicland Kampground just off the 76 strip. For those familiar with the area, you know exactly what “the strip” is. Branson is a lot like Vegas – all of it’s attractions are all located on one strip of road. It’s a mini Vegas, truth be known. And the campground is right off the strip. We like this campground because you can literally go through a gate and walk up to the strip. This campground is always super clean and the people are very friendly. They also have someone that will show you to your campsite and help you back in which I always appreciate because that’s always the most stressful part for me – navigating Kevin into tight spots.
(That sounded ….. never mind).
I packed up the camper on Friday. We’re really getting packing down to a science so that the only thing I really have to pack is clothes and food – we keep a lot of stuff in the camper so that we don’t have to pack it again and again. We, (I), did forget to pack a few things – more on that later.
This was the first time we pulled the trailer with Kevin’s new F150 truck. By the way, if I didn’t mention it before now, the guy that bought Kevin’s F250 finally paid off the balance and they came and towed the truck away.
Kev was pretty sad to see it go. He got used to driving this monster, it was pretty powerful, so driving the F150 feels kind of weak in comparison.
The F150 did great, by the way. It was really windy when we drove to Branson so that was a complication, and Kevin was getting used to the brakes on the trailer, so there was a lot of bumping as he made adjustments, but once he got the hang of it, it seemed to pull it just fine. I would still like to take it somewhere to get weighed though – just to see how heavy this thing is. We had too much weight in the tongue of the trailer and it bounced quite a big. I think that worried Kevin a bit that the F150 wouldn’t be big enough for future trips, but we’ll see.
We arrived at the site at about 2:00 PM. The guy helped Kevin park it, (THANK GOODNESS), and we worked on setting everything up. The wind was bitterly cold and it was not fun to set up the outside, but I helped him as much as I could and I felt like it went pretty fast. Once we had the electricity hooked up, I uncovered the mini-split and turned the heat on. We’ve never tested the heater part of the mini-split before so I was holding my breath until we confirmed that it was working.
The only thing we really had to set up on the inside was to hang the TV on the mount on the wall and to lift the fridge up on it’s platform and plug it in. We take the fridge off the platform when we’re traveling so it won’t fall off and smash into a million pieces. In the meantime, we pack our perishable food in a cooler with ice packs to keep it cool and once the fridge cools down, (it takes about three hours), I will transfer the food to the fridge and put the cooler in the back of Kevin’s truck to get it out of the way. It works well. Once Kevin hooks up the water/sewer, we fill the toilet up with water so that it’s ready for those late-night pees.
As we were getting the trailer set up, I figured out what I forgot – our pillows. I also forgot to bring my jacket. Kevin had his but I forgot mine and it was simply way too cold to go without, so, we had to make a trip to Wal-Mart to buy pillows and a jacket. I was pretty annoyed with myself for forgetting stuff so important, but at least now we have pillows that we’ll keep in the trailer so I won’t forget them in the future.
Once the trailer was set up, we rested for a bit and then we went out to eat at a BBQ place. Since it gets dark so early now and was dark when we finished eating, not to mention bitterly cold, we headed back to the trailer, changed into comfy clothes and watched “Stripes.” I had forgotten just how STUPID that movie really is. Gah.
The temps dropped to below freezing that night and the mini-split, though worked well, had trouble keeping up. In fact, we were actually a bit hot, but since I’m such a light sleeper, and never sleep well the first night we are away from home, I knew right away when the mini-split started sounding different. It sounded like it was freezing up and we shut it off for a bit so that it could thaw out. Kevin slept pretty well and he had his earplugs in so he couldn’t hear anything and didn’t notice there was anything wrong with the unit. (He has to wear earplugs because I SAW LOGS at night. By the way, he uses these these earplugs, they work REALLLY WELL in case you’re looking for good earplugs and/or you sleep with a partner that also SAWS LOGS).
Also – our water quit working so we assumed it had gotten so cold it froze. Nope. Our connection had fallen off and we hadn’t realized it.
We “slept” in Saturday and had a relaxing morning. We had chicken wraps for lunch, which were delicious and side note: we use coleslaw in a bag instead of lettuce – more crunch, more flavor and lasts way longer than normal lettuce. Afterward, we walked the strip. We really wanted to go to “Beyond the Lens” where you can take selfies in all sorts of fun backgrounds, like Bigfoot and on the moon, but it was like $35 PER PERSON and we’re too cheap to pay that price so we didn’t end up going. In fact, that was the theme of this trip – too cheap to have fun. We would love to do a lot of things in Branson, but like any touristy place, the prices are outlandish and we would prefer to spend our money on other things. Because I was so tired I had a hard time walking without tripping over my feet, we headed back to the trailer and I took a nap while Kevin watched the Discovery channel. (He hooked up the cable and took advantage of the shows he hasn’t watched in forever because we don’t have cable – remember the cheap part?)
After I woke up, (actually, I was woken up by our neighbor who knocked on our door because our water hook up was leaking and causing a puddle), we went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. It was really good and Kevin commented that their refried beans were the best he’s ever tasted. After we ate, we walked around a few craft malls where Kevin found me a really cool leather purse for a reasonable price. (I’ve since been carrying the purse around and I love it – it has a side zipper pocket for my keys [I never have to take my keys out – it’s a fob and I just push the starter button in my car – not sure I really like that option], and a pocket on the side that is perfect for my eyeglass case).
After that, we headed back to the trailer and watched “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. I had seen it before. Another stupid movie. This is why I don’t watch movies anymore – they are all so DUMB.
Sunday, after taking showers, (by the way, our trailer doesn’t have a shower, we use the showers at the campground. Which is really not that big of a deal, unless you forget to bring a bag to carry all of your stuff in, (another thing I forgot), TO the shower and then it’s a pain in the butt but since most of the rigs at the campgrounds have their own showers, we rarely encounter anyone in the showers, so that’s nice), we walked around another craft mall. After that, we drove to the lake and walked along a hiking trail for a bit and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. It was cold, but it was nice. We also realized that when we go camping in the future, we are going to focus more on secluded campgrounds by water as opposed to trendy campgrounds near a lot of things to do. We are both perfectly happy to sit around the site and read, nap, watch TV, go for walks and just enjoy the nature and the peace and quiet. That’s really WHY we like camping – to get away from everything and everyone and relax. The Musicland Campground was great, but it wasn’t really what we were looking for. We stayed at this campground a few times in the past with the boys and it was perfect then because it was in the middle of everything and we were near a bunch of attractions, which we did with the boys, but now that we’re older and just us, it’s just not something that we’re into anymore.
We headed back to the trailer when it started to get dark and we cooked pancakes, eggs and bacon for dinner. As part of my ten-year anniversary with the hospital, they sent me a brochure of things I could pick from and for my “gift” and I picked a two-skillet set to use in the camper. We used those skillets and we really liked them. We don’t have a stovetop in the trailer, but we used a single burner and Kevin had to wait for me to cook the pancakes before he could get started on the eggs, (he cooks eggs are WAY better than me), and it took a while. So, I will be buying a dual flat burner to keep in the trailer from now on. After dinner, we watched some more Discovery Channel shows.
Monday, we packed up and came home. The weather the whole weekend was nice and Monday was no exception. It was sunny and warm and Kevin didn’t have any trouble pulling the trailer back home. In fact, he made sure the majority of the weight was in the back of the trailer this time and the ride home was a lot less bouncy. Weight distribution really does make a huge difference.
Kevin parked in the driveway behind our house and I unloaded the trailer and caught up on laundry. Kevin had to go to his office to do some work.
We learn something every time we go camping. I have a list of things I want to buy and keep in the camper, and we are going to try and put a murphy table in as well. We don’t have a table now, though Kevin did build a “desk” of sorts just under where the TV sits so we’ve been using that, as well as our bench that we sit on at the desk, as a table. We likely won’t go camping again until the Spring as it’s getting a bit too cold for comfort but hopefully, by then, we’ll have a table to use. It wasn’t that big of a deal this time, but it would be more comfortable.
Our goal is to take a trip every other month in 2022. Kevin wants to take impromptu trips but I can’t really do that because I have to give my work at least two weeks notice whenever I ask for any time off and even then, it’s not a sure thing, so we have to make reservations at the last minute to avoid forfeiting our deposits and that can be a gamble because you’re assuming the campground has space. In addition, Kevin has a client that he does payroll for every week, on Thursdays, so he HAS to be in his office on Thursdays to take care of that so if we leave town, it has to be Friday afternoons, (because he delivers the checks on Friday mornings), and we have to be back by the following Tuesday to give him time to prepare for the upcoming week’s payroll. It sucks, but they pay the bills so we have to make due.
Overall, it was a fun, quick little trip and we’re looking forward to more trips in 2022. This trip was easier than the last trip and I’m sure we’ll get the whole process down to a science in no time. I do think I was more of a help to Kevin this time, though. I was able to help him set up and breakdown all of the outside stuff this go around.
Here are some pictures from our trip – starting from left to right:
This Italian restaurant is on the 76 strip in Branson. We didn’t eat there, but we passed it when we were walking down the strip.
Kevin and I wanted to go to Beyond the Lens, this is the entrance, cool, right? But it was way too expensive for our cheap selves so we settled for looking at it with longing eyes as we walked by.
Kevin gained a little weight this trip.
These next three pictures were taken in front of Ripley’s Believe it or not. Hulk is made entirely out of cars parts, King Kong is made from old tires and the werewolf is made from gears, nails, etc. Pretty cool.
We did eat at this chicken restaurant. I had chicken fried tenders rolled in an almond crust and the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had. They were short staffed and it took a bit to get waited on and our food, but I’m glad we stuck it out because it was delicious.
These next pictures were taken at Table Rock Lake. We were trying to capture the beautiful sunset as it shined through the trees, but I’m afraid we didn’t do it justice. It was magical.
The last picture if our campsite. As you can see, there is a hotel behind us. Again, not the prettiest, or the most peaceful site, but it was super convenient as you literally walk through a gate and you’re on the 76 strip. So, if you’re looking to camp in Branson and want to be close to everything, the Musicland campground is the place to be.
Thanks for reading!