My brother and sister-in-law have a timeshare in Branson, Missouri, and wanted to meet up for some family time this summer. We set a date and started making plans. Their plans shifted a little and they got there before us but we still had a day and a half with them. We decided that since the time was being cut short we’d drive all the way through and get there Thursday night instead of staying overnight somewhere and finishing the trip in the morning. I called the reservation line but it was the day before and they don’t do anything earlier than 48 hours before. We’d just have to take our chances. I didn’t think it would be taken since whoever got it would only have it for a day.
The Trip Down
Google said it should take us just over 6 hours to drive. I figured around 7 or 7 1/2 since we’re driving a bigger vehicle and will have to take longer to fill up. We left at around 12:30 Thursday afternoon and headed out. We stopped for gas in St. Joseph, Missouri, and got to Kansas City just in time to enjoy rush hour. Not. We took I-49 South from KC to Joplin, then 44 West over to Springfield. Got some food at a Dairy Queen somewhere around Carthage. The map suggested taking Highway 160 to cut across to Highway 65. That was a bad idea since 160 cuts through town — complete with stop lights and road construction. We pulled over to a gas station and filled up, then continued on our way.
Finally Arrived and Thursday Night
We finally pulled into Table Rock State Park at close to 9 p.m. The staff were really nice and allowed us to get into our spot a night early. We backed into our site and got everything hooked up and the slide out before Brian and the family made it over. We got to bed around 11 that night.
Snap, Crackle, Boom
We woke up around 8:30 that morning. The Reflectix I put in worked pretty well blocking the light in our room. Now I need to come up with a cover for the skylight in the bathroom and that should block the last of the light in our room. After showers and some coffee we got word from the camp hosts that a storm was moving in. Some people were gathering in the bathrooms. I looked it up on the phone but it didn’t seem that bad. I had time before the rain started to talk to our neighbors. They were from Olathe, Kansas, and have been camping for two years with their travel trailer. I told him I admired the cleanout elbow he had on the sewer connection. He said he ordered it online for about $20 and it did a good job of cleaning the holding tanks. Yeah, we’re RVers.
The storm came but wasn’t bad. Some wind and some lightning and lots of rain.
Brian’s family is a little slow to get up and ready. Since their timeshare was up just before we arrived, they checked into a hotel not far from the park. It’s a really nice place called Chateau on the Lake. It has an indoor pool so when they were ready he picked us up and brought us to the hotel for some swimming. We skipped lunch in favor of the wonderful water. Later, the women went shopping and then Brian came back to get the guys. We went to dinner and did some shopping and went back to the campsite for the evening.
The darn sun woke us up again early in the morning. Brian and his family were going back home so we made breakfast for everyone after they checked out of the hotel. The rest of the day was kind of lazy. We took the kids to the lake to play with the raft and do some swimming, then came back to relax. We made a slow cooker meal of chicken and dumplings and had that for supper. Got to bed a little later than we wanted, too.
The Trip Back
We got up at 7 a.m. and got some showers before starting to pack up. We had, unfortunately, left a bag of trash and the dirty crock pot out on the picnic table so some animal helped himself. I took some time out to chat with the neighbor on the other side of the site. He was from Wichita and they were staying through the 4th. We wanted to leave by 8 but didn’t get out until 9.
We got to the main highway easy enough and were on our way. We hit some road construction in Springfield and had to sit in traffic a while. Other than more traffic in KC, it was an easy enough trip. Another 9 hours.
Don’t trust Google’s directions. Don’t trust your internet connection. Have something printed out and plan for the trip to take 1/3 longer than Google tells you. Don’t leave stuff out at night. Don’t expect kids to be impressed with anything like scenery.