No sightseeing today. I am going to give you some insight as to what goes on behind the curtain.
We are leaving Hannibal, Missouri, as we are Mark Twain’ed out. Barbara wants to go to Branson, Missouri. We will probably spend 1 to 2 weeks there as she wants to see some shows. There appears to be over 100 shows available.
Since Branson is about 300 miles from Hannibal it is not feasible to make it in one trip. We make about 50 miles in an hour, plus stop for lunch and stretch our legs, makes it a 7 hour journey. Might be ok in a car, but not pulling the Sphinx. So we need to make a stop in-between. The question is where? There does not appear to be anything of real interest between the two cities. Therefore we are looking for a spot about 150 miles from Hannibal. In a previous post I explained the different tools we use in planning a route. In this case we chose Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri because it sounds cool.
In choosing an RV park we look at location, travel distance, and price. We belong to a number of clubs that offer discounts on stays. KOA offers 10%, as does Good Sam, AAA, and AARP. Harvest Hosts offer the best deal, free. Passport America offers 50% off published prices. RV parks that accept Passport America usually do so because they are new, looking to establish a client base, are in an undesirable location, or are old and have gone into disrepair.
Cross Creek RV Park in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, accepts Passport America. The nightly stay was only $17.72, with full hook ups, (water, sewer, and electricity). Before we book a site we consult the Web, reviews, Google Earth – which gives us an arial view of the area, Trip Advisor, etc. Consulting all of those, we still might not know everything we should about the site. This RV park was off the beaten track in a hilly area. A hint was when we made the reservation the host said “you will go down a steep hill, which you will also have to go up when you leave.” That ended up being an understatement.
After leaving the main highway we went down a gravel, washboard road for two and half miles. The grade was so steep I used first gear, if I had a 1/2 gear I would have used that. Don’t forget, I have 16,000 pounds of a moving home pushing the truck. The Sphinx does have electric brakes which are matched to the truck brakes.
Upon arrival we were offered two sites. The first a pull through and the second a back-in. They are just as they appear, that is, in a pull through site you enter one end, hook up, and when you leave continue on through the site to exit. Obviously when you have a 21 ft truck and a 40 ft 5th wheel, that is an advantage. In a back-in you must maneuver the truck and RV so that they line up with the utilities. Utilities for all RVs are on the left (driver side) of the campsite. That is fortunate since the RV connections are always on that side.
If you are driving a Class A or C RV that is not a problem. You just back it up like you would your car. If your RV is a 5th Wheel, it bends in the middle. When backing up you must turn the steering wheel of the truck in the opposite direction you want the back of the 5th wheel to go. So, if you want the back to go to the right, you must turn the steering wheel to the left. Not intuitive. A trick is to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hand in the same direction you want the rear of the 5th Wheel to turn. Try doing that with your lawn tractor and cart, not as easy as it sounds.
We asked to see both sites. The pull through went up a steep hill, then leveled where the utilities were located. It probably would have been ok for a 20 or 25 ft. RV. I don’t think our 40 ft. would have faired well.
The second site was down by a lake. Because of the configuration of the road you had to back up a considerable distance to get to the site, and then continue backing up to get in the site, but the ground looked level. We chose that site, and this is the view:
Not bad. Although this was one of the more difficult sites to get into and level, it was the most scenic of all our sites since the Everglades.
No traffic sounds from the highway, no trains, no airplanes, and no close neighbors, other than these:
Quack, Quack, Quack.
Hannibal, Missouri to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri 153.2 miles
3 hours 27 minutes
Diesel: $2.27 gallon